Before the first shot soared off the tee at the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Championships, he was behind the scenes making sure every finite detail didn’t go unnoticed with the other officials.
On the second round of stroke play, on July 19, he worked his biggest job to date with the United States Golf Association: acting as the starter at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tennessee.
With the world’s top junior golfers (18-and-under) on hand in the field of 64 he played a major role at the tournament on and off the course.
A tournament that has seen past champions such as Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods.
Seymour’s Frank Wintin has served as a player, caddy, coach and official throughout the years.
In 2014, Wintin stepped away from coaching the golf team at Bloomington South to pursue a new venture — working with the USGA’s Junior Amateur Committee as an official.
He now sets up USGA Junior Amateur qualifying events in Indiana while also working out of state events that are assigned to him.
The 1977 Seymour graduate attended rules workshops sponsored by the USGA and PGA for years, so the job fit into his extensive golf résumé.
“The way I got involved with this is I coached golf for a long time and started at Bedford North Lawrence and then at Bloomington South,” Wintin said. “I got tired of going to golf tournaments and realizing there wasn’t anyone who knew the rules.
“So, I started studying the rules. The USGA has a series of workshops year all over the country. If you reach a certain score, you are invited if you want to be a tournament director. I work a lot of local tournaments with the Indiana Golf Association. I want to support the game as much as I can.”
He said that the biggest difference between coaching and working as an official is the travel and the consistent level of competition.
“When you’re coaching in high school, you’re just going across Indiana,” Wintin said. “I’ve now been to places like Tennessee, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas. You get to be around the top players in junior golf. I get to work with all kinds of amazing people and meet great golfers, and that’s the most enjoyable thing for me.”
When he’s working a tournament, Wintin serves a variety of roles.
“You’re kind of a referee and administrator at the same time,” Wintin said. “We don’t blow whistles or anything like that. We go around the course answering questions, making sure the weather is safe and things like that.
We’re making people aware, not trying to call penalties. The rules are complicated and they have to be. Not every golf course is the same, it’s not like a baseball or football field that’s the same size. We want to help the golfers. In our sport, the athletes come to us and we help them out.”
He continues to teach at Oolitic Middle School, and has worked with the North Lawrence Community School System since 1988.
On top of high school-aged events, Wintin also works college tournaments.
Frank, who also played at Seymour, is the son of former Seymour athletics director Walt Wintin, and said that his father inspired his passion for athletics.
“The most important thing is that I’m getting to do what my dad did,” Frank said. “I’m getting to go out and do some things similar to what he did. It’s really rewarding to carry on his tradition.”