by Kim Griggs, PGA
In the late 1950’s Dot Straw was looking for a summertime activity for her four year old son Jeff. Little did she know then that it would turn into a lifetime devotion to the game of golf. Jeff would go golfing with the late Dell Urich’s grandson and they would play 3 or 4 holes while Dot and Patti Urich carried the clubs and offered encouragement. The boys started playing in the Tucson Junior Golf Association
started by Ricki Rarick, a local business man, after World War II as a program to help veterans returning from the war. Later this program became renamed the Ricki Rarick Junior Golf Program and grew into one the of country’s finest junior golf development programs.
By the early 1960’s Dot was volunteering, helping Ricki and Alene Stoecker run each of the weekly events. Many volunteers have helped throughout the years but Dot, along with her husband Bill, just couldn’t say no to Ricki or the junior golfers. Although Bill, with his five years of service, while highly dedicated to the kids – it was Dot who continued running events for over 25 years, long after their son had become too old to participate.
In 1993, Mike Hayes and the Southwest Section Southern Chapter PGA took over running the events and the program continued to grow with over 300 participants at the height of the “Tiger” boom of golf. In honor of all their years of hard work, there is now the Bill & Dot Straw Award which is given to the organization or person whose continued support allows the Ricki Rarick Junior Golf Program to thrive. The Ricki Rarick Junior Golf Program has produced PGA Tour stars like Michael Thompson and Rich Barcelo, countless PGA club professionals, and hundreds of lifelong golf enthusiasts who all got their start in golf thanks to Dot and Bill.
In May 2011, the Southwest Section of the PGA honored Dot Straw by awarding her the Ping Anser Award as a person whose positive efforts have influenced the history of golf in Arizona. Additionally, Dot is a member of the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame, recipient of the Updegraff Award, member of the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame, member of the National Advisory Council of the Junior Golf Alliance, volunteer for the Tucson Open, and a longtime supporter of women’s golf.
As Dot said in her acceptance speech when receiving the Anser Award, “It is overwhelming to be so honored when you were doing what you loved and loved every minute doing it.”