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Gary Esplin, former St. George City Manager, named Charles Nibley Excellence in Golf Promotion honoree

The Utah Golf Association is pleased to announce the special recognition honor of “Charles Nibley Excellence in Golf Promotion” to be presented to former St. George, Utah City Manager, Gary Esplin.

This special recognition honors individuals or organizations that have significantly added to Utah’s efforts to grow and protect the game of golf especially at a local level.

For over 40-years Esplin served the St. George community as its City Manager, included in his efforts to enhance the city was his impact on the growth of the game of golf within St. George and the surrounding area. Under his leadership, St. George City became known worldwide as one of the most popular golf destinations in the United States leading to national-best residential growth and economic expansion. As a major draw for global tourism, St. George City became recognized as the golfing Mecca of Utah during his tenure.

During Esplin’s time as City Manager, the golf industry in Washington County grew from just two golf courses to 12 golf courses, with Dixie Red Hills (9-holes), St. George, Sunbrook (27-holes) and Southgate golf courses owned and operated by St. George City. Esplin retired in 2017. It was Esplin who positioned St. George City at the forefront of publicly-owned golf course management in Utah.

Former St. George City Manager, Gary Esplin, will be presented with a special UGA recognition honor during the March 16th City Council meeting.

Gary Esplin, perhaps more than any other person, played the most prominent role in St. George City’s development into a nationally recognized year-round golf destination community and played a major consulting role in the area’s other courses, including the private country club and resort facilities in Washington County.

The UGA will present Esplin with the “Charles Nibley Excellence in Golf Promotion” recognition honor at the upcoming St. George City Council meeting in March.

In September of 2022, the UGA presented its inaugural “Excellence in Golf Promotion” honor posthumously to Charles Nibley. This honor was in recognition of Nibley’s property donation to Salt Lake City resulting in the creation of Utah’s first public golf course, over one hundred years ago, in 1922. Nibley Park Golf Course paved the way for Utah to become a national leader in the availability of quality, affordable publicly owned golf courses. It was announced that the special recognition honor’s official title for future honorees will be known as the “Charles Nibley Excellence in Golf Promotion”. Esplin is just the second person to be recognized with this honor.

All Charles Nibley Excellence in Golf Promotion honorees are recognized on a permanent display with in the Nibley Park Golf Course clubhouse.