Meet the Newest Arizona Golf Hall of Fame Inductees
SCOTTSDALE, AZ – On November 23rd, the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame recognized and inducted four exceptional individuals into the 2020-2021 Hall of Fame Class. Those honored at the induction ceremony were John Gunby, Tina Tombs, Mark Woodward and the Desert Mashie Golf Club.
These individuals were chosen because they have distinguished themselves by going above and beyond the norm in golf in the state of Arizona, whether they are players, professionals, managers, administrators, industry leaders or volunteers to the allied associations. The Hall of Fame is a means to perpetually honor their legacy, continue reading to learn about the newest inductees and their contributions.
John Gunby, Southwest Section PGA Professional
A 2017 recipient of the AGA Champion of Golf Award recognizing “Selfless lifetime service to the Game of Golf in Arizona,” John Gunby’s dedication to serving the game for the last 40+ years is well-documented and recognized by his peers. He has orchestrated a fundraising golf tournament for the Wounded Warriors Foundation on Veterans Day and has been very involved from the outset with the Southwest PGA’s and the national PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) initiative including orchestrating a PGA HOPE Comedy Show to raise funds for PGA HOPE programs.
In 2019, Gunby received the Southwest PGA Patriot Award, which bestows special recognition on a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected the United States. The 2013 Southwest PGA Golf Professional of the Year, Gunby was recently announced as an enshrinee into the 2019 Southwest PGA Hall of Fame.
Tina Tombs, Professional Golfer and Instructor
A two-time NCAA All-American in 1984 and 1985 at Arizona State University, and an ASU Hall of Fame inductee in 2006, Tina Tombs competed on the LPGA Tour after graduation and won the 1990 Jamie Farr Toledo Championship. She has been a member of the LPGA ever since, as a competitive player on the tour and now on the Legends Tour, and as an accomplished teaching professional.
In 2014 and 2018, Tombs was named the LPGA National Teacher of the Year. She earned the Arizona Golf Association’s Updegraff Award in 2017, given annually to the person who “… by his or her actions and accomplishments exemplify the Spirit of the Game.” Other awards include 2014 and 2018 LPGA Central Section Teacher of the Year; 2015 Marilynn Smith Service Award; Golf Digest’s Best Teachers in Arizona, 2017- 20; Teaching and Club Pro’s Top 50 LPGA Teachers, 2017-20; and GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher since 2019.
“When I think about my career, I feel overwhelmed,” said Tombs. “I have put my heart and soul into this game. I am blessed to have received so much from the game of golf and its beautiful community. I wake up every morning and I am filled with gratitude, even more so after this year, that my office is the golf course. It is the honor of my career to be recognized by the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame!”
Mark Woodward, Superintendent
Mark Woodward is a Certified Golf Course Superintendent/Director of Agronomy (CGCS) who has over 50 years of experience in many facets of the golf industry, forty-five of those in Arizona. His diverse career has included both stints as a Superintendent and Administrator, most recently serving as the Director of Agronomy at Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale.
As the City of San Diego’s Golf Operations Manager in 2005, Woodward was responsible for preparing the Torrey Pines South Golf Course to host the 2008 U.S. Open, working closely with the United States Golf Association (USGA). For his efforts at Torrey Pines, Woodward was recognized by Golf Inc. Magazine as one of golf’s “Most Admired Operators” in 2006 and in the Top 35 “Most Powerful People in Golf’ in 2008 and 2009. He served as CEO of the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (GCSAA) from 2008 through 2010, and was a Senior Vice President of Operations for Scottsdale-based OB Sports Golf Management from 2013 through 2017. Woodward served on the Cactus and Pine Golf Course Superintendents Association board of directors on three separate occasions dating back to the 1980’s, and currently as President.
“I was extremely humbled and taken a little off-guard to be selected for this honor,” said Woodward. “By far, the most rewarding part of my career in golf has been all the inspirational people I’ve met and worked with. They are the true foundation of the golf industry.”
