Class of 2015 honors leadership and accomplishment
Golf administrator and volunteer Christie Austin and PGA of America member Ron Vlosich are to be inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.
“This is something I never, ever would have expected, particularly since I came to the game so late in life,” said Austin, 58, who was 26 when she first picked up a golf club. “Golf has been such a labor of love for me that I never thought what I was doing would merit consideration.”
Actually, Austin’s golf career is nothing less than amazing. After many years as a golf administration volunteer, the George Washington High School and University of Colorado graduate served for six years on the 15-person USGA Executive Committee and became the first woman to chair the USGA Rules of Golf Committee. Currently she serves on the national board of The First Tee as well as on the board of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
“I got involved in volunteering at the 1985 PGA Championship at Cherry Hills, and after taking on larger and larger roles, I found that I really loved that part of the game,” she explained. “When the USGA asked me to join its board in 2007, it became an incredibly rewarding time of my life.
“Golf has given me so much joy, so many friendships and life lessons,” she said. “It has shaped my life in a wonderful way. I feel really blessed.”
Austin also became a seriously competitive and accomplished golfer. Her record includes 15 Colorado Women’s Golf Association titles, including the Senior Match Play (2007) and Senior Stroke Play (’07 and ’14); twice named CWGA Senior Player of the Year (’07 and ’14); winning the 2010 Women's Trans National Golf Association Senior Four-Ball with Kim Eaton; and qualifying for 14 USGA national championships, including last month's U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.
Pictured: Bubba Watson (left) and Christie Austin (right) at Estancia Golf Club in Scottsdale, where the two won their respective Club Championships this year. Photo courtesy of Christie Austin.
Vlosich’s playing record is equally noteworthy. After winning the 1980 Wyoming Open in his professional debut, he notched three consecutive Colorado PGA Section Championships in the early 1990s and later won the Denver Open. He also was named Colorado PGA Player of the Year five times and earned the CPGA's Senior Player of the Year honor in 2008.
“Golf has been such a passion for me and my career,” said Vlosich, 58, who grew up in Glenwood Springs and was the 17-year director of golf at Green Gables Country Club in Denver. “It’s never seemed like a job to me. I still can’t believe they paid me to do what I did.
“I was 14 when I decided to do something in the golf business—either as a player on the PGA Tour, a club pro or a golf course superintendent,” he said from his home in Lakewood. “Winning the Utah High School State Championship in 1972 gave me the confidence as a player, but instead I focused on being a club pro and really never looked back.”
Austin and Vlosich are to be formally inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame on May 31 at Pinehurst Country Club in Denver. Also to be honored:
- George Solich, Chairman of the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills, who has been named Golf Person of the Year;
- Robin Jervey, who will receive the Distinguished Service Award for her 22 years as Executive Director of the Colorado Women’s Golf Association;
- Dan Hogan, Colorado golf historian and Hall of Fame member, who has earned a Lifetime Achievement award; and
- Dave and Gail Liniger, both of whom will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for their instrumental roles in raising close to $80 million for charity at their Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia.
Chris Duthie is a contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.