Tag Archives: technology

Back In Swing

During the housing boom of the late 1980s through the early 2000s, the golf industry in the United States experienced a boom of its own. Some 4,000 new golf courses were opened between 1986 and 2005, reaching a peak of 16,052 facilities nationwide. The ascendancy of pro golfer Tiger Woods in the late 1990s helped boost the sport’s popularity.

Then the subprime mortgage and credit crisis of 2007-2008 hit. The resultant losses in jobs and investment portfolios meant many recreational golfers had less disposable income for paying club memberships and greens fees, and less time for such leisure pursuits. During the intervening decade, the industry has experienced a contraction or economic “correction,” and more than a thousand courses have closed.

“The simple explanation is that home builders capitalized on the exuberance around golf to sell homes and to sell them at premium prices,” said Jay Karen, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners’ Association, based in Charleston, S.C. “The demand did not keep up with the increase in supply, which few anticipated. As a result, some golf courses over time were bound to face existential issues, and they have indeed in some markets.”

Yet golf remains a viable industry today, generating $84 billion in revenue with thousands of course operators running successful businesses, Karen emphasized.

Although things are tougher and the industry needs to keep evolving, “there is no existential crisis,” he affirmed.


Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation and a frequent Legatus event speaker, has seen much in his 39 years in the golf industry. While admitting the recession presented a “major challenge,” he believes it also “brought out the best in the industry.” That “best” is helping to keep golf not only alive but also thriving.

When the recession hit, “it became apparent that it was in the industry’s best interest to work together to grow the game and introduce it to new participants,” Mona said.

That led the nation’s major golf organizations – including the PGA Tour, the LPGA, PGA of America, the USGA, and the Masters Tournament – to form a coalition, called We Are Golf, to promote common initiatives in order to re-energize the popularity of golf in the United States.

“Representatives throughout the industry are actively engaged in work aimed at making golf look more like society,” Mona said. Among the initiatives promoted by We Are Golf are those seeking to attract more women, young people, millennials, and minorities to the game.

One such initiative is The First Tee, a national player- development program that exposes youths to golf through programs offered through 150 chapters, 1,200 golf facilities, 1,300 agencies that serve youths, and the physical-education curriculum at more than 10,000 elementary schools nationwide. “Our philosophy is to bring The First Tee to where the kids are,” Mona said.

Then there’s the PGA Jr. League, which presently has more than 40,000 adolescent boys and girls participating in recreational golf as a team sport.

Karen sees player development as one of the success stories of the industry’s efforts to grow the game.

“Youth golf is quickly turning into a team sport,” he noted. “Gone will be the days when parents didn’t want to steer their kids toward golf because it was more of a solitary pursuit.”

Amid the growing research about the injury risks of some popular sports, golf stands in sharp contrast. “Golf is a relatively safe sport, and it is lifelong,” Karen said. “Compare that to some of the other contact sports, and we are seeing parents migrate their kids toward our universe.”

The player-development focus is also increasing diversity. The First Tee’s chapter programs have nearly equal representation between boys and girls and are drawing kids from across ethnically diverse backgrounds.

“We are witnessing that the gender and ethnic diversity among the youth participating in golf is rapidly changing the face of golf,” Karen said. “The base of golfers twenty years from now will more closely mirror the broader demographics in America than it ever has.”


Douglas P. Dudley, a Legate of the Greenville Chapter, has witnessed changes within the golf industry from another angle. Back in the late 1990s, he patented a cart-based electronic device using GPS technology – then in its infancy – by which golfers could determine the distance to the pin and the location of bunkers and hazards along the way.

“The value of knowing what lies ahead on the golf course is essential to good play, and even average golfers benefit from the information,” Dudley said. His system also provided revenue benefits to golf clubs by speeding up play and providing onscreen advertising whenever the cart was moving.

His system, called Yardmark, even calculated and simultaneously broadcast current location data corrections to compensate for the “selective availability” (SA) error, a degradation of public GPS signals that limited accuracy for national security reasons. “This allowed us to give yardage accurate to within two yards, when a hand-held device could be 20 yards off,” Dudley explained.

Technology has changed dramatically, however. Not long after SA was eliminated in 2000, ordinary smartphone apps could perform as well. Now “even hand-held devices can achieve two-yard accuracy,” he said. “If you look at your smartphone or a GPS watch, you can see how far GPS has come in 20 years.”

