Michael Bamberger – a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and author of several books on golf – has been chosen by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) as the 2016 recipient of the Donald Ross Award. The award, given annually since 1976, is presented to a person who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and the profession of golf course architecture. It will be presented to Bamberger at the 2016 ASGCA Annual Meeting on April 24 in Bethesda, Maryland.
“Almost every golf fan over the past 30 years has read and been impacted by Michael’s writing, in newspapers, on the pages of Sports Illustrated, on the web or in his books,” said President Steve Smyers, ASGCA. “He brings his readers to the places they want to go – from major championships to traveling along on the European Tour – and shows them unique views of the golf world they might not otherwise experience. Michael’s keen observations about the game provide the casual golfer a greater understanding of the art of the game.
“We’re thrilled a writer of Michael’s caliber is devoting his talent to keeping the game front and center among sports fans,” he continued. “ASGCA respects his knowledge and perspective, and appreciates how his efforts benefit the game of golf.”
Bamberger grew up in Patchogue, New York, and was introduced to golf in an eighth-grade gym class. He first played on the public courses of Suffolk County and on the Patchogue-Medford High School golf team. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania he became a newspaper reporter, working for the Vineyard Gazette, on Martha’s Vineyard, and later for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Since 1995, Bamberger has been a senior writer at Sports Illustrated. He also contributes regularly to golf.com and writes a back-page column for Golf magazine.
His books on golf include “The Green Road Home” (1986), about his experiences as a caddie on the PGA Tour in 1985; “To the Linksland” (1992), about an extended honeymoon trip Bamberger and his wife, Christine, made on the European golf tour and through coastal Scotland; and “Men in Green” (2015), a then-and-now look at various golf legends from the 1970s. He is the inventor of The E-Club, a utility golf club for which he was issued a U.S. patent.
Bamberger joins an impressive list of journalists who have received the Donald Ross Award, including Herbert Warren Wind, Peter Dobereiner, Charles Price, Dick Taylor, Ron Whitten, George Peper, James Dodson and Bradley S. Klein.
Bamberger lives in Philadelphia, with his wife Christine, and their children, Ian and Alina.
The Donald Ross Award is presented by the ASGCA Awards Committee, co-chaired by ASGCA President Steve Smyers and 2013 Ross Award recipient Rees Jones, ASGCA.
Past Donald Ross Award Recipients
2015 Bradley S. Klein, golf writer
2014 Maj. Dan Rooney, founder, Folds of Honor Foundation
2013 Rees Jones, ASGCA, golf course architect
2012 Bill Kubly, golf course builder
2011 James Dodson, golf writer/editor
2010 Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner
2009 Ron Dodson, sustainable golf advocate
2008 George Peper, golf writer
2007 Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA, golf course architect
2006 Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer, PGA of America
2005 John Singleton, irrigation pioneer
2004 Thomas Cousins, philanthropist, urban golf developer
2003 Bill Campbell, president, USGA, captain, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
2002 Byron Nelson, professional golfer
2001 Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA, professional golfer, golf course architect
2000 Jaime Ortiz-Patino, owner and president, Valderrama Golf Club
1999 Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
1998 Judy Bell, president, USGA
1997 Gene Sarazen, professional golfer
1996 Ron Whitten, golf writer
1995 Pete Dye, ASGCA, golf course architect
1994 James R. Watson, agronomist
1993 Brent Wadsworth, golf course builder
1992 Paul Fullmer, ASGCA executive secretary
1991 Michael Bonallack, secretary, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
1990 John Zoller, executive director, Northern California Golf Association
1989 Dick Taylor, editor, “Golf World” magazine
1988 Frank Hannigan, executive director, USGA
1987 Charles Price, writer, “Golf World” magazine
1986 Deane Beman, commissioner, PGA Tour
1985 Peter Dobereiner, “London Observer” columnist, author
1984 Dinah Shore, sponsor of women’s golf tournaments
1983 Al Radko, director, USGA Green Section
1982 Geoffrey Cornish, ASGCA, golf course architect, historian
1981 James Rhodes, governor of Ohio
1980 Gerald Micklem, captain, Royal & Ancient
1979 Joe Dey, executive director, USGA
1978 Herb and Joe Graffis, founders, National Golf Foundation
1977 Herbert Warren Wind, “The New Yorker” columnist, author
1976 Robert Trent Jones, ASGCA, ASGCA founding member