Wellesley, MA — More than 250 representatives from the golf community came together on Thursday evening at Wellesley Country Club to honor the champions from the 2012 golf season.

This year marked the 18th straight year that the MGA hosted this event which welcomed MGA, NEGA and WGAM champions as well as their friends and families and scores of MGA rules officials, club personnel and special guests.

“This was our biggest turnout in the history of the event,” said Don Page, the event’s evening chairman and former MGA Executive Committee member who came up with the idea of a Champions Dinner 18 years ago. “We are thrilled that so many representatives from our Member Clubs and our competitors have embraced this event and continue to support it year in and year out.”

One of the many highlights of the evening came when Peter Costello (Hull, MA) accepted the Andrew J. Blau MGA Volunteer of the Year award. The award was established in 2012 to honor Andy Blau, an MGA volunteer for nearly 30 years who passed away in January 2010.

“The important thing about this award is that Andy will be remembered and honored for years to come,” said Costello, who has served on the MGA’s Executive Committee since 2008. “He set a high bar for excellence for us to follow, and I am honored and humbled to accept this award.”

Over the past 10 years, Costello has volunteered in nearly all of the MGA’s Departments. A current member of the MGA Championship Committee, Costello serves as a rules official and helps to secure championship and qualifying sites on the South Shore.

He is also a dedicated volunteer for The First Tee of Massachusetts, which brings the game of golf and its inherent values to more than 18,000 children in the Bay State through its year-long programming at golf facilities and as part of The First Tee National School Program.

“We are all privileged to be here tonight, but if you want to know how privileged we are I ask that you visit MGA Links on a day when the Perkins School for the Blind or The Caroll Center for the Blind are there for a day of golf,” said Costello. “Watch these inspiring children walk off the bus, some with white canes, some with staff assistance, and others with dogs.”

“So when you miss your next 10 foot putt remember how privileged you are to be able to see the ball and how privileged we are to be able play this wonderful game of golf.”

One of Costello’s most recent accomplishments has been the creation of the New England Green Section Seminar, an educational seminar held in March which brings together more than 200 green chairs, club officials and club personnel from across New England.

Costello came up with the idea several years ago and has since partnered with the USGA Green Section, MGA and Golf Course Superintendents of New England (GCSANE) to make the New England Green Section Seminar – which will be held on March 26, 2013 at Blue Hill Country Club – to make it become a reality.

“It is a night of privilege for me,” said MGA President Dr. Paul Burke, Jr. “I am so honored to be able to be here to give out this special award to someone as deserving as Peter Costello.”

On hand to help with the awards presentation were Andy Blau’s wife, Kelly, and his son, Chris, who traveled from Pittsfield to be on hand for the evening.

“I asked Andy one day why and how he does all the things he does,” said Costello. “He told me that he does it because he loves it and because he had the support and love of his wife Kelly and his children.”

Also receiving a special award on Thursday was Robert G. Dowling III, who accepted the Frank H. Sellman MGA Distinguished Service Award. Dowling, a life-long resident of Cape Cod who is a past president of the MGA and Hickory Shafts, is only the 14th recipient of this award since it was introduced in 1988.