Joe Pavoni named Golfweek’s 2022 Yancey Ford Award winner | Daily News Byte


The Yancey Ford Award is presented to senior amateur golfers who have made a lasting impact on the game.

Few can match the game-changing impact made by 2022 receiver Joe Pavoni.

Growing up, Pavoni and his brother were introduced to the game by their father and spent most summers playing municipal courses in and around Chicago. Pavoni did well enough to earn a partial golf scholarship to Notre Dame, where he earned a degree in civil engineering. Upon graduation, Pavoni went on to run his own civil and environmental engineering company, leaving competitive golf behind.

It was only in 2004 that Pavoni started playing in national-level senior tournaments. Playing for the first time Golf week senior event, Pavoni expressed concerns about yardage and setup. Almost immediately he headed a three-person committee that would oversee yardages and course setups for each Golf week senior event.

Helping change how competitive senior amateur golf is played is worthy of a Yancey Ford Award, but Pavoni didn’t stop there.

He created his own senior tournament at Persimmon Ridge Golf Club, his home course, in Louisville, Kentucky. Pavoni was also a consultant assigned to help create a points system to rank senior amateurs nationwide and was instrumental in establishing the four different age brackets in senior golf that are now widely used in entire Society of Seniors, Golf week events and countless other tours and events across the country. Most recently, Pavoni was the tournament chairman for the Society of Seniors from 2015-2020.

Using his engineering background, Pavoni helped come up with yardage breakdowns and age breakdowns that are routinely used in elite senior events.

“What we’ve tried to do is adjust the yardages so that players in different age brackets hit the same clubs on their second or third shot,” Pavoni said. Golf week. “It’s not a perfect science, but you do the best you can.”

Of course, the reasoning behind adjusting yardages for senior golfers is simple – Pavoni wants everyone to enjoy the game of golf as much as possible.

“My dad taught me this when I was 6, 7 years old: the best thing about the game is that I can play it until I’m dead,” Pavoni said. “You can play it with your friends and enjoy yourself for the rest of your life. What other game can you do with that?”

The saying is something Pavoni takes to heart. He doesn’t just play golf, he plays it well. Most recently, the 78-year-old took home a win at Golf week Senior Challenge Cup in the Super Legend division, shooting his age or better in two of three rounds. With the win, Pavoni ended his winless streak after several close calls leading into the 2022 finale.

As we turn the page to 2023, Pavoni’s legacy in the game continues to grow and now with the Yancey Ford Award, his legacy is cemented.


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