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Northwest Loses Great Contributor to Golf - Bill Mays


The Pacific Northwest and national golf community lost one of its true "heroes" on Tuesday, August 21, when William H. "Bill" Mays passed away at his Tacoma, Wash., home at age 79. An attorney by profession, Mr. Mays spent countless hours and made many selfless contributions over the years for the golf associations of the Pacific Northwest, Washington State, Pacific Coast and United States.

Bill Mays

For more than three decades, the efforts of Mr. Mays resulted in the associations achieving a level of excellence and respect within the national golf community that would otherwise not have been possible.

"There is no one person who has contributed more to the betterment of golf in the Pacific Northwest than Bill Mays," said John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Rules, Competitions & Amateur Status, who worked closely with Bill Mays for his 21 years as Executive Director and CEO of the PNGA, WSGA, PCGA, and The Home Course.

"His selfless contributions to the PNGA, WSGA, The Home Course, USGA, and Pacific Coast Golf Association leave a lasting legacy that will endure for generations. Bill was a great, great friend to the game and we will miss him greatly," added Bodenhamer.

Mr. Mays served as a volunteer club representative to the PNGA and WSGA for over 30 years, first as a member of Yakima (Wash.) Country Club, and later as a member of Canterwood Golf and Country Club in Gig Harbor, Wash. During this time he served in practically every volunteer capacity in both associations. Whether it was contributing his legal expertise to rewrite the associations' bylaws or serving as a volunteer chairman for PNGA and WSGA championships at his own clubs, Mr. Mays gave very generously of his time.

Mr. Mays served on the PNGA Board of Directors from 1982-1995. He chaired or served on almost every committee, was Treasurer, and served as PNGA President from 1989-90. When he stepped down from the PNGA Board in 1995, Mr. Mays remained very active in a non-voting capacity on the Board as Legal Counsel, until fully retiring from his legal practice in 2007.

In 1992, when the PNGA and WSGA cooperatively reorganized the structure and services for each association, Bill played a leading role in the restructuring. He voluntarily took on the monumental task of rewriting the bylaws of each association.

Mr. Mays was instrumental in creating the George Holland "WSGA Volunteer of the Year" Award to honor dedicated volunteers and past presidents. In 1999 Bill was awarded the PNGA Distinguished Service Award, the association's highest honor in recognition of selfless volunteers who have donated their time and effort simply for the betterment of the game.

Additionally, Mr. Mays served as a volunteer Trustee for the Pacific Coast Golf Association for over 20 years, representing the PNGA and WSGA. Again, under his tenure, he crafted numerous amendments and rewrote the bylaws. He served as the PCGA's President twice (1995 and 1999), one of only three Trustees to do so in the 46-year history of the association. In 2006, his fellow PCGA Trustees afforded him Trustee Emeritus Status, as a tribute to his longstanding volunteer service.

Perhaps Mr. Mays' most enduring legacy is his role in helping bring to fruition the acquisition of The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. It was his 20-year dream for the PNGA and WSGA to cooperatively acquire, own and operate a golf course that would serve as the home for Northwest Golf House as well as the future permanent offices for the PNGA, WSGA and allied associations.

In 2007, that dream became reality as his remarkable leadership led to the purchase of the golf course in DuPont, now named The Home Course. From the beginning, Mr. Mays played an integral part in negotiations and oversight of contracts, spending hundreds of hours to reach the successful conclusion.

Mr. Mays became the foundation of The Home Course and was elected President of the Board of Directors of PNGA/WSGA Properties, Inc. (The Home Course), a separate, for-profit subsidiary corporation established and owned by the WSGA to operate the property.

His leadership led The Home Course to be chosen by the USGA as the Assisting Course for Chambers Bay in hosting the 2010 U.S. Amateur Championship. In May of this year, The Home Course was selected by the USGA to host the 2014 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. Those two national golf championships culminated Mr. Mays' dream, all less than five years after the course opened for public play.

Though lengthy and impressive, these contributions only cover a small portion of all Mr. Mays did for golf in the Pacific Northwest. Most of his contributions were done behind the scenes in a manner that earned no fanfare, exactly the way he wanted it.

A Snapshot of Bill's Contributions

1979-2012 - PNGA and WSGA Club Representative
1982-1995 - PNGA Executive Committee
1987-1988 - PNGA Treasurer
1989-2012 - Evans Caddie Scholarship Supporter and Par Club Member
1989-1990 - President of the PNGA
1992-2012 - USGA Regional Associations Committee
1992-2012 - WSGA Board Member
1992-2012 - WSGA Executive Committee
1992-2007 - WSGA Counsel
1995 - President of the Pacific Coast Golf Association
1995-2007 - PNGA Counsel
1999 - PNGA Distinguished Service Award recipient
1999 - President of the Pacific Coast Golf Association (second term)
2001-2003 - President of the WSGA
2005-2012 - Appointed Trustee Emeritus, Pacific Coast Golf Association
2007-2012 - President of PNGA/WSGA Properties Inc. (The Home Course)

The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in the name of Bill Mays for "All that is good for the game," a special segment of the PNGA Patrons of Golf Program that helps raise money for the future building structure of Northwest Golf House at The Home Course, the future permanent offices of the PNGA, WSGA and allied associations. Make checks payable to "PNGA Patrons of Golf," making note it is in remembrance of Bill Mays, and send to the PNGA office (1010 S. 336th Street, Suite 310, Federal Way, WA 98003).

The above report is courtesy of the PNGA and WSGA. For more information on the associations, visit www.thepnga.org or www.thewsga.org.