Herb Graffis Business Person of the Year Award

I was reading the online version of Golfdom the other day and saw a few things I wanted to mention on Turfhugger. To begin, their special feature "Turf on Trial" provided some excellent testimonies on behalf of a number of industry professionals who debunked common accusations against golf. Turfhugger's own Chris Tritabaugh was featured to help illustrate that golf courses do not live by their own set of rules, and that many like Tritabaugh, go beyond the expectations of law.

Also in this issue, on the bottom of page six is a small blurb about how Golfdom is currently accepting nominations for the first ever Herb Graffis Business Person of the Year Award. As outlined briefly in the magazine and on their website the award is meant to recognize forward-thinking people in the business of golf. 

I began to salivate. There are not shortage of Superintendent centric awards out there, and that's a good thing, but small business in this industry (consultants, contractors, etc) produce some game changing projects, services or products that help to elevate the way our industry does business, this award is for them. 

So I've decided to contact Seth JonesGolfdoms Editor-In-Chief, to learn more. Here's what he had to say...
Turfhugger: What are the guidelines to the award?

Seth Jones: There are very few guidelines. Must be 18 to win. Also, I'd prefer it if our winner didn't have a criminal record… unless it's a really cool crime.

OK, seriously, the Herb Graffis Business Person of the Year Award is open to anyone in the golf industry — supers, GMs, assistants, irrigation techs, owners — anyone. I want to give the award to someone who, through creative thinking and courage, decided to try something that wasn't the norm in order to help their golf facility succeed. So the award is meant for someone who is willing to take a risk and try something new.

I want to reward someone who took a chance by speaking up and getting the golf course out of its usual routine in order to help the business be successful. Too many people are happy to keep doing the same thing because "that's the way we've always done it." This award is meant for someone who has taken the "way we've always done it" mentality and smashed it with a cup cutter.

Turfhugger: Where did the idea come from?

Seth Jones: When I came to Golfdom in December of last year, one thing I had to ask is, "Why doesn't Golfdom have an award to give out every year?" I came to Golfdom from 12 years at Golf Course Management magazine, and one of my favorite things about that job was getting to write the Old Tom Morris Award story for GCM. It's a fun award with some really cool winners.

And I have to admit, I like awards and the stories they lead to. in the magazine business, we're supposed to educate, enlighten, entertain. I believe that this award can serve a purpose along all of those lines… it's not simply recognizing someone for an outstanding contribution to society, or an industry… but it is also giving readers a chance to learn about someone who did something good for the golf facility, and maybe that idea can be adopted, or emulated in some way.

I knew we couldn't do an award like the Old Tom Award — someone else already does it and does it well. So I went a different direction. An everyman award, in the sense that anyone could win it, they just need an idea.

I don't think this award will result in me getting to fly in a privately owned Cessna to Cancun, like when Nick Price won the Old Tom Morris Award. But I think it will result in a good story for our readers, and probably a good adventure for me as well. That's my hope.

Turfhugger: Many come in yet?

Seth Jones: They're trickling in, slowly. I just did a video on Golfdom TV where I confessed that if someone were to submit me a nomination right then, that nominee would have a one-in-four shot at winning. So yeah, it's been slow going here in the beginning. I'm hopeful it picks up as we get closer to Nov. 11th, the deadline for entries.

I feel like we will get some positive reaction, though. After all, we're paying for the winner's trip to the 2012 Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas and we're also going to do a story on the winner in Golfdom — I think those are pretty cool prizes. And I think a lot of people would like to be able to say they were the first ever winner of the Herb Graffis Business Person of the Year Award.

Turfhugger: Not bad for the pocket book, or resume. Can you tell us more about Herb?

Seth Jones: Herb Graffis was first and foremost a golf writer, but he was also a visionary businessman who did the game of golf many great favors. Many say Graffis was the first person to view golf as more than a game, but as a business. Herb and his brother Joe got their beginning in the golf industry in 1923 with the creation of Chicago Golfer. The duo created Golfdom in 1927. Along the way the duo created the National Golf Foundation and Herb founded the Golf Writers Association of America. Herb Graffis was a well known speaker in the golf world, with a knack for funny quips and a sharp wit. A sage business man, he was never the best golfer, but he was excellent at making deals on the golf course. For his many contributions to the game of golf, Graffis was entered into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1977. Graffis passed away in 1989 at the age of 95.

Check out the nomination form here.