Although Yardmark was “cool at the time,” Dudley said it is now “just a 25-year-old technology footnote.” Yet he anticipates making another impact on the game soon – he has patents pending for a new product that he says “will truly revolutionize” the golf industry.


Golf appears to be on the upswing again — and even Tiger Woods is back, having won his first tournament in over five years this September.

Despite the post-recession corrections taking place, the new initiatives promoted by World Golf Foundation and the We Are Golf coalition are having the desired effect, Mona said.

“Examining the state of the game today in 2018, there are positive signs that a whole new generation is getting excited about the sport, both from a fan and a participation perspective,” he said. Statistics bear this out, he noted: there are some 24 million golfers in the United States, and another 14.9 million who are interested in playing. In 2017, some 2.6 million people tried golf for the first time.

Another 8.3 million played golf at Topgolf — a high-tech, three-story driving range where participants hit micro- chipped golf balls from tee-box bays and score points for accuracy — or at simulators or at conventional driving ranges without actually playing on a course, Mona added.

“Fan engagement in the game is at an all-time high,” he concluded, “due in part to the myriad of vehicles in which fans may interact with the sport.”
Karen shares Mona’s optimism.

“The fact is, golf has something for everyone, and we believe all generations of all types of people will continue to discover there is no activity that is quite as satisfying — as an individual pursuit, or as a way to bond with friends, families, and even strangers — than golf,” Karen said.

“Having a versatile product and keeping the customer in focus is how we will thrive through the economic cycles down the road.”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

A Matter Of Heart

The word “philanthropy” typically conjures up notions of wealthy donors who give large sums of money to worthy causes.

But several Legates through their charitable and professional involvement are giving greater depth to the word’s meaning. Through their work and generosity, all are showing that philanthropy starts with a desire to advocate for the good of others and goes well beyond financial giving.

Choosing between doing well and doing good 

As a graduate student, Legate Terrence Blackwell felt torn between doing well and doing good. After a summer life guard job led him to teach people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to swim, he landed in graduate school in education at the University of Pennsylvania, but also took elective classes at the university’s prestigious Wharton School.

About that time someone told him, “Until you make a definitive decision as to which hat you want to wear, you’ll be tormented. You can go after the dollars with the other Wharton guys or keep working with disabled people.”

Blackwell wrestled with the question, asking himself whether he could work with disabled people and make the most of the available resources in a way that had measurable impact. He concluded that if he could do that, he could really change the world.

Today, Blackwell, a member of the Legatus Baltimore Chapter, is president and CEO of Chimes, a nonprofit human service agency providing employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities. Chimes operates in Israel, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

Before joining Chimes in 2016, Blackwell was chief operating officer of Services for the Underserved, a Manhattan-based agency that serves veterans and people with intellectual disabilities, behavioral and mental health and substance abuse issues. A licensed school principal, board-certified behavior analyst, and certified addictions specialist, he also has been a direct-care counselor for a community-based residence and led the development and operation of preschool programs for children with disabilities under New York’s state education department.

Blackwell said he would advise people who want to be more active in promoting the good of others to begin by looking at St. Teresa of Calcutta. “The problems society faces have always been so enormous and we think one person can’t make a dent in this. Her approach was, ‘I can only deal with one person in front of me.’ I think that’s a good way to live life.”

Filling the ‘empty nest’

For Jim and Jacki Delaney, philanthropy is about giving their time, talent, and treasure to ministries and organizations they believe will make a difference in society or the world.

That makes for a long list of involvements for the busy Philadelphia Legates, who this month on November 14 will receive the American Catholic Historical Society’s Barry Award for distinguished professional accomplishments and contributions to the Church and community.

Although the Delaneys learned the importance of giving from their parents and Catholic education, they said it was their participation in the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Church Ministry Institute that took their efforts to a new level.

“We were looking for something to do as we were becoming empty nesters and we read about the program in the church bulletin and signed up,” Jacki recalled. “The purpose of the Institute is to remind us that through Baptism we all are called to the mission of the Church.” Through three years of classes in Church history, ministry skills, lay mission, and spirituality, the couple learned about what it means to use their talents for the Church. Following their graduation in 2006, both became Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and lectors in their parish of St. John Vianney, Gladwyne, Pa. But that wasn’t all.

Jim’s ministry project for the program had been on starting a parish Bible study and he began one at St. John. “I had intended to do it a few years and move on,” he said, “but I stayed because the 15 people in the study were so excited about it, I couldn’t leave.”

