Longtime Arizona Golf Association Executive Director Ed Gowan to retire

By |  November 11, 2021 0 Comments

The longtime Arizona Golf Association (AGA) Executive Director Ed Gowan is set to retire, effective February 2022.

After 36 years at the helm of the AGA, he has decided the time is right to pass along the reigns to one of the premier amateur golf associations in the country.

“I’ve spent exactly one half of my life in this position,” Gowan said. “I’m very proud of what Arizona Golf has become thanks to many, many outstanding employees and board members. Someone in this position is only as good as those supporting him, and I thank the members of Arizona Golf for the privilege.”

Gowan has served in his current role since June 1985, when the AGA had a staff of two people serving 120 clubs and 23,000 members throughout the Grand Canyon State. Fast forward to the present, and Gowan is set to leave his post having increased staffing to 23 employees serving more than 600 clubs and more than 90,000 members.

In addition to adding dozens of events to the AGA’s annual calendar, Gowan brought the USGA’s GHIN Handicap and Course Rating Systems to Arizona’s golfers. A noted Rules of Golf expert, he has officiated at 35 U.S. Opens, 119 USGA Championships, the Masters and dozens of other international events, both professional and amateur. He is also a founder of the Arizona Golf Foundation, the charitable arm of the AGA, and is the co-founder of the Patriot All-America Invitational collegiate golf showcase.

“The Arizona Golf Association would not be what it is today without the leadership, expertise, and guidance by Ed Gowan over the past 36 years, more than one-third of its existence,” said Bob McNichols, AGA Executive Committee president. “Ed’s accomplishments, and dedication to the game of golf in ‘The State of Golf’ is unparalleled elsewhere.”

Prior to his arrival in Arizona, Gowan spent eight years with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), where he oversaw operations of more than 30 tournaments worldwide for his final four years, including championships in Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Ireland and England.

Gowan’s golf life includes two terms as president of the International Association of Golf Administrators (IAGA), golf course renovation consulting and project management around the world, and group golf-travel management. He is a member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), a member of numerous USGA Committees and, as a published golf writer, a member of the Golf Writers Association of America since 1973. An accomplished player, Gowan has also won numerous regional golf tournaments.

“Speaking on behalf of the many thousand members who have served with Ed on standing committees, the executive committee, as officers and promoters of ‘golf for all’ over the past 36 years, we owe our success as a state association to the CEO who made it all happen: Ed Gowan,” added McNichols. “It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with this ultimate professional who will be missed by all in the AGA and always revered in the annals of its’ history.”

A national search is underway for Gowan’s replacement, with an announcement forthcoming when a selection is made. Inquiries may be directed to AGA Executive Committee Vice President Michelle Cross via email at mmcross111@gmail.com, with the subject line reading “AGA Executive Director – Candidate.”

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