2019 Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner

At the 2019 Arizona Golf Association’s Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration we honored club representatives, champions, volunteer and committee members, and those who have contributed to the success of Arizona Golf.


Below is a brief message from our President, Mike McWilliams, on AGA’s activities in 2018:


For the fourth year we have experienced slow but steady growth in membership while expanding our mission to all golfers in the state through the integration with the       Arizona Women’s Golf Association– now together as Arizona Golf.

Our new website, which just debuted  this month, is much easier to navigate and includes many more options for golfers from competitive to social events and plenty of activities for visitors or those becoming interested in joining the world of golf.

Highlights for 2018 include 59 individuals qualifying for USGA Championships, expanded member and “Just for Fun” events for all, travel golf events from Mexico to Ireland, and the 8th Patriot All-America for the world’s best collegians playing in honor of our military heroes, once again ranked among the best events in the world.   Alumni include Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Cameron Champ among many   other current Tour stars.

The AGA magazine, AzGolf Insider, continues to receive applause from both members and outside media.   Please let us know if you haven’t been receiving your free copy.

We’ve introduced the new Rules of Golf in style, having already hosted over fifty seminars for 3,000 plus members, and distributed over 35,000 Rules books, more than any other golf association to date.  A new GHIN platform will be launching in 2019, and in the fall, we will begin our education on the World Handicap System in anticipation of its launch in 2020. 

I especially wish to thank all of you attending, and the hundreds of other members and supporters who make Arizona Golf the success that it is.  You can count on us in the future.  The AWGA has joined with the AGA to make your golf experience even more valuable and interesting in 2019.


