(Mesa, Ariz.) – Longbow Golf Club General Manager Bob McNichols has been named the American Junior Golf Association’s 2020 Golf Executive of the Year. The AJGA presented the award to McNichols at the recent AJGA PING Heather Farr Classic held at Longbow.
Each year, the AJGA recognizes the previous year’s most outstanding golf course executive, golf professional, superintendent and most engaged tournaments. Longbow Golf Club has previously received the AJGA Tournament of the Year, AJGA Golf Professional of the Year, AJGA Superintendent of the Year, and AJGA Media Award.
“I’m deeply gratified and honored to accept this recognition on behalf of the excellent hard working management team and staff members at Longbow Golf Club who gear up every day for our public play, our Card members, visitors and guests to offer the tournament-ready experience and quality conditions throughout the year that we have become known for,” said McNichols. “A vital part of that conditioning and readiness for junior, collegiate, amateur and professional golf events has been our experience for 18 years with the AJGA and the Ping Heather Farr Classic. Our list of past champions reads like a golf Hall of Fame, which it is!”
McNichols has been instrumental to the success of the AJGA since the Heather Farr Classic was first held at Longbow in 2004. In 2020, McNichols and Longbow Golf Club hosted two AJGA events in in back-to-back weeks in September – the PING Heather Farr Classic and the AJGA Longbow Golf Club Open. The AJGA Longbow Golf Club Open was created in part to increase playing opportunities for juniors on the West Coast after several events were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Longbow will again host two AJGA tournament events in 2021. McNichols currently serves as the President of the Arizona Golf Association and its 600 member clubs and 84,000 individual members.
“I’ve known Bob since he first hosted our Heather Farr tournament at Longbow Golf Club. I don’t know of a more generous or sincere gentleman in the golf business,” said AJGA Board Member Gayle Champagne. “I wouldn’t know how to measure the impact he has had on people through the game golf. I think he’s happiest when kids from The First Tee or Mesa elementary schools are swarming all over the practice areas. In addition to giving young kids an opportunity to learn the game he has hosted the LPGA Symetra Tour, NCAA tournaments, Handicapped Golf Association events and fundraisers for many local charities. It’s hard to give enough praise to someone who has done so much but asks for no recognition.”
The AJGA PING Heather Farr Classic is named in honor of the late Heather Farr. Born and raised in Arizona, Farr played collegiate golf at Arizona State University and had victories in the U.S. Girls Junior and the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links. She was a Curtis Cup team member and broke onto the LPGA Tour in 1986. At the age of 24, Farr was diagnosed with breast cancer, and ultimately died from the disease when she was just 28. The event honors her spirit, courage and tenacity. Now in its 23rd year, Longbow continues to host the Heather Farr Classic with McNichols serving as the tournament chair. In this role, he has helped secure donated product for tournament participants, which aid in achieving Project Zero initiatives. In 2020, he assisted in raising $40,000 via the Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament which benefitted the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant.
Past boys champions of the AJGA PING Heather Farr Classic, include PGA TOUR star Hunter Mahan, Beau Hossler, Philip Francis, and Drew Kittleson. Past girls champions include many LPGA players, including Amanda Blumenherst, Paula Creamer, Alison Lee, Inbee Park, Mina Harigae, Moriya Jutanugarn and Hannah O’Sullivan.
In 2021 Longbow will host nearly two dozen professional, collegiate and high-level amateur competitions, including the AGA Women’s Season Opener in February; the Longbow Golf Club Clover Cup D1 NCAA Women’s Invitational and Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic in March; the AJGA Ping Heather Farr Classic in April; the US Kids Arizona State Invitational and United States Disabled Golf Open Championship in May; the American Heroes Golf Tour Championship and Golfweek Amateur Tour in June; and the Southwest Section PGA 2021 Drive Chip and Putt Regional Qualifier and USGA 2021 Senior Women’s Open Championship Qualifier in July.
Longbow Golf Club is no stranger to hosting competitive events and tournaments since opening in 1997. The Ken Kavanaugh-designed golf course has been the host site for Cactus Tour tournaments; AGA, USGA, NCAA, NJCAA, AJGA and JGAA events; high school practices and competitions; and is the instruction home of the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy and a major instruction programming site for The First Tee of Phoenix. In December 2020, Longbow hosted the inaugural Longbow Cactus Cup Championship, a one-round, season-ending stroke play competition featuring four of The Cactus Tour’s top professional money winners. Rising LPGA star and former University of Arizona standout, Haley Moore won the winner-take-all event.