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Volunteer Spotlight Dana Laine

A self-proclaimed late bloomer to the golf administration game, Houston’s Dana Laine has spent the majority of her life helping others.

Long before she started assisting amateur golfers in 2018 as a TGA Volunteer, including giving rulings, helping with lost ball searches, giving pace of play support, scoring, and so on, Laine was a registered nurse. She’s spent 40 years in the profession, a career that includes working in acute care at Memorial Hermann as part of the hospital’s Life Flight Care team for eight of them.

From there, she moved to the Texas Medical Board doing investigative work involving physicians. She retired 20 years later, with a caveat. She gave her word to her husband John that if she retired, she’d help him doing the books and some office work for his tax preparation company.

That didn’t last long, however. She asked off to play golf too often!

About five years prior to her retirement from the medical industry, John surprised her with her first set of golf clubs. They found a little nine-hole course near their house in Richmond. Rather quickly, Laine was bitten by the golf bug. She started taking lessons and playing various public courses around Houston.

“I just loved it because it was something I could do on my own, and it got me out of the house,” Laine said. “We used to do a lot of fishing. Once I started playing golf, the fishing went by the wayside a little bit.”

The couple joined Sugar Creek Country Club in Sugar Land. Soon after that, they bought a house near the course. They loved being members of the club and living close by, which probably had a little something to do with Laine becoming borderline consumed with playing golf and trying to get better.

As she did, Laine dabbled in some competitive arenas. She teed it up in several intraclub events at Sugar Creek and played in the Greater Houston Women’s City Amateur. During that City Am event, she got into a spot of bother and needed a Rules Official. Longtime TGA and USGA Rules expert Sis Singletary helped Laine with the situation. Singletary’s friendliness, professionalism, and expertise made strong impressions on Laine.

Soon after, Laine played in her first TGA Women’s Championship. She saw Singletary again there. Laine had positive experiences in her club’s LGA tournaments and the Houston City Am, but she was blown away with the atmosphere at the TGA event.

“It was just so well run,” she said. “I was so impressed with everything.”

About this time, Laine was looking for other ways to get involved with golf. She loved to play the game, sure, but she’d always had a servant’s heart. They say caring is the essence of nursing, and Laine certainly cared about golf. A friend suggested she inquire about becoming a volunteer with the TGA, so she called John Cochran IV, the TGA’s Director of Competitions for South Texas.

“She had seen us hosting events at Sugar Creek, where she is a member, and wanted to learn about how to give back,” Cochran said. “She has grown as a volunteer since then, and she’s always willing to help when she comes out to events. Dana isn’t afraid to ask questions and is always a sponge when around others that have been volunteering longer and have more experience.”

Singletary in particular has become a mentor to Laine. The two are text buddies, and Singletary encourages her friend to text her with any and all Rules questions that may arise.

“Sis has been absolutely wonderful to me,” Laine said.

Like many of her peers, Laine’s favorite TGA events to work are the Legends Junior Tour competitions. She especially loves watching the girls play, improve, and grow as young people. Through the course of her volunteer work, Laine created lasting friendships with some young players.

She befriended Kendell Jackson from Pearland, for example. Laine saw Jackson and her father at several LJT events. Laine was impressed with Jackson’s skill, as well as her dad’s interest and unconditional support. Over the years, Laine watched as Jackson improved as a competitive golfer and grow as person.

“Kendell was very shy at first,” Laine recalled. “She’s turned into a wonderful young lady, just a beautiful person. I’m so proud of all she’s accomplished.”

Now a sophomore at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Jackson is enjoying her best competitive season yet. She has two collegiate victories, four top-5s, and five top-10s. Jackson has warm memories of her friend, too.

“She was there for a lot of my LJT events,” Jackson said of Laine. “She always had a smile on her face and was so welcoming. She always had a great attitude and was encouraging, especially on the days I didn’t play well. Whenever I was playing a course that I didn’t know well, or wasn’t playing particularly well, it was always nice to see her friendly face when I had a Rules question. She was so great at walking me through the situation and options.”

Although she’s one of the newer volunteers, Laine feels right at home with her TGA family. She credits veteran volunteers such as Singletary, Peggy Spann, Nick Bramlett, A.J. Cortez, Bobby Grabstald, Rick Turner, and many others, for helping her become more confident as a Rules Official.

