Local Arizonan, Kerry Graham Awarded The Ellen Griffen Rolex Award
The Ellen Griffin Rolex Award, instituted by the LPGA T&CP membership in 1989 to honor the late Ellen Griffin, recognizes an individual, male or female, who has made a major contribution to the teaching of golf and who emulates Griffin’s spirit, love and dedication to students, teachers, teaching skills and the game of golf. Griffin, who passed away in 1986, was one of the best-known women’s golf teaching professionals in American history.
Beginning golf at nine years of age, Kerry Graham played junior golf competitively in the summers in Wyoming and then in college at Arizona State University. She began her professional golf career teaching and working in a golf shop at a retirement community in Arizona.
For the next 45 years Kerry journeyed through the golf industry as an instructor, club fitter, college coach, golf shop merchandiser, country club manager and golf course design team member. In 1985 Kerry entered into leadership of the LPGA, first as an LPGA T&CP Section President and Education Committee member and then from 1987 to 1993 as National President of the Teaching Division. During those six years, Kerry led initiatives to found the LPGA Girls Golf Club, the LPGA Urban Youth Golf Program (the forerunner of The First Tee) and led the LPGA Teaching Division to continue emphasis and improvement in the Teacher Training and Certification program.
In 1991 as National President, Graham envisioned and initiated the first Women in Golf Summit, hosted by the LPGA in Orlando, Fla. Additional summits were held in 1993 and 1995. The objective of Summit ’91 was to define the issues most important to women’s golf in the 1990s. It gathered, for the first time, more than 400 men and women representing all aspects of the golf industry, including associations, golf management, manufacturing, travel and real estate, golf course design, media, college and high schools, professionals and amateurs. Graham received the National Golf Foundation’s Joe Graffis Award for her dedication to growing the game through these summits.
“Kerry Graham was not only a pioneer in the early development of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals, but a visionary for the entire golf industry.” said Nancy Henderson, Chief Teaching Officer of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals and LPGA Foundation President. “Many of today’s programs would not even exist if it weren’t for her forward-thinking work and dedication to teaching and growing the game. I think Ellen would be absolutely delighted that Kerry has received this award.”
After serving as LPGA National President, Graham turned her energy to helping the golf agendas in the state of Arizona. She served on the Junior Golf Association of Arizona Board and Foundation, both as a board member and President. She also served on the Board of Governors of the Phoenix-based LPGA Tournament for 15 years.
Through the years Kerry has been recognized with many golf industry awards, including the Graffis Award for Education, the Patty Berg Award, the LPGA Commissioner’s Award, and the Women’s Sports Foundation President’s Award. In 2005, Graham was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame, and in 2008, the LPGA T&CP Hall of Fame.
“I was fortunate to have known Ellen Griffin and observed her incredible dedication to her students and the joy she lived in helping them through golf,” said Graham. “It was truly fun and inspiring to know her and I am so honored to be chosen to receive this award.”
Graham currently teaches golf in Phoenix and continues to study all aspects of the game, both physical and mental, to improve her skills and service to her clients. She has developed strategies to identify individuals’ learning styles, keep instruction focused and simple and assist each student to identify how to best accomplish their goals in learning and playing golf. Graham is most grateful and passionate about her golf instruction and coaching career.
For more information
Media Contact: Diane Cody, LPGA T&CP Communications Coordinator, [email protected] 386-274-6200.