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RMGCSA Legacy Scholarship Connects the Future to the Past
by Joe MCCleary

A golf family tree branches in an interesting and satisfying way. The McCleary Golf Family Tree starts with George F. McCleary Sr, my grandfather. He introduced me to the game. It’s also quite possible that the love of being outdoors and interacting with a variety of living organisms occupies a place on my golf family tree. So include Mother Nature and a Kansas ice storm on a couple of branches. My first golf course job, Alvamar Golf Course, involved cleaning up small debris from an ice storm. Without that storm, I wouldn’t have met Richard Stuntz, CGCS, the superintendent that observed my passion for the course and shared with me that a degree in horticulture was worth exploring. Dick’s guidance led me to Kansas State where I met Jeff Nus PhD, my advisor. Eventually Jeff found his way to GCSAA and that led to my involvement on the GCSAA Research Committee and then the Environmental Programs and Government Relations committees. Involvement on the Environmental Programs Committee led to the idea for the economic/environmental study of golf in Colorado.  

Dennis Lyon, CGCS and I first crossed paths during the summer of 1987, Meadow Hills Golf Course; my first summer in Colorado. After I graduated I moved to Colorado and we coached girls’ soccer together.  Dennis’ daughters played and his wife Penny predicted that I would be the father of girls. She was right and Penny provided day care for my two daughters, Evan and Sydney. Dennis was also my connection to Saddle Rock, RMGCSA and the Colorado Golf Association. 

My first CGA related encounter occurred on the first tee at Saddle Rock during the 2002 drought and CGA Amateur Championship, I pitched to Ed Mate the need to complete an economic and environmental study of golf in Colorado. Ed and I worked closely on the study and continue to work together while I complete the duties associated with my current association role, CGA President.  

Individuals associated with the RMGCSA occupy a sizeable number of significant tree branches. Attempting to name all of them would be a futile act. Let me just says this, my interactions with everyone associated with the RMGCSA has enhanced my personal and professional lives in many cherished and gratifying ways. 

Back to Meadow Hills, where golf professional Mickey Byrne and I worked together. Our friendship grew stronger when both of us found our way out to SE Aurora for the construction and opening of Saddle Rock. We worked together for many years. 

My daughter Evan’s link to the McCleary Golf Family Tree is Saddle Rock and Mickey. He hired her to work cart & range at Saddle Rock and eventually moved her into the pro shop. She loves working at the golf course and has come to the realization that golfers can be a friendly and occasionally challenging breed of individuals to interact with. 

Why talk about all of this? Because the RMGCSA recently awarded a Legacy Scholarship to Evan; an athletic young woman that that loves helping other people. The funding associated with the scholarship will assist her when she continues her education this fall at Kansas State University in a to be determined major. As the years pass, she will propagate her own professional family tree. A tree that will always be linked to the McCleary Golf Family Tree that is firmly rooted to the RMGCSA and Colorado.  

Thank you for supporting Evan’s future. 

Congratulations Evan!

Contact Gary Leeper at RMGCSA
Voice: 303-255-9611 Fax: 303-458-0002
12011 Tejon St., Ste. 700., Westminster, CO 80234 EMAIL: