• Get to Know 2023 President Lee Gidney

    Posted on November 23rd, 2022 No comments


    The son of a career US Air Force officer, Lee was born in Wiesbaden, Germany while his father was stationed there immediately after World War II.

    As a “military brat” he grew up in many locales,–Germany, New Jersey, New York, Japan, California, Washington State and, finally, back to California. He
    graduated from Fresno State in 1970 with degrees in Psychology and English and a commission as a 2LT in the USAF via ROTC. He entered active duty at Laughlin AFB, TX as a student in
    Undergraduate Pilot Training and after earning his wings had assignments to Mather AFB, CA and Travis AFB.

    In 1979 he left active duty and began a 15-year career flying in the Air Force Reserve. He returned to active duty twice for year-long assignments. He first attended the Air War College as
    a resident student and then again during Desert Storm. In 1994 he retired from his final assignment as the Vice Commander of the 349 Airlift Wing at Travis AFB, the largest Associate Wing in the Air Force Reserve. Overlapping with his USAF career Lee was a pilot for United Air Lines based in San Francisco. He retired from UAL in 2007 as a Boeing 747 Captain. His two flying careers spanned over 37 years. Lee resides in Vacaville, CA with Karen, his wife of 53 years and their children and grandchildren, who also reside in Vacaville.

    Lee has been a member of the Cypress Lakes Golf Club for over 30 years. In 1995 he and three friends qualified to play in their NCGA Zone Championship at Spyglass Hill. It was this experience that set him on course for his third “career.” The year after playing at Spyglass he volunteered to serve as a Committeeman with the NCGA. After attaining Rules Certification status he was invited to be a member of the USGA Junior Championship Committee. In 2007 he was selected to serve as a Director with the NCGA and subsequently served as the President of the NCGA in 2015. He currently continues to volunteer as a championship Rules Official for the USGA, NCGA, and NCAA and is a Director Emeritus for the Pacific Coast Golf Association.

    How did you first get started with golf? 

    I started to play during high school. We lived on Larson AFB, WA. There was a driving range but no golf course on base so a friend and I would play on the playground of a nearby elementary school. We’d only use short irons and putters to play from point A to B. Pretty rudimentary golf!

    What is your greatest golf memory or moment?

    Teeing off at the Old Course in St. Andrews. It was my first “golf trip” and it was the first course we played on the trip. I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous while playing.

    Anything you would change with the game?

    I’d like to see play on putting greens sped up. In all my officiating it seems more time is spent on the greens than anywhere else. We would all play more quickly if that were targeted.

    What is your favorite course(s) and why?

    Hard to pick just one. This may seem trite but I have to put Pebble Beach near if not at the top. It is just so spectacular and such a treat to play. Right next to it would be Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes. I truly love links-style golf…playing the bounces and slopes is such a great challenge and fun at the same time.

    What influenced you to take up golf?

    I went to the driving range with my Dad. That was my first exposure. Prior to that, I was all baseball. When I first played I had a ten-finger batters grip. I remember he had a set of

    Wright & Ditson clubs. I still have the putter from that set.

    What do you enjoy doing besides golf?

    I love to be with the family. Holidays, summer cookouts…whatever. Our decision to leave active duty in the USAF was to be close to family. Both my parents and my wife’s extended family were all in Northern California and our goal was to stay close to them. Now we are the old folks but doing anything with the “Big Kids” and “Little Kids” is always at the top of the list.

    What are you looking forward to as SGANC president?

    We need to increase participation and it’s the board’s responsibility to make our events attractive enough that our members will attend them. Sites, formats, and ancillary events are all on the table. For those of us who don’t play golf for a living we need to ensure that we are enjoying ourselves when we invest our time to play the game. At the end of an event you need to feel that your time was well spent!



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