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Citizen Staff Writer

Tucsonans inducted into Az. golf hall

Dot Straw is among those to be honored Dec. 18. William Corbett Bell’s induction is posthumous.


Citizen Sportswriter

Dot Straw, synonymous with junior golf in Tucson for more than three decades, and William Corbett Bell, one of the top amateurs in Tucson during the 1950s and 1960s, have been named to the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame.

Also named to the hall were Lyle Anderson, the well-known developer from Paradise Valley who established Scottsdale’s Desert Highlands and the Desert Mountain Club as two of the premier private golf communities in the country, and Harry J. Cavanagh, a successful Phoenix attorney known for his philanthropy.

The four will be inducted Dec. 18 at the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, a new public course within the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, 15 minutes east of Scottsdale near Fountain Hills.

Dot Straw

Dorothy Darlene Straw, known to everyone as Dot, is best known for directing the Ricki Rarick Junior Golf association for more than 30 years. As director, Straw booked tournaments, handled tee times, arranged pairings, headed the rules committee and was cheerleader to the kids.

“She was a den mother for hundreds of kids every summer,” said Willie Kane, head golf professional at the Randolph golf complex. “She knew everyone’s name. She took care of us. She was everyone’s surrogate mom on the course.”

Mike Hayes, who directs the municipal golf program, took over the Ricki Rarick program from Dot and her husband, Bill, in 1991.

He also presents an annual honor to someone who has contributed greatly to junior golf in Tucson. It’s called the Bill and Dot Straw Award.

“There are 15 to 20 golf professionals in the area who grew up playing junior golf in the Ricki Rarick,” Hayes said. “That speaks volumes about Dot. She was the driving force to keep Ricki Rarick going.”

Straw, an active member of the El Rio women’s golf club, shared the Arizona Golf Association’s Updegraff Award in 1993 with Bill, her husband of 50 years. That award recognizes those who, by their actions or accomplishments, exemplify the spirit of the game of golf.

Straw has been inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame and is the fourth woman to be inducted into the AGA Hall of Fame.

“For Dot the fun of doing it offset all the work,” said Bill Straw. “Before Ricki died he told her to keep the program going. I’m glad she did. The rewards keep coming in.”

William Corbett Bell

Known to everyone as Billy Bell, he was a large, muscular man during his youth.

He played golf at the University of Arizona and worked with his uncle, Hi Corbett (a 1968 Arizona Golf Hall of Fame inductee) in the family-owned J. Knox Corbett Lumber Co. His mother, Gulie Corbett Bell, won the women’s golf championship at Tucson Country Club in 1916.

Bell became one of the top amateur golfers in southern Arizona, qualifying for the 1958 U.S. Amateur championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco in 1958.

Bell often played with Dr. Ed Updegraff, the top amateur in Tucson, and Errie Ball, well-known winter pro at Tucson Country Club. Bell was a superb ball striker but had trouble with the putter.

“During a typical round he’d hit 16 to 18 greens (in regulation) and have 34 putts,” said his son, Brian, who often caddied for his father.

Bell was a charter member of the Tucson Conquistadores, a Big Brother and a volunteer for United Way. In 1963, he organized a citizens’ committee to keep high school golf going at a time when the sport was in danger of being cut for lack of funds.

In the 1970s, Bell was president of the Arizona Golf Association and helped start the Southern Arizona Best-Ball, a team event at Rio Rico Resort & Country Club. After Bell died in 1986, the tournament took his name and has since moved to Pueblo del Sol Country Club in Sierra Vista.

For 15 years, Bell suffered from a rare form of ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which forced him to wear leg braces from his shoes to the back of his knees. While it reduced his golf schedule, he did not quit the game.

In fact, despite the disability, Bell qualified for two USGA Senior amateur championships.

“Billy was a quiet person, but a man of conviction,” said Updegraff. “He didn’t hesitate to express his opinions, from everything to the business climate or things happening at the club. During his prime he was one of the top players in the state.”

Bell died at 65 of pancreatic cancer.

Arizona Golf Hall of Fame


Bob Allison, sportswriter; Larry Grill, sportswriter; Vic Armstrong, amateur; Willie Low, professional; Vernon “Red” Allen, professional; Herbert L. Bowers, professional; Dell Urich, professional; Bob Goldwater Sr., amateur; Hi Corbett, amateur; Harold Tovrea Sr., amateur; Kim Bannister Sr., amateur.


John Bulla, professional; Milt Coggins Sr., professional; Herbert Askins, amateur; Bill Boutell Sr., amateur; Lewis Curry, amateur; Gray Madison Sr., amateur; John Riggle, amateur; Dr. Ed Updegraff, amateur; Bob Warren, amateur.


Willie Wansa, professional; Charles H. McArthur, amateur.


Bill Farkas Sr., professional; Art Snyder, golf course superintendent.


George Boutell, professional; Bill Dickey, amateur; Billy Mayfair, professional; Dorothy Pease, amateur; Karsten Solheim, amateur; Arch Watkins, professional; Sister Lynn Winsor, amateur; Jay D. Woodward, golf course superintendent; Joanne Winter, professional; Tom Weiskopf, professional.


Lyle Anderson, amateur; William Corbett Bell, amateur; Harry J. Cavanagh, amateur; Dot Straw, amateur.


Dot Straw shows off some of her golf memorabilia. She was elected to Arizona Golf Hall of Fame recently.

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