The USGA annual meeting in Pinehurst was more than speeches, rules announcements and the coronation of officers. It was also a social gathering for some of the most influential people in the game, including Global Golf Post’s Amateurs of the Year for 2013, Jim Holtgrieve and Ellen Port.
Post Publisher Jim Nugent took the occasion to present Port and Holtgrieve with the crystal trophies that accompany the annual awards.
“I must say the crystal is beautiful,” Port said. “It’s one of the prettiest awards I’ve ever seen.”
The Pinehurst meeting was the first opportunity Nugent had to present the trophies, even though Port and Holtgrieve both live in St. Louis and have spent considerable time together there.
“Jim has shared some ideas with me around our first Curtis Cup practice, so we’ve gotten together and had some conversations,” Port said.
Holtgrieve captained the victorious U.S. Walker Cup team a year ago, and as he put it, “I gave Ellen a few suggestions on what we had done.”
But the meeting in North Carolina was different.
“It really meant a lot to me to be with Jim in the context of the USGA and amateurism and the traditions of what golf is really all about,” Port said. “That whole weekend was incredibly special, especially to get this award with Jim who is such a promoter of Amateur golf.”
Holtgrieve agreed, saying, “It was wonderful to be there with everyone and to hear (USGA president) Tom O’Toole’s speech. He is someone who is incredibly passionate about the game.
“As for Ellen, every time I see her she calls me ‘Five down,’ because she has six (USGA) national titles and I only have one,” he said. “But it was great being with her, even though she was a lot more popular than I will ever be.”
“Just to be recognized at the USGA meeting and in Pinehurst, the whole picture could not have been better,” Port said. “And it was also special to have my husband Andy there, which is unusual. He usually has to stay home and caddie for the kids.
“It was a great place to have this award given to us.”