In Memoriam: Robert “Doc” Graves

Robert "Doc" Graves

All of Arizona Golf is saddened to hear of the loss of Robert “Doc” Graves this past week.

Doc began his serious involvement with the AGA in 1985 as a partner with Bob Warren and Al Potts doing the “new” Course Ratings for Arizona. The team rated two hundred courses in less than one year.

Doc, an accomplished player in his own right, then took on the Rules of Golf and very quickly became an expert. For over 30 years he worked as a volunteer with the AGA, the SW Section PGA and the Junior Golf Association. He did everything from on-course setup to starting to rulings during play.

He was known and loved by all the players and staff at our host sites. I think his favorite position was starter because he could greet and joke with the entire tournament field. He also became known as “add-two DOC” because it seemed to the players that every time he approached them on the golf course, the result was “add 2” for a penalty. If a player arrived late for his starting time and Doc administered the necessary two-stroke penalty, the aggrieved player almost always apologized with an added “Thank You” for causing Doc to be disappointed by him.

All in all, Doc Graves was the ultimate volunteer whose dedication and service was unmatched. He served on the Board of Directors of the AGA, was an Emeritus Trustee for the Pacific Coast Golf Association, and worked innumerable other collegiate, amateur and professional events. He even spent time in Taiwan and Mexico rating golf courses.

The respect and appreciation of the organizations he has served has been recognized in many ways. He was the AGA’s Volunteer of the Year in 1992. Two AGA awards now hold his name: the Doc Graves Volunteer of the Year Award and the Doc Graves Mid-Amateur Trophy. He was presented with the prestigious Dr. Ed Updegraff Award, which is the highest honor that is presented by the AGA for his demonstration of the true “Spirit of the Game” in 1999 and was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.

Doc was truly concerned for everyone he met, a friend to all, and an exemplary model for all to emulate.  We will miss his smile, his amazing sense of humor and his infectious laugh. We’re certain God has a special place for him in mind. We will miss him in more ways than can be described.