JGAA Thunderbird Invitational preview

PHOENIX, Arizona (February 22, 2012) – Papago, designed by renowned golf course architect Billy Bell and built in 1962 and recently renovated, will be the host site for the 18th annual Thunderbird Invitational which features some of the state’s finest junior golfers. This year’s event will be played on March 3-4.

This year’s boys field will include defending Thunderbird Invitational champion Peter Koo, of Chandler, who also won the 2011 Arizona Stroke Play Championship. Other top finishers from the 2011 Thunderbird Invitational include Blake Toolan, who finished 2nd, as well as Zach Wright and Jamie Waltmire, who finished tied for 3rd. Toolan finished 3rd in the 2011 Boys State Championship as well as qualified for the USGA Junior Amateur Championship along with Zach Wright. In 2011, Wright finished 2nd in the Boys State Championship while winning the Phoenix City Junior Championship at Aguila with scores of 67-64. Waltmire’s 2011 resume includes a 3rd place finish in the Mesa City Junior Championship and 4th place finish at the Phoenix City Junior Championship.

A talented field of girls will include Saki Iida, of Gilbert, who finished 2nd in last year’s event. Iida’s other 2011 accomplishments include winning the Thunderbird Junior Classic and Phoenix City Junior Championship while finishing 2nd in the Girls State Championship. Also competing in the 15-18 Girls Division will be Madison Kerley, of Chandler and Krystal Quihuis who both tied for 5th in the 2011 Thunderbird Invitational. Kerley won the 2011 Tucson City Junior Championship and finished 3rd in the Girls State Championship. Quihuis finished 3rd in the 2011 Tucson City Junior Championship and 2nd in the Willie Low Invitational.

Several players in the field have signed a letter of intent to play college golf next fall. In the Boys 15-18 Division, Kale Davidson has signed with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Kolton Lapa with University of Nebraska, Brett Wilson with Colorado State University; and Zach Wright with Louisiana State University. Working in tandem with the Thunderbirds and the Junior Golf Association of Arizona, the 18th annual Thunderbird Invitational will feature 60 of the state’s finest junior golfers whose participants range in age from 13-18 and are placed within their respective age groups. Tee times get underway at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Spectators are welcome.

“The Thunderbirds work within the world of golf is unrivaled and while so much attention is focused on their sponsorship of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the most well-attended golf tournament in the world, it is their continual efforts with Arizona’s junior golfer that deserves accolades as well,” said Tom Cunningham, Executive Director of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona. “The Thunderbirds are very much connected with this tournament not only financially, but they volunteer their time to assist with registration, starting, spotting on the course and scoring. This event hones the competitive skills of some of our finest junior golfers, who often times, use this event as a springboard for the rest of their JGAA schedule.”

For a complete list of the playing field for the 18th annual Thunderbird Invitational, visit the Junior Golf Association of Arizona web site at or call their office at (602) 944-6168.


Jerry Mahanke named Volunteer of the Year

By John Davis When Jerry Mahanke fills out a career resume, “Bozo” is at the top of the list, but he is no clown when it comes to Arizona Golf Association activities. Mahanke, who has done “just about everything,” but whose specialty is rating courses, over the past 12 years, was named the organization’s Doc Graves Volunteer of the Year for 2011. Before retiring, Mahanke was a developer of total life care retirement communities, including three in the Valley, but his first job was at a Denver TV station where he was one of the original Bozo the Clown characters. “No teleprompters or other devices like they have now,” Mahanke said. “It was 90 minutes of adlibbing in front of 60 kids, five days a week. Now that’s a challenge.” Carnation Milk created five Bozo shows in 1959 and when the company was sold, the new owners eliminated all but the Chicago Bozo, leaving Mahanke to find a new line of work. Since moving to Scottsdale from Kansas City, he has volunteered as a rules official and tournament organizer, served on the AGA board of directors and executive committee and as chairman of the member services committee, but rating courses is his expertise. He has represented the AGA twice at the annual USGA Course Rating Calibration Seminar and both times his team had the highest score in the country. “They already had plenty of officials when I offered to help out here, so they suggested course rating,” Mahanke said. “It sounded interesting so I gave it a try. Being a golfer of 50 years or so, I know that anything related to golf grows on you pretty quickly. “I think everyone enjoys being somewhat of an expert or theoretical expert at something, and I have enjoyed not only doing it, but passing along knowledge to other raters.” The USGA requires that courses be re-rated at least once every 10 years, but the AGA averages about seven years per course, which keeps Mahanke and other raters traveling around the state regularly.


