CUMBERLAND, Maine – The Maine State Golf Association (MSGA) is pleased to announce that it has hiredBrian Bickford as its new executive director. A Maine native and familiar face to many in the Maine golf community, Bickford will replace longtime executive director Nancy Storey, who retired in January after a distinguished 21- year career with the organization.
“Brian is no stranger to golfers in Maine,” said MSGA Board President Curtis Jordan. “He has been involved in Maine golf at so many levels and has done so much for the game. We know we have found the right replacement for Nancy, and we are thrilled to have him as our next executive director.”
“I can’t wait to get started,” said Bickford when asked about the opportunity to lead Maine’s amateur golf association. “Following Nancy will be extremely tough, but I think we are well-positioned to continue making a difference in our sport in Maine, and I look forward to the challenge.”
Bickford began his career in the healthcare industry, eventually becoming a hospital CFO before making a career change to pursue his lifelong passion for golf. Since 2006, Bickford has been the director of golf and head golf professional at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland, where his many accomplishments include expanding social golf opportunities, increasing the membership, and growing the junior golf program to become the one of the largest in New England.
“When I started at Val Halla, we had only 16 juniors,” Bickford said. “In 2018, we had 392 junior registrations across 16 programs. That is a staggering transformation.” Bickford will continue fostering junior golf statewide as part of the MSGA’s goal to make golf more accessible and appealing to young people—an investment he views as critical to the game’s long-term future.
“We need to make golf a great option for kids, especially as parents are now opting out of some contact sports,” he said.
Bickford also brings a wealth of industry experience from other leadership and volunteer roles, having been a former club president and board member, a board member of the New England Professional Golfers’ Association (NEPGA), a high school golf coach, and the treasurer of the MSGA during his long tenure on the board. In recognition of his contributions and achievements, Bickford was elected to the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 2016, and he was recognized by his PGA peers as the NEPGA Maine Chapter Golf Professional of the Year in 2013 and again in 2018.
“Brian’s stellar reputation, wide-ranging talents, and deep experience, both in golf and as a successful executive, make him uniquely qualified to lead the MSGA into the future,” said Jordan. “The Board of Directors and I look forward to working closely with Brian to continue growing the game in our state, serving our member golf clubs, and encouraging players of all ages and abilities.”
Bickford also has served as the recreation director for the Town of Cumberland since 2010, and expressed his gratitude to the town and its manager, Bill Shane, for the opportunity to serve both the membership at Val Halla and the surrounding community.
“Bill built a great team at Val Halla, and we made significant changes,” Bickford said. “I will greatly miss the members, but I’m only moving down the hall, so I will be around.” Bickford said he is excited to start working with the MSGA staff in a new capacity, and credits his healthcare background with teaching him the importance of teamwork.
“People in healthcare are very supportive of their mission and know that it is imperative to work as a team to accomplish that mission,” he said. “It took me many years to learn that you can’t do everything on your own; you need a great team, and at the MSGA, we have a just that.”
As for the unique challenges of nurturing and promoting the sport in his home state, Bickford is game. “Golf here in Maine is very diverse and Maine is such a large state,” he noted. “What works in York County may not work in Aroostook County. We need to make sure to address golf at the local level. One of my first goals will be to open up the lines of communication around the state and listen to the issues facing our courses, our golfers, our superintendents, and our golf professionals. We are all in this together.”