Desert Mashie Glf Club, Industry Leader
During the years of segregation when golf was a restrictive game and most courses were prohibitive or private, a group of ten professional African American men – the Desert Mashie founding fathers – came together and challenged that limitation. The Desert Mashie Golf Club was founded in 1946 as an organization “for all persons interested in golf regardless of race, or ethnicity,” one of the oldest independent clubs in Arizona. They stated the organization did not practice, permit or condone segregation or discrimination in any form because of color, race, creed, religion, national origin or gender orientation in order to foster their love of golf and expand the sport in the community.
The club defined its purpose, commitment and outlined a program for growth, with five objectives established:
1. To provide instructions and clinics for its members
2. To provide organized competition for its members
3. To promote a golf program for youth
4. To promote a program for women
5. To develop better public relations in the total golf community
In 1948, Desert Mashie held its first annual golf tournament and in 1950, Desert Mashie joined the United States Golf Association (USGA). In 1954, Desert Mashie Golf Club became a charter member of the Western States Golf Association (WSGA) whose 30 member clubs span six western states.
A past president, Dr. William “Bill” Dickey, was one of the most decorated servants of the golf industry. Fervently believing in a college education for youth through golf, Dr. Dickey was one of the founders of the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship, and in his own BDSA Foundation, distributed over 1,000 scholarships to college-bound minority golfers. An Arizona Golf Updegraff Awardee recognizing his spirit and service, he also was presented with The PGA Distinguished Service Award in 1999, its highest honor.
“We are so honored and grateful to be named to the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame,” said Carolyn Suttles, Desert Mashie Club President. “The mission of Desert Mashie has always been about our Junior Golfers. The fact that we have helped send young people off to college – and the alumni from our Junior Program – to work not only in golf but in a myriad of professional careers, is proof of the impact our organization has had on this community.”
You may be thinking, “How are the inductees selected?”
Well, there’s a committee for that, and it’s called: The Hall of Fame Committee. It consists of representatives from five of the allied golf associations serving golf in Arizona; Arizona Golf Association, Cactus & Pine Golf Course Superintendents, Club Managers Association, Junior Golf Association of Arizona and the Southwest Section PGA. The Arizona Golf Association created the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame in 1968 and since that time, there have been 72 individuals inducted.
You can learn more about the process at https://www.arizonagolfhalloffame.com/.
Inaugural LNGA Mid-Am/Senior tees off at Anthem Golf & Country Club
STASI, JOHNSON LEAD MID-AMATEUR; INGRAM PACES SENIOR AMATEUR
Inaugural LNGA Championships Begin in Arizona
ANTHEM, Ariz. (April 19) – Four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, of Oakland Park, Fla., and Gretchen Johnson, Portland, Ore., both carded even-par 72 to share the lead in the Mid-Amateur Championship and highly decorated Sara Ingram, of Nashville, Tenn., shot 3-over 75 to pace the Senior Amateur Championship of the Ladies National Golf Association (LNGA) Thursday at Anthem Golf & Country Club.
“It a great golf course which tests you,” said Stasi, an eight-time Florida Amateur Player of the Year. “But the wind died down a little today from the practice rounds and I could attack a few more pins.”
Stasi posted five birdies against three bogeys and a double bogey and finished her up-and-down round with two birdies in the last four holes. Johnson, the 2017 and 2018 Oregon Golf Association Tournament of Champions winner, steadied her way around the course with 16 pars and a birdie and a bogey.
“I kept it where the lawnmower goes most of the day,” said Johnson, a semifinalist at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. “It’s kind of tight, like target golf and I hit a lot of greens and I got it up and down every time.”
Ingram, a 3-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, was three-over through four holes but overcame her early struggles to gain a one-stroke lead over 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Am winner Corey Weworski, of Carlsbad, Calif. Past U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur champion Mina Hardin, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Evelyn Orley, of Cardiff, Calif., trail Ingram by two.
“I had to work hard today,” said Ingram, the three-time USA Curtis Cup team member who will serve as captain of the team in the Match this August in Wales. “It was not an easy 75. I hit some good shots. My game was better than it’s been since coming back two years.”
