2010 Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Inductee
Generally speaking, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Gene Miranda may have been over-qualified to be one -- if you'll pardon a compound fracture into a seque -- at least based on the awesome list of achievements he compiled in a storied career that leads to his induction into 2010 Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.
The transplanted Californian became a one-man-honors-magnet throughout a 70-year career, the last 28 years doing stunningly outstanding deeds to enhance golf in Colorado generally and Colorado Springs in particular.
To whet your appetite know that before lettering as a freshman golfer at San Francisco State and earning a Masters degree in Physical Education at San Jose State, 16-year-old Gene Miranda tied the course record of 63 winning a caddie tournament at Sequoyah CC, a record set by Hogan great named Ben. In 1963, well-armed with college degrees and four varsity golf letters, he headed for the wide blue yonder, joined the Air Force and climbed the ladder for 20 years to earn his silver leaf and a plethora of golf trophies, playing in the German Open, numerous Air Force championships and the Colorado Open.
It's a misnomer to say he retired to Colorado in 1983, because he zoomed into the golf picture in Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy like an F-16, amped up his consummate expertise and versatility for the next 28 years in 10 different PGA job classifications from director of golf and head professional to golf coach general manager, master teacher, rules official and tenured Associate Professor of Physical Education. He wrote and directed the cadet golf instruction program, compiled a phenomenal dual meet record of 185-5 as golf coach with his team qualifying for the NCAA Championship 14 times, nine of his players earning all-America honors. His pride, however, is the leaders his players and assistant coaches have become after graduation -- one currently the Superintendent of the Academy.
Back Miranda's trophy truck up a tad. He's also resuscitated two of the Springs' storied old country clubs. In 1983 he worked his magic on bankrupt Donala Golf Club and in two years as GM and head pro turned it into thriving membership replete with new clubhouse, golf shop, pool and tennis courts. He turned the same trick on Woodmoor Pines CC in 2002, taking a club from receivership to a tripled membership of 700 in just nine months, doubled the value of the club which then sold close to its loan value.
Gene returned to coaching in 1988, though remaining as Gleneagle manager until 1991, and as a civilian took his teams to a level never before achieved at the Academy, efforts that landed him into the prestigious Golf Coaches of America Hall of Fame in 1997.
Tireless and dynamic, Gene charged ever upward, made two 5-week trips to the Pacific Air Force Command to teach golf to dependent children of military stationed in Alaska, Hawaii, Korea, Okinawa, Japan, Guam and the Philippines. He started golf camps at the Air Force Academy in 1980, camps of 150 children that continue to this day. Rough guesses figure Miranda has been responsible for over 20,000 people learning and enjoying golf, a figure if smoothed out might reach 30,000.
Gene has taught at the PGA Junior Golf Academy, Golf Digest Schools, NCAA Golf Coaches Conventions, National Golf Foundation workshops and conducted clinics throughout the world as well as having written instruction articles for every imaginable golf publication. Deep breath. More. He was the first coach to represent the NCAA as an advisor on the USGA Rules of Golf Committee. He served six years on the PGA National Rules Committee, officiated at three USGA Opens and 10 PGA Club Pro Championships. Being among the first PGA professionals certified in the Rules of Golf, Gene recently chaired the Colorado PGA Section's Rules workshop and, finely, has served 12 years on the CGA Board of Governors.
And, by the way, he was named Colorado PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2003.
Miranda, born in October 1939 just weeks ahead of a couple of notables named Nicklaus and Trevino, has endeavored as diligently as those two glitter guys to make golf better for people and versa visa. And while officially "retired," Gene continues as director of instruction at the Eisenhower Club at the Academy and has done an exceptional job developing the PGA Link Up to Golf program. His efforts and excellence have been rewarded with an Academy Award. Serious. The Air Force Academy in 2003 re-named the Falcon Invitational the Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational. In addition, he received an honorary lifetime membership to famed Olympic Club in his native San Francisco.