Judy Bell was the first woman to be elected president of the United States Golf Association, which was established in 1894. The Colorado Springs resident held that position for two years beginning in January, 1996. Bell, a member of the USGA Women’s Committee starting in 1968 and that committee’s chairman from 1981 to ’84, went on to become the first woman elected to the USGA Executive Committee, in 1987.
A Kansas native, Bell won the Kansas Women’s Amateur in 1952 (at age 15), ’53 and ’54. She also claimed three Broadmoor Ladies’ Invitational titles—in 1957, ’58 and ’60. Bell went on to compete in 38 USGA championships and was a member of U.S. Curtis Cup teams in 1960 and ’62, in addition to serving as Curtis Cup captain in 1986. In 1964, she shot a then-record 6-under-par 67 in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open.
Besides being a member of the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame, Bell has been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the Captains Club, Memorial Tournament.
Bell has received many prestigious awards, including the First Lady of Golf from the PGA of America, the Patty Berg Award from the LPGA, and the Donald Ross Award from the Society of Golf Course Architects. In 2015 the R&A Golf Club of St. Andrews made her an Honorary Member, and the Colorado Golf Association named her its Woman of the Century. In 2016, USGA bestowed upon her its highest honor, the Bob Jones Award.
1981 Golf Person of the Year
The 1976 Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Inductee became the USGA Women’s Committee chairwoman in 1981, eventually leading to her becoming the USGA’s first woman president in 1996.
1998 Lifetime Achievement
After helping to bring the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open to The Broadmoor, the longtime United States Golf Association officer served as the organization’s first woman president.