Our Town: Troy David: the golfer with a big heart

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Troy David is a guy with a good golf swing and a generous heart

I’ve been looking for a reason to write about altruism for some time and finally found a good reason.

Meet Troy David, CEO of Keystone Electronics, elite level amateur golfer and new title sponsor of the LIGA Richardson Memorial Golf Tournament held at Wheately Hills Golf Club in East Williston.

Golf is a sport known for giving back to the community and Troy David is a perfect example of this kind of altruism. Perhaps golf brings out the best in people.
I sat down with Troy this weekend following a round of golf at Glen Oaks Club to explore with him the motivation behind the concept of altruism.
Altruism, according to Sigmund Freud, is one of only four high-level defenses and a sign of adult maturity. The first question I asked Troy was why he decided to be title sponsor of the Richardson.

He told me that he recently moved his company to New Hyde Park and thought that sponsoring a historic amateur golf event would be a way of promoting and enhancing life on Long Island and that the Long Island Golf Association shared this same commitment to community life.

He went on to say that a characteristic shared by many of his fellow members was to give back to the community in any way they could. Troy then brought up a subject I have been loath to think about for many years.

He mentioned the worth tithe, which is where all members of your religious clan are expected to give back 10 percent of your yearly income to the church or synagogue you attend. I quickly calculated my own charitable giving this year to church and alas I may have fallen short of the 10 percent number.

I did offer $10 to the church in Washington, D.C., last week when my friends insisted I go with them. And in early spring I made a promise to donate $20 to St. Aidans if the Lord would intervene and allow me to qualify for this year’s Travis Invitational. But His intervention was not strong enough to overcome my swing flaws, I failed to qualify and so I was not forced to contribute in that regard.

That, of course, means that thus far I have only contributed $10 to my church, woefully short of the 10 percent number Troy had mentioned.

So I quickly changed the subject and asked him to explore with me the reasons some of us are charitable. He mentioned that it may be “generational” and explained that if there is charity, generosity or giving at home, the child will naturally adopt this characteristic for the remainder of his life. He told me that his parents and grandparents were very generous to him and so it became natural for him to be the same way with his kids and within his community.

I agree with this explanation for the following reason.

I grew up watching my father buy two dozen donuts and bring them to the club every Saturday and Sunday morning to share with the members. And years later when I became an adult I found myself bringing gifts of donuts to every psychoanalytic conference and seminar I attended in New York City. It is a simple gesture and perhaps not in keeping with the serious nature of the psychoanalysts I interacted with, but as it turns out even psychoanalysts love donuts.

Charity comes in many forms. My old friend Bob Criso always gave $20 to every down-and-out homeless person he passed by in New York City. And there is even altruism in the animal kingdom.

During graduate school, I picked up extra money by leading groups of gifted and talented high schoolers to a variety of special places on Long Island. One of our field trips was to Plum Island, the secret government research facility off the East End of Long Island.

During our tour, we passed a mother duck leading a group of maybe 15 ducklings along the beach and I remarked to the biologist who was leading the tour that the mother was quite prolific with all those baby ducklings. He quickly corrected me and said: “No, they are not all hers. What occurs is that the ducklings wind up following the most protective mother duck and that mother duck willingly shoulders this burden.” Now if that isn’t altruism I don’t know what is.

It is said that we live in an age of narcissism where its winner take all and dog eat dog. But every now and then we run across someone with a big heart and a caring soul and a generous spirit. Troy David is a good example of an altruist and for that he deserves a big thank you from every golf lover on Long Island.

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