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Passey Presents USGA Ike Grainger Award to Keith Hansen

One of the surprise highlights of the UGA Annual Meeting was the previously unannounced presentation of the USGA Ike Grainger Award to one of Utah’s most prominent golf volunteers, Keith Hansen.
USGA Regional Director Mark Passey made the presentation of the award that goes to volunteers who have given 25 years of service of service to the USGA.
Keith’s golf volunteerism started with the UGA and when he extended that volunteerism to include the USGA he didn’t put the UGA on the shelf. In fact, truth be known, he has probably given more service to the UGA most of those 25 years than he has for the USGA.
At the UGA he served on the board of directors for nine years and as its president for two years and has been a rules official at most major UGA events, and was presented with the UGA Gold Club Award in recognition of his unselfish service.
Passey’s presentation speech was eloquent and informative and so it is reprinted here in its entirety.
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Good Evening,
Congratulations to David Terry and the family of Dr. Pete Randall for being honored with the Gold Club Award, and congratulations to all of the players who are being honored here this evening.
Thank you for sharing this occasion to provide an opportunity to honor volunteers. The USGA cherishes our volunteers and those who serve the game of golf at every level. We recognize how necessary and integral they are to the operation and success of the USGA and to the game of golf in general.
Golf, unlike any other game or activity, runs “on the backs” of volunteers. Can you imagine volunteer referees at the Super Bowl? Can you imagine volunteer umpires at the World Series? And yet, as improbable as it sounds, golf’s major championships are all officiated largely by volunteers.
“I want to give something back to the game” is a common expression heard in golf and rarely anywhere else. The employment of volunteers makes the massive charitable contributions of professional golf tournaments possible. Did you know that the charitable contributions in golf in one year exceed the combined charitable contributions of all other sports for two years? Did you know that The Byron Nelson Classic PGA Tour Event gives more to charity each year than the entire NFL?
More than any other golf organization, the USGA relies heavily on volunteers. We have more than 1,200 permanent volunteer committee members. We use in excess of 30,000 volunteers each year to conduct our national championships. Over 6,000 volunteers from every state and 14 foreign lands served with distinction in June at a spectacular US Open at Merion and we are governed by a 15 member volunteer Executive Committee, who generously donate their considerable time and expense to overseeing the USGA’s programs.
I’m here today to tell you about two significant volunteers. The first is a gentleman named Isaac B. Grainger. Born the same year as the USGA in 1894, Ike Grainger was named to the USGA Executive Committee in 1945 and rose to the office of President, in which he served in 1954-55. Ike Grainger remained active as a volunteer in the years following his Presidency and was still a consulting member of the Rules of Golf Committee in 1994 (his and the USGA’s 100th year). Ike continued to serve until his death on October 18, 1999, just short of his 105th birthday – a total service of 54 consecutive years.
So legendary was Ike Grainger’s lifetime devotion to golf, that the USGA designated the Ike Grainger Award to recognize the people who volunteer for 25 years. 2013 marks the 25th year anniversary of Keith Hansen’s appointment to a USGA Committee.
I have been lucky to be Keith Hansen’s friend for going on 50 years. Keith is a true friend – someone who is ALWAYS there when you need them – ALWAYS!
Keith is the epitome of dependability, responsibility, reliability, integrity and follow through. Count on Keith. If he says it will be done, there is no risk, bet the farm. If he says it will be done, it won’t be partially done; it will be thoroughly, completely, impeccably and professionally done. There is no risk, bet the egg money. Count on Keith.
But, don’t count Keith in the camp of self promoters or the self important. He’s not there. Keith is about selfless service. He is about devoting his life and effort, time and money, energy and passion for the betterment of others. Keith has always been very successful, but has never been an accumulator of the trappings of success. He lives modestly, dresses modestly and presents himself modestly. It is not and never has been about Keith. It is about others. Keith will eschew the spotlight and push others toward it.
Golf has been the common thread of our friendship. We have played golf together from coast to coast and we matched scorecards every Sunday morning and Wednesday afternoon for twenty years at Logan G&CC…..I think I’m down about $1.25 in all that time. Keith has been my loyal and devoted supporter wherever golf’s journeys have taken us – from the golf committee at Logan G&CC to the Rules Committee at the US Open and everything in between.  Keith has pushed me up the ladder of golf at Logan, at the Utah GA and at the USGA – always making me look good as he did the grunt work in the trenches – pounding stakes, painting hazards, writing local rules sheets, monitoring pace of play, setting up tents, mailing out pairings, etc., etc., day in, day out, hundreds of thousands of miles on his car, hundreds of thousands of dollars out of his wallet, thousands of hours away from his family and career, countless days of advance preparation, countless trips through Sardine Canyon, countless hours perfecting his Rules skills….countless. Count on Keith!
Keith has been everywhere – Pebble Beach to Shinnecock Hills and all points in between, 70 plus USGA Championships, NCAA Championships, and other national tournaments. Some who ascend to this level of expertise and reputation no longer have time for the local scene. They forget about the events back home…not Keith. In fact his greatest joy seems to come from working the local events. He gets great joy working with the loyal band of volunteers who join him in this effort – up at oh-dark-thirty, back a few hours after sunset, and let’s do it again tomorrow. He gets great joy from the vicarious success of the local qualifier who advances wide-eyed to the National Championship. He always seeks them out when they arrive hoping to make their experience as great and memorable as possible. Keith won’t count you a list of his accomplishments or places he has been. He will count the friendships along the way and the people he has helped succeed. Count on Keith.
How fortunate we all are to have one of the great people anywhere in the game and one of true experts at the Rules of Golf who passionately and selflessly has devoted his life to golf in Utah.  Count on Keith. Count us lucky!
It is with great pleasure that I present the Ike Grainger Award to Keith Hansen.