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.”