Tom Chisholm, 76, who served on the USGA Executive Committee for seven years, died on May 3, 2011, in his hometown of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. No cause of death was listed. Among his duties on the Executive Committee from 1990-96, he was chairman of the Green Section, Museum and Library, and Amateur Public Links Championship committees.
Before joining the Executive Committee, Chisholm, a former vice president of Eaton Corporation, had been the longtime green committee chairman at Bloomfield Hills Country Club. When he was appointed chairman of the Green Section Committee by USGA President Reg Murphy in 1994, Chisholm brought a keen interest and passion to turfgrass and the environment, and he recognized that golf course playing surfaces would decline unless the USGA applied resources to the need. He worked to secure funding for the Turfgrass Information File at Michigan State University, which is now the largest turfgrass information database in the world.
He continued to volunteer on the USGA Green Section Committee from 1997 through this year. In addition to his long volunteerism to the USGA, Chisholm was dedicated to working with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America to combat criticism that golf courses jeopardize the environment.
“Tom was a gem in the game of golf,” said Jim Snow, the managing director of the USGA Green Section. “Long after his tenure on the Executive Committee, Tom continued to visit with Green Section staff and promote the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program. He will be sorely missed.”
Chisholm worked as a Rules official at many U.S. Opens and at the Masters. He was a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland.
“My dad’s dedication to the game was only surpassed by his love for his family and friends,” said his son, Tom Chisholm Jr. “His handshake was his word. He embodied honor and integrity, which are the core attributes in the game of golf.”
On the state level, Chisholm served as president of the Golf Association of Michigan and was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2006. Chisholm was in the same induction class as former USGA Women’s Committee chairman Jeanne Myers.
Chisholm, who died six days before his 77th birthday, leaves his wife of 53 years, Carol, daughters Donna Chisholm and Kathleen McInerney, sons Tom Jr. and Patrick, and seven grandchildren.
Visitation will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on May 5 at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home in Clawson, with a service at 7:30 p.m. A funeral Mass is scheduled at Holy Name Church in Birmingham on May 6 at 11 a.m.
The family asks that any memorial be made to the Evans Scholars Foundation, One Briar Road, Golf, Ill., 60029 or the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit, 16500 Tireman, Detroit, Mich., 48228.