The Yancey Ford Award is presented annually by Golfweek to an individual who has made significant contributions to senior-amateur golf. This year it will be presented on January 16, 2022, at Tampa Palms CC following the first round of the Golfweek Player of the Year Classic.
Gene Elliott may just be the most fitting recipient of the award.
The Bettendorf, Iowa, native has created an impact well beyond the Hawkeye state. Gene has competed on the national level his whole career. With both British and U.S. Senior Amateur victories in 2021, Elliott has plenty to be thankful for as the calendar turns to 2022.
However, it’s what Elliott has done off the course that has piqued the interests of the Yancy Ford Award committee. Helping save the Iowa Golf Association (IGA) back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Elliott has been a big part of what the IGA has become.
“It was kind of a turbulent time,” Elliott told Golfweek. ”I just want to make golf better.”
Elliott did just that. After a couple of years on various boards for the IGA, Elliott revamped the state match play tournament. The event had been defunct since before he got to the IGA, but after getting other events to better courses and helping rebuild the IGA’s reputation, Elliott got the green light to reassert an event that is held in high regard across most state golf associations.
Revamping the Iowa State Match Play, being a part of the USGA mid-am committee for seven years (1999-2006), and being a part of the IGA’s board of directors for 16 years (2004-2019) helped earn Elliott an Iowa Golf Association Hall of Fame induction in 2012 at the age of 50.
In his letter nominating Elliott, close friend and 2011 Iowa Golf Hall of Fame inductee, Mike McCoy said, “Gene has conducted himself as a true gentleman throughout his life both on and off the golf course. He has developed friendships throughout the golf world and is universally respected and liked by all.”
Current IGA CEO and executive director Chad Pitts spoke for everyone at the IGA when he told Golfweek that he did not want to see Elliott leave the Board of Directors in 2019. But rules are rules and Elliott exited the IGA’s Board of Directors in 2019 but still plays a role with the association here and there.
As good as his work is off the course, his volunteerism in golf is overshadowed by his playing career as Elliott is the top ranked senior in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and has won twelve of his 27 Iowa majors since turning 50.
Now with a Yancy Ford award to add to the ever-growing Elliott home trophy case, Elliott’s 30+ years of growing the game in the Hawkeye state and around the world, have been formally recognized.
Source : https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2022/01/14/gene-elliott-named-golfweeks-2021-yancy-ford-winner/495