June 21, 2021 – Golf Ontario and Golf Canada Foundation announced today the introduction of a golf scholarship named in honour of former Golf Ontario Executive Director, 2016 Ontario Golf Hall of Fame honouree, and passionate golf supporter, Dave Mills.
As someone who has made significant and widespread contributions to the game of golf, not just in Ontario, but across Canada and the U.S., Dave Mills was one of the most important figures in Ontario golf in the 30 years. In particular, Dave was incredibly passionate about enhancing the game of golf for juniors, and it is fitting that the Dave Mills Scholarship will be awarded to deserving junior golfers to help them pursue their post-secondary education in whatever field they choose to chase their career dreams.
More details will follow in the coming weeks, but to learn more and to donate to this scholarship, please go to the Dave Mills Scholarship Fund Page
“Dave Mills’ leadership in the game of golf is second to none. Dave has given so much to this game, from his contributions to the stability of Golf Ontario, to his work with junior golfers as well as his contributions as a volunteer – Dave has been a selfless contributor and an inspiration to many,” said Golf Ontario Executive Director Mike Kelly. “We are thrilled to have worked with the Mills family to introduce this scholarship that will allow young golfers to pursue their dreams”
Jon Mills, Dave’s son, issued this statement on behalf of the Mills family: “On behalf of our entire family, I would like to thank Golf Ontario, Golf Canada and the entire golf community for the outpouring of condolences and support we have received. We are so proud that the Dave Mills Scholarship Fund has been started. Golf was such a huge part of his life and he gave countless hours in promoting the game. He would be so grateful that we can now give something back in his name”
Dave Mills has been involved in golf for decades. In the early days, you could find Dave organizing a Belleville High School Championship, and a Junior Invitational at his home club: The Bay of Quinte Golf Club. Dave also organized the junior program there and established regular junior field days. Mills had a long appreciation and drive for junior golf, which was evident not only by his actions but in most of his casual conversations about the game. Mills was involved with the GAO (Golf Association of Ontario)/OGA (Ontario Golf Association) which is now known as Golf Ontario since 1986. He served on the Board of Directors from 1989-1997, before stepping down from the Board and taking over as Executive Director in 1997. He is responsible for turning the Association from one experiencing financial and administrative challenges to one of that is the success it is today as one of the largest Golf Associations in the world.
Mills led several initiatives during his time as Executive Director including: the Scholarship Program, numerous educational seminars, the introduction of the Golf in Schools (which later turned national), learn to play clinics, adding new provincial championships, creation of Team Ontario, participation in Canadian and Ontario Summer Games, a partnership with Ontario Golf Magazine to be the official magazine of Association, he led the process to establish Ontario Golf Hall of Fame and helped to have golf recognized as an “Official Sport” by Sport Ontario/Sport Canada. Perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments was leading the process to amalgamate the Ontario Golf Association with the Ontario Ladies Golf Association to create one of the largest amateur golf associations in North America.
Although not the driving force behind his efforts, Mills has earned recognition for his many contributions from many organizations. He was inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame in 2016, has been named an honorary Director of the PGA of Canada, has received the distinguished service award from both Golf Canada and the IAGA, and was inducted in 2010 into the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame.
Mills was also a certified rules official and had volunteered at numerous Golf Ontario events as well as the Canadian Open, Canadian Amateur and Telus Skins Game. He retired from the GAO in 2014 but continued to volunteer at many provincial events.
In retirement, Mills also dedicated his time to re-establish the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame, and while doing so also established the Dr. Robert L. Vaughn atrium located in the Belleville Yardman Arena.
Dave had a great love of the game and cherished every moment he played with his wife, family and friends.