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Henry Lister Named 2024 Distinguished Service Award Recipient


SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. - The Carolinas Golf Association (CGA) runs hundreds of tournaments and events each year providing many services to its individual members and member clubs, including rules officiating and course rating. Our volunteers help us tremendously with our initiatives. Every year, we award the Charles E. Lynch, Jr. Distinguished Service Award to a volunteer or group who has gone above and beyond to grow the game throughout the Carolinas. We are happy to honor Henry Lister as the 2024 recipient of this award.


Henry Lister, born in east Tennessee and currently residing in Chapel Hill, N.C, has been an active volunteer with the CGA since 2002 as an esteemed course rater. With 22 years of course rating experience, Lister has rated over 66 unique courses and completed over 100 ratings, and has rated every course in the Triangle area twice, resulting in a very impressive course rating portfolio. Lister noted that he has been lucky enough to rate courses outside of the Triangle as well, noting ocean courses in the Outer Banks and Wilmington areas as some of his favorites.


Not only has Lister rated such an outstanding number and variety of courses, but he also served as the Course Rating Team Captain of the Triangle team for nearly 20 years. As a Team Captain, Lister coordinated his team of about ten volunteers, scheduled rating days and logistics with clubs, organized and compiled all measurements and data points to submit, and so much more.


Greg Kelly, Director of Course Rating & Membership at the CGA, has known and worked alongside Lister for the last nine years. Kelly notes, “Being a Team Captain is a whole other level of volunteer beyond just a course rater”. Kelly explains that to be a team captain you have to be detail-oriented as there can be thousands of data points to collect for just one rating. Lister explained that he enjoyed doing the math and understanding the architect’s intent through the challenges.


Lister graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and got his teaching certificate, received his Master’s in Reading & Linguistics, and even earned his Ph.D. in Literacy Studies through his time as a doctoral student at UNC. Lister’s parents were excellent golfers, and Henry’s father sparked his interest in golf when he was about ten years old. They would go out to a par three course in the evenings to get a club in Henry’s hand as often as possible. After a golf hiatus in his 20s, Lister started playing more consistently in his late 30s and early 40s. In fact, he started taking lessons and in just two years, Lister moved from a 16 to a 6 handicap. 


“Being a rater has actually improved my ability to play a golf course, and it’s helped me to understand and appreciate its design. That’s what has kept me in it; it’s always taught me how the challenges of the golf course make us better players,” Lister shares as one of his greatest takeaways as a course rater. “The job itself is pretty rewarding, and I’ve gotten a lot out of it.” 


He trained over 24 raters throughout his 20+ years of experience, and Lister spoke to the teamwork aspect of course rating which really kept him “invigorated”. He said, “If I had to do it myself, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun or intellectually stimulating. Being with a group of people has been really illuminating. I’ve enjoyed hearing the different perspectives on rating and how other golfers view the golf course in light of what the rating rubric is supposed to get us to observe to make a rating.” 


Lister mentioned Greg Kelly and Michael Dann as people he’s worked with closely over the years. Regarding Kelly, Lister said he has done a tremendous job with the teams in the Carolinas. “What Greg has done has not been done in any other golf association that I know.” Lister worked with Kelly and Thomas Gallaway to create “Form 1”, which is the document that raters use on the course. Lister spoke to Kelly’s insight and thoughtfulness to make it easier on both raters and courses. “Our working together to make that form available for raters has been very rewarding for me,” Lister said.


Lister also shared about his time working with the late Michael Dann, explaining that he still thinks about him on a regular basis because Michael was “a bright light in Carolinas golf.” Lister went on to say “I became pretty well schooled by Michael. He did a great job with training, getting us to seminars with other raters, and providing us with materials to do a better job as raters. Michael was a very special person and he was perfect for the CGA. His influence was pretty extraordinary.”


Lister has also volunteered in other areas as a scorer and ball position monitor at many men’s and women’s USGA events, including the 2005 U.S. Open Championship in Pinehurst and the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Pine Needles. He has also been involved in the golf world as a writer for golf marketing companies, the Carolina Golf Writers Association, and Community Sports News. Lister is on the North Carolina Golf Panel whose purpose is to rank the top 200 courses in North Carolina.


Lister said he had no idea what was involved when he was asked to join the course rating team. He observed the team, liked the science and objective nature behind it, and the rest is history. Lister has even played in some CGA One-Day tournaments, creating a “long and varied history” with the CGA, as Lister describes it. “Being associated with the CGA has been a blessing in many ways, from learning about the rules of the game, to being a rater, and even being a player.”


Lister shared, “The idea that I’m being awarded this is a little mystifying. I’m really honored. To be in the same group as Ben Payne and Vicki DiSantis is beyond my ability to comprehend.”


Lister was honored recently at Carolinas Golf Night in Pinehurst, N.C. in February.


About the Charles E. Lynch, Jr. Distinguished Service Award

The Carolinas Golf Association established the Charles E. Lynch, Jr. Distinguished Service Award at its 2016 Annual Meeting. Mr. Lynch began his service to the CGA in 1977 becoming its legal counsel and board member. Since then he has contributed countless hours of insight and advice to help mold one of the largest golf associations in the country. He has gone above and beyond the call as a CGA volunteer, executive committee member, and legal counsel. This award will honor an individual or group whose actions have done just that.

Past Charles E. Lynch, Jr. Distinguished Service Award Recipients:

2016 – Charles E. Lynch, Jr.

2017 – Ellen Shulby

2018 – Joyce Wittman

2019 – Ben Payne

2020 – Larry McWane

2021 – Dan O’Connell

2022 – Ben Maffitt

2023 – Vicki DiSantis


The CGA is continuously seeking willing and capable people to assist us in the areas of Rules Officiating, Tournament Volunteers and Course Raters. For more information on how you can get involved, visit

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