In Full Swing, The McGrath Family


Scott Avra, Mike Davidson, Lani Garfield, and Pat Lassy

If you’re a golfer, then over the years you have most likely seen the dynamic sons of the McGrath family flourish from boys to men –both on and off the course. David, James, and Kevin McGrath have grown up at BIGHORN, starting with annual visits to Grandmother JoAnn’s home starting in 1997, then following her lead in 2004 by selecting a home with their parents, Lisa and Sean. “It was the fun activities that brought us in,” shares Lisa. “Once we discovered Junior Golf Director Bill Madonna and the 30 kids involved in the program, they became our extended family. Every holiday weekend we would fly from Boston to sunny BIGHORN to have fun, then take the red-eye back for school the next day. It’s become a routine that we happily take advantage of: spending every possible moment at BIGHORN.” The McGraths are third-generation Members of BIGHORN

The McGraths are third-generation Members, and these young men have been involved in the Junior Golf Program for the past 10 years. “It’s been an honor to coach them from growing kids to ambitious gentlemen,” prides Bill. “Developing through the game as kids then teens, the McGrath boys will be able to successfully navigate the business world because of patience, discipline, perseverance, and camaraderie they have learned playing golf. They have become capable players who can team up as brothers and are ready to challenge anyone to an exciting round.”

Now aged 16, Kevin has his own words of praise for Bill. “It was actually Bill who really made us love the game of golf as a family,” he says.

Dad Sean is a golfer himself and has spent many afternoons on the course with his sons, coaching and encouraging their development. It’s not surprising that after many years of practice and determination that David, now 20, is a 7 handicap, James at age 18 is a 4 handicap, and Kevin is a 3 handicap. “They are very competitive between each other and can never wait to get out and play another 18 holes together,” beams Sean.

While competitive, the McGraths exhibit and enjoy an almost overwhelming sense of family. Coach Bill recalls a day of true sibling love. “One of my proudest moments was at the 2008 Parent-Junior Golf Tournament when David and James tied for first place and ultimately decided to share the championship,” he remembers. “As competitive as they were, they both decided to win the tie and they put their arms around each other, winning as co-champions.”

Bill also shares a memory of the time he won the Top 50 Junior Golf Instructors award in 2009 and the whole McGrath family flew out from Boston to Florida to see him receive his award. After a late-arriving flight, they came into the auditorium rolling their luggage so they wouldn’t miss the ceremony. “It meant the world to me,” says Bill. “My early junior golfers, including the McGraths, built the program junior-wide by all hanging out together and developing a huge sense of community and camaraderie. It’s successful today because of these founders.”

BIGHORN is more than a second home to the McGraths: it’s where their childhood memories have been fostered – filled with entertaining Family Fun Days, festive Blizzard Blasts, and spirited Egg Hunts. As they grew, BIGHORN became a place for golf, tennis, working out at the gym, swimming, hanging out at the dog park with their puggles Bentley and Nash and, as teens do... eating!

For Lisa and Sean, BIGHORN is about a sense of community and coming home. The McGrath parents enjoy spending time with their family as well as their multitude of friends. “I am intrigued by the wide variety of diverse entrepreneurs at BIGHORN,” says Sean. “Everyone has different interests, businesses, and bright ideas, and I find myself learning from their experiences.” An expert in real estate development, Sean holds over 26 years of experience with the Stonegate Group in building high-end boutique developments in Boston’s historical Back Bay and South End neighborhoods. “Quality, style, and innovative design are just a few distinguishing characteristics of a Stonegate Group development project,” expresses Sean. “Our development team has partnered with prominent architects, contractors, and real estate professionals to harmoniously blend architectural creativity and precision craftsmanship to ensure that our Boston-area development projects are second to none.“The McGrath family along with Sean's mother and first-generation BIGHORN Member JoAnn McGrath

The McGrath family devotion to a calling doesn’t fall far from the tree. Sean’s mother and first-generation BIGHORN Member JoAnn McGrath serves on several esteemed fine arts and educational boards in Boston and in the desert. Coachella Valley appointments include the McCallum Theatre, Eisenhower Medical Center Board and Foundation Board, Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Palm Springs Art Museum, and Palm Springs International Film Festival – not to mention the prestigious Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts in Washington, D.C.

To her grandsons, JoAnn is simply one of the funniest people you’ll ever meet. “You never know what she’s going to say,” explains James. For Kevin, Grammy taught him how to play backgammon, a gesture that represents just how much “she loves and cares for all of us.” Kevin also adds, “She makes the best whoopie pies! She’s the best!”

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