Ray Haas and wife Carol at the GSGA annual meeting. Haas received the prestigious Bill
Ray Haas recognized by GSGA
By Jim Rice
Sometimes, good things happen to good people, and this is one of those cases. On Jan. 21 at its annual meeting and banquet, the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) presented the highest honor available to recognize exceptional volunteerism to Ray Haas.
The GSGA Bill Todd award was established to recognize individual GSGA volunteers who exhibit the attributes spelled out in the award mission statement for “maintaining the highest standard of service and stewardship as a Georgia State Golf Association volunteer.” The award is not an annual award and is only given when one individual is identified as exemplifying all the necessary traits for recognition.
The one person who stood head and shoulders above the rest for the Bill Todd award was Big Canoe’s own Ray Haas. In his tenure as a volunteer for the GSGA, Ray has served as senior director, rules official (for more than 15 years), rules workshop instructor, member site selection committee, member of both the girls and junior golf committees and the Northwest Georgia junior sectional chair.
There are a few folks whom you meet in life who exemplify all the attributes you wish you had. For me, one of those guys is Ray Haas. Ray has been a fixture of Big Canoe golf for as long as I can recall. In addition to his selfless contributions of time to the GSGA and Georgia Junior golf programs throughout the state, Ray has given generously of his time and expertise to the golf programs in Big Canoe. He can frequently be seen on the golf course before every tournament (mens and ladies) properly marking the course to USGA standards. He has taught many rules clinics here, given rulings during our tournaments, assists with our junior golf clinics, assists with the Learning Ladies program and tirelessly explains the rules over and over to many Big Canoe golfers. On top of all that, he is now mentoring several Big Canoe GSGA volunteers to follow in his footsteps as rules officials. I won’t take the time to recognize all his understudies now since this article is all about one exceptional man, Ray Haas.
One of the keys to Ray’s volunteering—he does it all with a good-natured smile and the patience of Job. I’ve heard him answer the same rules question repeatedly, yet he always answers without an eye roll or a heavy sigh. He officiates the junior tournaments with a strict adherence to the rules but with a kind heart for the competitors. He once shared with me the story of a young competitor who was running his hand back and forth across the putting surface in front of his ball. Ray approached and tried to guide the youngster with the question, “I saw you moving your hand across the green. Were you brushing sand off your line?” Despite the guidance inherent in the question, the young man replied, with the honesty of youth, “No, sir. I was trying to figure out which way the grain of the grass was growing.” Wrong answer. A two-stroke penalty ensued but done with the gentle kindness of a caring person.
That’s Big Canoe’s Ray Haas.