Ike Grainger Award: Honoring 25 Years Of USGA Volunteer Service

Dec. 17, 2009

In 1995, the centennial year of the United States Golf Association, the Ike Grainger Award was instituted to honor volunteers who have served the USGA for 25 years.

Grainger, one of the nation’s leading authorities on the Rules of Golf, was a longtime member of the USGA Executive Committee and served as president in 1954-55. A former president of the Metropolitan Golf Association,Grainger’s contributions to golf were many. In 1951, he chaired a USGA committee that produced the first uniform code of Rules with The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland. He was also chairman of the USGA Rules Committee and vice chairman of the Augusta National Rules Committee.

The USGA remains deeply indebted to the 1,400 volunteers who serve on USGA committees and to the thousands more who assist in conducting the 13 national championships and team competitions. Without the assistance of people who love

Name Committee State
James Bassett Regional Associations Vt.
Jane Booth Girls' Junior Fla.
Mary L. Capouch Communications/Past Women's Committee La.
Karen S. Dedman Past Women's Committee Calif.
Jack Dezieck Museum & Library Mass.
Don Essig III Regional Affairs Ind.
Donald E. Hearn Green Section Mass.
Louise Hughes Women's Amateur Public Links Pa.
Ray Laird III Junior Amateur S.D.
Marcia J. Luigs Bob Jones/Green Section Ind.
John B. Mark Junior Amateur Fla.
Randall G. Martin Green Section Fla.
Jeanne L. Myers Women's Nominating/Past Women's Chairmen Mich.
Robert J. Owens Handicap Procedure/Regional Affairs Ky.
Peter Owens Amateur Public Links Mich.
Ann L. Probert Women's Nominating/Past Women's Committee N.J.
Allen Richardson Junior Amateur Tenn.
Ronald L. Ripley Mid-Amateur Okla.
Tinker Sanger Past Women's Committee Md.
Lowell M. Schulman Museum & Library N.Y.
Warren Simmons Handicap Procedure Ariz.
Gerald H. Stahl Senior Amateur N.Y.
David Stone Green Section Tenn.
Tom Thorpe Junior Amateur N.C.
Lida Tingley Museum & Library/Past Women's Committee Conn.
Ralph Turtinen Regional Associations Minn.
Ann Walling Past Women's Committee Tenn.
Sara Wold Women's Amateur Public Links Mich.
Danny Yates Green Section Ga.
Lynn Zmistowski Handicap Procedure Colo.
 the game, the Association would no doubt be less successful in preserving and protecting the true spirit of golf. 

In 2009, 30 individuals received their Ike Grainger Award from the USGA and below are brief vignettes of three recipients:

Mary Capouch

As Evelyn Monsted prepared to chair the first Women’s Nominating Committee in 1983, one of her charges was to bring in fresh faces to the Women’s Committee. Given that outline, the Louisiana native had just the person in mind. Mary Capouch didn’t have much of a golf administration background, but the Mandeville, La., resident had worked in corporate communications for Condé Nast. Monsted, who captained the 1968 USA Curtis Cup Team and 1972 USA Women’s World Amateur lineup, thought Capouch would bring a fresh perspective to the Committee.

Capouch became one of five new members of the 1984 Women’s Committee and would spend the next 16 years on the committee, the final two (1999-2000) as the chairman. Even after retiring from the Women’s Committee, Capouch has remained active in USGA affairs by serving on the Communications Committee.

Along the way, Capouch presented the Ike Grainger to Monsted in 1995, the first year of the award’s existence.

In an ironic twist, earlier this year at the U.S. Women’s Open at Saucon Valley Country Club, Capouch became an Ike Grainger Award recipient herself.

When asked why she has remained so steadfast to volunteerism, Capouch said: “Once you get so heavily involved, it’s a wonderful lifelong opportunity to network with people who are interested in the same things you are. Going to the Annual Meeting every year becomes kind of a reunion. I was not over the hill when I joined the Women’s Committee, so I feel that I have a few years left to be active.”

Capouch still recalls the day when Monsted showed up at her residence wearing a Curtis Cup blazer to ask if she was interested in volunteering. Her son was a toddler at the time. Now he’s a college graduate.

“I just thought it sounded like a real cool thing to do,” said Capouch, who has only missed two U.S. Women’s Opens since 1984. “I was honored. Evelyn was the one who told me it was going to be something that would be really special. She was right.”