“They are a great group of people,” Laine said. “They’re very welcoming, very open, and very patient for those of us who are still learning. They’re always available to help. If you’re not sure, you’re on the radio asking for help. It makes me feel good when what I say over the radio is correct, but to have them there for support and go over scenarios and ‘what ifs,’ is so helpful. It’s still a learning experience, and I love it.”

To learn more about becoming a TGA Volunteer, click here.

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In the Volunteer Spotlight: Pam Murray

Every TGA volunteer found their way to the rewarding job via different avenues. For Pam Murray, it was the Course Rating Team that drew her into giving decades of service to further the game of golf.

Murray’s family is no stranger to the sport. Her father introduced her to the game. Her two brothers are both PGA Class-A Club Professionals who recently retired in the Pacific Northwest. It wasn’t until she graduated college that Murray decided to play and truly learn the game of golf though.

“My family would always play golf together because my mom would get us out of the house,” Murray said. “I got tired of my brothers always cheating me on the golf course. They would tell me I couldn’t do this, or I couldn’t do that. So, I decided I better learn the rules.”

Murray, former President of the Women’s Texas Golf Association from 2008-10, first spent her time with the Course Rating Team from 1997-2002. In 2002, she retired and had more time to learn the Rules. This allowed her to transition into becoming a Rules official at tournaments.

The Richardson native has served in numerous capacities since 2002 for the USGA and TGA. She became a member of the USGA Women’s Committee in 2011, serving as vice-chairman from 2015-16 and then as chairman from 2017-18.

She presided over the newly created U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Committee in 2014-15 and before that the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Committee in 2013-14. Murray also was a longtime member of the TGA Rules Committee.

Prior to becoming a TGA volunteer, Murray spent her working career in education. As a retired educator, she has seen that part of her profession pay dividends on the golf course.

“It helps you relate to the people you are dealing with,” Murray said.

At the top of her list of favorite memories from volunteering in golf are being able to be involved with the USGA’s inaugural 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open and helping with President Bush’s Warrior Open for five years.

Having been heavily involved in the game since 1997, Murray has seen great change over the past couple of decades.

“I see a lot more young girls and women playing golf than there were in 1997,” Murray said. “I think the TGA and what was the WTGA were very instrumental in getting a lot more women involved in the state of Texas.”

Murray estimates that she spends around 75 days of the year volunteering. She says it’s the people who bring her back. This is the same reason that a countless number of our volunteers continuously cite as their inspiration for devoting their time to the TGA.

“I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world officiating,” Murray said. “It’s been a great experience just meeting other rules officials, players, and juniors. And watching my juniors grow up to now participate on the LPGA and PGA TOUR is special.”

The TGA thanks Pam for her countless years of service to the Association and the game of golf. If you see her at a TGA or USGA event this year make sure to say hello!

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In Memoriam: Diane Dill, 1936-2023

Rose Diane Dupree was born on July 21, 1936, in Gilmer, Texas to Jake and Ruth Dupree. As the only child of Jake and Ruth, she was the apple of their eyes. Diane loved athletics and the outdoors. She played football in the front yard with the boys in the neighborhood, always being the quarterback. She played baseball and tennis, and at the age of 14, she discovered true excitement in golf. She would play with her parents and other kids who were around.

Diane attended Gilmer schools while growing up. She was in the Gilmer Buckeye marching band, where she played trombone. Gilmer is home to the cherished tradition known as the East Texas Yamboree. It is a good-old fashioned small-town festival. It typically draws over 100,000 people to the small community. The annual four-day event is held each October to celebrate the yam cash crop. In 1953, Diane was selected to be Queen Yam XVI. She presided over the Queen’s coronation and the Queen’s parade and all the festivities during the Yamboree. The floats are built by Upshur County Schools. The float that wins First Place is the Queen’s Float in the parade on Saturday. Diane always loved this fabulous experience in her young life and being Queen Yam. She loved her East Texas roots.

After graduating from Gilmer High School, Diane attended the University of Texas. She was a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and earned a Bachelor of Business degree.

After Diane graduated from the University of Texas, she started playing golf with local friends. Wanting to be more competitive, she started taking lessons from a golf pro at the Humble Country Club in Pasadena. He helped refine her swing. His name was Bill Dill. Not only did Diane love golf, she loved and adored Bill Dill. The feeling was mutual, and Diane and Bill married in June 1963. Although Bill was 11 years older than Diane, it was a match made in heaven. They were inseparable and shared a love of hunting, fishing, traveling, cooking and of course, golf. Together they became the stars of Bentwater Country Club. Many of their closest friends are gathered today in Diane’s honor.

