USGA Honors 2015 Service Award Winners
Cookson, Hansen and Vittum among 19 recognized at Annual Meeting

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Feb. 7, 2015) – In celebration of the individuals who have given back to the game in extraordinary ways, the United States Golf Association (USGA) presented its annual Service Awards during a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.


Hosted by Golf World senior writer and television analyst Tim Rosaforte, the USGA Service Awards Dinner celebrates the leadership, selfless dedication and outstanding contributions of 19 individuals who have used their time and talents to serve and promote the game.


“Our honorees have all made significant contributions to the game of golf and the USGA’s commitment to its future,” said Tom O’Toole Jr., USGA president. “We are proud to recognize their contributions with this special evening and to celebrate their efforts during a time when the Association brings the golf community together.”


The Service Awards Dinner consolidates the presentation of many of the USGA’s volunteer accolades into a single event. The Green Section Award, the Joe Dey Award, Ike Grainger Award and Herbert Warren Wind Book Award were presented at the event. The USGA’s highest honor, the Bob Jones Award, will be presented to Barbara Nicklaus at a ceremony during the week of the 115th U.S. Open Championship, which will be contested June 18-21, 2015, at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.


The following individuals were recognized at the USGA Service Awards Dinner:


Dr. David Cookson, Joe Dey Award

Presented annually since 1996, the Joe Dey Award recognizes an individual’s meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. The award is named for the late Joseph C. Dey Jr., who served as USGA executive director for 35 years (1934-1969) before becoming the first commissioner of the PGA Tour.


This year’s honoree, Dr. David Cookson, is a doctor of internal medicine who has served as a Rules official for nearly 90 USGA championships, including 25 U.S. Opens, and numerous USGA qualifying events. A USGA committee member from 1983 to 2011, he served on the Regional Affairs, Nominating and Senior Amateur Championship committees during his tenure.

Beyond his dedication to the USGA and regional golf activities, Cookson has provided extraordinary volunteer service to other organizations. A member of the Wisconsin State Golf Association (WSGA) Board of Directors since 1970, Cookson served as its president in 1977 and 1978. He also served on the Western Golf Association’s Board of Governors from 1977-1998. Cookson received the President’s Distinguished Service Award from the WSGA in 1993, thanks in part to his contributions to the renovation of the University of Wisconsin Evans Scholars House in Madison. He was elected to the WSGA Hall of Fame in 2006.

James R. Hansen, Herbert Warren Wind Book Award

Established in 1987, the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to golf literature while seeking to broaden the public’s interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf. Wind, who died in 2005, was a renowned writer for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated who coined the phrase “Amen Corner” at Augusta National Golf Club. He is the only writer to win the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor.


James R. Hansen’s A Difficult Par: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf, a reflection on the life and career of one of the most prolific, well-respected and transformational figures in the history of golf, is this year’s award recipient. Jones designed or redesigned nearly 450 courses in 42 states and 28 countries, including 11 courses that have hosted a combined 34 U.S. Opens. With the help and cooperation of Jones’ sons, Robert Jr. and Rees, who shared letters, documents and personal stories of their father, Hansen pieced together the life events and struggles that the British-born Jones encountered on the way to creating his legacy.


Dr. Patricia J. Vittum, Green Section Award 

Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turfgrass, including research, maintenance and other areas that positively impact the landscape upon which golf is played.


The 2015 recipient is Dr. Patricia J. Vittum, of Amherst, Mass., a professor at the University of Massachusetts’ Stockbridge School of Agriculture. A recognized industry leader, she has conducted significant research on the biology and management of turfgrass insects and the effectiveness of biological-control methods. She is the principal author of the second edition of Turfgrass Insects of the United States and Canada, which is widely regarded as the leading publication on turf entomology. She also co-authored the Handbook of Integrated Pest Management for Golf Courses.


Ike Grainger Award

Established in 1995 as part of the USGA’s Centennial Celebration, the Ike Grainger Award recognizes those volunteers who reach 25 years of service to the Association. Grainger served on the USGA Executive Committee and served as USGA president in 1954 –and 1955.


This year, 16 individuals earned the award for their distinguished service to the USGA:

Barbara Simmons                Scottsdale, Ariz.                  Senior Women’s Amateur Championship


Bo Links                             San Francisco, Calif.  Green Section Committee

Bob J. Thomas                   Elmsford, N.Y.                    Regional Associations Committee

C. Layne Williams                Marietta, Ga.                       Mid-Amateur Championship Committee

Ed Thaney                          Rochester, N.Y.                   Regional Affairs Committee

                                                                                    Senior Amateur Championship Committee

Jay Fox                              Little Rock, Ark.                   Regional Associations Committee

Jerry Pate                           Pensacola, Fla.                   Green Section Committee

John M. Reed                     Georgetown, Ky.                 Mid-Amateur Championship Committee

Judy Thompson                  Kent, Wash.                        Regional Affairs Committee

Merilee M. Giddings            Peachtree City, Ga.              Girls’ Junior Championship Committee

Peter C. Blaisdell                 Keene, N.H.                         Green Section Committee

Randy Olmstead                 Tulsa, Okla.                         Mid-Amateur Championship Committee

Renee M. Powell                 East Canton, Ohio               Girls’ Junior Championship Committee

Timothy A. Gamso              Dallas, Texas                      Mid-Amateur Championship Committee

William A. Westerfeld          Rochester, N.Y.                   Museum Committee

William Anderson                Charlotte, N.C.                     Green Section Committee



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