Mary Carriker of San Antonio, was presented the Digger Smith Award Friday, Feb. 21 by the American Junior Golf Association for her prolonged dedication as a Tournament Chairman.
Each year the AJGA presents the Digger Smith Award to an individual whose service to junior golf goes above and beyond the call of duty. The award is named for AJGA Chairman of the Board J.R. “Digger” Smith, who has dedicated himself to the AJGA and junior golf for more than two decades. Smith was honored as the Golfweek“Father of the Year” in 1995.
As Tournament Chairman of the 2003 Randall Parker San Antonio Shootout presented by Parker Express, Carriker enters her 12th year of service with the AJGA that dates back to 1994. Over the last five years, she has helped raise donations of more than $25,000 to give back to the AJGA. In an effort to promote the event she regularly has billboard advertisements placed throughout the San Antonio area. Her event also offers unparalleled amenities at the tournament site, including access to cell phones so junior participants can call home.
“At my first Tournament Chairmen’s Meeting back in 1993, I heard about the award and I knew it was possible with enough hard work,” Carriker remembered. “It’s been my goal since then, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit.”
Carriker’s involvement with the AJGA has opened up other doors for her in the San Antonio area as of late, she said. She was previously honored in 1998 with the Betty Dodd Award for her service to junior golf in San Antonio. She now holds the position of Manager of Amateur Golf Programs with Golf San Antonio, which includes San Antonio’s First Tee program.
“The AJGA gave me the opportunity to establish myself and get where I am today,” she said. “I now have some new goals with my position I am in. If I can take one of the juniors in the First Tee through the program and get him or her a college scholarship, now that would be my ultimate goal.”
This year, Carriker will once again head up the Randall Parker San Antonio Shootout presented by Parker's Express taking place June 10-13 at Tapatio Springs Golf Resort in Boerne, Texas. Last year’s champions were Polo Golf Junior All-Americans James Minahan III of Spring, Texas, and Brittany Lang of McKinney, Texas.
“Mary is the AJGA’s model for success,” said AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin. “Her 12 years of devotion to junior golf is simply amazing. She is responsible for virtually every detail that has really made the tournament into one of the best on the AJGA schedule.”