Keller new SCGA president

Kent Keller was elected the new SCGA president today. Here’s the release from the SCGA:

Peter James wins Lynn Smith Award
Five inducted into SCGA Hall of Fame

STUDIO CITY, CALIF., October 29, 2008 — Kent R. Keller of Los Angeles, a member of Wilshire Country Club and Hideaway Golf Club, was elected the 84th president of the Southern California Golf Association today at the association’s annual meeting in Universal City.

Peter James of Pacific Palisades was named winner of the SCGA’s “Lynn Smith Award,” given for meritorious service to amateur golf in Southern California. Longtime committeeman Tom McCutcheon of Cypress was given the “Jim House Award” for service in that capacity.

Following the meeting, five Southern California golf greats were inducted as the second class in the SCGA Hall of Fame.


In addition to Keller, other officers elected were:
— John Rydell of Santa Barbara (La Cumbre CC/The Valley Club of Montecito), vice president;
— Steve Titus of Pasadena (San Gabriel CC), secretary; and
— Dennis Harwood of Corona del Mar (Big Canyon CC/Indian Ridge CC), treasurer.

Bob Lowe of Ventura (Saticoy CC) remains on the board as immediate past president. Rydell was also elected as the SCGA’s general counsel.

Jon Bilger of La Jolla (La Jolla CC) was elected to his first term on the SCGA board. Other directors re-elected were:
— Dr. Keenan Barber, Rancho Mirage (Mission Hills CC)
— Ken Bien, Rancho Santa Fe (Rancho Santa Fe GC)
— Al Frank, Glendale (Oakmont CC)
— Bob Hedley, Seal Beach (Virginia CC)
— Al Lara, Escondido (Southern California Mexican-American Golf Association, Vista and Carlsbad chapters)
— Tom Lindgren, Indian Wells (The Palms GC)
— John Morello, Solana Beach (San Diego High School GA/Lake San Marcos CC)
— Bob Osborn, Balboa Island (Friendly Hills CC/Newport Beach CC/PGA West)
— Kevin Smith, Los Angeles (Hacienda GC/Bear Creek GC)
— Chris Wilson, Valley Village (Lakeside GC)

Ed Holmes of Riverside (Victoria Club), the 2007 SCGA president, and Jim Giles of Pasadena (Brookside GC/La Caada CC) retired from the board.


In addition to Peter James, the following were elected directors of the SCGA Foundation: Ed Holmes, vice president; Kevin Smith, secretary; and David Nicholas of Bakersfield, treasurer. Mike Rosenberg of Altadena was elected to the Foundation board for his first term. Other directors re-elected were: Dr. Keenan Barber, Marc Myers of Los Angeles, Mike Roos of Los Angeles, Tony Thornley of Rancho Santa Fe, and Jim Vernon of Pasadena.


Directors elected for SCGA Golf Course Management, Inc. (the SCGA’s for-profit subsidiary that manages The SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta) were: Dirk Kingma of La Jolla, president; Ron Livingston of Newport Beach and Bill Pultz of Coronado, vice presidents; Al Frank, secretary-treasurer, Jon Bilger, immediate past president, Bill Cunerty of Mission Viejo, Steve Titus and Kent Keller (ex-officio).


Keller, 65, was first elected to the SCGA board in 1995. He served as vice president this past year and was secretary for the two previous terms. Keller is a past president of Wilshire CC and has been chairman of that club’s prestigious Macbeth Invitational since 1991.

Keller was a founding partner of the Los Angeles law firm Barger & Wolen in 1976; he remains there as a managing partner. He and his wife, Jean Scott (also an attorney), live in Los Angeles; Keller has two adult children from a previous marriage.


James, a member of The Los Angeles CC, was SCGA president in 1998 and served for eight years on the USGA executive committee (its equivalent of a board of directors). He becomes the 16th winner of the “Lynn Smith Award,” named in honor of the man who was SCGA president in 1965, a former member of the USGA executive committee and a legendary Rules of Golf official.

Since he left the SCGA board, James has continued to serve on the SCGA Foundation board of directors and will be president during the upcoming year. He is also a noted Rules of Golf official and has continued to serve the USGA in several capacities, including the most recent nominating committee, negotiating television contracts and teaching rules seminars.


McCutcheon becomes the seventh winner of the “Jim House Award,” named in honor of a former SCGA president who was active before and after his board service as a committeeman (House lived in Brawley and was legendary for the amount of miles he drove and hours he volunteered).

McCutcheon, a member of El Dorado Park and the Pacific Coast Golf Club, joined the SCGA Rules and Competitions Committee in 1993. In addition to working numerous tournaments, McCutcheon is well known for his Rules of Golf prowess and works at numerous SCGA rules seminars.

A retired Naval officer, McCutcheon taught mathematics at Compton and Dominguez High Schools for 25 years and continued after that as mathematics/science coordinator for the Compton Unified School District from 1994-1998.


The second class of the SCGA Hall of Fame includes
— Charles Maud, first SCGA president and designer of golf courses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries;
— Bruce McCormick, 1937 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, two-time California Amateur champion and three-time SCGA Amateur champion;
— Eddie Merrins, aka “The Little Pro,” long-time head golf professional at Bel-Air CC and one of the nation’s foremost golf teachers;
— Jim Murray, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Los Angeles Times who wrote prolifically and brilliantly about golf; and
— George C. Thomas, Jr., legendary golf course architect who designed Bel-Air CC, The Los Angeles CC, Riviera CC and others in the 1920s.

At the luncheon ceremony, each inductee was introduced by a short speech followed by the unveiling of a portrait painted by noted artist Scott Medlock. The portraits will hang at Golf House West, the SCGA’s headquarters in Studio City.

Medlock also created the paintings for the inaugural class last year: Johnny Dawson, Dr. Paul Hunter, Gene Littler, Edward B. Tufts, George Von Elm and Mickey Wright.


Founded in 1899, the Southern California Golf Association is one of the oldest and largest regional golf associations in the world, with more than 155,000 individuals who belong to more than 1,200 clubs in Southern California and Baja California. Among its many services, the SCGA provides handicap indexes for its members; uses its own state-of-the-art handicap computer system at all clubs in Southern California; provides course ratings and Slope ratings for all clubs in the association; publishes FORE Magazine, an award-winning, four-color bimonthly publication for members; publishes the annual Southern California Directory of Golf; runs one of the most dynamic golf web sites in the world; conducts 13 championships and dozens of qualifying events for itself and the United States Golf Association; and presents dozens of seminars throughout the year for individuals and member clubs.

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.