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Judy Bell awarded "First Lady of Golf"

Judy Bell, whose lifetime record of service to the golf industry includes becoming the first woman to be elected president of the United States Golf Association, has been named recipient of the 2001 PGA First Lady of Golf Award.

A native of Wichita, Kan., and a longtime resident of Colorado Springs, Colo., Bell was elected the USGA's 54th president from 1996-97. Today, the 64-year-old Bell is in her 34th year of service to the USGA, and is consulting director of the USGA Foundation.

Bell will be honored at a May 23 reception at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., in conjunction with the 62nd Senior PGA Championship.

"Judy Bell's golf career -- both as a champion player, Rules official and an industry leader -- has been a record of outstanding achievement," said PGA of America President Jack Connelly. "Judy is a source of inspiration to all she comes in contact with, and by her work and example has brought more individuals into the game. The PGA is honored to present her with this year's PGA First Lady of Golf Award."

Bell is a 1961 graduate of Wichita State University, where she was a two-time NCAA runner-up during a prolific amateur career. She won three Kansas State Amateur championships, and competed at age 14 in the 1950 U.S. Women's Open, which would be the first of 38 USGA championship appearances.

Bell was a two-time Curtis Cup Team member (1960, '62) and a two-time Curtis Cup Team Captain (1986, '88). In 1964, Bell posted a then-record 67 in the U.S. Women's Open, a mark that would remain for 14 years.

Bell is the only individual to captain both a men's and women's U.S. World Amateur Team, leading the women in Stockholm, Sweden in 1988, and the men in Badsarrow, Germany in 2000.

She was the first woman selected to the USGA Executive Committee (1987), and was named vice president of that committee in 1991 before being elected USGA president.

Bell has been a USGA Rules official since the 1970s and has worked both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open. In addition to her golf administrative and playing accomplishments, Bell made an impact in merchandising as either sole or part-owner of four clothing stores, two food-service establishments, a kitchen supply shop and a framing store in the Colorado Springs area. Bell sold those business interests between 1999 and 2000, and is now partner in Bell Retail Group, specializing in retail consulting and managing special events.

The PGA First Lady of Golf Award, inaugurated in 1998, is presented to a woman who has made significant contributions to the promotion of the game of golf. Past recipients include Barbara Nicklaus and Judy Rankin.

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