In Memoriam: Robinson & Saunders - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Nov 17, 2023

In Memoriam: Robinson & Saunders

In Memoriam: Carlyle Robinson & Mack Saunders

The GAP/AGA mourns the loss of a pair of influential figures in 2023.

Carlyle Robinson, a longstanding Anthracite Golf Association supporter, died May 25 at the age of 76. Mack Saunders, a former Executive Committee member (1999-2005) and tournament volunteer, died Oct. 8 at the age of 84.

Robinson is among a collection of golf enthusiasts that envisioned the Anthracite Golf Association’s purpose. Since 1951, the organization has promoted golf in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Anthracite Golf Association merged with GAP in 2018.

Robinson, a Fox Hill Country Club member, emerged as an administrative linchpin throughout the organization’s formative years. He dedicated 30 years to the Anthracite Golf Association’s Executive Committee (1978-2008).

In 1972, Robinson adopted a competitions coordinator role. He oversaw all AGA tournaments, distributed entries, made pairings and starting sheets and compiled score sheets. Robinson, in essence, set a precedent for the organization to create an Executive Director position in 2002.

In 2015, the Anthracite Golf Association inaugurated the Carlyle Robinson Fall Four-Ball in Robinson’s honor. It is a better-ball-of-partners event that takes place every fall.

In addition to his administrative influence, Robinson compiled a commendable amateur career. He earned individual medalist honors in the 1980 GAP/AGA Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship and captured the John Moore Memorial Tournament alongside Ron Pieczynski on six occasions (1984-85, 1988, 1990-91, 1993). Robinson won the Potentate Tournament at Irem Country Club 10 times and the John Allan Tournament at Fox Hill five times. Robinson, a seven-time men’s champion at Fox Hill, teamed with fellow AGA advocate William Lawler to win the GAP Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play in 2003 at Green Valley Country Club. 

A Wyoming Area High School alum, Robinson attended Wilkes University, where he played basketball and golf. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business and marketing. He became an instructor in the Wyoming Area School District, then a permanent substitute teacher at the Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center. Robinson taught at Luzerne County Community College, where he also coached golf, for 25 years.

Robinson is survived by his wife of 54 years, Patricia; children, Caryn and her wife, Ava, Reading; and Carlyle, West Pittston; grandchildren, Carlyle T., Juliet, Henry and Elliott; and several nephews and nieces.

Saunders, a former green chairman and president of Glen Oak Country Club, served as an instrumental voice on the Anthracite Golf Association’s Executive Committee. In 1997, he initiated the Scott Saunders Memorial Scholarship in honor of his late son. The scholarship, which ceased in 2017, was awarded to a Junior golfer who participated in the Lawler Junior Tour.

Saunders’ advocacy for the game extended to its governing body. Saunders served on the USGA Green Committee from 1999-2007. He also volunteered as a starter and rules official for the Pennsylvania Golf Association. Saunders served on that organization’s Executive Committee from 2010-13.

A Hobart College alum, Saunders worked for 29 years at AT&T. He retired to Florida, where he continued to enjoy the game as a member of The Preserve at Ironhorse in West Palm Beach, Fla. Longtime friend Martin Hall, host of Golf Channel’s “School of Golf,” was his instructor.

Saunders is survived by his sister Ginger; son Greg and his wife, Kate; and grandchildren, Clark and Lindsay.

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The organization’s 340 Member Clubs and 100,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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