Allen Richardson

Once the Rules bug bites, it’s hard to get rid of it. At least that’s the case for Murfreesboro, Tenn., native Allen Richardson, whose work as a Tennessee Junior Golf Association volunteer landed him on the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship Committee in 1984. Dick Horton, the executive director of the Tennessee Golf Association, called Richardson one day to ask if he was interested in serving on the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship Committee. Richardson didn’t hesitate to respond.

Since 1986, Richardson has not missed a U.S. Junior, which includes Tiger Woods’ unprecedented run of three consecutive titles from 1991-93 as well as countless other memories. He has worked every U.S. Open but two (1998 and 2002) since 1992. He also has volunteered for four U.S. Amateurs and one U.S. Senior Open, giving him a total of 45 USGA championships. While he has never aced the USGA Rules Test, he has scored 99 twice, making him one of the more knowledgeable Rules officials.

One of his favorite U.S. Junior memories occurred in 1998 at Conway Farms in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, Ill. The mother of a 13-year-old participant approached him at breakfast prior to the first round of stroke-play qualifying. One of the holes required a 215-yard carry over a hazard and the mother was concerned that her son couldn’t execute the shot. Richardson explained the available options and even reached outto the walking Rules official assigned to that grouping. Richardson also assured the mom that everything would work out.

Later that day, the mother sought out Richardson and excitedly told him that her boy had, indeed, carried the hazard. The next day, Richardson encouraged the mom to watch a playoff involving her son for one of the last available match-play spots. He knocked his approach to 2 feet for a birdie and advanced to match play, where he lost in the first round.

To this day, Richardson remains friends with the former junior competitor and his mother. And who was that player? Jonathan Moore, who became a USA Walker Cup hero by making a remarkable eagle-3 on the final hole of Sunday singles at Royal County Down in 2007. The same Jonathan Moore who won the 2006 NCAA Division I individual title and qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

“Those sorts of things you remember,” said Richardson, who received his Ike Grainger Award at this past summer’s U.S. Junior Amateur at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. “Being on the Junior [Amateur] Committee gives me a platform to have  

Ever since he qualified for the 1966 U.S. Junior Amateur, Danny Yates (right) has had a strong affiliation with the USGA as a competitor and volunteer. (John Mummert/USGA)
 some influence over the lives of these young folks as it pertains to golf. Hopefully at some point, they get the proper respect for the game; play the ball as it lies, conduct themselves [properly], learn how to dress – all those things.”


As for lasting 25-plus years as a volunteer, Richardson added: “I have had such a good time with it. It would be the last thing I give up.

“My wife and I have made friends with the other people on the committee and their wives. It’s like old-home week when we all get together.”

Danny Yates

Danny Yates’ first encounter with the USGA was at the 1966 U.S. Junior Amateur. It would not be his last. For more than 40 years, Yates and the USGA have enjoyed a perfect marriage, both on and off the golf course. On the course, Yates is one of the few golfers to have played in every USGA championship for which he is eligible. That list includes the U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur, USGA Senior Amateur, U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, Walker Cup and World Amateur Team Championship. He won the 1992 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was runner-up to Eric Meeks at the 1988 U.S. Amateur. He also served as a Walker Cup captain in 1999 and 2001.

But Yates takes as much satisfaction in serving as a volunteer as he has in competing in those same competitions. In 1984, he joined the U.S. Junior Championship Committee and served 14 years. By then, he had become involved with the Greens Committee at Peachtree Golf Club, his home club, and so he joined the USGA Green Section Committee. While he claims to be no expert in turfgrass, he can offer a player’s perspective to agronomy, especially when it pertains to championships.

“Not enough to be dangerous or stupid,” said the Atlanta, Ga., resident in regard to his agronomic knowledge.

But the father of a childhood friend did give Yates some sage advice at a young age when it came to giving back to the game.

“Tommy Barnes, who was a great player in this area and was a sectional affairs guy [who] put on [U.S.] Amateur qualifying in the 1960s and ‘70s, said you’ve got to put more back in than you take out,” said Yates. “I always remembered that.

“There is a spirit of volunteerism. I’ve learned more about that. I think it’s very important. You feel good when you do something for other people.”

Yates said he might have met Ike Grainger at one of the Masters he competed in, but to him “that name has always been a big name to me in golf.

“I personally get a lot more pleasure out of volunteering than I ever thought I would. I was really thrilled [to get his honor]. I was really surprised. I just wasn’t aware of it. Wow, 25 years, I hadn’t even thought of it.”

Ike Grainger vignettes compiled and written by USGA staff writer David Shefter. The introduction was written by Rhonda Glenn, manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail questions or comments to either dshefter@usga.org or rglenn@usga.org.


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