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Our Awards

The Graffis Award is the National Golf Foundation's top annual award, named in honor of our founders, Herb and Joe Graffis, and recognizes outstanding contributions to the game and business of golf.

In addition to keeping alive the memory of the Graffis brothers and their commitment to golf, the award reinforces the NGF’s position as the organization that’s been helping golf businesses succeed since 1936, as well as its mission to foster the growth and vitality of the game. The honor has been awarded, in different forms, dating back to 1970.

The first Graffis award, named in honor of brother Joe Graffis and meant to recognize excellence in golf education, was presented in 1970.

In 1977, the Herb Graffis award was added to recognize overall contributions to golf. That same year, Herb Graffis was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame for his extensive contributions to the business of golf and advancement of the game.

Both awards were presented annually thereafter until 1992, when they were combined into a single award recognizing “outstanding contributions to the game of golf” in the tradition of the Graffis brothers. Discontinued for a time in 2004, NGF’s Graffis Award was reestablished in 2018.

Past recipients of NGF’s awards include high profile golfers (Arnold Palmer, Patty Berg); equipment company CEOs (Karsten Solheim, Ely Callaway); golf administrators (Judy Bell, Deane Beman and Tim Finchem); and golf educators/teachers (Peggy Kirk Bell, Bob Toski).

Most recently, longtime Golf Digest editor-in-chief Jerry Tarde received the 2023 Graffis Award.

The honorees are recognized at the NGF's annual Golf Business Symposium.

collective pic of winners

Graffis Award Recipients

(2018-ongoing) Recognizes outstanding contributions to the game and business of golf.
(1992-2004) Awarded for outstanding contributions to the game of golf in the tradition of NGF co-founders, Herb and Joe Graffis.

2023 - Jerry Tarde

2022 – Ken Morton Sr.

2021 - Joe Louis Barrow Jr.

2019 - Judy Rankin

2018 - Tim Finchem

2004 - MG Orender

2003 - LPGA Amateur Golf Association

2002 - Byron Nelson

2001 - Ely Callaway

2000 - Karsten Solheim

1999 - Judy Bell

1998 - Tom Watson

1997 - Charlie Mechem

1996 - Gene Sarazen

1995 - Peter Bonanni

1994 - Dennis Walters

1993 - Chi Chi Rodriguez

1992 - Robert F. MacNally

1991 P.J. Boatwright
1990 Don Rossi
1989 William Campbell
1988 John Laupheimer
1987 Deane R. Beman
1986 Joseph C. Dey
1985 Howard L. Clark
1984 Bill Davis/Howard Gill
1983 Herb Graffis
1982 Jack Nicklaus
1981 Patty Berg
1980 Bob Hope
1979 Carol McCue
1978 Arnold Palmer
1977 Joe Jemsek

Herb Graffis Award

From 1977 through 1991, the NGF presented this award in recognition of overall contributions to golf.

Joe Graffis Award

From 1970 through 1991, when the two Graffis brother awards were combined, this award was presented by NGF for excellence in golf education.

1991 Kerry Graham
1990 Davis Love, Jr.
1989 Kathy Corbin
1988 Tom Addis
1987 Edwin B. Cottrell
1986 DeDe Owens
1985 No award given
1984 Paul Runyan
1983 Carol C. Johnson
1982 Jim Flick
1981 Peggy Kirk Bell
1980 Bob Toski
1979 Conrad H. Rehling
1978 Gary Wiren
1977 Bill Strausbaugh, Jr.
1976 Shirley Spork
1975 Patty Berg
1974 Opal Hill
1973 No award given
1972 Les Bolstad
1971 Barbara Rotvig
1970 Ellen Griffin
Dye's (002) - NGF family award

Family of the Year Award

From 1986 (the year Jack Nicklaus won his record 18th professional major championship) through 2000, NGF presented the Jack Nicklaus Golf Family of the Year Award. It recognized families who made significant contributions to the game and exemplified the ideals of golf and the family.