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Billy Casper to Be Honored by Golf Course Owners Association


Billy Casper, who grew up putting for nickels and dimes and hitting balls off ant hills before becoming one of golf's leading money winners, will receive the 2013 Award of Merit from the National Golf Course Owners Association.

The NGCOA will present the award, which recognizes long-term and significant contributions to the game of golf, at its Annual Conference on February 6 in San Diego.

Casper, a native of San Diego, won 48 tournaments and five Vardon trophies as a star on the PGA Tour. In eight Ryder Cup appearances, he put more points on the board for the U.S. team than any player in history. Casper won the U.S. Open in 1959 and 1966, the Masters in 1970 and the U.S. Senior Open in 1983.

Praising his touch and feel, especially around the greens, Johnny Miller once said that Casper had the "greatest pair of hands God ever gave a human being." But Casper's heart, compassion for children and faith distinguished him far beyond golf.

In 2010, Casper was honored with the PGA of America's Distinguished Service Award, recognizing his considerable charitable work in his playing days and following his retirement from competitive golf. Over the years, he has worked extensively with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Junior Achievement, the First Tee and his own Billy's Kids Foundation.

Casper and his wife Shirley raised 11 children, six of whom were adopted. In retirement the Caspers continue to help raise money for numerous children's causes and hospitals. Casper also remains active in Billy Casper Golf, the Virginia-based firm he helped establish and grow to become the largest domestic owner-operator of golf courses, country clubs and resorts.

At its annual meeting the association will also recognize winners of the Jemsek Award for Golf Course Excellence; the Don Rossi Award for significant and long-lasting contributions to the NGCOA; the Champion Award for service to course owners at the state level; the Player Development Award for success in attracting new players to the game; and the Paul Porter Award for commitment, service and leadership to a chapter or international affiliate. The winner of the Course of the Year Award also will be announced during the awards ceremony.

The NGCOA's Annual Conference is the golf industry's largest gathering of owners and operators of daily fee, private, resort and municipal courses. The conference, which will be held February 3-8, offers educational and networking opportunities and guest speakers. NGCOA members and non-members can register for the conference at www.ngcoa.org/conference.

The conference occurs in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show, February 6-7, at the San Diego Convention Center. The show, presented by the NGCOA and GCSAA, showcases the golf industry's latest products and services throughout an expansive exhibit area and offers a wide range of educational opportunities.

This report is courtesy of the NGCOA. For more information, visit www.ngcoa.org or call 800/933-4262.