Ron Gaines was surprised once again by an award that celebrates his contributions to golf.

  “It was like when the GAM honored me with the Distinguished Service Award (in 2016), I had no idea it was coming, and once again I’m surprised, honored and caught completely off guard,” he said after being named the Yancey Ford Award recipient by Golfweek – USA Today Sports.

  Gaines, 72 and a Harrison Township resident, will be honored at ceremonies during The Golfweek Player of the Year Classic January 16-18 at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. The top three senior players from the Golfweek amateur tournament structure (Senior, Super Senior and Legend) will be honored as well as Gaines, who administers the senior amateur tournaments for Golfweek.

  The Yancey Ford Award is a prestigious honor that recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to amateur golf, and specifically, senior amateur golf.

  “It would be hard to find a more deserving individual to receive the 2020 award presented by Golfweek than Ron Gaines,” said Yancey Ford, a former General Mills . “Ron has been intimately involved with amateur golf for over twenty-five years and continues to give countless hours back to the game through his volunteerism and many endeavors." 

  Gaines is a GAM president emeritus, USGA, Michigan PGA and GAM rules official, GAM Foundation board member involved with Youth on Course, an active GAM and USGA committee member, and is an avid golfer.

  “I’m dealing with the best senior players in the world with all the tournaments we run,” he said. “It’s great being around those guys who really know how to play. I can’t play at their level, not even close, but I can administer a tournament and give back in that way, and that’s what I’ve done. I enjoy it, enjoy working with the rules, with the senior golfers, with Golfweek, the GAM and the PGA.”

  Gaines said winning awards is not among the reasons he serves golf, but he is proud to be a Yancey Ford Award winner.

  “Only 10 people have won this award, and I’m humbled by that and being part of that group of great people,” he said. “There are only a couple of awards in senior golf and this is one of them, a big one. I really am stunned by this – once again.”

  Gaines plans to attend the tournament and award ceremony, which will follow the first round on Jan. 16.

-Greg Johnson, greg.johnson@emailgam.org