On August 16th, 2023, a number of friends and family of Rosalie DiNunzio gathered at Glen Oak Golf Couse in Amherst. The purpose was to present the first annual Betsy Ulmer Girls Golf Scholarship, an endeavor a long time coming. Making the presentation were James Mohan of the Buffalo District Golf Association board of directors, John Osberg, director of development and foundation operations for the Western New York section of thePGA of America, and Mrs. Ulmer herself. Mr. Mohan spoke eloquently about Betsy’s long participation in golf matters in western New York, and her tireless devotion to the expansion of access for girls to the game.
Rosalie “Rosie” DiNunzio has played competitive golf at Clarence High School since middle school. She was the Section VI champion in 2022 and runner-up in 2023. She led the varsity to five consecutive Section VI team titles, and finished T15 in the 2023 NYSGA Girls Junior Championship. She will continue her studies and competitive career at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Betsy’s Back Story in Golf
Betsy Ulmer took up the game of golf while in her thirties. Since then, she has been an advocate, a coach and a crusader for changes in girls’ golf. With a passion, focus, and high-powered energy level, Betsy Ulmer expanded athletic opportunities for middle school and high school girls, and, in the process, established a standard unmatched in the State of New York. Hers was a profound impact on the growth of the sport of golf in Western New York.
Betsy’s first venture in golf began as Chair of Brookfield Country Club’s Junior Golf Program where she grew it to over 200 girls and boys participating. Hers was the most successful junior golf programs in all of Western New York. Betsy Ulmer was the central figure in establishing Upstate New York Junior Golf, Inc. – a non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities in junior golf for girls and a Section VI Girls Golf program. Soon after, Betsy realized girls would leave the sport in their early teenage years.
Betsy, with the full support of the Buffalo District Golf Association, designed and executed a pilot program garnering the participation of girls separate from the traditional, competitive co-ed play of the district. Betsy’s goal was to get more girls involved in understanding the game and learning to play competitively, so she intentionally established a new approach: 9-hole and 18-hole divisions enabling players to compete at a level based on her ability rather than on her age. Her programs’ requirements included that it be open to any girl interested in golf. She also made a condition for competitive play: girls must break a score of 70 for 9 holes on their ‘home’ course, or a score of 110 for 18 holes.
Betsy Ulmer is responsible for the birth and growth of ECIC Section 6 Girl Golf. Because of Betsy, the Western New York PGA Junior Girls Golf Tour grew to include Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara and Erie, Pennsylvania. Her legacy plays through as the Buffalo District Golf Association continues to provide a program for girls and hosts the Women’s Buffalo District Golf Association Junior Girls Championship.
With the popularity of golf steadily growing in the minds, hearts, and activities’ calendars of people all over Western New York, in her example we need to focus attention on the connection between the sport and girls. For this reason, the Betsy Ulmer Girls Golf Scholarship exists today.
Betsy, with her loving family and friends, will work to grow this fund and to deploy its scholarships to many deserving young women. The Betsy Ulmer Scholarship is the game-changer; gratitude goes straight to her for teeing this up for our community!
Mission Statement / Statement of Purpose
The Betsy Ulmer Scholarship Fund – created by her family, friends, community members and the beneficiaries of her legacy – supports the continued excellence of the New York State Section 6 Girls Golf program to which Betsy dedicated her life as its founder, coach, competitor, teacher, mentor for girls playing the great game of golf.
The fund will be used to enhance programmatic recruiting, to increase tournament play for exposure to colleges/universities and direct financial assistance to cover equipment, travel costs, college visit expenses and tuition while participating in post-graduate play. The fund may deploy other innovative resources with an emphasis on taking high school players from Western New York to the “next level” and on to professional careers; to support the athletic development in the game of golf, especially as it applies to student-athletes with financial needs; and to provide resources to assist new students’ acclimation to the college and university sports culture.
The goal of the fund is to inspire lovers of the game of golf and to help girls thrive in future collegiate competition. Through this fund we hope to perpetuate the personal growth for students, athletic rigor for competitors, and a love of golf and its tenets, a true reflection of Betsy Ulmer’s character.
To apply for the scholarship, please visit this link.