PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Trey Kaahanui of Tempe, Ariz., was honored Sunday night with the American Junior Golf Association’s Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award. Kaahanui was presented the honor by the AJGA at the 32nd annual Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet.
Since its founding in 1978, the AJGA recognizes and rewards juniors for their impressive feats on the course, in the classroom, as well as for exhibiting sportsmanlike behavior. The Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award honors an individual who possesses qualities such as integrity and true-heartedness and signifies the importance of living true to these virtues.
Kaahanui, 15, received the award as recognition for his positive demeanor every time he competes, as well as his volunteer work with Phoenix junior golf organizations.
“I used to live and die on every shot,” Kaahanui said. “But I learned that it is not the end of the world if I hit a bad shot.”
Kaahanui gained greater perspective after watching his father recover from a near-fatal auto accident, where he lay in a coma for six weeks, connected to a ventilator with broken knees and ribs.
“I’m thankful for what I have and that he’s walked every round with me (since his recovery)” Kaahanui said. “Life is too short to be taking everything so seriously.”
Kaahanui’s most successful AJGA event occurred when he won the 2008 Heather Farr Classic at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. Since that time, Longbow General Manager Jay Larscheid has become well acquainted with the Kaahanui family.
“Their family values are extremely strong,” Larscheid said. “No matter if he shoots 80 or shoots 68, when he’s done there are hugs and pats on the back.”
Wherever Kaahanui goes, he leaves an impression on those he meets, including tournament organizers, fellow players and coaches. He sets an example with his volunteer work for The First Tee of Phoenix and other charitable organizations.
“He’s smiling; he’s having fun,” said Eddie Grant, Former PGA Southwest Section Junior Director. “Largely in life, it’s not what you can do for yourself, it’s what you can do for other people. Trey and his family do that for other golfers and golfing families.”
Kaahanui was one of many junior golfers recognized Sunday night at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet held at PGA National Resort & Spa’s Grand Ballroom.
Others honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet include the Rolex Junior Players of the Year – Jordan Spieth of Dallas and Victoria Tanco of Bradenton, Fla., the 96 members of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams and the 24 members of the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team.
The Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet precedes the Polo Golf Junior Classic, also taking place at PGA National Resort & Spa during Thanksgiving week. The event runs Monday through Friday and features 78 boys and 78 girls, including the top players in the United States and many international players.
The AJGA is dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. However, this overall growth and development includes more than just improving or mastering one’s golf skills; it is to produce well-rounded, successful, honest and humble young adults.
Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became an AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. The distinguished timepiece maker is the proprietor of the Rolex Junior Players of the Year, Rolex Junior All-America Teams and the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet. Rolex also sponsors the Rolex Tournament of Champions and Rolex Girls Junior Championship, two of the AJGA’s most competitive major championships. As a Premier Partner, Rolex is the Founding Partner to the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program and an Official Partner to the biennial PING Junior Solheim Cup.
For more information, please contact Sara Wagoner in the AJGA Communications Department at (770) 876-1184.