AJGA honors Hamblin with ACE Grant endowment

Digger Smith, chairman of the AJGA Board of Directors, and AJGA executive director Stephen Hamblin.

Digger Smith, chairman of the AJGA Board of Directors, and AJGA executive director Stephen Hamblin.

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Among the American Junior Golf Association’s most well-known practices is its rigid pace-of-play guidelines. In that spirit, executive director Stephen Hamblin vowed Sunday night to keep the AJGA’s annual Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet on a similarly rigid schedule. Minutes into the program, the pace fell off.

Hamblin was honored Sunday night for 30 years of service to the AJGA. In recognition of his time with the AJGA, colleagues raised more than $100,000 for the endowment of the Stephen A. Hamblin Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant. They announced the endowment, to Hamblin’s surprise, at the start of the Rolex banquet.

If pace of play is the organization’s legacy as a whole, the ACE Grant is Hamblin’s personal legacy. One of Hamblin’s keystone programs, the ACE Grant gives access to junior golfers with the ability but not the financial means to play a national junior golf schedule and compete for college golf scholarships.

Hamblin was 29 when he was named executive director in 1984. At the time, the AJGA hosted 13 tournaments, had five full-time employees and 1,100 members. The organization has grown to more than 100 events, 61 full-time employees and more than 6,000 members.

“I have been so blessed to be a part of the AJGA for this amount of time,” Hamblin said in acknowledging the endowment in his name. “The mission and purpose has always been the same, to help young men and women achieve their dreams.”

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