Slovitt Honored with AJGA's Digger Smith Award
Names 2007 Tournament Award Winners
Bruce Slovitt was posthumously honored during the
American Junior Golf Association’s Annual Meeting
Friday, Feb. 16, with the AJGA’s Digger Smith
Award. An AJGA parent, tournament chairman and fundraiser
since 1995, Slovitt, of Winnetka, Ill., was tragically
killed in an automobile accident near his home in suburban
Chicago July 9, 2006, at the age of 54.
The Digger Smith Award, which has been presented annually since 1991, praises
an AJGA advocate for his/her longtime service and dedication to junior golf.
Recipients are devoted to the AJGA Mission and Purpose of developing young men
and women through competitve junior golf. Award winners not only set a standard
for excellence, but they also continue to raise expectations year-in and year-out.
The award is named in honor of current
AJGA Chairman of the Board J.R. “Digger” Smith,
who has dedicated himself to the AJGA and junior golf for more than three
Slovitt’s first experience with the AJGA came almost 12 years ago
as a parent. In the years to follow, he would help guide three of his
five children through the AJGA as they competed in a combined 40 events.
In 2000, he took over the duties as tournament chairman and main fundraiser
for the AJGA’s Chicago-area events. In seven years, he captained
10 successful tournaments and helped raise nearly $500,000 for local
Chicago junior golf programs and the AJGA Foundation.
“I just enjoy giving kids the opportunity to see and play golf at a high
level,” Slovitt told the AJGA in September 2005.
Throughout his years of involvement, his motivation never wavered. His goal was
to help Chicago junior golfers showcase their skills for college golf scholarships.
In doing so, Slovitt was credited with pioneering the junior golf movement in
the Chicagoland area in the late 1990s by cultivating a relationship with the
AJGA. He also ascended to vice president of the Illinois Junior Golf Association
and served as a board member for the Chicago District Golf Association.
Slovitt is survived by his wife, Bernadette, and his five children – Jennifer
Strielgel, Philip, Matthew, Michael and Jimmy. All six were in attendance
Friday to accept the award on his behalf.
Invitational of the Year
The 2006 Rolex Tournament of Champions, held at Hiwan Golf
Club in Evergreen, Colo., July 5-9, was named the AJGA Invitational of
the Year, an honor given to the invitational tournament that best showcases
the AJGA, its members, sponsors and host facility. The local committee
at Hiwan, headed by Bill Asbury, tournament chairman, Kyle Heyen, head
golf professional, and David Fowler, club president, was able to secure
private housing for every junior in need. They staged a Junior-Am and
silent auction that rivaled that of any other event in 2006. Media came
out in large numbers and were excited about having the event in their
area. The members of Hiwan Golf Club did everything they could to make
this event special, from volunteering their time to participating in
of the Year
The 2006 Houchens Industries
Junior Open, held at the Club at Olde Stone in Alvaton,
Ky., June 12-15, was named the AJGA Tournament of the
Year, an honor given to the most outstanding Open event
on the AJGA schedule, Tournament Chairman Larry Beam
and his committee went above and beyond in every aspect.
They raised an astounding $55,800 for junior golf through
the Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament. All meals were
free to players and their families, as well as the 90
volunteers who donated their time during the four-day
event. Many additional touches made the event one of
the most special on the AJGA schedule.
of the Year
new spot on the AJGA tournament schedule was the PING
Invitational, held at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater,
Okla., Oct. 7-9, and winner of the Newcomer of the Year
Award. Nearly 200 Stillwater residents came out to volunteer
at the four-day event, which boasted many unique features.
Players were entertained nightly with a trip to Boone
Pickens Stadium and a motocross stunt show, and also
recieved personalized PING golf bags. Cowboy hats could
be seen everywhere, including as tee markers, and the
course was in pristine condition for the event.
There was no
event in 2006 that was more welcoming of the AJGA than
the Fidelity Investments Junior at Trump National, winner
of the Hospitality Award. Trump National Golf Course
in Bedminster, N.J., went above
and beyond what was required to ensure that each participant
and their family had a special experience. Each player
was treated to a personalized locker in the members-only
locker rooms upon arrival, inside of which they found
a course yardage book, a Trump National divot repair
tool and a hole flag autographed by Donald Trump. The
Donald even made a cameo appearance at the tournament
cookout, which also included a pool party, magician,
hermit crab races, and cotton candy stand.
to the tournament with a model team of volunteers who
are committed to the success of the championship, the
2006 Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands
is a desrving recipient. One hundred and thirty-four
volunteers helped out ay Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor
Springs, Mich., an impressive feat considering the event
took place over a busy Fourth of July weekend. These
volunteers held many responsibilities during the week,
such as spotting balls, shuttling players and parents
to the starting tees, timing players and running scorecards.
For the second consecutive year,
the Mirasol Junior Championship, which took place at
The Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens,
Fla., June 6-9, was the recipient of the Junior-Am
Award. Thanks to the effort of fundraising chairman
Matt Lambert and the help of a silent auction held
during the Honda Classic, four tournament partners,
and the generosity of local businesses and vendors,
including The Country Club of Mirasol itself, more
than $90,000 was raised for the AJGA Foundation and
the South Florida PGA Section’s
junior golf program.
The Medicus Preseason Junior
at Red Tail held at Red Tail Golf Club in Avon, Ohio,
May 5-7, received the Media Award for having the best
media covereage before, during and after the event.
It is rare for a first-year tournament to receive this
award, but Tournament Chairman Tom Kmiecik and Media
Chairman Chip Carlson worked tirelessly to garner coverage
in local newspapers and on television and radio stations.
WKNR radio station even held a live remote from the
club to broadcast their Sunday golf show.
Golf Professional of the
Jay Larscheid of Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz., was honored with the Golf
Professional of the Year Award, given annually to the PGA professional whose
selfless commitment and tireless efforts make the championship special for the
players, families and staff in attendance. Larscheid first started working with
the AJGA in 2003 when the ReBath Heather Farr Classic originally came to Longbow
Golf Club. Since his relationship with the AJGA began, Larscheid’s support
has never wavered. He has committed his golf course to providing one AJGA ACE
Grant Scholarship annually. He also solicited the town of Mesa for charitable
contributions and has strong media ties that help publicize the event.