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Northwest Golf Media Association Announces Annual Awards


At the 14th annual tournament and banquet of the Northwest Golf Media Association, Michael Riste, author, longtime golf historian and manager of the BC Golf House in Vancouver, will be honored with the NWGMA's Distinguished Service Award, the association's highest honor.

Michael Riste

Also being recognized at the luncheon will be Mary Lou Mulflur and George Jonson, who have been selected to receive the association's "Local Legend" award. The recipient of the 2013 NWGMA Scholarship, Christopher Shaw, will also be honored at the event. The luncheon will be held at historic Inglewood Golf Club in Kenmore, Wash., on October 21.

In 1986, when the University Golf Course clubhouse (in Vancouver, B.C.), which was built in 1930, became vacant Riste assembled a group of volunteers to renovate the structure and turn it into a golf museum. Today, BC Golf House is in a building that is the oldest structure still used for golf in British Columbia, and the BC Golf Museum is the only provincial or state standalone golf museum in North America.

Riste has transformed the BC Golf House into a go-to place for golfers and researchers, almost single-handedly creating exhibits and explaining the rich heritage the game enjoys in the Pacific Northwest. He's also amassed a collection of memorabilia, from old golf magazines, postcards, books, clubs, balls, to other items that show the game as being big in the Northwest for well over a century. Incredibly, he's done this since 1987 on a voluntary non-paid basis. He's still the driving force at the museum, which also houses the Golf Hall of Fame of BC.

"I have always considered myself nothing more than a researcher," said Riste, when informed of his being selected for the award. "I am not really a writer. In fact I find it difficult to get from the research stage to the writing stage. I am far more comfortable talking. People say I am certainly not afraid of a microphone."

Riste may claim that he is not a writer, but his body of work is substantial. He co-authored (with NWGMA co-founder Jeff Shelley) the monumental "Championships & Friendships," the centennial history book of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association; "Just Call Me Mac," the biography of seminal Northwest-based course architect, A. Vernon Macan; is preparing another biography, "The Blacks of Troon," about the seven Black brothers who came to Canada from Scotland in 1910-1922 and would all become prominent golf professionals up and down the West Coast; and will soon publish the history of Jericho Country Club, the oldest organized golf club west of the Mississippi River.

Riste was also the Northwest's very first Evans Caddie Scholarship recipient.

"Mike is one of the most modest people you will ever meet," said Shelley. "That said, he's also the most dedicated - one could even say obsessed - researcher of Northwest golf history. I definitely met my match in this area with Mike, who will go virtually anywhere to unearth and confirm facts about golf or courses in our region."

Past recipients of the NWGMA Distinguished Service Award are Doug McArthur, Dale Johnson, Margaret Maves, Bruce King, Bob Robinson, Blaine Newnham, Bill Yeend, Shelley, Paul Ramsdell, Craig Smith, Paul Backman, John Bodenhamer and Arv Olson. Visit www.nwgma.org for full bios of past recipients.

Mulflur is being honored as a "Local Legend" for her 31 years - and counting - as head coach of the University of Washington women's golf team, where she has led the Huskies to 20 consecutive NCAA regional appearances and nine trips to the national championship tournament. The Huskies were ranked No. 1 in the nation last fall and are in the top 10 this year.

Mulflur, daughter of retired Portland Journal sportswriter Bill Mulflur, was a two-time Oregon state high school champion at Portland's Grant High School. The 1975 winner of the Oregon Girls' Junior Amateur was a four-year letter winner for the Huskies under coach Edean Ihlanfeldt and one of the first women at the UW to receive an athletic scholarship.

The graduation rate for UW golfers under Mulflur has been outstanding, and recent UW alums on the LPGA Tour are Paige Mackenzie, Louise Friberg and Jennifer Stapleton. Mulflur was recently named to the Women's Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Jonson's selection as a "Local Legend" is long overdue. He's best described as a person who, for decades, has been an invaluable, behind-the-scenes resource for the Northwest golf industry, helping organizations such as First Green and the NWGMA secure nonprofit tax status. The accountant from a prominent Northwest golf family led the effort to prevent the state from adding a tax to membership dues in the mid-1990s, which would have been a severe blow to struggling clubs.

In the last decade, George led the fight against taxing donated rounds of golf - and charities and golf fundraisers of all kinds that stage benefit tournaments. High school golf coaches everywhere are among those owing a large debt of gratitude for his efforts that enabled them to continue their programs. For many years Jonson has served on boards of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and Washington State Golf Association. He is chairman of the centennial celebration of Seattle's Broadmoor Golf Club.

Jonson is the son of the late Ernie Jonson who, along with his brother Carl - who died in 2008, were pillars of amateur golf in the Northwest, credited with carrying the PNGA through the 1960s and 1970s. Both are members of the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame. George played golf at Bellevue (Wash.) High School and later won a conference championship at Seattle University after serving in the Navy in Vietnam.

Earlier this summer, the 2013 NWGMA Scholarship recipient was selected. Shaw, a senior at Washington State University, was selected among candidates throughout the Northwest and British Columbia. With a demonstrated ability and interest in sports journalism and media, Shaw has already compiled an impressive body of work while at the university and serving internships in the media industry. Visit www.nwgma.org/scholarship for more information.

The Northwest Golf Media Association consists of over 125 golf media and industry professionals. It is a 501(c)(7) nonprofit organization that was founded in 1995 to assist the coverage of golf among colleagues and enhance the game in the region. For more information, visit www.nwgma.org. For details about the luncheon on October 21, call 206/890-5339.