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Kent McCurdy, junior golf advocate extraordinaire, is the recipient of the 2011 UGA Gold Club Award. As the head professional at Dinaland Golf Course in Vernal for 21 years he developed one of the state's strongest junior programs.
He coached the Uintah High School golf team for 18 years and his teams won one state championship and lost in playoffs two other times. Being located in the hinterlands of the state required much extra effort and personal expense for him to keep his juniors involved in state competitions. He personally financed a big portion of the team trips, which included travel into Colorado to find competition. He was awarded the Utah Section PGA Junior Golf Leader in 1993.
When he became head professional in Vernal in 1987 he quickly saw that a strong junior program was essential for the game to grow in a small rural town. He started junior golf clinics and through his enthusiasm for kids the clinics grew quickly from 60 to as many as 190 junior players. The UGA Gold Club Award is presented annually to an individual who through significant achievement or unselfish service has contributed to the history and tradition of the game of golf in Utah, and whose personal
integrity, sportsmanship, common courtesy, loyalty, and friendship earn him the love and respect of his fellow golfer. Think of it! That's about every kid in the Uintah Basin.
He built a volunteer network with the ladies golf association to help with the program and talked the city council into giving juniors the golf course every Tuesday morning during the summer months. He has been a big supporter of the men's and women's golf associations at Dinaland and the golf course has become the center of community life for many residents of the Uintah Basin.
He continued the legacy of hospitality that Vernal had long been known for and he expanded the tournament schedules that drew participants from many parts of the state for pros and amateurs, men and women, and seniors in various tournament formats.
Kent was born in Salt Lake in 1946 but has lived in Vernal his entire life. He graduated from Uintah High School, and attended Snow College and Salt Lake Technical College. He owned a service station and worked in the oil fields prior to taking the head professional job at the Vernal muni.
He married his high school sweetheart, Deanna Murray, who worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Vernal and retired in 2004. They have three children, Torr, Nanette, and Mike who are all employed in the Vernal area. Nanette worked with Kent in the pro shop from 1987 through 2008, and was a big part of his success. She also got a teaching certificate through USU Extension service and has taught in Vernal and is currently teaching in Rock Springs.
“Great golf people in the rural areas of our state are often overlooked when it comes to dishing out awards, and the Utah Golf Association is appreciative of their contributions. Kent's service has been particularly exemplary and we are pleased to present him with the 2011 Gold Club Award.”