The team of Bill and Diane taught so many to play and enjoy golf. Diane’s amateur legacy is impressive, as she had 14 holes in one and played in two US Women’s Amateurs. She won six Women’s Senior Strike Play tournaments and captured the Super Senior and Legends Divisions three times. When Diane could no longer play because of a back injury, she volunteered for the Women’s TGA and attended the USGA Rules School. Volunteering for the TGA allowed her to be on the courses with young ladies at the collegiate and professional level. Diane volunteered at over 20 events and helped the TGA conduct top tier women’s championships. Diane was a TGA Director on the Women’s Committee, as well.

In 1958, Diane began her career with Humble Oil, which became Exxon. She joined the Marketing Department. Who could have been better to be an ambassador for the company than a talented, organized, and friendly young lady with a degree in business from the University of Texas?

In 1977, Diane became an analyst in administration where she handled management development and compensation.

Diane retired in 1988, after 30 years of service and received many professional accolades over those years.

In her leisure time, Diane found joy and great passion in golf. Her competitive spirit, drive and determination made her a shining star for others to follow. Her devotion to golf brought respect and honor to her while impacting many others along the way.

Dear Diane lived a dream life, a full life by every measure. She was showered with God’s countless blessings of having doting and loving parents, having a marriage to her wonderful soul mate, Bill Dill, living an honored professional life, and being surrounded with loving family and friends.

Diane is survived by her stepson Johnny Dill and his family Tara Ward, Brian Stewart, and daughter Ava, stepdaughter Mary Lou Dill, and is predeceased by stepdaughter Billie June Wilson, cousins Mike and Cathy Bullard, Courtney Duperier and husband Chris, Ross Bullard and their families, cousins Paul and Beverly Rowntree, Christopher and Brandi Rowntree, Michael and Alicia Rowntree, Matthew and Rachel Rowntree and their families.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you, Diane.

To make a donation in the memory of Diane Dill, click here.

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Leslie Henry Nominated to Serve on USGA Executive Committee

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (Dec. 7, 2022) – Leslie Henry of Houston, Texas; Bryan Lewis of South Haven, Mich.; Michael McCarthy of San Francisco, Calif.; and Jeff Sluman of Hinsdale, Ill.; have each been nominated to serve a three-year term on the USGA Executive Committee, highlighting the USGA Nominating Committee’s 2023 slate.

In addition, Courtney Myhrum of Pittsburgh, Pa., has been nominated to serve a second three-year term on the USGA Executive Committee, a volunteer group of 15 people that provides strategic and financial oversight as the Association’s policy-making and governance board.

“I look forward to welcoming these talented, respected and passionate leaders to our Executive Committee,” said USGA CEO Mike Whan. “Along with all my USGA teammates, I am excited to begin working together with them to strengthen and advance our great game.”

Henry is the immediate past president of the Texas Golf Association (TGA), the first female to hold that role. She became a member of the Women’s Texas Golf Association (WTGA) board of directors in 2012 and played an integral role in the process of merging the WTGA with the TGA in 2014. She joined the TGA Board of Directors that year and was elected as the TGA’s first female officer in 2016. She played tennis collegiately at Louisiana State University and earned her law degree from the South Texas College of Law. Henry took up golf at the age of 35 and has since won the Greater Houston Women’s Senior City Championship four times and has played on the Texas Cup South Team seven times. She has also qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, and recently competed in the World Amateur Golfers Championship in Malaysia after winning the Nationals in Orlando, Fla.

A litigator of more than 25 years, Henry divides her time between the Houston and New Orleans offices of Adams and Reese, LLP. She formerly served on Adams and Reese’s Executive Committee, which oversees the firm’s strategic operations across its 21 markets. She currently serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Henry also works closely with young attorneys through Adams and Reese’s mentorship program.

Lewis has been a USGA committee member since 1998 and is a recipient of the association’s Ike Grainger Award, which recognizes 25 years of volunteer service. He has served on the Rules Committee for 84 USGA championships, four Masters Tournaments and the 2021 Walker Cup Match. He has served on the USGA Rules of Golf Committee since 2017 and has been an instructor at USGA/PGA Rules Workshops since 2019. Lewis played in the 1980 U.S. Junior Amateur and was a member of the Western Michigan University varsity golf team. He also served for four years on the Golf Association of Michigan Board of Governors.

