On Wednesday, April 26th at Philadelphia Country Club, 85 members of the J. Wood Platt community attended the 2023 Bill and Barbara Walsh Distinguished Service Award Dinner in honor of Paul Mauer. The Walsh family and Mauer family were in attendance along with JWP staff, JWP board members (past and present), GAP Executive Committee members, and many Stonewall members.
The Bill & Barbara Walsh Distinguished Service Award was created in 2005 to honor individuals who through their actions have exemplified outstanding and notable service and contribution to the Trust in honor of Bill and Barbara Walsh. The award acknowledges the person’s dedication to the educational advancement of caddie and service to golf scholarships.
Excerpts from the program:
Good Evening, my name is Mark Peterson and I am proud to serve as the Executive Director of the GAP and the Platt Scholarship. Welcome to our Distinguished service award dinner. Several times, this award had been presented at our Annual Caddie bunch, but like so many things… a global pandemic cramped our style. Now it is so amazing to have a night 100% dedicated to honoring our Walsh Service Award and our recipient Paul Mauer. The Barbara and William Walsh Distinguished Service Award was created in 2012 and recognizes outstanding service to our caddies, Their education, mentorship, and obviously the Platt Scholarship Trust. This award is named after Barbara and Bill, our first recipients,
as they set the bar. Barbara is here with us today along with several of her 15 children. Yes, I said 15, and even some grandchildren. The Walsh family is legendary in Philadelphia Golf. The stories are endless….. to the point that books have been written about the family. Barbara served on the Platt Board for six years (87-92), she served on too many committees to list. She is a woman of family…. Faith…. and compassion. I am personally proud to have known her since my first year at GAP and most thrilled to call her a friend. Thank you for joining us, Barbara.
Bill, not only played the game of golf, he was the game in Philadelphia. Family, faith, friends, golf are only a few words to begin to describe him. The list goes on, like the list of golf courses he played, or the golf balls he found along the way…..Chet let’s just pause there to recall the famous story about hole 17 at Phila. Co. Sarge found more golf balls than anyone we knew and was maybe more excited to hunt for golf balls than play the game! We continue to celebrate the day we lost Bill with fond memories. He will forever be a part of GAP and of J. Wood Platt. I am honored to have known him, his fondness of Butter Pecan Ice Cream and to be able to call his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren friends.
I will soon pass the presentation to our Chairwoman, Tina Gregor, but I just can’t pass up the opportunity to say a few words about my friend. Our friend Paul Mauer. Tina will touch on the moments when you touched the game or the Trust. But I wanted to start back where your character was molded. I want to start at Kelly’s Bar in Villanova. The Biggins Brothers, and where nicknames were created and solidified. Isn’t that right Mel? Where friendships were formed for a lifetime. Look how far you have come, my friend.
Good evening everyone! I couldn’t agree with Mark more, this is a VERY special evening for so many reasons. It is great to have so many Friends of The Trust gathered here tonight and on behalf of the Board, thank you for being here and celebrating with us this evening. It is a uniquely special occasion when the Trust presents the Distinguished Service Award and honors someone, that is selfless in nature and tireless with their efforts in supporting our mission and our scholars. As Mark stated, on this occasion, we are reminded of all that Bill and Barbara Walsh, and their large extended family have done to create an incredible legacy and template for extraordinary service. Once again, thank you!
So, tonight we have exactly that opportunity- someone to recognize, to thank, to honor, and hopefully let him know how much he means to the Trust, GAP, and so many people here in our community. That very special person, and why we are here tonight is Paul Maurer! There are so many wonderful things to say about Paul and countless reasons to thank him tonight. Paul is overwhelmingly humble. Please note that the service and contributions noted here tonight only skim the surface and do not accurately define his remarkable impact. A little background on Paul. Paul started at Merion Golf as a caddy in 1967 and also worked in the golf shop, driving range, and ground crew. He worked as a caddie and in the shop on weekends after graduation from Saint Joseph’s University. In 1988 Paul left his regular job with an insurance company and became caddie master at Waynesborough with the promise and hope of becoming a manager there. Jack May, one of the founders at Waynesborough, told him he was starting a club and he asked if he would be interested in being the general manager. In November of 1992, Paul was hired by Stonewall as its first GM and has been there ever since. Paul commented that the Old Course at Stonewall being a walking-only course and caddies being an important aspect of the culture at Stonewall is right up his alley!