The CEO of J.D. Capital Partners, Inc., Jim is chairman emeritus of the board of Neumann University in Aston, Pa., and last year completed a 10-year term on the board of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. He currently serves on the boards of the National Catholic Community Foundation, the Foundation for Catholic Education, Prayer Unites the World, the Catholic Philopatrian Literary Institute (PHILO), and Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High School in Drexel Hill, Pa. He also is on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops National Advisory Council and serves with Jacki on the Catholic Leadership Institute’s national advisory board.

In addition, the Delaneys have been involved with retreats for homeless people at the Malvern Retreat House, where Jacki is on the board and will become chairman in April, 2019. Jacki’s service also has included the Catholic Social Services board in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Barnes Foundation Alumni Association, of which she is president emeritus. For 11 years, she has been overseeing the Archbishop’s Benefit for Children, a year-long initiative that provides support for children’s charities in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

When the Delaneys receive the Barry Award this month, they plan to place a flyer at each guest’s place listing the organizations they are involved in with contact information on how to help. “We’re truly humbled by receiving the award in light of who the past recipients have been,” Jacki said, “but truly, it’s not about us. It’s about who we serve and we want them to be part of that award.”

Through the blessing of God

Though regarded as philanthropists by others, Joe Roxe and his wife, Maureen, would never describe themselves that way.

“We lead very simple lives and have been blessed by God with the means to support a small number of causes with which we have become deeply involved,” said Joe Roxe, a member of the Legatus Fairfield County Chapter.

Foremost among those causes is Catholic education, including Roxe’s alma mater of Chaminade High School on Long Island and Bishop Frank Caggiano’s efforts to expand Catholic education in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT. Roxe said going to Chaminade, an all-boys school where he graduated in 1954, had a greater impact on his life than did attending Princeton University and the Harvard Business School.

The Roxes also support other causes, such as the arts, through a charitable foundation that bears their name. The foundation was established in 1998 after Joe sold the private company in which he had been a partner. He serves as the foundation’s chairman.

Additionally, the Roxes give of their time. Joe is a former trustee of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and has served as a trustee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the U.S. Naval War College Foundation, as well as an overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of the Bridgeport Diocese’s Finance Council and Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Diocese.

“We find involvement with these prestigious institutions to be very rewarding, frequently mind bending, and always stimulating,” Joe said.

Joe, who is chairman of Bay Holdings, LLC, said he views the support he and his wife provide as very modest compared to “true philanthropists” who make multi-million-dollar gifts to some of the same institutions they consider it a privilege to help.

Maureen is an overseer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a former long-term trustee of the New York Medical College.

Joe and his wife are a Knight and a Dame of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and
of the Papal Order of Saint Sylvester.

JUDY ROBERTS is a Legatus magazine staff writer

Catholic rehab makes all the difference

People recovering from serious injuries, strokes, life-changing illnesses, and catastrophic accidents often need more than just physical rehabilitation.

Their spirits also need to be uplifted. That is an important insight the staff at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals in Nebraska understands infinitely well.

Rehab involves much more than physical adjustment

“Our patients and our families are sometimes struggling to understand the reason for their condition, not only just the physical aspects of it,” said Paul Dongilli Jr., the president and CEO of Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals.

Dongilli, a speech pathologist by training who is a member of Legatus’ Lincoln Chapter, said people come from 24 different states, as far away as Alaska and Washington State, to be treated at one of Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals’ two locations, in Omaha and Lincoln.

Physicians and nurses in those other states often refer their patients to Madonna because of the cutting-edge, first-rate rehabilitative care that is matched by the psycho-social and spiritual care offered at the facilities.

“When those individuals are paired with our social workers and our psychologists, they’re able to deal with the psycho- social aspects of a devastating injury or illness,” said Dongilli, who has been with Madonna since 1983.

Whereas most hospitals and care centers have small rehabilitation units on-site, Dongilli said Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals are one of the only, if not the lone, freestanding Catholic rehabilitation facilities in the country.

“We’re not part of a larger acute care system, and in most acute care systems, rehabilitation is a small part of what they do,” Dongilli said. “Maybe they don’t invest in the technology and have the resources that are needed to treat patients who have had devastating spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, children as well as adults, where we have, because that’s all we do.”

