Donnie Arthur Tournament
Matt Devine will host the 2016 Donnie Arthur Tournament at NorthRiver Yacht & Country Club. Details will be announced this summer. If you would like to help in planning the Tournament or make a donation, please contact Melanie Bonds
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Supporting turfgrass research and scholarships
The Alabama GCSA Donnie Arthur Memorial Tournament is held to raise money for turfgrass research, Children's Hospital Pediatric Cancer Unit and to fund scholarships for deserving turfgrass students in Alabama. The Association also sponsors a Legacy scholarship for the children of members. The tournament was established in memory of James Donnie Arthur, an Alabama superintendent who died of cancer in 1993.
Some facts about James Donnie Arthur .....
The Donnie Arthur Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in memory of Donnie Arthur, who served as the golf course superintendent at Point Mallard Golf Course in Decatur for over twenty years. He served as President of the Southern Turf Association. Donnie was instrumental in organizing and founding the Alabama Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Donnie fought cancer for many years before his death in April of 1993. His life was an inspiration to all who knew him. The AGCSA is pleased to sponsor this tournament in his name. In eight years this fund has contributed in excess of $32,000, including sixteen scholarships to needy and deserving Turfgrass Students.
Donnie Arthur was on the first board of directors for the AGCSA. John Freeman at Turtle Point served as the first President. Others who served on the first Board were Mr. John Hannephin, Mr. Jim Simmons of Shoal Creek, Mr. Gary Bush and Mr. Scott McCracken. Mr. Jim Simmons recalls meeting in Cullman, AL with Donnie Arthur, John Freeman and Gary Bush to lay out the ground rules for the Association.
Prior to the formation of the AGCSA Donnie Arthur served as the President of the Southern Turfgrass Association. The Southern Association served the needs of superintendents in the Southern Region. They held yearly meetings, predominately in Memphis, Tennessee at the Peabody Hotel. These meetings would be a two or three day affair associated with equipment displays. The year Donnie Arthur served as President the annual meeting was held in Little Rock, Arkansas and then governor, Bill Clinton, was in attendance. As individual states organized affiliated chapters with the GCSAA the Southern Turfgrass Association disbanded. Many superintendents in Alabama wanted an affiliation with the national GCSAA so that they would have voting rights within the national organization.
By 1992 the Alabama GCSA was well established and wanted to “give something back to the industry.” The Board of Directors decided to establish the tournament in Donnie Arthur’s name because he had been instrumental in founding our organization. Since its inception the fund has contributed sixteen scholarships to deserving Turfgrass students. Donnie’s son, Jeremie, who is currently in graduate school at Auburn University was one of the early recipients of the scholarships.
Biographical Information about Donnie Arthur
Donnie Arthur was planning to go to law school when he started working summers at Point Mallard Golf Course in Decatur, Alabama. The summer job lasted over twenty-one years, and during that time Donnie insured excellent playing conditions for his course. He loved to see his course filled with players because he loved the game of golf. Donnie, like most golfers, never got to play as much as he would have liked. “There is no way to do all the things that need to be done on the course in 40 hours,” he said. “We have to get out and get ahead of the golfers. I try to play golf early in the spring and in the late summer. That’s about the only time I get to play. There is too much to do the rest of the time.”
Much of Donnie’s time in the final years of his life was spent fighting the disease that eventually killed him. Arthur was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease in 1978 and battled it for 15 years. He underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. He once said, “If you think that illness is gong to get the best of you, it will. But if you look at it as a minor setback and a challenge, it’s something you can try to excel at.” Donnie carried this attitude into his life and his work as a golf course superintendent.
James Donnie Arthur was a big man whose life was an inspiration to those around him. He served as President of the Southern Turf Association and was instrumental in organizing and founding the Alabama chapter of the GCSAA. Donnie continues to have a positive influence on his profession.Donnie was a native of the Decatur area. He was married to Sharon Arthur and they had one son, Jeremy Lee Arthur. His family helped him “hang tough” and be a cancer survivor for fifteen years. He is greatly missed, but the James Donnie Arthur Tournament provides a legacy in which he can be remembered.