Luigs, Wright Recipients Of USGA Awards

Feb. 6, 2010

By Ken Klavon, USGA

Pinehurst, N.C. – Joe Luigs comes across as everyone’s best friend.

It’s a safe bet to presume that anyone affiliated with golf in Indiana knows the 66-year-old Luigs. How could they not?

Joe Luigs takes in the design of the Joe Dey Award plaque
that he received Saturday. (John Mummert/USGA)

Former director of the Indiana Golf Association. Trustee for the Evans Scholars Foundation. Indiana Golf Hall of Fame inductee in 2003. Master storyteller.

The Carmel, Ind., resident is a walking storybook. Luigs without an anecdote would be like Michael Jordan forgetting how to dribble.

It just doesn’t happen.

So it wasn’t surprising that Luigs entertained the masses Saturday night as he graciously accepted the Joe Dey Award, which is has been presented annually since 1996 to recognize meritorious service to the game as a volunteer.

“There are a lot of people out there who deserve it,” said Luigs on Friday in between countless golf-related stories. “I’m accepting it on their behalf.”

Modest to a fault, Luigs has been a USGA committee member since 1982, when he first joined the Green Section Committee.

In 1991, he was appointed to the Sectional Affairs Committee, which became the Regional Affairs Committee in 2004. He has served in a volunteer capacity over the past 25 years at more than 80 national golf championships and assisted in conducting more than 70 qualifying events for USGA championships. Luigs has been overseeing and managing USGA qualifiers in Indiana since 1990 when past USGA president Trey Holland joined the Executive Committee.

“I remember when Trey called me back then. He was wondering whether he should take it, and I said, ‘Trey, if you turn them down, they’re not going to ask you again.’ And he was considering saying no because he ran the Indiana qualifiers. If he accepted, he wondered aloud who would take them over, meaning me. I can be dumb, but I knew this was an opportunity he couldn’t refuse,” said Luigs.

The multi-dimensional Luigs has also been a Rules official at many USGA championships.

“He’s been the face of Indiana for Evans Scholars,” said USGA Executive Committee member Pat Kaufman, who is also the chairman of the Joe Dey Award Committee, but neither nominates or votes for the recipients. “You talk about golf and for the good of the game, but with Joe, it’s what good he can do for other golfers.”

When Luigs received the award Saturday, he cited Pinehurst as providing seminal moments over his golf career. He took his first golf lesson at nearby Pine Needles from Peggy Kirk Bell; it’s where his first of two daughters, Lisa, 43, learned to play golf; it’s where his wife of nearly 45 years, Marcia Luigs, also learned how to play; Pinehurst No. 2 is where he first refereed a Tiger Woods grouping; and it’s also where a player once asked his wife, in his presence, to find him a Rules official.

With typical Luigs humor, he said receiving the award made him a target for those who wanted to congratulate and insult him.

Later in the evening, Mickey Wright was bestowed the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor. Rhonda Glenn, a close friend of Wright’s and a manager of communications for the USGA, accepted on her behalf.  She spoke glowingly of Wright, now 74, and some of the demands she faced as a touring pro when she was on top of her game.

Wright, a four-time U.S. Women’s Open champion, essentially became the Jordan of golf during her heyday, known mainly for her flawless swing and integrity on and off the course.

 “The swing was the same swing she had as a junior,” said Barbara Romack, who defeated Wright in the 1954 U.S. Women’s Amateur final. “She used to say as a junior, ‘I’m going to try to be the greatest female golfer of all time.’”

Before Glenn accepted the award, those in attendance were treated to a 20-minute highlight video that featured interviews with some of the game’s most recognizable figures through the years.

Ken Klavon is the USGA’s Digital Editor, Communications. E-mail him with questions or comments at

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image