Dick Hyland receives Updegraff Award

By John Davis As a prominent member of the Southwest Section of the PGA of America, Dick Hyland was taken aback when he was informed that he would receive the top award presented annually by amateur golf in Arizona. He learned the news when, appropriately enough, he asked if there was some way he could help with the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame induction events in November. Hyland was simply advised by the Arizona Golf Association to “be there.” “It kind of caught me off guard because it’s an AGA award,” Hyland joked. “I thought, geez, I might lose my PGA status.” Hyland, who has accumulated several honors in his 30 years as a PGA Class A pro, has added a big one to the list with the Dr. Ed Updegraff Award, which was announced at the Hall of Fame induction and will be formally presented in March at the annual AGA dinner. Ed Gowan, the executive director of the Arizona Golf Association, had these words of praise for Hyland, the head professional at the Country Club at DC Ranch. “Dick Hyland has such a love of golf that integrity, adherence to the rules, and the pursuit of excellence are embodied in his everyday approach to his life and the game alike,” Gowan noted. “Just like with Dr. Ed, if you have a chance to talk with him or play a round of golf with him, you walk away a better person from the experience.” It speaks to the respect Hyland has attained that he receives prestigious honors from both professional and amateur ranks. The Updegraff Award is presented annually in recognition of those who, by their actions, exemplify the spirit of the game. It is named after Dr. Ed Updegraff of Tucson, who many consider the top amateur golfer in Arizona history. “When I looked more closely at what Dr. Ed achieved, the award became even more meaningful,” Hyland said. “I started my golf career, literally, as a caddie at Merion and amateur golf was huge in that area.” Merion Country Club, near Philadelphia, has hosted the most U.S. Golf Association championships of any course and will welcome back the U.S. Open in 2013. Hyland, 55, was golf director at Bardmoor Country Club in Largo, Fla., when his brother, Bill, suggested that he apply to Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale for a job. “I didn’t know where Scottsdale was, but he was a member and I trusted his advice,” Hyland said. “What I can tell you now is that I think Arizona is the golf mecca of the United States, and that’s from a guy who spent considerable time in Florida.” Hyland was hired in 1987 to become head pro at Desert Mountain by Mark Kizziar, who was a longtime property manager for club developer Lyle Anderson and is a two-time past president of the PGA and member of the PGA and Arizona golf halls of fame. Hyland later became president of Lyle Anderson Co. and was responsible for seven prestigious courses in Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico and Scotland. Since October of 2010, he has been head pro at Country Club at DC Ranch in Scottsdale. For more than 15 years, he coordinated Golf Digest and Jack Nicklaus/Jim Flick golf schools, and has been named PGA Professional of the Year in both Florida and Arizona. He also has received the Southwest Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award for club and community relations. “He’s very energetic,” Kizziar said. “He’s like one of those little water bugs you see in a pond, because he’s always moving around at a hundred miles an hour. “He would hold staff meetings at 5 a.m. and everybody was there. One of his great assets is his ability to hire great people and surround himself with talented individuals who have the same kind of drive he has. He also was a great player and still is a great teacher and course manager, just a very wellrounded golf pro.” Hyland set the course record twice at Legend at Arrowhead in Glendale while playing in section tournaments. He admittedly doesn’t play at the same level today, but then his real passion is running golf operations that keep members happy and teaching young pros how to serve their clientele. “My goal everywhere I’ve been is to make golf a great experience and be the best we can be for our players, so DC Ranch has been a perfect fit,” said Hyland, whose course hosted the Arizona Amateur in 2011. “My greatest thrill is to see the young professionals who have worked with me over the years go on to successful careers. “I’ve never really had a job, you know. I’ve had a career. A job has hours and limitations, and a career doesn’t.”


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USGA elects Glen Nager as 62nd president

