Born in Billings, Mont., and raised in Cody, Wyo., Digger Smith eventually arrived in Denver for keeps in 1969. Since then, as president and CEO of the Energetics Corporation, he traveled to every corner of the globe, upwards of 120,000 miles a year, structuring, negotiating and executing joint venture projects with diverse interests that included petroleum consulting, metallurgical research, and satellite communications. Through it all, Digger forever remained an avid golfer. He actively supported LPGA tournaments in Denver and the inception of The International at Castle Pines.
It was Smith’s unbridled enthusiasm and generous financial support for junior golf that led directly to the great success of the American Junior Golf Association. Even though he was one of the founding fathers, Smith’s interest in the AJGA came ablaze in the organization’s second year of operation in 1978 when he took daughters Shannon and Christine to compete in an AJGA event. That sparked Digger into action and his enormous contributions financially and in so many ways were directly responsible for construction of the AJGA headquarters next to Horseshoe Bend Country Club outside Atlanta.
So vital were Smith’s efforts that in 1982 Digger was named chairman of the board of directors for a group of 16 individuals who govern and oversee the association. Smith has remained in that position since and, according to AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamlin, “has never missed a board meeting; his devotion to the AJGA is beyond measure.” Much of the tremendous success of the AJGA, which among other things sponsors 40 tournaments for over 4,000 high school-age boys and girls, is the direct result of Digger Smith’s tireless support. It was only fitting and appropriate that in 1991 they would conceive the “Digger Smith” Award annually honoring an individual for outstanding contributions to junior golf.