Professionally, Lewis spent 32 years at Whirlpool Corporation before retiring in 2017 as an information security manager. He was a nationally recognized expert in identity and access management. His governance experience includes 22 years on the South Haven (Mich.) Public Schools Board of Education, eight of those as board president.

McCarthy is a lifelong golfer, competing at an early age in Northern California junior events. He earned his B.A. in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was a member of the 1988 golf team that won a national championship. McCarthy currently serves on the board of his hometown San Francisco Golf Club, and he was a longtime board member of the First Tee of San Francisco, where he helped start the program in conjunction with the restoration of Harding Park Golf Club. Still competitive, McCarthy qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 2010 and has won 12 club championships.

McCarthy, whose career at Franklin Templeton Investments spans more than 30 years, currently serves as executive vice president and chief investment officer for the Franklin Equity Group. He has oversight of the San Mateo (Calif.) and New York-based investment teams who manage Franklin’s equity and hybrid strategies, along with Franklin Equity Group’s research team. He is also the lead portfolio manager for the Franklin Small Cap Growth strategy. McCarthy is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder.

Sluman, who played in the 1980 U.S. Open as an amateur and turned professional later that year, joined the PGA Tour in 1983 and PGA Tour Champions in 2007. He has 18 professional victories, including the 1988 PGA Championship. Sluman has four top-10 finishes in the U.S. Open, including runner-up in 1992 at Pebble Beach. In 2019, Sluman became the 21st player in history to play more than 1,000 events on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, and has recorded six victories on each tour. He was a two-time PGA Tour Policy Board member and two-time Champions Tour Policy Board member and served as an assistant captain for three U.S. Presidents Cup and two U.S. Ryder Cup teams.

Sluman, who played at Florida State University, is a member of his alma mater’s Hall of Fame, as well as the New York State Golf Association Hall of Fame in recognition of his stellar amateur career in his home state, punctuated by a victory at the 1978 New York State Amateur.

Current USGA Executive Committee members include Myhrum; Tony Anderson of Chicago, Ill.; Chuck Brymer of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Sinclair Eaddy Jr., of Baltimore, Md.; Cathy Engelbert of Berkeley Heights, N.J.; Kendra Graham of Winter Park, Fla.; Kevin Hammer of Boynton Beach, Fla.; Deborah Platt Majoras of Cincinnati, Ohio; Tony Petitti of Irvington, N.Y.; Sharon Ritchey of Longboat Key, Fla.; and Fred Perpall of Dallas, Texas, who was previously nominated to become the USGA’s 67th president.

Per the bylaws of the association, Henry, Lewis, McCarthy and Sluman will each serve a three-year term beginning in 2023, with the potential to be elected for a second and final three-year term in 2026.

If elected, the new four members will assume seats vacated by retiring members Thomas Barkin of Atlanta, Ga.; Paul Brown of Brookeville, Md.; Nick Price of Hobe Sound, Fla.; and Stu Francis of Hillsborough, Calif., who is concluding his three-year term as USGA president.

The USGA Annual Meeting will take place Feb. 25, 2023 in Napa, Calif.

About the USGA 
The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Presented by ProMedica. With The R&A, we govern the sport via a global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Association’s Research and Test Center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.

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USGA, R&A Announce 2023 Rules of Golf Update

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., USA, and ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (Nov. 7, 2022) – The USGA and The R&A have unveiled a regular update to the Rules of Golf as they continue to make the Rules easier to understand and apply. The new Rules will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

The 2023 edition continues the modernization process, with an emphasis on both inclusion and sustainability. For the first time, the modified Rules for players with disabilities have been fully incorporated into the playing rules without the need to adopt a local rule. The governing bodies, supported by longstanding partner Rolex, will also promote digital and mobile app access to the Rules while significantly reducing the production and distribution of more than 4 million printed books.

Several penalties have been relaxed and language has been clarified to help golfers at all levels of play.

Key changes include:

  • Modifications for Players with Disabilities: The modifications to the Rules for players with disabilities have been made part of the Rules and are in effect for all players who are classified in the categories covered in Rule 25
  • Handicap Usage in Stroke Play: With the continued growth of score-posting technology following the adoption of the World Handicap System™, players are no longer penalized for failing to put their handicap on their scorecard in stroke play. The committee will be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of each player’s handicap.
  • Club Damaged During Round: The Rule has been amended to allow a player to replace a club that is damaged during a round, provided the player did not damage it through abuse.
  • Ball Moved by Natural Forces: A new exception provides that a ball at rest must be replaced if it moves to another area of the course or comes to rest out of bounds after being dropped, placed or replaced.
  • Back-on-the-Line Relief Procedure: The back-on-the-line relief procedure, often used for penalty area and unplayable ball relief, has been simplified so that the player now drops their ball on the line, and the ball must come to rest within one club-length of where it is dropped.