From on 02/04/12 Houston, Texas – Glen D. Nager, of Washington, D.C., has been elected to serve a one-year term as the 62nd president of the United States Golf Association (USGA). The election of officers and the 15-member USGA Executive Committee also took place today during the USGA’s Annual Meeting in Houston. As president, Nager, 53, assumes the leadership of the 300-plus professional staff and nearly 1,200 volunteers of the USGA, which together with The R&A governs the game worldwide. “It is a privilege to serve the game of golf,” said Nager. “I look forward to working with the USGA’s professional staff and dedicated volunteers in meeting the challenges that the game faces.” Nager, a Houston native, will continue to focus on the USGA’s mission of sustainability and service to the game that has been emphasized by his predecessor, Jim Hyler, of Raleigh, N.C. Nager hopes to expand upon the USGA’s leadership, reach and engagement amid increasingly complex issues facing golf: stagnant participation; the challenges of financial and environmental sustainability; the game’s globalization; and the need to make golf more welcoming to a diverse audience. “At a time when the game faces increasingly complex challenges, we must recommit ourselves to the USGA’s mission,” Nager said during his Annual Meeting remarks. “To sustain the game, we must do more. We have to promote a more enjoyable, more affordable, and more welcoming experience for golfers – without fundamentally changing the game itself.” Under Nager’s leadership, the USGA plans to strengthen its core functions by hosting premier national championships that test a player’s skill, mental capacity and physical endurance; building a greater appreciation for the Rules to sustain the true spirit and traditions of the game; promoting the game to broader, more diverse audiences, including women, minorities and juniors; advocating for a more environmentally responsible vision for the game by promoting firm and fast course conditioning and delivering real-world solutions to golf course management; and embracing the increased globalization of the game by providing stronger international leadership and governance with The R&A. “The staff and I look forward to working with Glen to strengthen our role in the game,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “The USGA already dedicates more than $70 million on an annual basis in our work for the good of the game; yet, the challenges facing the game require still more from us.” The chair of the Issues and Appeals practice at Jones Day and a partner in the global law firm’s Washington, D.C., office, Nager is an expert litigator who has argued 13 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. A graduate of the University of Texas and Stanford Law School, Nager served as a clerk for retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who helped foster his passion for golf. A single-digit handicapper who only took up the game in his 30s, Nager became a USGA volunteer in 2006, when he was named the Association’s general counsel. He has enjoyed a rapid ascension at the USGA, serving numerous important roles. Most recently, Nager was first vice president and chairman of the Rules of Golf, Commercial and Compensation committees. “The USGA is fortunate to have Glen’s leadership, for he is ideally suited to lead the organization into the future,” said Hyler, the Association’s outgoing president. “His organizational skills and business knowledge will help strengthen the USGA’s national and world position in the governance of golf, and I wish him well in his upcoming role as president.” Along with Nager, 10 members of the Executive Committee will serve another term, four of them as officers. They include vice presidents Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., of St. Louis, Mo., and Daniel B. Burton, of Lititz, Pa.; secretary Geoffrey Y. Yang, of Menlo Park, Calif.; and treasurer Christie L. Austin, of Cherry Hills Village, Colo. The other six returning elected members are William W. Gist IV, of Omaha, Neb.; William L. Katz, of Chatham Township, N.J.; Gene McClure, of Atlanta, Ga; Edward G. Michaels III, of Atlanta, Ga.; Diana M. Murphy, of St. Simons Island, Ga.; and James B. Williams, of Orinda, Calif. There are four newly elected members of the Executive Committee for 2012: Karen S. Ammerman, M.D., of Webster, Mass.; William E. Fallon, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Mark P. Reinemann, of Delafield, Wis.; and Gary R. Stevenson, of Lafayette, Calif. Ammerman, 56, is a board-certified staff physician at Reliant Medical Group in Worcester, Mass., where she specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. She holds a medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and conducted her residency at West Virginia University Hospital. Since 2010, Ammerman has served on the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Committee. She has also been a member of the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts since 1993, serving on the organization’s Rules Committee since 2000. For the past 25 years, Ammerman has been a member at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Mass., where she has been women’s club champion five times. Fallon, 57, is executive vice president for PNC Bank. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University. Fallon is a member of the USGA Regional Affairs Committee, and is a Rules official for the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association. He previously served as general chairman of the 2003 U.S. Amateur, group chairman of the 2007 U.S. Open and vice chairman of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open. Fallon is a member of Merion Golf Club, site of the 2013 U.S. Open; Oakmont Country Club, site of the 2016 U.S. Open; and Ballybunion Golf Club in County Kerry, Ireland. Reinemann, 54, is vice president of global sales for ManpowerGroup, and earned both a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Reinemann is a member of the USGA Regional Affairs Committee, and served on the 2011 U.S. Amateur Committee. He is first vice president of the Wisconsin State Golf Association, where he has been a board member since 1997, and has also chaired the board of the U.S. Bank Championship. Reinemann is a five-time club champion and former Wisconsin public links champion. He is a member of Blue Mound Golf and Country Club in Wisconsin and the Country Club of North Carolina. Stevenson, 54, is a senior-level sports and entertainment marketing executive whose career spans 30 years. Currently, he serves as president of PAC-12 Enterprises. Previously, he served as chairman and CEO of OnSport, a leading sports marketing and television consulting firm, which was acquired by Wasserman Media Group in 2007. Prior to founding OnSport, Stevenson served in a number of executive roles, including: president, NBA Properties Marketing and Media Group; and chief operating officer of Golf Channel. Stevenson earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and an MBA from George Washington University. Stevenson is a member of the President’s Council for the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst Resort, and serves on the board of the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Mark E. Newell of McLean, Va., will continue to serve as the Association’s general counsel. In addition to Hyler, three members of the Executive Committee retired at the 2012 Annual Meeting: Brigid Shanley Lamb, of Mendham, N.J.; Christopher A. Liedel, of Vienna, Va.; and Steve R. Smyers, of Lakeland, Fla.