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The right direction

Two of Phyllis Calestini’s favorite things are meeting people and playing golf.

As the tournament director of the Women’s Golf Association of Northern California, the two-decade long Lake Wildwood resident has a chance to combine the two.

As the job title implies, the Salt Lake City native plays the lead role in both the planning and execution of the 11 major tourneys the 97-year-old organization puts its stamp on each year, as well as myriad other responsibilities.



“When we go to the pro shops at the various tournaments, all of the pros, when they’ve seen what we’ve done, say we can run their tournaments any day,” said Calestini, who also acts as the organization’s north valley director. “Ninety-nine percent of the people we meet are just so nice and appreciative of what we do.”

“The only real problem (we run across) is when people cancel at the last minute. That throws us into turmoil,” she added. “But if we’ve got a (full field), running the tournament is a cinch.”




Calestini, who picked up her first set of golf clubs 40 years ago, had been interested in joining the organization since moving to the area, but just couldn’t find the time.

“I knew I would never be able to do it with a husband at home because it takes up so much time,” she said.

Calestini’s life took a turn for the worse with the passing of her husband Leo four years ago, but she came out of the situation with a new-found sense of purpose:

To promote the game she loved.

“I joined because it’s just such a fabulous organization. The more we can promote golf, especially for the junior girls, the better,” said Calestini, who joined the organization two and a half years ago, and was elected to her current position this year. “It’s important to get girls involved (in any sport), but especially golf because I think that’s where they can really compete.”

The only downside for Calestini is the amount of hours she spends traveling to tournaments across the north state seriously cuts into her time on the links.

While her schedule has slowed this summer, the odometer on her late-model Cadillac has spun and spun this year.

“In February I drove 2,800 miles. Down to San Jose, then up to Redding and across to Eureka,” she said. “When we go to these tournaments, we don’t get to play, but we get to meet a whole bunch of nice, nice people.”

While her time on the tee box has been cut down recently, Calestini had a chance to spend some quality time on the gold course with three very important people last a few weeks back.

Her mother Julie Wagner, also a Lake Wildwood resident, sister Kathie Cocklin from Washington D.C., and daughter Julie Hein from Seattle, all teed it up at the Lake Wildwood Invitational at the end of May.

“That was one of the highlights of my life,” she said.


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