Golfers will be able to learn more about the major changes and review the official 2023 Rules of Golf by visiting www.usga.org/2023Rules and https://www.randa.org/. Full updates to the official Rules of Golf digital applications will be available starting on January 1.

“The growing popularity of golf continues to guide our decision-making, and modernizing the Rules to promote inclusivity and accessibility is clearly a great step in the right direction,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA Chief Governance Officer. “This latest evolution is especially important to the community of golfers with disabilities, and we hope it will encourage more people to play and enjoy the game.”

Grant Moir, Director of Rules at The R&A, said, “We are continuing to improve and adapt the Rules of Golf to ensure they are in line with the way the modern game is played. That means making the Rules easier to understand and access for all golfers and making the sport more inclusive and welcoming for golfers with disabilities. We are also working to ensure golf has a sustainable long-term future and making more resources available digitally is key to achieving that goal.”

Players are reminded that the current edition of the Rules of Golf (2019) still applies when playing or posting scores for the remainder of 2022.

As an extension of their support of the Rules of Golf worldwide, Rolex has made a commitment to support The R&A’s and the USGA’s efforts to modernize golf’s Rules. The Swiss watchmaker’s contribution to excellence in golf is based on a rich heritage stretching back more than 50 years, forged through pivotal partnerships at every level of the game, from the sport’s leading professional and amateur competitions and organizations to players at the pinnacle of their sport worldwide.

About the USGA 
The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Presented by ProMedica. With The R&A, we govern the sport via a global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Association’s Research and Test Center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.

About The R&A

References in this document to The R&A are to R&A Rules Limited. Together The R&A, based in St. Andrews, Scotland, and the USGA govern the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions but with a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Standards. The R&A governs the sport worldwide, outside of the United States and Mexico, on behalf of over 36 million golfers in 144 countries and with the consent of 159 organizations from amateur and professional golf.

The R&A aims to invest £200 million in developing golf over a decade and supports the growth of the sport internationally, including the development and management of sustainable golf facilities.  For more information visit http://www.randa.org

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In Memoriam: John T. Stuart III (1936-2022)

STUART III, John Thomas died peacefully at home on May 27, 2022.  A lifelong resident of Dallas, he was born August 12, 1936 to Dorothy Guthrie Stuart and John Thomas Stuart, Jr.  He attended Highland Park High School and the University of Texas, graduating in 1958.  Subsequently, he graduated from SMU’s Southwestern Graduate School of Banking and the Harvard Advanced Management Program.

At Highland Park, John was a cheerleader and Blanket Award recipient.  At the University of Texas, John was a member of Delta Tau Delta, The Texas Cowboys, Editor of The Cactus and a Distinguished Military Student.  He was a member of Phi Eta Sigma and Beta Gama Sigma.  Following graduation, he was in the US Army stationed at Ft Hood Texas. He then joined Republic Bank in Dallas, rising to be President and holding the same title in the successor First Republic Bank of Dallas.  He moved on to be President and CEO of Alpert Investment Company.  He then joined Guaranty Bank, the Temple Inland subsidiary, retiring as Vice Chairman.  He served on the Board and returned as Chairman and CEO for a brief time.   He became Vice Chairman of Belmont Interests, a private wealth management company until he retired.

As an alumnus of the University of Texas, he served as President of the Dallas Chapter of the Texas Exes, President of the Texas Exes at Austin, Chairman of the Texas Red McCombs School of Business Advisory Council, the Longhorn Foundation and the UT System Chancellor’s Council.  He was also President of the University of Texas Foundation.  He served on the Centennial Commission of 100 and the Commission of 125.  The University honored him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Business School Distinguished Alumnus Award and Hall of Fame Award.  Friends established the John T. Stuart III Centennial Chair in Business Administration. He along with his wife Barbara was named ”Top Hands” by the Texas Exes as well as the Dallas Distinguished Alumni. He was a Life Member of the Development Board at the University of Texas, Austin and Dallas.  He was a member of the Littlefield Society.

