Will Nicholson Jr., who served as president of the USGA from 1980-81 and was a titan of the game in his home state of Colorado, died on May 28 at the age of 87.
“Will was the consummate volunteer,” said USGA president Diana Murphy. “He was a gentle gentleman and, at the same time, a firm enforcer of the Rules of Golf. He led the USGA with distinction and mentored generations of presidents, including myself.”
A Denver native, Nicholson was the son of that city’s former mayor Will Nicholson Sr., who served from 1955-59. He never entered the political arena, and instead embarked on a successful banking career that included serving as chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Still, he made the time to give back to the game he loved through service at the state and national levels.
In 1973, Nicholson Jr. joined the Colorado Golf Association’s board of governors. He was part of the board that helped make the CGA/Colorado Women’s Golf Association-owned CommonGround Golf Course become a reality. The course served as the companion stroke-play venue for the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
Nicholson’s 11-year tenure on the USGA Executive Committee culminated with his election as president in 1980. He is one of three Colorado residents to serve as USGA president, joining Frank Woodward (1915-16) and Judy Bell (1996-97). Prior to being named president, Nicholson found a variety of ways to contribute his talents to the USGA. He chaired the Rules of Golf Committee for two years (1978-79) and also served on a number of other committees, including Green Section, Membership, Bob Jones Award, Finance, Implements and Ball and Public Information.