Second-generation leader of Chicago’s “first family of golf” lauded for lifetime commitment to the game and those playing it at all levels

BROOKFIELD, Wisconsin – Frank Jemsek, owner of Jemsek Golf based in Lemont, Illinois, has been chosen as the 2023 recipient of the ASGCA Donald Ross Award. The award, given annually since 1976, is presented to a person who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and the profession of golf course architecture.

 It will be presented to Jemsek at the ASGCA Annual Meeting in Milwaukee, on Oct. 3 at the Donald Ross Banquet.

Jemsek Golf was founded by Frank’s father, Joe Jemsek, who first brought Frank into the family business when he was just 11 years old. More than seven decades later, Frank Jemsek continues to positively impact golfers of all ages and abilities at courses that include: Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, Lemont, Illinois; Pine Meadow Golf Course, Mundelein, Illinois; St. Andrews Golf & Country Club, West Chicago, Illinois; and Summer Grove Golf Club, Newnan, Georgia.

The Jemsek model is to make every course challenging for the advanced golfer and more friendly for the higher handicapper. To that end, he’s an innovator in developing and implementing grow-the-game initiatives such as Family Golf, No Embarrassment Golf School, Youth on Course and PGA Jr. Golf League. Frank has always searched for ways to make the game he loves accessible to all.

“The ASGCA Donald Ross Award recognizes those making a significant contribution to the game,” said ASGCA President Brit Stenson. “Frank Jemsek and the Jemsek family have been doing that nearly as long as ASGCA has been in existence! Beginning with Joe Jemsek and continuing through Frank to his daughter, Katherine, one thing the Jemseks have done exceedingly well is to listen. 

“They ask new and established golfers what they need from a golf facility and they have provided it. This positive impact will continue to be felt for generations to come.”

Frank Jemsek is an Illinois Golf Hall of Fame member and was the first public golf course manager to join the Club Management Association of America. Jemsek facilities have hosted numerous national events, including United States Amateur Championship, U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, Western Open, Western Junior, BMW Championship and PGA Junior Boys and Girls Championship.

The Donald Ross Award is presented by the ASGCA Awards Committee, co-chaired by ASGCA Past Presidents Steve Smyers, ASGCA, and Rees Jones, ASGCA Fellow (the 2013 Donald Ross Award recipient).

Past Donald Ross Award Recipients

  • 2022     John Lawrence, The Toro Company
  • 2021     Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, ASGCA, golf course architects
  • 2020     Renee Powell, golf pioneer/player/course owner
  • 2019     Joe Passov, golf writer
    2018     President George Herbert Walker Bush, U.S. President
  • 2017     Alice Dye, ASGCA Fellow, golf course architect
  • 2016     Michael Bamberger, golf writer
  • 2015     Bradley S. Klein, golf writer
  • 2014     Maj. Dan Rooney, founder, Folds of Honor Foundation
  • 2013     Rees Jones, ASGCA, golf course architect
  • 2012     Bill Kubly, golf course builder
  • 2011     James Dodson, golf writer/editor
  • 2010     Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner
  • 2009     Ron Dodson, sustainable golf advocate
    2008     George Peper, golf writer
  • 2007     Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA, golf course architect
  • 2006     Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer, PGA of America
  • 2005     John Singleton, irrigation pioneer
  • 2004     Thomas Cousins, philanthropist, urban golf developer          
  • 2003     Bill Campbell, president, USGA, captain, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
  • 2002     Byron Nelson, professional golfer
  • 2001     Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA, professional golfer, golf course architect
  • 2000     Jaime Ortiz-Patino, owner and president, Valderrama Golf Club
  • 1999     Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
  • 1998     Judy Bell, president, USGA
  • 1997     Gene Sarazen, professional golfer
  • 1996     Ron Whitten, golf writer
  • 1995     Pete Dye, ASGCA, golf course architect
  • 1994     James R. Watson, agronomist
  • 1993     Brent Wadsworth, golf course builder
  • 1992     Paul Fullmer, ASGCA executive secretary
  • 1991     Michael Bonallack, secretary, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
  • 1990     John Zoller, executive director, Northern California Golf Association
  • 1989     Dick Taylor, editor, “Golf World” magazine
  • 1988     Frank Hannigan, executive director, USGA
  • 1987     Charles Price, writer, “Golf World” magazine
  • 1986     Deane Beman, commissioner, PGA Tour
  • 1985     Peter Dobereiner, “London Observer” columnist, author
  • 1984     Dinah Shore, sponsor of women’s golf tournaments
  • 1983     Al Radko, director, USGA Green Section
  • 1982     Geoffrey Cornish, ASGCA, golf course architect, historian
  • 1981     James Rhodes, governor of Ohio
  • 1980     Gerald Micklem, captain, Royal & Ancient
  • 1979     Joe Dey, executive director, USGA
  • 1978     Herb and Joe Graffis, founders, National Golf Foundation
  • 1977     Herbert Warren Wind, “The New Yorker” columnist, author
  • 1976     Robert Trent Jones, ASGCA, ASGCA founding member

For more information about ASGCA, including a current list of members, visit


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