Golf: Former Sooner Awtrey Earns GCAA Lifetime Achievement Award

Jim Awtrey, former University of Oklahoma golfer and head coach, is the sixth person to be honored by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) with a Lifetime Achievement award.

Awtrey will be officially recognized at the GCAA Hall of Fame Reception and Awards Banquet Monday, Dec. 7 in Las Vegas. The past GCAA Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Karsten Solheim, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Friends of Golf.

The Shawnee, Okla., product was a two-time letter winner for the OU men’s golf team. After graduating with an accounting degree in 1966, his golf career would begin as an assistant professional for Joe Walser at Lake Hefner Golf Course in Oklahoma City. Awtrey was elected to PGA membership in 1969 and embarked on his professional playing career. He returned to OU as head coach from 1972-77, where he guided the program to three NCAA tournament appearances and tutored three All-America selections.

“One of the very special times of my career was serving as golf coach at the University of Oklahoma,” Awtrey told the GCAA. “I have remained in close touch with many of the players from over 40 years ago and they never stop calling me ‘coach.’ It is truly a special experience. Today the GCAA coaches are training and influencing the future stars and leaders of the game and I am proud to be a part of their organization, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and honored to be a member of the GCAA Hall of Fame.”

After leaving the Sooner golf program, Awtrey would serve a variety of roles in the PGA of America and South Central PGA Section. This included treasurer and president of the section and member of the PGA Rules Committee and The PGA of America Board of Directors.

In 1986 while serving on the board of directors, the PGA offered Awtrey the position of tournament manager. A year later he was named executive director, the first PGA professional to hold the title. In 1993, Awtrey was named the organization’s first CEO, a position he held until his retirement in November 2005.

Since 2011 Awtrey has served as representative at-large to the GCAA National Advisory Board and the Arnold Palmer Cup tournament chairman.

Previously, Awtrey has been honored with the Donald Ross Award by the American Society of Golf Course Architects and the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association’s Distinguished Service Award, both in 2006. In 2007 Oak Hill Country Club inducted him into its Hill of Fame, and the PGA of America inducted Awtrey into its Hall of Fame in 2011.

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