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April 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Dennis Wood

Dennis Wood, UGA Volunteer


By Megan Terry


Each month, the UGA spotlights one of our devoted volunteers to express our deep appreciation for all they do and to help you, our loyal members, become well acquainted with them. The month of April features one of the UGA’s longest and most dedicated volunteers, Dennis Wood.

Dennis was born on January 7, 1944 in Payson, Utah, to Oral and Winona Wood. He was raised in Utah County in the Provo and Springville areas with his three brothers and two sisters before relocating to British Colombia, Canada, with his family when he was four years old. At the tail end of WWII, Dennis’ father and uncle were determined to succeed in Canada’s lumber business. Despite an adventurous childhood fishing, swimming, and ice skating, the Woods moved away from Canadian lumber and back to Provo when Dennis was 11.

Saying Dennis was involved in high school would be an understatement; he played on the varsity basketball, baseball, and football teams and was an active band and choir member. Dennis attended Provo High School his freshman and sophomore years before Brigham Young High School Basketball Head Coach Frank Arnold convinced him to transfer and play for him. He graduated from Brigham Young High School in 1961.

19-year-old Dennis met his wife, Karma, at the Provo High Spot Drive-In during his freshman year at BYU. Karma was a 17-year-old Provo High School junior at the time. Despite Dennis attending BYU for only one year before serving an LDS mission in Northern California and Karma dating eligible bachelors for two years, Karma chose Dennis and they were married six months after his homecoming. They have five children together, Kimberli, Clinton, Stefani, Brittani, and Jannali.      

Wood graduated from Brigham Young University in 1967 with an associate’s degree in business management and political science. His first job out of college was with Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph (MST&T) in Price, Utah. In 1969, he was promoted to manager and transferred to MST&T’s St. George City office. Dennis and his family spent 15 years in St. George before moving back to Northern Utah in 1984 to work for US West, one of seven Regional Bell Operating Companies. He spent another 15 years with US West as the government relations director until retiring in 1999.   

Dennis got hooked on golf during his years in Price with MST&T and played frequently at Dixie Red Hills Golf Club during his time in St. George. It was not until former UGA Executive Director Joe Watts recruited him that he became a UGA volunteer. He started out assisting Joe with tournament operations and on-course rules officiating and eventually found a passion for course rating.

“Dennis does such a great job rating courses,” said UGA Course Rating Chair Reese Nielsen.

“He has a deep understanding of the underlying fundamentals of the USGA course rating system.”

Without volunteers like Dennis, the UGA would be unable to fulfill our mission to promote interest in the game of golf by encouraging, organizing, supporting, sponsoring, and administering golfing activities and programs.

“One of the items on my bucket list was to play every course in Utah,” Wood said. “Course rating allowed me to do this. Volunteering for the UGA has been absolutely wonderful. I’ve had the opportunity to establish great relationships with folks and meet successful people in the Utah golf business.”