The Golf Coaches Association of America is accepting applications for the 2023 Ron Balicki Scholarship until Feb. 28. The recipient, a current high school senior or current college undergraduate or graduate student, will receive two $2,500 scholarships, one per 2023 semester.
The Ron Balicki Scholarship for aspiring golf journalists is dedicated to the memory of Ron Balicki for his lifelong commitment to covering the game of golf.
Few individuals have done more to bring exposure to college golf than Balicki. Since practically inventing the college golf beat while at Golfweek in 1983, Balicki became part of the fabric of the college and amateur game. He covered his first golf tournament in 1980 while with the Florida Daily News. He won first and third in GCAA writing contests and won four firsts and numerous honorable mention awards with the International Network of Golf. Balicki also won three first-place awards from the Texas Golf Writers Association. He was a winner of the Golf Writer’s Association of America Jimmy D’Angelo Award and the Northwest Florida Sports Association Al Byrne Award, both of which are presented to a person for contributions, devotion and service to the organization and the community.
A 2010 inductee into the GCAA Hall of Fame, Balicki covered every NCAA Championship dating to 1985 and every GCAA National Convention since its inception until 2013, when the cancer that claimed his life prevented him from traveling. Dubbed “Wrong Ron” for his propensity to incorrectly pick the winner of the NCAA Championships and playfully teased for his uncanny ability to bring the rain with him to events he covered, Balicki was truly fond of the sport and people he covered and was loved back by the players, coaches and everyone involved with college golf.
“This past year has changed my life,” Alex Gelman, the 2022 Balicki Scholarship recipient, said. “I used to only cover basketball and football games, and although I am very passionate about these two sports, I never felt like I fit in. With golf, I’m home. I now know that I want to cover the sport of golf as a professional, and it is an honor to represent Ron Balicki’s name.”
Past winners of the Ron Balicki Scholarship include Gelman, Cade Tjomsland (Palm Beach Atlantic University), current Golfweek writer Brayden Conover (University of Oklahoma), Golf on CBS social media personality Tracy Peyton (Palm Beach Atlantic University) and Valero Alamo Bowl business developer Luke Hendry (University of Texas).