He served for six years as a member of the University of Texas Athletic Council and was named an honorary letterman.  He was appointed by the UT Athletic director to the Board of the Cotton Bowl Athletics Association.  He served as President and Chairman in 1992, serving two years and was a Life Director.  As a long-time member of the Team Selection Committee, John traveled to a number of colleges developing lifelong friendships around the country.  He and Barbara enjoyed their travels to UT football games both in Austin and away from coast to coast including three trips to the Rose Bowl, two of which were National Championship games.

He served on a number of civic boards in Dallas but in most recent years he gave his time to Callier Center of Dallas becoming President of the Board.  He also found great enjoyment from his volunteering time with the Boys Scouts of America.  He was President of the Circle 10 Council, President of the Circle 10 Foundation, an area and regional Vice President.  He served as Jamboree Sub Camp 16 Chief in 2010. He received the Distinguished Eagle Award, The Silver Beaver Award, the Silver Antelope Award as well as the Whitney Young Service Award.  He was a Vigil Honor and Order of the Arrow. He enjoyed his trips to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico for training programs on behalf of Scouting including Wood Badge.

Having lived most of his life in University Park, he felt it a privilege to have served as President of the University Library and a number of years on the University Park Finance Advisory Committee which he was Chairman until his recent resignation.

John enjoyed his service to amateur golf in Texas serving on the Texas Golf Association Foundation and a volunteer at area tournaments for the Association.

He served on a number of other boards including The Executive Board of North Texas Public Broadcasting, Chairman of the YWCA, Board of the Florence Foundation, Board of the Summer Musicals and the African-American Museum Board of Trustees.  He was a lifetime member of the Salesmanship Club.

John really enjoyed trout fishing in both the lower 48 and Alaska.  He was fond of his greenhouse and enjoyed discovering new plants for landscaping in Texas.  Both areas he could immerse himself and find pleasure and beauty.

He was a past President of Royal Oaks Country Club, member of Dallas Country Club and Highland Park Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by his wonderful and loving wife of almost 66 years, Barbara Kay White Stuart, his son John Michael Stuart, his daughter and son in law, Melissa and George Pettit Macatee IV, grandchildren, George Pettit Macatee, V, wife Kailee, McBride Macatee Oden, husband Madison and John Stuart Macatee and John Michael Stuart II.  John has two Great grandsons; Madison Lee Oden III “Tres” and George Pettit Macatee, VI.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, at Highland Park Presbyterian Church.

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In Memory of John Semander

It is with deep sadness that the TGA announces the passing of John Semander. Semander gave selflessly of his time, energy and resources to promote golf in Texas for many years. His contributions to the game of golf are immeasurable and have impacted the state’s entire golfing community. The longtime TGA volunteer and Past Director passed away on July 27. He was 89 years old.

Semander was a gentle spirit who didn’t know a stranger. He seemed to be friends with everyone and had a warm-hearted story to share about each one to back it up. The Houston native was recognized numerous times for his steadfast dedication and efforts in helping the TGA.

He was the recipient of the 2005 South Texas Volunteer of the Year Award and the 2009 Bob Wells Distinguished Service Award, the TGA’s highest honor for individuals who’ve contributed to the growth of the game through their volunteerism and meritorious service.

In addition to duties as a TGA Director, Semander also served as a member of the TGA Rules Committee, as well as the USGA Junior Amateur Committee.

In 2010, Semander captained the South Texas team to victory in the Texas Shootout held at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands.

The longtime Shell employee was also very active with the Houston Golf Association among other pursuits.

In 2017, the TGA established the John Semander Family Scholarship to financially assist golfers who are seeking higher education. Semander’s dedication, character and lifelong connection to golf were attributes that the scholarship program endeavored to honor and encourage in the next generation of golfers.

The TGA mourns the loss of John Semander and sends its condolences to his family and friends.

 

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Remembering Nick Bramlett

“Generous.” This word, more than any other, was used by the people closest to Nick Bramlett when they described him. The longtime TGA Volunteer and Rules of Golf expert passed away on April 27. He was 81 years old.

Known as “PoPo” to his family and closest friends, Bramlett loved being outdoors. He was an avid bird hunter, but especially enjoyed hunting white-tailed deer on his West Texas deer lease near Sonora.

Another of Bramlett’s loves was the game of golf. Volunteering and mentoring were in his blood. He was named the Legends Junior Tour’s Volunteer of the Year in 2013 and was also the recipient of the TGA’s South Texas Volunteer of the Year award in 2016.