Lauren Greenlief, of Ashburn, Va., the 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and a semifinalist in 2019, and Dawn Woodard, of Greer, S.C., an eight-time winner of the South Carolina State Amateur and three-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur medalist, trailed the Mid-Am leaders by two strokes with two-over-par 74s.
Both championships are 54-hole, stroke-play events in their inaugural year and are conducted by the Ladies National Golf Association. The Mid-Amateur Championship is for players 25-years-old and up with an index in the World Handicap System not exceeding 10.4. The Senior Amateur Championship is for players 50-year-old and up with an index in World Handicap System not exceeding 14.4. The Wilma Cup, in honor of the departed women’s golf advocate and LNGA leader Wilma Gilliland, will be presented to the Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur champions and remain in their custody for a year. Medals will also be awarded to the runner-up and third-place finisher in each championship.
• Ingram is a member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame and the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame. She came back to golf after a long hiatus to serve as the general chairman of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and to serve as Curtis Cup captain. She won the 2020 Tennessee Women’s Senior Amateur.
• Woodard and Stasi will play together at the 6th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship next week at Maridoe Golf Club in Dallas.
Meghan Stasi: “It is a beautiful venue. The LNGA is doing a great job. It’s fun to have a solid tournament in April.”
“It’s great to be back with friends. We are all talking about where you can go and what you have to do to go anywhere. But, you have to be smart and follow the rules.”
Gretchen Johnson: “Where I’m from in Portland, I’m not used to the grain and the influence of the mountains, but I made a lot of short putts. The firmness of the greens puts a premium on lag putting.
“The goal is to play a little better each day. If I can continue to keep it in play and putt well everything else should fall into place. There are a lot of great players here. It may be a small field, but it is a strong field with a lot of good players.”
ABOUT THE LADIES NATIONAL GOLF ASSOCIATION (LNGA)
The LNGA is a national volunteer women’s amateur golf association founded in Kansas City Mo. in 1927 to promote amateur golf and good sportsmanship among women golfers and junior girls. Our events are hosted at venues across the United States. The events spotlight the nationally prominent amateur golfer that may be eligible for Curtis Cup team selection along with the skilled players from around the world. The LNGA Amateur, the Women’s Mid-Amateur and the Senior Women’s Amateur are included in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) list of golf championships.
Words by: Pete Kowalski
Media contact: Pete Kowalski, [email protected]; 908-216-8435
The Thunderbirds in the Community – Rising to the Challenge
When we look back at 2020 from a sporting lens, we’ll likely point to March 11th as the day everything changed. That fateful date marked the beginning of a rapid, indefinite cancelation of nearly every sporting event on the planet. March Madness, gone. The Olympics were pushed to next year. And the PGA TOUR rushed to find their part in a solution to one of the greatest global challenges in recent history. The sporting world, of course, wasn’t the only hard-hit industry during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The charity sector was decimated, finding itself without regular grants and donations from dependable organizations for the first time in decades. Thankfully, however, Arizona charities had an ace in the hole – The Thunderbirds.
As pillars of the Arizona philanthropic community, The Thunderbirds – much like the mythical bird for which their home city is named – rose from the ashes of anxiety to provide much-needed aid to hundreds of local charities and nonprofits. Within days after the CDC officially designated COVID-19 as a global pandemic in March, The Thunderbirds stepped up with an emergency $1 million donation local charitable groups including Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley, St. Mary’s Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul.
“Thanks to the tremendous community support every year of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, The Thunderbirds are in a unique position to provide immediate support,” said Chance Cozby, executive director of The Thunderbirds. “We are in unprecedented times. We felt, as an organization, it was imperative to act quickly and get much-needed funds to help those in dire need as soon as possible.”
Months later in August after a second wave of positive COVID-19 cases gripped the nation, The Thunderbirds announced an additional donation of $3.8 million to 43 Valley charities as part of their Spring funding cycle.
“We understand the importance these charities serve and that was never more evident than this spring when we had to band together to battle this pandemic,” said Tim Woods, Thunderbirds Big Chief. “To see what is happening in our community and how we as an organization are able to help so many is a very proud moment.”