Mike McWilliams


2019 Award Winners


Legends Player of the Year……………………………………..Tom Preston

Super Senior Player of the Year………………………………Rusty Brown

Senior Player of the Year………………………………………..Jeff Benton

Women’s Senior Player of the Year………………………….Liz Waynick

Masters Player of the Year………………………………………Thuhashini Selvaratnam

Open Player of the Year……………………………………………Adam Walicki


Senior Cup Champions…………………………………………..John Richards & David Schlenker


AGA Doc Graves Volunteer of the Year Award………….Jeff Vincent

AWGA Kathy Ehrlich Volunteer of the Year Award……Jan Biddle


Champion of Golf………………………………………………………John Spensieri

AWGA Representative of the Year……………………………Twyla Gerdes


Honorary Captain…………………………………………………..Lyman Gallup

Host Club of the Year……………………………………………..Jeff Ostlund, Tonto Verde Golf Club


Dorthy Pease Award……………………………………………….Tina Barret

Updegraff Award……………………………………………………Drew Woods



USGA Museum Opens Jack Nicklaus Room

Photo on home page: The Jack Nicklaus Room in the USGA’s Museum at United States Golf Association in Far Hills, N.J. as seen on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. (Copyright USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Far Hills, N.J.  — The United States Golf Association Museum in Far Hills, N.J., held a special event today to mark the opening of the Jack Nicklaus Room. The new room, which celebrates the life and career of the 18-time major champion, joins galleries that honor Bob Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Mickey Wright.
The 1,200-square-foot exhibit space contains more than 80 artifacts, many on loan from the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio.
“We are delighted that we are able to gather friends and family at the USGA Museum to celebrate the addition of a room devoted to one of the game’s greatest players, Jack Nicklaus,” said Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., USGA president. “The Nicklaus Room offers an interactive experience that will allow future generations the opportunity to appreciate Jack’s legacy and relive many of the greatest moments in American golf history.”
From his first U.S. Open victory in 1962 to his last Green Jacket in 1986, Nicklaus had the skill and the determination to compete more successfully than anyone else in golf’s major championships. He compiled the best amateur record since his hero, Bob Jones, capped his career by winning the Grand Slam in 1930. Nicklaus won two U.S. Amateurs and played on two victorious USA Walker Cup Teams. He turned professional in November 1961 and embarked on a career that included 73 PGA Tour victories and a record 18 major championship titles. He won a record-tying four U.S. Opens, six Masters Tournaments, three British Opens and five PGA Championships — an amazing testament to his three decades of sustained excellence.
Nicklaus did not become golf’s greatest major champion on ability alone, however. His competitive spirit, self-belief, commitment, integrity, perseverance and vision were among the values that helped turn his unquestioned skills into unmatched success.
“The USGA has had a great influence on my career, and helped shape my love of the game and for competition since I first picked up a club at age 10,” Nicklaus said. “My association with them — from the championships I played to the USGA leaders who have impacted my life — is one I have always valued. For them to recognize my career and life with this addition to the USGA Museum is humbling and meaningful to me and my family. I hope this room provides guests the opportunity to share some of the cherished memories I have, but more important, I hope parts of it can help educate a new generation of golfers and golf fans about our collective work to grow this great game.”
Notable artifacts:•    MacGregor Tommy Armour 3-woodNicklaus used this 3-wood from 1958 through 1995 and won all 18 of his professional majors and both U.S. Amateurs using it.•    “White Fang,” Acushnet Bull’s Eye PutterIn an effort to jump-start his game, Nicklaus switched to this putter before the 1967 U.S. Open. It was painted white and the round grip was altered with a pencil jammed into the end of it. He made eight birdies in a final-round 65 to win his second U.S. Open.•    MacGregor VIP 1-ironNicklaus won seven major championships and hit two of his most memorable shots with this 1-iron: the 238-yard approach to the 72nd hole at Baltusrol in 1967 and the tee shot at the 71st hole at Pebble Beach in 1972.•    Caddie overalls worn by Jack Nicklaus II, 1986 MastersNicklaus won his 18th major championship at Augusta National in 1986 at age 46. The victory was unforgettable, not only because of his final-nine heroics, but because his son Jackie caddied for him.•    MacGregor 5-iron, 1986 MastersComing off an eagle at 15, Nicklaus hit a 5-iron at the 170-yard 16th. As the ball was in flight, Jackie yelled, “Be right!” and Nicklaus said, “It is,” as the ball rolled back to within 3 feet, setting up a birdie.•    Wedding invitation and napkinJack and Barbara Nicklaus were married on July 23, 1960. Nicklaus has said that Barbara has been his foundation, his voice of reason, his biggest supporter, his best friend and the love of his life.•    Bronze sculptureJack is Back by Zenos Frudakis•    PaintingA Study of Jack Nicklaus 1 by Harold Riley
“Our partnership with the Jack Nicklaus Museum gives us the unique opportunity to display our collection of artifacts while enhancing the exhibit with many of Jack’s personal items,” said Michael Trostel, senior curator/historian for the USGA Museum. “In this exhibit, Nicklaus uses his own words to tell you what made him a successful player; respected golf course designer and businessman; and dedicated husband, father and grandfather.”
Jack Nicklaus Room Facts
•    The Jack Nicklaus Room is 1,200 square feet and contains 82 artifacts.•    Some of the artifacts on display in the room are on loan from the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio. We appreciate their support and look forward to continued collaboration.•    Six themes are highlighted within the room: competitive spirit, integrity, self-belief, commitment, perseverance and vision. Though these attributes are not unique to Jack, we believe the way he related to these principles make Nicklaus golf’s greatest major champion.•    There are nine short films and 27 “Ask Jack” vignettes highlighting Nicklaus’ four U.S. Open victories and the themes discussed above. Additionally, we created a timeline, a statistics page and an interactive course-design feature that gives visitors insight into Jack’s design philosophy and lets them create their own risk-reward par 4 by choosing the routing, and placing bunkers and the green.•    Two works of art were commissioned for the room: a painting by Harold Riley titled A Study of Jack Nicklaus I, depicting Nicklaus at Pebble Beach in 1972; and a sculpture by Zenos Frudakis titled Jack Is Back, showing Nicklaus celebrating a birdie putt on the 71st hole of the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol.•    The room is meant to be an intimate examination of Jack and his career. We explore the moments, people and events that shaped and influenced his life. By having Jack speak in the first person to the visitor, whether through written words or interviews, we hope it is a deeply personal experience for everyone.•    In addition to the exhibits in the room, the short films will be shared through USGA digital media channels in the coming months to reach a worldwide audience. The goal of these videos is to share Jack’s success, both on and off the golf course, with future generations.•    The architect of the project is Gensler. The exhibit designers are 1220 Exhibits and Peter Hyde Design.
About the USGAThe USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches, attracting players and fans from more than 160 countries. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, equipment standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s reach is global, with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, serving more than 25 million golfers and actively engaging 150 golf associations.
The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and its ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used in more than 50 countries on six continents.


