FARMINGTON HILLS – Lee Juett of Bloomfield Hills, who has served the Golf Association of Michigan in various volunteer roles including president over the last three decades, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Service Award.
The Oakland Hills Country Club member, who will be 73 on July 4, will be honored Wednesday at Eagle Eye Golf Club in Bath during the GAM’s Annual Meeting.
“I was surprised when I received the call and honored for sure,” Juett said. “It’s not something that was part of a plan. I’ve lived long enough and volunteered long enough that it seems these kind of things happen, and I’m very pleased.”
Juett, a member at Oakland Hills since 1976, first got involved with the GAM in the early 1990s through Peter Jackson, a fellow Oakland Hills member and GAM Governor.
“Peter got me involved with the (GAM) green committee working with the superintendents and the Michigan Turfgrass (Foundation),” he said. “I was a member of that committee for a long time, an Honorary Governor and then became a Governor in 1999. That kind of morphed into an interest in the rules and working as a rules official, being part of the championship committee. I was president of the GAM (2010-11), and I still enjoy being a rules official.”
Ken Hartmann, senior director of competitions and USGA services for the GAM, said Juett, a president emeritus of the GAM, is most deserving of the Distinguished Service Award.
“I remember a championship committee meeting several years ago when Lee was asked about having a championship at Oakland Hills and to his credit, he stepped up and helped make it happen,” Hartmann said.
“He’s been a great ambassador for Michigan golf and for us at Oakland Hills. He’s always supported the Evans Scholars, he likes working with the turfgrass guys and realizes how important they are to golf. He is a very good player, too, and has competed in our tournaments. You can also count on him to always have a great perspective on things, be level-headed and see both sides.”
Juett describes himself as a late-starter in golf. He had graduated from Michigan State University and started working at the family machine tool business (J. Lee Hackett Co.) with his father and his uncle before he started playing the game.
“My father (Joseph) was a member at Oakland Hills (Country Club) and he encouraged me to play golf and to join Oakland Hills because it was a great opportunity to entertain customers and clients,” Juett said. “I played baseball and basketball in high school and I was a competitive person not encumbered by a family yet so I went to work at becoming a better player.”
Juett in short order became a competitive golfer, a plus-1 handicap at one point, and the game and Oakland Hills have been a part of his life ever since.
Over time he became the president of J. Lee Hackett, serving until retiring in 2015, and found time to serve on the board at Oakland Hills Country Club from 1996 to 2000 and then lead the club again as general chairman when the club hosted the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship.
“Oakland Hills is a special place and I was lucky enough to get involved with the GAM and I’ve enjoyed working with the turfgrass people at Michigan State, and competing, too, but probably the best thing about it has been getting to know all the great people involved,” he said. “I’ve met people who became my role models and friends like Fritz Balmer, Bob McMasters, Tom Chisholm, Jeanne Myers, great like-minded people with an enthusiasm for golf, administration, the rules and all the activities the GAM is involved in.”
Juett said he has watched the GAM work through ups and downs over the last three decades and he is proud to be a part of what it has become.
“The GAM right now is better than ever with its staff and their expertise and experience as well as the expertise of the volunteers,” he said. “There are high-level experts among the rules officials and the volunteers who do course ratings. I don’t remember the staff and volunteers ever being better and the GAM is involved in so many things with Youth on Course, diversity, Evans Scholars, the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation. It’s a great thing to be involved with people doing a great job.”
Juett, who with his wife Jane has two sons, Andrew and Jesse, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren, said he plans to remain involved and that means active.
“I was never one to go to a meeting and just sit quietly,” he said. “If I’m going, I’m going to be involved and participate.”