Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States: In recognition of outstanding contributions to the game of golf, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has announced its annual Service Awards winners.
The individuals will be recognised during a gala dinner at the USGA Annual Meeting in Miami this evening.
This year’s USGA Service Awards celebrate the leadership, dedication and exemplary efforts of 26 individuals who have devoted their time and talents to serve the game.
“These extraordinary individuals are committed to leading with impact in their communities,” said Mike Davis, USGA CEO/Executive Director. “The USGA is proud to recognise them for their achievements and contributions to the game.”
Among the award winners is Gilbert ‘Gib’ Palmer, who will receive the Joe Dey Award.
Presented annually since 1996, the Joe Dey Award recognises an individual’s meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. The award is named for the late Joseph C. Dey Jr, who served as USGA Executive Director from 1934-1969 before becoming the first Commissioner of the PGA Tour.
This year’s honoree, Palmer has served on the USGA’s Junior Championship Committee since 1996. During that time, he has served as a Rules official at nearly 20 US Junior Amateur Championships while also volunteering at numerous other USGA championships. Palmer’s father gave him his first set of golf clubs, and he has been invested in the game since that moment. He also serves as an instrumental leader of the Virginia State Golf Association and the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame – an organisation he helped establish.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Dey many years ago and there is no one who better represented integrity, honesty and respect for the game,” said Palmer. “To be associated with his reputation is a tremendous honour and I’m incredibly thankful for this recognition.”
The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award has gone to Dr Lane Demas.
Established in 1987, the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award recognises and honours outstanding contributions to golf literature while seeking to broaden the public’s interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf. Wind, who died in 2005, is the only writer to win the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honour.
Game of Privilege: An African American History of Golf, authored by Dr Demas, is a ground-breaking exploration of the role of race, class and access to the game of golf. Dr Demas details the history of black golfers during the age of segregation, the legal battle to integrate public golf courses, and the little-known history of the United Golfers Association, an all-black golf Tour that operated from 1925 to 1975.
“I’m proud of the fact that this book provides a narrative and historical content that’s accessible to everyone, especially the everyday golf fan,” said Dr Demas. “It’s very humbling to receive this prestigious award and be recognised by a premier organisation such as the USGA.”
Meanwhile, Tim Hiers, a golf course superintendent since 1976 who currently serves as Director of Agronomy at The Club at Mediterra, is the winner of the Green Section Award.
Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognises an individual’s distinguished service to golf through his or her work with turfgrass, including research, maintenance and other areas that positively impact the landscape upon which golf is played.
Hiers stands at the forefront of golf’s environmental opportunities and challenges, while also driving advances in golf course management. An avid and articulate educator, he frequently hosts visitors ranging from school field trips to scientists and government officials.
“I learned to play golf on a cow pasture and I’ve been hooked on the game ever since,” said Hiers. “In this business, you can never learn enough. There’s always a challenge, and that’s what I love about being a superintendent. It’s a privilege to be recognised for just doing what you love every day.”
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