By Tim Jackman (@AJGAJackman), AJGA Communications
If you ask Chris Dernick how she became involved in the AJGA she will tell you a story about a Sunday in the early 90s when she and her family were having Easter brunch. As they were leaving, they caught the end of a golf tournament. The tournament was conducted by the AJGA. Her children saw the juniors playing and how much of a big deal it was and they immediately wanted to get involved.
Fast-forward 20 years and you will find Chris Dernick busily running around The Club at Carlton Woods’ Fazio Championship Course making sure everything is just as it needs to be. Dernick started volunteering with the AJGA in 1994 when her first daughter began her AJGA career, followed by her two other children. Now after both daughters graduated from college on golf scholarships, she is the tournament chairman for the CB&I Boys Championship at Carlton Woods, one of the biggest AJGA Invitationals of the year. (photos of the event)
Chris is the heart and soul of the tournament
Dernick’s commitment to the AJGA has been evident from the beginning, but it’s why she is so committed that is important.
“I think it’s really good to maintain the traditions of what golf is about and to me that is really important,” Dernick said. “If you are going to get involved in an organization, you have to find one that matches your values and standards, which is one reason we really enjoy being a part of the AJGA.”
Through the tournament, Dernick is also able to help out another group of people she loves, the Troops.
“One of the biggest things I have grown to appreciate is the opportunity we have to give back to the Troops. It is about the opportunity to show our appreciation for the sacrifices that they make,” Dernick said through tears. “I think it’s really important for us to provide those opportunities to our youth to realize the sacrifices people are making for them.”
Chris’ dedication to junior golf and to providing golf opportunities to the kids in the Houston area has not gone unnoticed; in 2013 she was honored with the AJGA’s Digger Smith Award which recognizes an individual who is dedicated to growing junior golf. AJGA Senior Regional Director Darren Nelson has worked with Dernick for many years and admires what she brings to junior golf.
“Chris is really passionate and she leads the charge. You need somebody in the local community to trumpet your cause,” Nelson said. “The fact that she named her dog after one of our staff members, that tells you how much the AJGA means to her.”
Chris and her husband Bob have been dedicated to the AJGA since the mid 90s
Even the players recognize what an amazing job Dernick and her husband Dr. Bob Dernick have done with the tournament and junior golf.
“Everything about this tournament is awesome,” said Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Ill. “It is definitely one of my favorites to come to. The Dernicks do a great job with the tournament.”
Like many AJGA players, Ghim shares Dernick’s passion for giving.
“The best part is giving back to the Troops,” Ghim said. “It is the least we could do since they are out there risking their lives for us.”
Through her involvement with the AJGA, Dernick has made a huge impact on not only her community, but on golfers from all over the world. She hopes to continue to give back and make a difference through the AJGA for many years to come.
“Everybody that is involved in this event feels they are a part of it and that they have been able to participate in giving back.”