After an influx of monetary support, The Thunderbirds took advantage of virtual meeting platforms like Zoom to launch their “In the Community Conversations” and reached out to dozens of charity partners to learn more about specific needs and to rally the community around common causes. In total, The Thunderbirds conducted 30 separate interviews with Arizona charity leaders and found ways to ease the burden of overwhelmed organizations.
Some organizations like Teen Lifeline who provides support to young people experiencing depression needed sanitation equipment. Ronald McDonald House which provides housing to families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at world-renowned pediatric centers needed meal donations more than anything else. Others needed additional volunteers, cash donations and clothing to name a few.
“What we found was every organization we spoke to had unique needs,” said 2021 tournament chairman Scott Jenkins. “Cash donations never hurt, but we realized our group could help with more than just providing funds. Writing checks can help from a distance, certainly, but real community support comes from rolling up your sleeves and getting to work.”
Get to work they did. As many Arizona schools prepared to open their doors to students for the first time in months, The Thunderbirds helped ensure every young learner had the tools they needed to succeed by providing on-site support to Arizona Helping Hands. They prepared first-aid kits, filled backpacks full of school supplies and even built bicycles.
“Thunderbirds Charities is very proud of our 10-year partnership with Arizona Helping Hands,” said Ed Grant of The Thunderbirds. “Especially during this pandemic where so many children who are used to getting service – either from their church or their school – are not receiving them right now. But Arizona Helping Hands continued to provide that. It’s very meaningful and it’s very important to us.”
Realizing the importance of exercise and playing safely, The Thunderbirds went to Special Olympics Arizona’s headquarters to help prepare 140 “Return to Play” bags full of personal protection equipment like thermometers, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to assist SOAZ programs start planning to resume activities. And To celebrate Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun’s 30th anniversary and as part of their commitment to local non-profit organizations, The Thunderbirds helped Rebuilding Together manufacture and install a wheelchair ramp at the home of a local woman with mobility challenges who had a hard time getting up and down her stairs.
Tyler Kent of The Thunderbirds was on hand to aid in the installation and also shed light on what these projects and the work of the organization at large mean to him and his fellow Thunderbirds.
“With the pandemic, charities need more help than ever,” said Kent. “The Thunderbirds have supported our charity partners financially, but what’s more meaningful today is working alongside my fellow thunderbirds and our charity partners in the community to bring joy and happiness to people in need.”
To lend a hand during the holidays more than 50 Thunderbirds and a number of Waste Management officials visited St. Mary’s Food Bank and United Food Bank before Thanksgiving and Christmas to assist with emergency food preparation. Over the course of two hours, The Thunderbirds and Waste Management officials packed more than 3,000 emergency food boxes and filled 864 backpacks with food for children who do not have access to proper nutrition outside of school – which has been directly impacted by COVID precautions. St. Mary’s Food Bank estimates this 2-hour food pack from The Thunderbirds and Waste Management resulted in helping nearly 2,400 Arizonans.
“These vital organizations do an amazing job helping hungry people in our community regardless of the circumstances,” said Thunderbirds Big Chief Chance Cozby. “Obviously, the current health crisis has impacted their ability to serve the community in the same ways they have in the past, but through volunteer support and the backing of the community at large, we know we can come together and provide aid and assistance to these as much as we can.”
It goes to show what can be done when a community comes together. And while we’re not out of the woods just yet, knowing the community support of the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the host Thunderbirds can and does lead to extraordinary charitable giving is a sight for sore eyes as we inch towards getting back to normal.
USGA Handicap Certification Seminars
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 – Tucson National Golf Club – Navajo
Address: 2727 W. Club Dr., Tucson
Registration: 8:30 a.m. Seminar: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Directions: I-10 to Corterro, east to Shannon, north to golf course
Thursday, October 27, 2011 Moon Valley Country Club
Address: 151 W. Moon Valley Dr., Phoenix
Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Seminar: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Directions: I-17 to Thunderbird Rd., east to Coral Gables Dr., north to Moon Valley Dr., east to golf course
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Mesa Country Club
Address: 660 W. Fairway Dr., Mesa
Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Seminar: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Directions: 1 block north of Brown on Country Club Dr., west on Fairway Dr.