Founded by Benedictine nuns – with a priest in residence

Benedictine nuns founded Madonna Rehabilitshort-term recovery and room for another 125 individuals who have chronic conditions and require longer-term care. The Omaha facility opened in 2016 and has room for 110 patients.

The facilities today are sponsored by the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, and they retain a distinctive Catholic identity.

Madonna has a Catholic priest in residence, and offers daily Mass and access to the sacraments for patients, their families, and staff. Both locations have beautiful chapels and sacred art throughout the facilities.

“When you come into the facility, the look is such we think that it reinforces that Catholic identity,” Dongilli said, adding that spiritual care is offered for people of different religious and denominational backgrounds.

Patients come from afar

From its beginnings 60 years ago, Dongilli said Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals has evolved into a health care system that serves patients from around the country, primarily from an eight-state region in the Midwest.

“When individuals and their families are faced with these horrific injuries and they’re looking for a facility to help them, in most areas they’re told that they don’t have those resources,” Dongilli said, adding that trauma centers in other states that work with Madonna are quick to refer their patients to the Nebraska facilities.

“So people are willing to travel to access a resource that they can’t get in their immediate community,” Dongilli said.

Madonna has a dedicated pediatric unit and long-term care for patients who require ventilators. The staff specializes in complex medical, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, pulmonary conditions, severe stroke, other neurological conditions, and pediatric rehabilitation.

Offering hope, spiritual recovery

Dongilli, who worked in Madonna’s brain injury and stroke units and worked his way up to chief operating officer and then CEO three years ago, said Madonna offers hope and healing to thousands of patients every year.

“What we provide is a more holistic approach to care, balancing the more physical aspects of medicine, nursing, and therapy with more of the psycho-social and spiritual aspects of recovery,” he said.

In addition to the chapel, Dongilli said Madonna has a large therapy gym and carefully manicured grounds that contribute to the peaceful, spiritual, and mentally healing atmosphere.

“We have been very careful over the years to have green space and nature and some beautiful settings that are part of God’s creation that our families and our patients can access to have some quiet time or for reflection,” Dongilli said. “Those things, we think, very much make a difference and aid in the recovery process. It helps provide hope.”

In addition to focusing on the mental and spiritual healing, Madonna’s team of specialized physiatrists, hospitalists, therapists, rehabilitation nurses, clinicians, and researchers work with advanced technology and equipment to help each patient achieve the highest level of independence possible.

Research institute developing new technologies

Dongilli said Madonna has “a small but mighty” research institute that has been successful in developing technology to support rehabilitation efforts, and added that the technology is now being commercialized and sold to other health care facilities in the United States and abroad.

“We think we have the opportunity now in working with the University of Nebraska to expand our research efforts and develop equipment and technology that will help advance the field of rehabilitation and the outcomes of the patients that we serve,” Dongilli said.

Dongilli added that Madonna started a department to train physicians, and recently accepted the first group of residents from the University of Nebraska’s College of Medicine who will be trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

“I think what the future holds for us is to be a regional center, not only for the treatment of patients, but also a training facility for physicians and other professionals specializing in rehabilitation,” Dongilli said.

Founded with Mary’s blessing

The founding Benedictine Sisters named the facility after the Madonna because 1958 was a Marian year, said Dongilli.

“They had a vision that if individuals could have good nursing care and therapy care, that folks who previously had to be institutionalized could return back to their homes and to their communities,” Dongilli said. “They really established a vision for rehabilitation. They recognized the blessings that Mary would provide for their efforts and for hopefully sustaining the hospital and the facility.”

Despite changes in medicine and technology over the decades, Dongilli said Madonna’s core philosophy remains the same.

“That notion of doing God’s work, a vision for doing rehabilitation under the guidance of the Blessed Mother, has really been a core tenet for us,” he said.


BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction

Christopher O. Blum and Joshua P. Hochschild
Sophia Institute Press, 179 pages

The age of technology is an age of distraction for many. The same digital devices that offer instant communication and seemingly limitless options for enrichment and entertainment also tend to demand our attention, disrupt real human interaction, and disturb our interior peace.

Authors Christopher O. Blum and Joshua P. Hochschild recognize how personal technology like smartphones can lead to compulsive or addictive behavior. That’s just a symptom, however, of our need for order and self mastery in our lives. This book is a guide for consciously developing good habits and virtues by which we might control our appetites rather than allow them to control us.

Order: Sophia Press Institute, Amazon