2006 Kick-Off Event at the Norwalk Training Center

By Lisa Charnoff Staff Writer, The Stamford  Advocate

NORWALK – Feb. 20, 2006

A year ago, Carolyn Rowe was looking for a way to travel and do one of the things she loves best – play golf.

Rowe, a 50-year-old Ridgefield woman whose husband died a few years ago in a car accident, plugged the words “singles” and “golf” into an online search engine. She was led to a chapter of the American Singles Golf Association, whose members live in Fairfield County and Westchester County, N.Y.

“I joined with the intention of playing golf and meeting people” Rowe said. “I didn’t think I was ready to meet anybody” romantically. “But I was wrong.”

Two weeks later, during a trip to Hawaii arranged through the organization, Rowe met Florida resident Kevin Raymond at a group dinner. After Rowe took another golf trip two weeks later to visit Raymond in Florida, the two started dating. They became engaged last year at Thanksgiving.

“We wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for golf,” Rowe said during a phone interview from Florida, where she plans to move after her youngest son graduates high school.

That’s the idea behind the nonprofit group, which started the local chapter in 2001.

A love connection may not be par for the course – this is the chapter’s first engagement – but members enjoy the camaraderie.

“I joined because I love to play golf and because it’s nice to have a ready group to play with” said tom Maniscalco of Fairfield.

The group meets for dinner in Westport on the first Friday of the month, and heads to the driving range at Stamford’s Sterling Farms Golf Course every third Friday. During the golf season they plan at least one major outing every month.

Events include last night’s “meet and greet” at the Golf Training Center in Norwalk. After eating a dinner catered by Ash Creek Saloon and sipping wine, several members split up to Practice putting and chipping, receiving tips from instructors at the center.

Greg Walker, a chapter co-president, said one of the advantages of paying the $70 yearly dues is that it’s a national group, so there are trips to some of the country’s best courses.

Since it was formed, the group has had 100 members who play at all levels. The national organization, formed in 1992, has 3,000 members in 65 chapters, including one in Hartford. To join one must be over 21 and single. That means that once Rowe and Raymond tie the knot, they won’t technically be part of the group.

“We often kid that we’re going to extend our marriage date so we can stay in, said Raymond, who joined his chapter in 2002. They plan to marry in June of next year.

Stamford resident George Emmons joined the group in 2001 as a divorced man., but finding a date wasn’t the main reason. “It was nice to have something to go to, where you have people with common interests,” Emmons said. “I’m sort of, if I meet someone, it’s nice. If I don’t it’s still nice.”

It’s an advantage to combine the singles scene with an activity you enjoy, Walker said. “Even if you don’t meet someone you particularly like, at least you get a nice game of golf in,” Walker said.

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Board Members

President OPEN POSITION

  Chairman of the Board Jane Price

  Golf Chair Linda Woodruff

  Social Chair Linda Woodruff

  Membership Chair Deirdre Campbell

  Communications Chair Jane Price

  Treasurer Karen Rumsey

  Secretary Greg Walker

  Publicity Chair Deirdre Campbell

  Meet-Up Administrator Chris Ulisse

  Web Masters Susan Dallas

Elliott Whitney