The following is an excerpt from the recent interview I did with golf author/publisher Christina Ricci. ~ The entire interview can be found on Christina's blog, Miss Par. ~ A number of Christina's questions dealt with the increasing urgent issue of "growing the game" including this one where she asked me, "...who, in your eyes, is the quintessential Golf Ambassador? In other words, who do you feel is making that extra effort to grow the game?" I answered her, without hesitation, as follows:
Many professional golfers and golf organizations are now involved in initiatives to grow the game. As for the quintessential Golf Ambassador, without a doubt that would have to Dr. Haruhisa Handa.
This Japanese philanthropist has been dedicated to growing the game of golf for almost 25 years. His International Sports Promotion Society has fostered partnerships with golf’s governing bodies worldwide to help develop the game at every level, advising professional tours, supporting their charitable efforts and sponsoring tournaments.
Dr. Handa is the Honorary Chairman of the Legends Tour and an advisor to the European Senior Tour. He’s also Chairman of the Women’s Senior Golf Association and an official Patron of Golf Australia. In addition, Dr. Handa established the first Blind Golf Club in Japan, and is known to many there as the “Father of Blind Golf”. He serves as Honorary Chairman of the Japanese Blind Golf Association (NPO) and Honorary President of the International Blind Golf Association. He relentlessly promotes blind and disabled golf.
Long before “growing the game” became a cause célèbre, this extraordinary man was supporting organizations and efforts that allow young people, those in their senior years, and people with disabilities... from various backgrounds around the world... to be involved with, and inspired by, golf. In my eyes, Dr. Handa is clearly a Golf Ambassador without equal.
How would you have answered Christina's question? Who do you see as the quintessential Golf Ambassador?
Past posts on the awesome Dr. Handa:
The Handa Cup and Dr. Haruhisa Handa
International Showdown by the Sea - The Handa Cup