Melissa M. Gotfredson is co-founder of the Ladies Amateur Golf Association and committee member of the First Coast Women’s Amateur Championship. She got involved with both organizations in hopes of growing the game of golf and creating opportunities for females in the sport. She has played in FCWAC competitions herself, and it is that love for the game that fuels the passion for what she does.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My husband and I moved here from Dallas, Texas, in 2016 looking for better weather and the beach. There is a big contrast between the big city and the laid-back beach feel…we prefer the sand.
I have been an entrepreneur all my life, beginning as a young professional show horse trainer, interior designer of movie theaters worldwide and presently CEO of IonLoop bracelet company, co-founder of the Ladies Amateur Golf Association and committee member of the First Coast Women’s Amateur Championship, which is an annual golf championship in Northeast Florida that features the top female golfers across amateur, senior and super senior divisions.
What led to you getting involved with the First Coast Women’s Amateur Tournament? After playing in my first FCWA event at Timuquana Country Club, the committee chair, Susie Fonde, asked me if I might be interested in being a part of the committee. At that time, I was looking for a little something to get involved in and felt that with my organizational skills, business background and passion for golf (especially promoting female participation in the game!), I had something to offer the FCWA committee.
What are the primary goals of the tournament? To build FCWA into a premier women’s amateur championship that promotes, showcases and supports the growth of women’s and junior girls’ golf in Northeast Florida.
Raising funds for local charities is another goal for the tournament. This past year, our three charitable recipients were Moore-Myers Children’s Fund, the JAGA Scholarship Fund and North Florida Junior Golf Foundation.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do with the event? We have an amazing committee, and it is rewarding to work with such dedicated women who care so deeply about empowering more women to play this great game and giving women of all ages the opportunity to tee it up and compete.
Watching an event be successful and have the players enjoy the competition is very rewarding.
Not to mention, presenting the checks to our respective charitable recipients…warms my heart!
How has the community support been? We are so grateful to have Brooks Rehabilitation as our presenting sponsor for the past six years. Their support is crucial in ensuring the operational success of the tournament.
We are also grateful for the support of the Jacksonville Area Golf Association, which assists with various aspects of the event.
Last but not least, our annual championship would not be possible without the host courses who believe in our mission!
Hosting the 2021 FCWA at Sawgrass Country Club this past June was such an honor. To see the entire club – from the golf team to the food and beverage staff and the club members – embrace this championship from start to finish was so incredible. Everyone played a big role in making the 2021 FCWA a success. Not to mention, the golf course is one of the top courses in Florida.
How have you seen the tournament grow through the years? I am going on my fourth year on the committee, and in just that short time we have raised double the funds for our charities. Not to mention, the field continues to strengthen each year. It’s so exciting to see more local, national and international talents compete in this championship.
What do you enjoy most about living in the North Florida area? I love seeing sunshine every morning and being close to the beach. I might not go every day, but just knowing it is there is a comfort.
What do you like to do in your free time? Golf is my passion, along with training my Jack Russell terrier, Ace, and giving back to the golf community.