Tom Graves, head golf professional at Salishan Golf Links, has been recognized by the Oregon Golf Association (OGA) as Golf Executive of the Year for the state of Oregon.
This award acknowledges exceptional leadership by a general manager, golf professional, clubhouse manager or owner/operator of an OGA member club in contributing to the game of golf, the local community and the OGA.
The award was announced by Katie Cruise, OGA Director of Membership and Outreach, on Sept. 30.
Graves was hired as head golf professional and manager of golf operations at Salishan just one year ago. In that time, he has tripled club membership, sponsored a number of lively events to increase member participation and interest, and brought several OGA tournaments to the club.
Several members of Salishan Golf Links submitted nominations for Graves to the OGA. Long-time member T.C. Evans wrote, “In the past year I have witnessed an astounding process of rebirth and growth energetically led by our head golf professional Tom Graves. It is my fervent belief that you would be hard-pressed to find a more worthy candidate for OGA Club Executive of the Year.”
Cathy Berger, another golf member, was impressed by the number and variety of special events that Graves arranged to be held at Salishan. “He brought several state and regional tournaments to our course,” she wrote in her nomination. “Juniors, seniors, amateurs, professionals … we had never seen so much activity.”
Graves’ accomplishments are particularly noteworthy in light of two course closures during the year - the COVID-19 closure in the early spring and then the 3-day closure due to the Sept. 7-8 wind event, tree damage and power outages. Salishan has nevertheless had record-setting days of golfer participation several times throughout the season, due to Graves’ innovative ideas and energy. He was also recognized for his leadership in forming a non-profit foundation, the Short Grass Foundation, with the goal of providing scholarships and other support for college-level golfers.
In learning of the award, Graves humbly acknowledged the crew managing the golf shop and grounds. “I couldn’t have done it without my hard-working staff,” he stated. “Sometimes I don’t feel like the best communicator, but they’ve always got my back.”