“He was very generous with his time, particularly in the support of amateur golf,” said A.J. Cortez, a TGA Volunteer and close friend of Bramlett. “In the last 10 years, I don’t know of anyone who volunteered more for the TGA, USGA, LJT and the Houston Golf Association. Additionally, he was extremely generous with his skills and knowledge and served as an important mentor to many of the new volunteers starting their path to becoming a certified Rules Official.”

Bramlett was passionate about all things golf – it was what originally led him to becoming a Rules Official. He loved spending time on the course playing golf, but he was equally passionate about giving back to the game that meant so much to him. Bramlett was a dedicated servant of the game and from 2010-19 he spent nearly 250 days volunteering at TGA events. And that’s not counting the days he spent helping other associations during that time.

“He loved the sport. He loved being a Rules Official no matter what event he was working, whether it was for the STPGA, NCAA or lending a hand at a local qualifier,” said TGA Volunteer Bobby Grabstaldt. “He just loved being a team player. There was no one in the TGA that was more generous with their time and willing to help and be a part of a team than Nick was.”

Bramlett’s peers spoke just as highly about who he was outside of golf.

“He was just a really kind, thoughtful person,” Grabstaldt said. “He was always there for everybody and was a true friend to all.”

“Nick was one of those lucky people who never met a stranger,” Cortez said. “Nick was well known to all the people we dealt with from the players and parents to the caddies and volunteers. Nick was never without a story and he relished telling them to anyone and everyone who would listen.”

Bramlett also had a deep impact on the TGA staff.

“I worked a number of events with Nick over the years, and I always looked forward to seeing him,” said Mark Button, the TGA’s Senior Director of Communications. “He was always so welcoming, nice and genuinely interested in helping people. I was really sad to hear of his passing.”

The TGA sends its deepest condolences to Nick Bramlett’s family and friends. Instead of sending flowers, his family asked that you might consider making a donation to the TGA on Nick’s behalf. He would’ve liked that very much.

Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Suhey

Steve Suhey’s father introduced him to the game of golf when he was 6 years old in 1956. They spent Sunday evenings looping the nearby course in central Pennsylvania. Today, Suhey continues to create lasting memories on golf courses more than 1,500 miles away from where he grew up and learned to play.

“I love the challenge of golf throughout your lifetime,” Suhey said. “It’s a game you can play your whole life, and as you grow older you face new challenges. I’ve really enjoyed that.”

In 1982, Suhey and his wife, Louise, moved to Texas. The avid amateur golfer played in competitive events across the state, including championships conducted by the Texas Golf Association. He’d always loved and appreciated the Rules of Golf, but it wasn’t until met Marty Javors that he began to get involved as a Rules official.

“In the late 1980s, I met Marty, who had been a TGA and USGA Rules official for many years,” Suhey said. “He encouraged me to get involved with the Rules, but because of my businesses and travel schedule, I could never do it. I promised Marty that when I retired I would turn my attention to the Rules and get involved as a Rules official.”

In 2016, Suhey delivered on his promise. Following his retirement as an insurance broker, he attended his first USGA/PGA Rules of Golf Workshop, took his first Rules of Golf exam and volunteered with the TGA.

“When he finally pulled the trigger he didn’t hold back at all,” Javors said. “He’s a very smart guy and learned the Rules very quickly. He loves the game and he’s been a huge help to the golf community in Texas.”

Over the years, Suhey has become one of the most dedicated TGA volunteers. In 2020, he officiated over 40 days at local and statewide men’s, women’s and junior championships.

“As a volunteer, my goal is to help the competitors play by the Rules,” Suhey said. “In order to do that, you have to ask a lot of questions to find out the exact situation and make sure the player knows what his options are.”

Suhey values the interactions he has with players, working with TGA staff and building relationships with other volunteers. His “team-first” mentality has not gone unrecognized by the TGA.

“Steve’s presence makes our championships better and our job as a staff easier,” TGA Tournament Director Ian Davis said. “It doesn’t matter what his assignment is for the day, he is the first one on site and he is the last to leave. Steve is a staunch individual and you can always count on him. He’s always available to stick around for a playoff or help with packing up the equipment when we finish.”

Golf is an ever-evolving game. It teaches lessons on and off the golf course, and Suhey has been a part of unique lessons for so many amateur golfers across the state. Sixty-four years since he touched his first club, Suhey continues to grow from the lessons of golf.

