One is upfront about her involvement, because she has to be, while the other prefers to be active in golf while flying under the radar. Both will be inducted into the Maine Golf Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary class at the Poland Spring Resort Inn, during a 7 p.m. ceremony on Sept. 7.
Nancy Storey, executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, and Liz Browne Wiltshire, co-director/owner of the Natanis Golf Club practice range, blew the field away, according to Gary Rees, executive director of the hall of fame, receiving “by far” the most votes from an electorate of 250-300.
“They separated themselves from the field,” Rees said.
On Sept. 7 there will be a noon scramble on the Poland Spring Golf Course, followed by a social hour at 5 p.m. in the Inn, and a 6 p.m. dinner followed by the induction ceremony. This will be the first time only women comprise the hall of fame induction class.
Through the ranks
Storey began her professional career in 1983 as a sports writer for the Biddeford Journal Tribune. She was business manager for the ValHalla Golf Club from 1986-1991, club manager for the Biddeford-Saco Golf Course from 1991-1997, and has been the executive director of the MSGA since then.
When asked what during her 20 years with the MSGA that she is most proud of, she started with the development of junior golfers.
“I would hope that people like my work for the overall picture,” she said. “But if I had to point to one area, I would like to think I’ve made junior golfers comfortable. I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people.”
“Juniors treat me like their aunt,” Storey said, “and I love it. Kids seem to listen to me, and I feel like I am an advocate for them.”
Jane Gildart, the MSGA office manager, has been what Storey calls “my rock,” but she praised her entire staff, pointing out “this award is for the whole staff.” Clearly, it is giving recognition to all of the MSGA employees, who perform constantly at a high level.
She then singled out two distinguished men who are sadly not here to see her induction — former tournament director Davis Richardson and former junior golf coordinator Tommy Kimball — for having steered her in the right direction during her early years on the job. Richardson and Kimball have both passed away.
Clearly, she has been blessed with so many people helping her to succeed as executive director.
All in the family
Wiltshire’s Hall of Fame candidacy is based more on what she has done for golf than her playing ability — but that is not to say she is a hacker, having learned the game at Natanis at the age of 10. Because no records are kept, she estimates that she was Natanis women’s champion about 20 times over the years. More recently she won the Women’s Maine State Golf Association senior amateur title in 2015, and was tied for 11th as a 62-year-old in this year’s Maine Women’s Amateur in July, shooting a 79 in the final round.
What to her is a long time ago, in 1977, Wiltshire was the only woman on the University of Maine at Farmington golf team, where she said she played well in the typically inclement golf weather her team had to endure. In fact, her coach, Roger Wing, often told her that “(she) was a good mudder.” She added: “I still play well in bad weather.”
Promoting golf, however, is what her game really is about. She and her husband, Wilt, own and operate the Natanis Practice Range, where children and women are encouraged to learn the game by participating in clinics they conduct.
“I’m like my own version of Tin Cup,” she said of the Vassalboro range located in rural Maine.
Wiltshire has had two stints as coach of the Winslow High School golf team. She also is a member of the Hall of Fame Committee, and very active in Special Olympics, about which she said: “I’ve done more contributing to golf than playing.”
Proof of that is in the fact that she is this year’s winner of the Abby Spector Award, which is presented annually by the Women’s Maine State Golf Association and the Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association jointly to a person who has distinguished herself by giving back to the sport she loves.
Wiltshire will be joining her father and three brothers in the Hall of Fame. Her father, Paul, who built and founded the Natanis Golf Course in 1965, was inducted in 2006. Her brothers Bob and Jim, who ran Natanis, were in the class of 2008. Dickie Brown, the Natanis pro who will be her sister’s presenter at the induction, entered the Hall of Fame in 2013.
“Following them will be a great honor,” Wiltshire said.
An honor well deserved.
For information on the Sept. 7 activities, telephone the Maine Golf Hall of Fame at 341-2911
The Maine State Golf Association’s tournament schedule this week is as follows: Match Play Invitational, Aug. 15-17, Waterville; Weeky Tour — Aug. 15-16, Dutch Elm; Senior Tour — Aug. 14, Martindale; Junior Tour — Aug. 14-15, New England Junior Invitational, Manchester (Vt.) Country Club.
In the Aug. 3 MSGA Senior Tour event at Lake Kezar, Ricky Plummer of Summit Springs (75/69) finished fifth in individual gross, and Ron Cronin of Fairlawn (88/61) was second in individual net.
The U.S. Kids World Championship was held Aug. 3-6 at Pinehurst No. 2 with Drew Mertzel of Winthrop (38-36-41–115) finishing tied for 13th place. The U.S. squad defeated the International team, 5-3, to win the Match-Play Van Horn Cup.