WILMETTE – Long time member of the Wilmette Golf Club Michele (Mickey) Poulos was inducted into the Illinois Women’s Golf Association Hall of Fame in honor of all she has contributed to the game of golf over the past 30 years. Only one person is invited to join the Hall of Fame each year.
“I have always been a leader since I was a young kid and so it came easily to me,” Poulos told DailyNorthShore.
Poulos has volunteered in so many aspects of the game over the years, that it is hard to keep track of all of the things she done. But hands down she was selected for this prestigious honor for the many capacities she has held as a member of the Northern Illinois Women’s Golf Association (NIWGA) over the past 30 years.
An athlete at heart, Poulos was first introduced to the game of golf by a friend after graduating from college in 1969. “I grabbed my husband’s golf clubs and off I went,” she said. Initially, Poulos started out on a 9-hole course and league — excited that she wasn’t the worst player — but over time progressed to an 18-hole league and playing the NIWGA Tournament. Poulos has been competing in golf for the past 40 years.
But her passion for the game is most evident in the volunteer hours she has committed to NIWGA and encouraging women and girls to play golf. She served on the board as Prize Chair, Junior Girls Tournament Chair, Women’s 2-Day Tournament Chair, as well as serving as board president for the past four years.
In particular, Poulos is proud of her work running the Victory Tournament held at the Wilmette Golf Club for the past 20 years. The tournament raises money for veterans, women’s golf tournaments, breast cancer research, as well as girl’s golf scholarships. Every October, about 40 to 60 women play in the tournament. “The women are generous and committed because they know how committed I am,” Poulos said. Indeed, the Victory Tournament has repeatedly been the number one contributor in the state for many years, even with many private clubs included.
As a former physical education teacher and member of a bowling league during golf’s off season, Poulos has always loved to play sports. She found a passion for golf, not only because she likes the game, but also because it’s social. “I love the camaraderie when you are on the golf course,” Poulos said. She met many of her closest friends playing golf. “It is a friendship you can carry through life,” she said.
Poulos also believes that golf is truly a life sport. The game can be easily modified — players can travel in a cart, or play a shorter game, as they get older, she explained. “I like the companionship but I think golf is also something anybody can play,” she said.
With many years of volunteering under her belt, Poulos still has plans for the future. She hopes to hold another junior girls’ tournament at the Wilmette Golf Club with the Illinois Junior Golf Association that is affordable to anyone.
Tirelessly volunteering in the golf community is part of what makes Poulos tick. “It’s not work for me I enjoy doing it,” she said.