Dennis Walsh Named 2009 Volunteer of the Year

Dennis Walsh, a retired information technology specialist in the banking industry was named the 2009 Arizona Golf Association Volunteer of the Year. The award will be presented at the annual spring banquet March 4 at Phoenix Country Club. “It’s nice for somebody to recognize how many hours I put into doing what I do,” Walsh said. “The thing is I enjoy doing it so much that it’s great to get this but it’s not going to change how much I give back to the AGA and the golfers in Arizona.“ Walsh, 70, who took up the game relatively late in life at age 24, enjoyed it from the first moment he swung the club in the balmy Washington state climate. Relocating to Green Valley in early 2005, he contacted the AGA about volunteering and his talents were quickly put to use as a spotter and scoring with his first event at Arizona National. “Walsh has grown into a top notch rules official,” said Scott McNevin, the AGA tournament director. “He is a great guy to be around and brings a lot of passion and enthusiasm to the tournaments. I applaud his efforts and the extra interest he has taken in helping to grow the volunteer base. He along with so many others are the foundation that enables us to conduct such high-caliber tournaments.” His interest soon grew to the rules and he attended workshops over the course of two years before he felt comfortable dispensing rulings at the tournaments. With this invaluable skill, his duties changed and he also offered his services to the JGAA, AJGA and the SWSPGA. Giving back to the game, he is also one of the directors of the Southwest Golf Association, which annually hosts the Southwestern Amateur Championship. “At first I thought it would be fun to volunteer with the AGA,” Walsh said. “I thought I would try it and I liked it. There are a lot of good golfers and I liked the people I met on the golf course and at the tournaments. The people that are serious about golf are really good people and nice people to be around and that includes the volunteers as well.” Walsh estimates that in the last year, between all the organizations he has spent 120 days volunteering. And now, with his good friends Doc Graves and Robin Farran he is working with the AGA to devise a recruitment and training program for other tournament volunteers to help them progress through the organization. And it is with his good friends Graves and Farran that has made his experience fun and rewarding. “Doc and Robin have become my buddies,” he said. “They are at nearly 90% of the tournaments I work. If I didn’t have them, I don’t know I would be so committed. We take care of business and work hard. They have a lot of humor and we have a very good time and that is very important to me.” Now a member of Southern Dunes, he has able to squeeze in some time for his golf game. Generally teeing it up with wife, Hazelyn, he has carved out a great balance in his life. “Now that I’m retired, volunteering gives me a purpose,” Walsh said. “I take this very seriously and plan for the next tournament and brush up on rules. It’s like having a job, but it’s better than having a job, because it’s something I choose to do when I want and thoroughly enjoy.”