The American Junior Golf Association presented its annual Digger Smith Award to Dr. Howard Foote, Tournament Chairman of the AJGA’s Randy Wise Junior Open, recognizing him for his outstanding contributions to junior golf. A resident of Flint, Mich., Foote accepted the award Saturday at the Digger Smith Awards Banquet, held at Château Élan Resort.
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 competitive junior golf. Award winners not only set a standard for excellence, but they also continue to raise expectations each year.
The award is named in honor of AJGA Chairman of the Board J.R. “Digger” Smith, who has dedicated himself to the AJGA and junior golf for more than three decades.
“When I got the news about receiving the award, I just couldn’t believe it,” Foote said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t truly enjoy it. It’s an honor to be recognized on such a national scale.”
Foote was first introduced to the AJGA at a local Flint, Mich., tournament in 1985 where he participated in a Junior-Am Fundraiser. After observing the notoriety of the AJGA and interacting with juniors, his interest in getting more involved grew. In 1987, Foote joined the tournament committee as the Fundraising Chairman. After a number of years on the tournament committee, Foote became the Tournament Chairman and has overseen the committee since 2003.
“Being involved with a game that I love and grew up with is a lot of fun,” Foote said. “I think I get more pleasure out of doing this than I do actually playing golf.”
Foote’s event continues to provide juniors with a fun, unique experience. Held at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, the tournament provides participants with genuine hospitality and an event that has their best interests at heart.
“Dr. Foote truly exemplifies what the Digger Smith Award is about,” said Matt Larson, AJGA Midwest Regional Director. “His length of involvement with the AJGA is impressive. His dedication to junior golf, even beyond the AJGA, is inspiring, and his standard of excellence has made the AJGA and this event an annual success.”