Jim Frazier named 2010 Champion of Golf

Jim Frazier of Phoenix, a former two-term past president of the Arizona Golf Association will be honored as the 2010 Champion of Golf as part of the festivities for the Arizona Stroke Play Championship to be played at the TPC Scottsdale – Champions Course April 15-18. Established in 2008, the award recognizes an individual who selflessly champions the game of golf in Arizona through his or her personal efforts. It will be presented at the Champions Dinner on April 14. “I was surprised to learn of this honor and very pleased to be recognized for my contributions to golf,” Frazier said. “It’s always nice to be appreciated for what you’ve done, but I don’t think I’ve done any one thing in particular, I’ve just spent a lot of time working with a variety of organizations. The bottom line is giving back. I would do anything to support the game that has been so good to me.” A retired banking executive, Frazier has spent his life in golf and has been actively involved in transforming the game, on all levels from juniors, to amateurs to PGA Tour professionals in the state since establishing roots in Arizona some 46 years ago. “Jim has been a tireless advocate for the game of the golf and a true leader in the industry for as many years as anyone can remember,” said Ed Gowan, Executive Director of the AGA. “What distinguishes Jim from so many is that his efforts span so many organizations at a very high level. As a past president of the AGA and Moon Valley Country Club, Chairman of the Phoenix Open, Big Chief of The Thunderbirds and its first Executive Director, and with his involvement in forming the Junior Golf Association of Arizona, he has played an integral role in ensuring the success of these groups that have a direct impact on nearly every aspect of the game.” Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Jim took up the game at age eight, when his father cut down wooden shafts for him. Playing in high school and college at the University of Iowa where he earned a business degree, Jim went on and graduated with honors from the Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. Following four years of service he left the Marine Corps and settled in Phoenix with his high school sweetheart Sandy, his now bride of 50 years. “My whole life has been golf,” Frazier said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the game that has given me so much. There is an old saying ‘In the room, in the deal,’ and having been on many boards and executive committees I have been able to be ‘in the deal’ on so many meaningful accomplishments.” One of most fitting examples is the controversial decision that was made when he was Big Chief of The Thunderbirds to move the Phoenix Open to TPC Scottsdale, the venue that will now permanently display his image as a Champion of Golf. “They said the move would never succeed,” Frazier said. “Now, look at it. It’s the biggest tournament in the world, with the largest attendance and millions given to charity. Having watched it grow over the years has been very rewarding.” Frazier served on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Golf Association for 12 years beginning in 1988. During his tenure as president he brokered the formation of a partnership between the AGA and the Thunderbirds for the purpose of purchasing the office building that currently houses the two organizations. As a part of this agreement he also put together a cadre of 40 investors who privately financed 100% of the acquisition. Today the building is debt free and owned jointly by the partnership. Under his leadership with the AGA his contributions primarily focused on improved member communications, fostering changes to the Board of Governors, creation of the Delegate program, and improving the AGA’s magazine, now Arizona the State of Golf, which has received acclaim in the association world. In addition, Frazier joined Moon Valley Country Club in 1969 and has served on nearly every committee at the club, including nine years as a member of the Board of Directors and two terms as president. Most recently he played a key role in the membership’s reacquisition of the club from the Karsten Solheim family. Frazier has always earned another moniker of distinction and that is for his acerbic wit that has made him a featured emcee for countless golf events, banquets and meetings. Playing to a 2.6 USGA Handicap Index, Frazier at age 72, will sometimes shoot his age. A point that does not go unnoticed when so many people marvel that the legendary Dr. Ed Updegraff who in his late 80’s still shoots his age daily. “I don’t know why so many people make such a big deal about that, because I’ve shot Dr Updegraff’s age hundreds and hundreds of time,” he quipped. While his unique sense of humor has served him well over the years, his service and dedication to the game are no laughing matter and for that reason, Jim Frazier is a true Champion of Golf. Previous award winners were Tom Cunningham, the Executive Director of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona and Life member of the Thunderbirds in 2008 and Gary Panks, a prolific golf course architect known primarily for infusing environmentally-conscious design with playability in desert settings last year.