Golf legend George Benoit dies, 84

A GOLF GREAT: George Benoit, a past president of the Guam National Golf Federation, died on Saturday. Through Benoit's advocacy, Guam's youth, men's, and women's golfers received countless invitations to prestigious worldwide invitational tournaments. Courtesy photo

George L. Benoit, 84, a past president of the Guam National Golf Federation, died on Saturday.

Benoit, one of Guam’s most respected golf advocates, over his 40-plus-year career, helped countless golfers achieve their goals.

"Mr. Benoit was so influential to the game of golf on Guam, and really advocated for the junior golf program,” said Brentt Salas, a former Father Duenas Memorial School four-time All-Island champion. “Thanks to him, we would not have had some the opportunities to compete in many of the prestigious events we have played in the past,” added Salas, who plays on the Gonzaga University Men’s Golf Team.

Benoit, through his advocacy, helped establish a relationship with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which paved the way for Guam’s top athletes to participate in world-class amateur tournaments. He was also instrumental in creating Guam's youth, men's and women's programs.

“On behalf of the Guam National Golf Federation, we offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to George’s family, for their loss,” GNGF President Richard Sablan said in a message to Guam’s golf community. “Golf was not just a game to George, it was his lifelong vocation.

“We lost a great man, and Guam golf will not be the same without him.”

Nalapon Vongjalorn, one of Guam’s best male golfers, was grateful to have known Benoit, and saddened by the loss.

“Mr. Benoit played a big part in my development as a golfer,” Vongjalorn said. “I am very thankful for the times when he helped me out, on and off the course.

“I knew George Benoit as someone who was truly passionate about the game of golf and even more so with helping the community. As time went on, and how busy life can get, I didn't really reach out to him as much as I should have, and that saddens me.

“He was a great person and someone I respected, and I am glad I was able to call him my friend.“