In recognition of his significant contributions and service to the golf industry, the Golf Course Builders Association of America has honored Stephen “Steve” F. Mona as the 2022 recipient of the prestigious Don A. Rossi Award.
The Don A. Rossi Award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of golf and its growth, and who have inspired others by their example. “Steve Mona is the epitome of this award which made it an effortless decision to select and honor such an incredible recipient,” said GCBAA president Judd Duininck of Duininck Golf.
Mona has been an impactful leader in the golf industry for 41 years. He first served as tournament director of the Northern California Golf Association from September 1980 to January 1982, then became assistant manager of press relations for the United States Golf Association from January 1982 to June 1993. At that time, he became executive director of the Georgia State Golf Association.
In January 1994, he became the CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association (GCSAA). In March 2008, he assumed his position as CEO of the World Golf Foundation, then became the executive director of We Are Golf (formerly Golf 20/20), one of the three divisions of the World Golf Foundation, in March 2019. In January 2020, he became senior advisor to WGF CEO Greg McLaughlin, a role he holds today. He also serves as the director of governance and leadership at Club Benchmarking.
During his tenure, Mona has fostered industry relationships, as well as an ongoing global focus. He has promoted, encouraged and supported the GCBAA and its members. He noted he has a “huge affinity” for the GCBAA and is “humbled and honored” to be recognized by the Association.
“I am thrilled to see the Association honor Steve with our prestigious award,” GCBAA executive director Justin Apel said. “I have had the pleasure of knowing Steve from early on in my career in the industry, and he has always been a mentor and friend and supporter of our members and the game.”
Mona will receive the Don A. Rossi Award at the opening reception Feb. 7 of the 2022 GCSAA Conference & Trade Show in San Diego.
Mona has held many notable appointments and/or elections in and out of the golf industry:
• President of the International Association of Golf Administrators (1990)
• President of the Georgia Society of Association Executives (1993)
• President of the Kansas City Society of Association Executives (2000)
• Chairman of the Lawrence, Kansas Business/Education Partnership (1997-1998)
• World Golf Hall of Fame Advisory Board (1998-2007)
• Golf 20/20 Executive Board (1999-2007)
• National Golf Foundation Board of Directors (1999-2009), Secretary/Treasurer (2005- 2009)
• National Minority Golf Foundation Board of Directors (2000-2001)
• Lawrence, Kansas Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (2002-2004)
• The Environmental Institute for Golf Board of Trustees (2003-2008)
• American Society of Association Executives Board of Directors (2004-2007)
• United Missouri Bank Advisory Board (2004-2007)
• LPGA Commissioner’s Advisory Council (2006-2007)
Among other notable highlights, Mona received the 2008 Distinguished Service Award Recipient from the International Association of Golf Administrators; was selected to Golf Inc. magazine’s “Most Powerful People in Golf” list for the 18th consecutive year in 2018, was listed as one of the golf industry’s “Most Powerful People in Golf” by Golf Digest in 1999 (when the only younger person on the list was Tiger Woods). He was inducted into to the National Black Golf Hall of Fame in 2021 for his accomplishment of establishing a permanent African American exhibit at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida.
A New York native, Mona received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Jose State University in 1980. He lives in Ponte Vedra, Florida with his wife, Cyndi. They have three children, Kin, Stephen and Meredith, and seven grandchildren, Lincoln, Mia, Cooper, Pace, Micaela, Ivori and Calvin.