“Because of what golf has given me over the years, this is my way of giving back,” Suhey said. “I learn something at every tournament I officiate and every meeting I attend. And like the game of golf itself, you keep learning and learning and learning and it never stops throughout your life.”

The TGA extends its sincere appreciation to Steve for his efforts in making our championships a success. The work and dedication from all our volunteers allows the TGA to grow and continue to support the game we all love.

To learn more about the TGA Volunteer Program, click here.

Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Jim Brown Honored with Bob Wells Volunteerism Award

Jim Brown Bob Wells Award

The Texas Golf Association is pleased to announce longtime director and past president Jim Brown has received the Bob Wells Distinguished Service Award, the TGA’s highest honor for individuals who’ve contributed to the growth of the game through their volunteerism and meritorious service.

The words volunteerism and service define Brown, a retired personal injury attorney who joined the TGA Board of Directors in 2010 and in less than a year promptly received the North Texas Volunteer of the Year Award. From the outset, Brown annually has averaged more than 50 days a year working both on the course as a TGA Rules Official at multiple men’s, women’s and junior championships and off the course attending to association-related business matters at board meetings. That’s in addition to the time he’s given volunteering as a Rules Official for the United States Golf Association, Southern Golf Association and Trans-Mississippi Golf Association.

Brown was surprised when he received the news – “aghast” is the word he used – but there’s been no one in recent TGA history who is more deserving.

“I have admired the people who previously have received this award ever since I’ve been involved with the TGA,” Brown said. “Those people have mentored me, with or without their knowledge, with all the dedication they’ve shown. That’s what makes me so gratified to just be considered among those people. I’m so grateful I found the Texas Golf Association. The people and the association add immense value to my life.”

TGA Executive Director Stacy Dennis said there is no better representative for the game of golf and the association than Jim Brown.

“He is the kind of person I imagine this award was created to honor,” Dennis said. “He has meant more to the TGA than the deep Rules knowledge and countless days he’s contributed as a volunteer. He is a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He sincerely loves the game and, most importantly, he loves our players.”

One of the foremost experts on the Rules of Golf in Texas, if not the entire country, Brown served as TGA President from 2016-18.

“His heart and soul are in the TGA,” said his friend, neighbor and colleague Carey Schulten, an esteemed Rules Official in his own right who succeeded Brown as TGA president from 2018-20. “Jim has done everything. The number of days he does Rules work is virtually every tournament that is within his reach.”

Schulten, who lives two streets away from Brown in central Dallas, met his friend back in 2010 when they found themselves working TGA championships together. Schulten, a former U.S. Air Force and Delta Air Lines pilot who won the Legends Junior Tour’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015, said it’s the lawyer in Brown that makes him such a trusted expert on the Rules.

“I think he sleeps with a Rules book,” Schulten joked. “He drinks and sleeps the Rules book. He’s on it all the time, and it reflects his background. He’s down to the fine print on that Rules book.”

First presented in 2005, the Bob Wells Distinguished Service Award is named after the late Bob Wells, who served as TGA president from 1980-87.

Current president Leslie Henry met Brown in 2012 when she began serving on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Texas Golf Association, which eventually merged with the TGA in 2014. Henry said Brown joined her in championing the idea of the men and women golfers in Texas coming together as an inclusive statewide association.

“I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Jim,” Henry said. “He is one of the most caring, compassionate human beings I have met in my lifetime. He’s the true example of treating everyone with respect and fairness. The award is so deserving, and we are all proud to call Jim Brown our friend and a force for the TGA.”

Brown, 75, is in his 12th year as a director of the TGA. Prior to his tenure as president in 2016-18, Brown served two-year terms as 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President. He’s also put in countless hours as a member of several sub-committees, including Nominating, Finance, Compensation and Rules & Competitions.

A longtime advocate for amateur golf, Brown has also been a member the Southern Golf Association’s Board of Directors since 2001 and a member of the Executive Committee since 2011. He’s a former SGA president, too, and previously served as the SGA’s 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President and Treasurer.

Brown received his BBA and JD from SMU in Dallas. He was a letterman on the Men’s Golf Team from 1963-1965 and has continued to support his alma mater by taking an active role on the Payne Stewart Cup Committee, the SMU Golf fundraiser, since 2003, serving as Chairman in 2009 and 2011. He’s also just about the biggest SMU fan anyone will ever meet.

Brown and his wife Camille have two adult children and four grandchildren.