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UGA Recognizes Denise Vilven with UWGA Lady Award


By Megan Terry, Programs Administrator


The UGA is honored to present the 2016 UWGA Lady Award to one of Utah golf’s most loyal and selfless contributors, Denise Vilven. She was born in Salt Lake City on September 21, 1953 to Mike and Kaliope Sargetakis. She graduated from Highland High School in 1972 and from the University of Utah in 1991 as a non-traditional student. Denise has an impressively versatile golf background that all began when she married PGA Professional Doug Vilven in 1975.

Denise did not play golf before meeting Doug. In fact, Denise’s sister, Mary, was the golfer in the Sargetakis family. Mary’s husband at the time, Mike Cowan, was one of Doug’s fraternity brothers. Mary was interested in taking lessons, and Mike recommended Doug. During this time, Doug was working summers as an assistant professional at Salt Lake Country Club and winters as an assistant at Tamarisk Country Club in Palm Springs, CA. After Mary’s lessons, she insisted on setting up Doug and Denise on a blind date. The couple recently celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on December 28th. Together they have two children, Capt. Mike Vilven, USAF, and Dede Vilven, Westminster College public health master’s degree 2016 graduate.

Following their wedding, Doug and Denise relocated back and forth from Salt Lake City to Palm Springs until Doug got his first job as a head professional at Plum Tree National Country Club in Harvard, IL. During their two years at Plum Tree, Denise worked for Superintendent Mike Bower, learning golf course maintenance and grass care on the fly.

They moved back to Utah in 1978 when Doug took the head professional job at Oquirrh Hills Golf Course in Tooele where Denise learned another aspect of golf, managing food operations. She also joined the Tooele Ladies Golf Association, which influenced her to join the Utah Golf Association. She has been a member ever since.

After three years at Oquirrh Hills, Doug was hired as head professional of Park City Golf Course in 1982. Denise was a starter, managed the books, and acted as merchandiser of the golf shop. She became very active in the Utah State Women's Golf Association and used the knowledge she received from the Tooele Ladies Golf Association to start the Park City Women's Team Play team and the Park City Invitational.

In November 1993, Doug and Denise opened Golf in the Round in Salt Lake City, which turned out to be a steep learning curve for the couple. The broad array of golf-related knowledge Denise gained over the years was put to the test each day as the pair experienced the struggles of entrepreneurship. After 19 exhausting yet rewarding years, they sold the business in 2012.

In addition, she helped form the Old Mill Women's Association and is currently a member of the Meadowbrook Women’s Golf Association where she was club champion for five years. Denise also served as captain of the USWGA State Team in 1990 under the direction of President Jeannie Goddard. She has attended several USGA/PGA Rules Workshops and has officiated numerous UGA and Utah Section PGA tournaments.  

“No matter the task, volunteering at her church, doing UGA work or taking care of her family, Denise has honorable intent,” expressed Doug Vilven. “Nobody will outwork her.”


The annual presentation of the UWGA Lady Award will take place on Wednesday, January 18th at Alpine Country Club beginning at 6 p.m. Other awards to be highlighted include the UGA Gold Club Award and the 2016 UGA Player of the Year Awards. 

Please RSVP by calling the UGA office at 801-563-0400 by Friday, January 13th at 4 p.m.