On March 7, 2014 at its annual banquet, the Alabama Golf Association recognized Derrel Curry with the Joe H. King Award.
King, who died in 2008, was a key person within the USGA, Southern Golf Association and AGA. In 1993, the AGA created an award in King’s name to be given periodically to amateur golfers in Alabama for their contributions to golf.
To date, there have been 16 recipients: King, Ann Upchurch, Elbert Jemison, Charley Boswell, Buddy Walker, Sam Farlow, Frank Campbell, Bob Lowry, Jackie Cummings, Art Gleason, Fred Stephens, Bee McWane Reid, Sadie Roberts, Buford McCarty, Jean Miller, Martha Lang and Derrel Curry.
Here’s a look at the latest recipient:
Derrel, who is a CPA in Birmingham, grew up in Duncanville, just a blip on the map about 10 miles from Tuscaloosa.
After graduating from the University of Alabama he wanted to “spread his wings” and took a job with Ernst and Young in West Palm Beach, Florida.Derrel had planned to stay three to five years, but came back after a year because of an awesome opportunity in Birmingham.
Not a competitive golfer, he enjoyed the game, but softball was his passion. However, after marrying his wife Becky and starting a family, the weekends filled with softball were a thing of the past. His interest in the Rules of Golf was piqued early on. He joined Hoover Country Club and started to play pretty regularly. ”I figured out even more then that I didn’t know as much (about the Rules) as I wanted to know. I always viewed, and continue to do so, the U.S. Open as the pinnacle in golf. I knew I’d never be there with my clubs in my hand, but wanted to be inside the ropes.”
He credited head golf professional at the club at the time Tommy Truss with taking a key interest in him and his desire to have a better knowledge of the Rules. Curry became Golf Chairman and took great pride in various leadership roles at the club.
Derrel was presented the honor of serving the Alabama Golf Association as its President, Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer over a six year period, and he has remained on the Executive Committee for well over 20 years and is the longest tenured person on the Committee. According to Derrel, he got involved in the AGA in 1991, as the best avenue through which to be appointed to the Rules Committee of the United States Golf Association. He volunteered with the AGA in pursuit of the pinnacle of golf in mind—to be inside the ropes at the U.S. Open. As Derrel stated, “Blending into the woodwork and staying on the sideline has not been a personal characteristic throughout my life. Nonetheless, I vowed the AGA would be different. I just wanted to be inside the ropes at the U.S. Open and the AGA was my ticket.”
The first AGA event Derrel assisted with was the 1991 State Junior Championship. He learned that nothing is more fun than working with young people in the game of golf and that the State Junior Championship is the most rewarding and enjoyable championship conducted by the AGA.
Curry helped work many, many championships as a Rules official. That led to him “dipping his toe” in the waters of the USGA local qualifiers and then national championships. Twenty-two years later he is still helping the USGA conduct championships. He began with the U.S. Junior Amateur and has been a fixture with it ever since, having never missed one. It began at the urging of Buford McCarty and Fred Stephens who knew there was an opening on the Junior Championship Committee. Curry admitted it would not have been his initial first choice, but he quickly settled into the role. He began as one the youngest on the committee and has matured into one of the “old hands.”
“A funny thing happened on the way to the U.S. Open. I selfishly sought an AGA directorship as means to achieve my personal goals. What I received was multiples of what I have ever given. The relationships, friendships and memories are priceless. I could never repay what I have been granted,” Derrel Curry.