SAN DIEGO – The Tennessee PGA Section (TPGA), comprised of more than 500 members and apprentices, was presented the 2013 Herb Graffis Award No. 23 during the 97th PGA Annual Meeting. The award is presented annually to a PGA Section that exhibits extraordinary or exemplary contributions in player development and growth of the game programming.
The Herb Graffis Award is named in honor of the late golf historian, author and founder of golf magazines, the National Golf Foundation, and co-founder of the Golf Writers Association of America. Graffis passed away in 1989, at the age of 95. In addition, PGA delegates who gathered at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, presented PGA Professional Bob Beach of Braintree, Mass., with the Patriot Award.
The TPGA’s growth of the game initiatives are managed through the Tennessee Golf Foundation, which also supports disadvantaged youth through golf. Additionally, the Tennessee PGA Section’s direct efforts among its PGA-staffed facilities are channeled through Growth of the Game and Junior Golf Committees. The TPGA’s headquarters are in Golf House Tennessee in Franklin, some 30 minutes south of Nashville.
“We are honored to receive the Herb Graffis Award from The PGA of America,” said Tennessee PGA President Neil Collins, PGA head professional at Tennessee Golf Trail at Henry Horton in Chapel Hill, Tenn. “Our past leaders were visionaries who had the foresight to foster a cooperative culture at Golf House Tennessee. This shared vision has allowed the Section and our allied associations to grow this great game of golf. We are proud to be recognized for our leadership and plan to grow the game for the next generation of golfers in Tennessee and beyond.”
Established in 1991, the Tennessee Golf Foundation is one of the largest and most respected golf organizations in the country. In 2012, more than 25,000 youth participated in Foundation-supported programs.
The facility serves as the home for the state’s golf associations; a nine-hole, par-3 course; and the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. The Section also continues the 40-year tradition of supporting the Tennessee PGA Junior Academy, which had 392 youngsters from 11 states participating in 2012. Last year, 24 scholarships were distributed to children of military from Fort Campbell, and another 89 scholarships were presented to participants from The First Tee of Tennessee and other states.
Founded in 1968, the TPGA currently has 159 PGA-staffed facilities within the Section’s boundaries. There are 25 employees on staff at Golf House Tennessee.
Golf in Tennessee generates a total economic impact of $1.9 billion, and a direct economic impact of $960.5 million, according to Section Executive Director Jeff Abbot. Golf is larger than Smoky Mountain Tourism, is one-third the size of the music industry in the state, and the sport raises more than $37 million in annual charitable donations. There are 22,500 employed in Tennessee through the game of golf and an annual wage income of more than $564 million.
“The vision of our forefathers has resulted in the successful atmosphere at Golf House Tennessee,” said Abbot. “The harmony between a variety of associations under one roof – the Tennessee Golf Association, the Tennessee Chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Tennessee Turfgrass Association and a Volunteer Chapter of the Club Managers Association of America – has been outstanding. It all lays the foundation to work together to grow the game.”
In conjunction with Tennessee Golf Day, the Section organized free lessons at the State Capitol from Tennessee PGA Professionals, and conducted a Charity Putting Competition between House and Senate legislators. The TPGA also supports the statewide Toyota Junior Tour, which featured a record 1,518 members in 2012, with 74,000 rounds played in 44 days, surpassing another Tour standard.