RIP George H.W. Bush, President and World Golf Hall of Fame Member
I woke up this morning to the sad, but not unexpected news of the passing of President George H.W. Bush. He was 94.
Bush was born into a family dedicated to both public service and golf. His grandfather, George Herbert Walker was president of the USGA and created the Walker Cup — the annual amateur competition between the US and the United Kingdom. Bush’s father, Prescott Bush, was also president of the USGA, and a US Senator.
George Herbert Walker Bush learned the game at Cape Arundel GC in Massachusetts. His father regularly played golf with President Eisenhower. The broad facts of George H.W. Bush’s life have been well reported: WWII Navy pilot, captain of the Yale baseball team, Congressman, head of the CIA, UN Ambassador, Vice President, President. Everyone seems to agree that he was a quality human being.
Bush 41 is just one of two presidents in the World Golf Hall of Fame (the other is, of course, Eisenhower). After his term of office, he increased his involvement in the game of golf. Bush served as honorary Chairman of The Presidents’ Cup in 1996, and attended every one of those competitions through 2009. He was The First Tee’s first honorary Chairman, helping to expand the organization into its current status as a premier youth outreach program.
Bush wasn’t just a figurehead. According to Tim Finchem, “He attended openings of facilities. He wrote letters to people who gave money. He traveled, he spoke, he got on the telephone. He wasn’t a chairman in name only. He worked at it. But because of his lending his prestige and image and commitment and enthusiasm to what The First Tee is it’s the success it is today.”
Bush moved into the role of emeritus Chairman, passing on the role of honorary Chairman, to his son President George W. Bush.
In 1997, the PGA of America gave Bush their Distinguished Service Award. The USGA awarded him the Bob Jones Award in 2008. In 2009, the PGA TOUR gave Bush a Lifetime Achievement Award. The American Society of Golf Course Architects honored him with their Donald Ross Award.
Then, in 2011, Bush was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Greg Norman said of Bush at the induction ceremony: ““His passion and love for the game is second to none. It doesn’t matter whether you’re number one in the world or a 27-handicapper who loves the game, his commitment and dedication in seeing the game go from strength to strength, from one level to the next, has been phenomenal.”
Well, played sir.