Ken Duke Honored with Ben Hogan Award


News from Augusta is Arkansas’ own Ken Duke received the prestigious Ben Hogan Award.

The Ben Ho­gan Award is presented at the Golf Wri­ters Asso­cia­tion of Amer­ica Awards Ban­quet at Au­gus­ta Coun­try Club each year the night before the start of the Masters. The award is given to a golfer who remains active in the sport despite a physical handicap or serious illness.

As a seventh-grader, Ken Duke was diagnosed with scoliosis. The Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, determined he had a 26-percent curvature of the spine and advised him to wear a back brace 23 hours a day. Two years later, with the curvature reaching 51 percent, he underwent surgery. Without the procedure, the pressure on his lungs and heart might have become life-threatening. Surgeons attached a 16-inch metal road to his spine to faciliate straightening. Remarkably, just months later he returned to his high school golf team—and playing in a back brace—won medalist honors at a district tournament.

In 2009, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences established The Ken Duke Endowed Chair in Scoliosis. Funds from the chair treat spinal deformities, tumors and fractures.

Duke was inducted into the Arkansas Golf Hall of Fame last fall in Little Rock.

ken dukeKen Duke played for the Henderson State University Reddies at the height of the program’s success, earning All-American honors in 1992, and he has been instrumental in raising funds for the building of the Ken Duke Golf Center, which has been a dream of the Henderson golf program and Duke.  So far, more than $230,000 has been raised with an additional pledge being made for $100,000.

Henderson will be the only Division II school in the country with an indoor stand-alone golf facility.

The facility will have indoor bays to hit out onto the range, a player’s lounge and study area, offices for the coaches, an indoor short game chipping and putting area and an indoor hitting bay with swing monitoring equipment.

The facility will also have a driving range and part of the range will be open to the public.

Major donors who pledge $25,000 or more will have their names on a plaque inside the facility.

A goal of $800,000 has been set to construct the center.

You can read more on Duke’s big night last night here.

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