Family Ties to MGACSF for Bill Nardiello & Polly Sparling

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (February 8, 2024) – Nearly 70 years after Willie Turnesa and Udo Reinach worked together to establish the MGA Caddie Scholarship Fund, Turnesa’s daughter Polly Sparling and Reinach’s grandson Bill Nardiello continue to carry on the tradition of giving back and supporting the Fund.

In 1956, before Sparling and Nardiello were born, Willie Turnesa, one of the most successful amateur golfers in history, started the Fund with his good friend Udo Reinach. Since its inception, the Fund has grown tremendously and helps hundreds of young people each year in their quest for higher education.

Sparling knew of her father’s involvement with the Fund as a child, but since his passing in 2001 has learned more about his charitable efforts in giving back to the game.

Among Turnesa’s many on-course accomplishments, he was a U.S. and British Amateur champion, but he could often be found speaking more about the Fund than these major achievements. The Fund was extremely meaningful to Turnesa. He took great pride in the opportunities it was able to provide for young caddies. He always spread the word about the Fund to the caddies that were assigned to him for his rounds throughout Westchester County and beyond.

“He was very involved in it,” says Sparling. “It was a real legacy for him. He never talked about his winnings; he did talk about the Fund.”

Sparling joined the MGACSF Board of Directors in 2019. “I wanted to get back involved,” says Sparling. “I wanted our family to still be involved with the Fund if possible. I felt it was a duty of mine.”  In addition to her family ties, Sparling felt drawn to work with the Fund, where she’s able to utilize her professional experience as a professor working with students as she sees firsthand how the rising costs of attending college can prevent ambitious students from attending. The growth she sees in the students she works with makes sharing her time and talents with the Fund worth it to be able to help students pursue higher education.

Nardiello’s involvement with the Fund began in 1992, and while he no longer calls the Met Area home, his location has not stopped him from staying involved with the Fund. Now retired after a career in finance, he dedicates his time to the Board of Directors and the Finance Committee. “[The Fund] gave us more knowledge about our grandfather,” says Nardiello, “And we wanted to continue that tradition of the family supporting what started so many years ago.”

For nearly 70 years, the Fund’s structure has remained similar to what Turnesa and Reinach outlined in a four-page document. Sparling found this original document, along with memorabilia and news clippings from her father’s accomplishments, in her father’s steamer trunk that he brought home after serving in the Navy in World War II. She also discovered several photos. One was a photo of the historical marker on Broadway in Manhattan that commemorated the ticker tape parade after Turnesa won the British Amateur Championship and the U.S. won the Walker Cup in 1947. “When I saw all this stuff, I said, somebody must do something with this. I can’t let all of this go away. So, I became much more involved in what it was all about,” says Sparling.

In 2023, the MGACSF helped 189 scholars with college costs with a tuition commitment that surpassed $1,000,000. The Fund began with just six students in 1956, and today has reached a milestone of 3,000 caddies, and those who work in service to golf have received a scholarship from the Fund.

“I think he would be over the moon,” notes Sparling of how her father would feel about where the Fund is today. “He was so proud to have been part of the establishment of [it] and to see the number of students who benefited from it. To see how it has grown and how many people have contributed, how much the Fund has raised, and how many students it has helped in such a significant way, I think it would make him exceedingly happy.”

“I think he would be incredibly proud,” adds Nardiello on what his grandfather would think.  “This is his legacy, along with Willie’s. I’m so proud of the foundation [they started].”

Related: History of the MGA Caddie Scholarship Fund | Willie and the Red-Headed Kid