The Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic hosted by Longbow Golf Club boasts many milestones in 2013. The Arizona tournament celebrates 15 years on the AJGA schedule, while Longbow enjoys 10 years as tournament host.
However, it’s another anniversary that is most present as 144 junior golfers tee off over Easter weekend. This year is the 20th anniversary of Heather Farr’s passing, who was taken too young at the age of 28 on November 20, 1993.
It is hard to believe Heather has been gone for 20 years. While no current tournament participant was alive during Heather’s reign, her legacy lives on and resonates with AJGA juniors. From the strong swing displayed on the entrance banner at Longbow, to the compelling testimonials from Heather’s friends like Nancy Lopez and Dottie Pepper shared during an introduction video, golf’s next generation connects quickly to who Heather Farr was, and to her passion for the game they share.
“Her love of the game motivates a lot of us because of the way she played golf until the end,” Esther Lee said. “I think a lot of us take it for granted. There are so many juniors who don’t have the opportunity to play. It’s so inspiring to see how golf affected her life and how it kept her motivated. I would like golf to be like that for me.”
While the AJGA’s memorial tournament only lasts a week, her memory is preserved year-round in the Arizona community. Two statues of Heather stand; one at Arizona State, and the other at Grayhawk Golf Club. And in just a few months, Heather will be inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame,
“I think it’s important to honor junior golfers and that’s what she was,” said Chad Hardy a Mesa, Ariz., native. “That’s why this tournament is different, it’s not only in memory of this great college and professional player, it’s in honor of a former junior golfer.”
Like many of the players in the field, Heather was a two-time AJGA champion, winning the organization’s most high-profile events, and a Rolex Junior All-American (in addition to her Player of the Year status in 1980 and 1982).
Every day, I walk by a picture of Heather that hangs on the wall in the Communications Department at AJGA Headquarters. It reminds me of her courageous story and determination, as well as the memories I have made at this tournament.
My newest memory is meeting Heather’s parents, who made a brief appearance at the tournament to watch the world’s greatest junior golf, a world their daughter continues to influence every day.