FRIENDS OF GOLF HONORED THREE FOR 2016!
If there ever was a Friends of Golf event to attend, it was the one on February 22nd!
There is not a young golfer, playing in high school today that does not dream of winning the U.S. Amateur. The winner is invited to The Masters and is virtually guaranteed sponsor exemptions to play on the PGA Tour. Winning the Amateur is the culmination of everything they worked and sacrificed for during high school.
As you may know, the long-term goal of FOG has been to provide access to ALL young golfers, regardless of their economic circumstances, to turn their dreams of winning the Amateur into reality.
So, for the first time in its history, FOG honored THREE U.S. Amateur winners at the Bel-Air Country Club for its 37th annual FOG Charity Golf Tournament extravaganza. The current NCAA and 2015 U.S. Amateur champion, Bryson de Chambeau, along with John Cook, the 1978 champion and Jerry Pate, winner in 1975.
Their presence highlights what will become the starting point for the 2017 U.S. Amateur, which will be held for the second time (first in 1976) at the Bel-Air Country Club! You could say this year is the year of the amateur golfer in Southern California.
FRIENDS OF GOLF HAS MISSION OF GROWING THE GAME
What began with college pride has evolved into a charitable boon.
Founded in 1978 by Southland golf icon Eddie Merrins and philanthropist John Anderson, the Friends of Golf organization has grown to being one of the most potent proponents of the game’s future.
When Merrins, then the UCLA men’s golf coach and head professional at Bel-Air Country Club, and Bruins’ alumnus Anderson began Friends of Golf (FOG), the aim was to raise funds for the university’s golf program. But the decades since have seen the charitable endeavor soar with all the rise of a perfectly struck iron shot. [READ MORE]
THE 2015 BEN HOGAN AWARD WINNER … JON RAHM FROM ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
In a sold out black tie dinner, the 26th Ben Hogan Award was presented at The Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, Texas last May by Friends of Golf and The Colonial Country Club. With the three finalists all playing in the Big 12 there was certainly golf excitement in the west.
The night was kicked off by an uplifting speech by the great Bruce Lietzke directed to the three finalists: Jon Rahm from Arizona State University, Chen-Tsung Pan from University of Washington and Maverick McNealyfrom Stanford University. In his heartfelt remarks, Bruce emphasized… [READ MORE]
ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE WAS AN 8-YEAR OLD BOY WHO WANTED TO PLAY GOLF
He had only 4 golf clubs and little to no access to golf courses. He decided if he really wanted to play, the only way to do it was to get a job at a local club and be paid in range balls and an occasional round on the course. So he applied for a job. The pro told him they normally didn’t hire 8-year olds, but his determination clearly impressed the pro who gave him the job. He picked up balls and trash, cleaned clubs and whatever else his pro wanted him to do.
His father then told him, if he won a trophy he would get a set of clubs. The 8-year old entered a local 10 and under event, with a full field, and came in 2nd to a local 10-year old who always seemed to win. With trophy in hand his father fulfilled his promise, but only with a second hand set of ladies clubs.
This was clearly not a child of privilege, but one with desire and hard work ethics. His talent was recognized by a local golf professional who, along with many others, saw the potential in this boy and offered him opportunity, resources and support.
Who was this 8-year-old boy? None other than FOG’s 2015 Honoree, PHIL MICKELSON. [READ MORE]
LONGTIME SPORTSWRITER and Member of the Golf Writers Association of America Describes First FOG Tournament and Banquet Experience
Visit FOG’s “IN THE NEWS” page to read this and other newsworthy articles. [READ MORE]
THE KEN VENTURI “Spirit of Giving” AWARD
In 2012, for the first time in its history, Friends of Golf (FOG) created the inaugural Ken Venturi “Spirit of Giving” Award. This award was created to honor Ken Venturi and his lifelong commitment to be an inspiring and motivating force for young golfers everywhere. Ken was a Friend of FOG for many years—almost since its inception. Through the years, he graciously contributed his time and energy to support the mission of FOG by attending the event every year, conducting clinics for the players, and attracting many of the top professional golfers to contribute their time and interest to fostering good will for the young amateur and college golfer. Each new year, FOG honors another individual who represents similar values and devotes their life to giving and inspiring young golfers everywhere.
The 2016 “Spirit of Giving” Award recipient was Rick Taylor (CEO) of Konica Minolta.
The BEN HOGAN Trophy
What do Vince Lombardi, John Heisman, Bronco Nagurski, Chuck Bednarik, Dick Butkus, Ronnie Lott and Ben Hogan all have in common? They are all named for the most recognized college sports awards in the country. Ben Hogan was arguably the best golfer in history, yet few golfers (let alone ordinary Americans), are aware of the Hogan Trophy.
Favorite FOG Memory!
Share YOUR favorite FOG memory or enjoy fond memories of others.