About the Arizona Golf Association

The Arizona Golf Association (AGA), which was founded in 1923, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(4) association that serves as the official governing body of amateur golf in Arizona. What started as a small group of golfers who got together to run the annual Amateur Championship has grown to an association of more than 400 clubs and 55,000 members. Today the AGA is a volunteer-based organization directed by amateur golfers passionately dedicated to promoting the game of golf and providing valuable benefits and services to its members.
Mission Statement
To foster the enhancement and expansion of the game of golf by leading in the development of member and information services, the promotion of opportunities for all who want to play and the protection of the game’s integrity and valued traditions.
The Association’s purpose is to promote the best interests and true spirit of the game throughout Arizona. Its goals, as outlined in its bylaws are:

to promote voluntary association of golf clubs and course facilities solely for the betterment of golf and to encourage good relations among members of the Association; 
to advance uniform rules and standards consistent with those published by the USGA, especially with regard to the Handicap System (Arizona Handicap Network), Amateur Status, Rules of Golf and Green Section Research; 
to establish and maintain uniform and statewide handicap and course rating systems consistent with the USGA recommended procedures; 
 to conduct state championships and assist individual member clubs in the operation of their activities; and
to engage in and promote such other activities deemed to be in the best interest of golf, golf facilities and the golfers in Arizona.

The Arizona Golf Association is the official governing body of amateur golf in Arizona and is passionate about protecting the game – its appeal, traditions and history. However, we also understand the changing face of the golf population and are continually looking for ways to grow the game, to reach out to our membership and to create opportunities for new golfers to join the AGA family.
Traditionally, the AGA:

is closely affiliated with the United States Golf Association through our licensing agreements to issue USGA Handicaps and Course and Slope Ratings within the state, overseeing the club licensing program and representing the USGA in several other areas such as administering Amateur Status;
is firmly committed to providing education in all aspects of the game including the USGA Rules of Golf, USGA Handicap System, conducting competitions and the proper marking of golf courses; 
has had representation on local and national committees that have significant impact on the direction of golf and impact on you the golfer. Examples include representation on the following USGA Committees: Handicap Procedures, Course Rating, Regional Associations, Rules of Golf and Member Development; 
has affiliation with local and national organizations that are equally as focused on improving the game and molding its future including National Golf Foundation, Golf Industry Associates, Golf Course Superintendents Association, Golf Writers, International Network of Golf, Southwest Golf Media Association, International Association of Golf Administrators, International Golf Network and Golf 20/20; and, 
is a staunch advocate of the rights of golf courses in Arizona and often represents clubs in important issues such as environmental, water, taxation and municipal golf course pricing – all meant to protect golf and our members.

In more recent years, the AGA has created new programs that appeal to the recreational golfer. A new type of membership was formed, called ACCESS, that provides a way for golfers to be members of the AGA, minus a handicap and with some additional perks like savings on golf and travel perks. 
The AGA is a membership-based organization. There are two tiers to the volunteer governance of the Arizona Golf Association:

A 15-member Executive Committee governs the Arizona Golf Association. It oversees the long-term direction of the Association. Each member of the Executive Committee is either a chairman or vice-chairman of the association’s standing committees. The AGA’s Executive Director is an ex-officio member of this committee.
A Council of Past Presidents ensures that the direction of the association moves in concert with its mission and long-range goals. The Council also participates in the appointment and nomination of the Executive Committee.