The following list simply highlights the service Paul gave to Trust.
- Years he served on the J. Wood Platt Board
- 2011 through 2016
- The various Subcommittees he has served on include…
- Chairing our Nominating Committee (2021-2023)
- Chairing our alumni Committee (2012-2016)
- Paul participated on our Special Events Committee (2014-2015)
- Dawn to Dusk Committee (2013) when we first started
So, let’s talk about Dawn to Dusk for a minute. When I first joined the Board I was in search of a way to contribute and get involved. We decided that a new event, a golf marathon, was a good idea. We spent a year or so planning, and launched D2D in 2010. As mentioned, Paul was on our committee and helped us get D2D off the ground. He played every year and had a very specific formula to raise money.
The formula, and perhaps I am simplifying was…
- Play 100 holes and have 100 people support him with at least $100 donation. Of course, many people gave more…
- But to me, he was one of the few players or teams that fundraised this way.
- Most teams tried to solicit bigger gifts…see if they could get a few people to give larger gifts to reach their goal.
Paul’s method was different and, in my opinion, successful because of how easy it is to support Paul. Paul doesn’t say no when asked to help others so who is going to say no to Paul? Plus-Paul knows more people than anyone I know. He knows everyone! His approach was hugely successful. He participated in every dawn to dusk and raised more money than any other individual over the course of the event. His total is more than $218k. Paul, we are talking about bringing D2D back so get your most comfortable walking shoes, I promise you’ll be our very very 1st call.
Paul, please know we are forever grateful for your service, and support, and for the example and standard you have set for all of us to serve our community and The Trust. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Speaking of hearts, we have a few more people that we believe are close to your heart to say a few words. Can a few of Paul’s children join us.
Paul Mauer (Paul’s Son)
Good evening my name is Paul Mauer and I am honored to speak on behalf of my Dad tonight for his acceptance of the Bill and Barbara Walsh distinguished service award. My Dad’s impact in the Philadelphia area not only in golf but mainly on people is immeasurable which is why I think his nomination for this achievement is so warranted. I started working at Stonewall picking the range mainly to just practice but from an early age, my Dad stressed the importance of hard work and doing things the right way. After a few years of doing that, I started caddying at Stonewall.
The lessons I learned from caddying are still playing a major role in my life today. Having good people skills, dealing with adversity, having patience, and being able to make most things funny are just a few of the traits I gleaned from my time caddying. I realize now that caddying taught me more about life than I knew at the time. My Dad experienced growing up around a club caddying at Merion with his brothers. He used to talk so fondly of growing up at such a place and I think his experience at Merion as well as Waynesborough has translated into Stonewall becoming very special. My Dad stressed that as a caddy it’s such a unique opportunity to learn how to communicate and get to know someone. I mean ultimately you’re going to be spending close to 4 hours with those people so you tend to learn people skills pretty quickly as a looper, or else Bear isn’t gonna be calling ya up from the pen as frequently. It makes you grow up faster than normal.
Ultimately, my Dad is a great leader of people. That was the biggest takeaway from spending those summers up at Stonewall. We all know how much fun it is to hit that perfect flowing putt into the cup or flush that iron shot or splash a bunker shot to a foot but the best part about golf isn’t even about the game it’s about the people. It’s about the laughter the stories the competition the comradery and the relationships. I believe my Dad’s experiences around Golf made him feel called to give back to J. Wood Platt and the Golf Association of Philadelphia all of these years. Golf has given him so much that it only felt right for my Dad to have this great game impact even more people.
In the end, every employee and member at Stonewall knows how my Dad is and the crux of his leadership is how he makes people feel. He makes people feel like they’re at home when they show up to Stonewall and he always says how he learned how to treat people from mentors in his life such as Jack May, Bill Kittleman, Ted McKenzie, and my Poppop. My Dad loves golf he loves stonewall but most importantly he loves people and that is why I am so happy he is getting this award this evening.