The IAGA will honour longtime Golf Ontario Executive Director Dave Mills with its Distinguished Service Award on November 6 th at the 2018 IAGA Annual Conference at Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort.
Mills, 71, of Belleville, Ont., served as Executive Director of Golf Ontario for 17 years, from 1997 until 2014. He first joined the Ontario Golf Association, as Golf Ontario was known at the time, as a club representative for the Bay of Quinte Golf & Country Club in Belleville in 1986, where Mills’s skills at organizing and growing junior golf led to his election to the board and the provincial chair of the OGA’s Junior Development Committee.
Mills accepted the executive director position with the OGA in 1997 after concluding a 27-year career with Ontario Hydro. During his early tenure as executive director, Mills steered the association out of significant financial issues and eventually put it on solid financial and administrative footing.
Within a few short years, he led the association through an amalgamation with the Ontario Ladies’ Golf Association in 2001 to form the Golf Association of Ontario, one of the largest amateur golf associations in North America. Calling it his most satisfying career accomplishment, the amalgamation led to recognition by the Ontario Ministry of Sport of the GAO as the official Sport Body for golf in Ontario.
Highlights during his tenure include establishing an annual scholarship program, launching the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame, creating a partnership with Ontario Golf Magazine, initiating numerous player development programs including Golf in Schools, participation in Canadian and Ontario Summer Games and working with numerous young golfers and their families as they pursued golf scholarships at universities in the U.S. and careers as golf professionals.
Golf Canada recognized Mills with its Distinguished Service Award in 2015.
Prior to his Golf Ontario tenure, Mills worked for Ontario Hydro, one of the largest electricity corporations in North America. He attended the University of Toronto graduating in 1970 with a BASc in chemical engineering and later attended the Banff School of Advanced Management.
Today, Mills remains actively involved with Golf Ontario as a tournament volunteer and with the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame as a member of its selection committee. He was inducted into Ontario’s Golf Hall of Fame in 2016.
The IAGA Distinguished Service Award was established to recognize individuals or groups whose actions have fostered the IAGA objectives as stated in its bylaws. The selection criteria includes the demonstration of superior or innovative administrative abilities, excellence in information exchange and dialogue between golf administrators and golf organizations.