Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (January 3, 2023) — The Philadelphia PGA Section has announced its 2022 award winners, highlighted by PGA Golf Professional of the Year Mike Wood, the PGA director of golf at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa. Over 100 award nominations were received for the 2022 Awards Class, of which the Philadelphia PGA Awards Committee chose 13 winners, including:
- PGA Golf Professional of the Year: Mike Wood, PGA; Saucon Valley Country Club, Bethlehem, Pa.
- PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year: Steve Sieracki, PGA; The Legacy Club at Woodcrest, Cherry Hill, N.J.
- Bill Strausbaugh Award: Jim Smith Jr., PGA; Philadelphia Cricket Club, Flourtown, Pa.
- Professional Development Award: Dean Kandle, PGA; Golf Business Network, Pottstown, Pa.
- Patriot Award: Andy Signor, PGA; Pine Meadows Golf Complex, Lebanon, Pa.
- Player Development Award: David Zimmaro, PGA; Overbrook Golf Club, Villanova, Pa.
- Youth Player Development Award: Steve Chalmers, PGA; Saucon Valley Country Club, Bethlehem, Pa.
- Merchandiser of the Year – Private Category: Todd Love, PGA; West Shore Country Club, Camp Hill, Pa.
- Merchandiser of the Year – Public Category: Ian Madinger, PGA; Plantation Lakes Golf & Country Club, Millsboro, Del.
- Merchandiser of the Year – Resort Category: Alex McGann, PGA; Seaview, Galloway, N.J.
- Deacon Palmer Award: Kevin Duffy, Riverton Country Club, Cinnaminson, N.J.
- Justin Riegel PGA Assistant Golf Professional of the Year: Keith Clawson, PGA; Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.
- Salesperson of the Year: John Rutecki, PGA; Greyson Clothiers, Howell, N.J.
Mike Wood, PGA, the PGA director of golf at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa., has been named the 2022 Philadelphia PGA Golf Professional of the Year. This is the highest annual honor given to a Philadelphia PGA Professional, awarded for qualities of leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the Philadelphia PGA Section and the game of golf.
A PGA Member since 2007, Wood started his Saucon Valley career as a PGA Associate in 2003, was promoted to PGA head professional a few years later, and was ultimately elevated to his current position in 2021. Wood says that one of his greatest financial impacts on the club has been increasing golf shop sales. While rounds of golf at the facility are up approximately 37 percent since 2018, when Wood assumed buying responsibilities, shop sales have increased 88 percent over the same period. He concocted a plan based on a special shop diagram he created that helped effectively use the shops’ footprints, allowing for a dramatic increase in men’s and women’s SKUs, roughly 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
As the host of the 2022 U.S. Senior Open Championship, the United States Golf Association (USGA) requested the club’s staff to develop programming for the USGA’s new 19th hole hospitality area concept. Utilizing the designated area located near the finishing three-hole stretch, Wood and his team prepared a festival-like daily event which included interactive activities such as golf simulators, a 9,000 square-foot putting green, live music, jumbotrons with live streams of the championship broadcasts, lawn games, food trucks, and more. Wood recruited fellow PGA Professionals from around the Section to assist in executing the experience, and secured player development equipment from the Section and PGA REACH Philadelphia, the Section’s 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Their hard work was enjoyed by over 5,000 spectators throughout the championship week.
Wood’s expertise does not end with his operational prowess. He believes it is extremely important to establish a professional working relationship with all team members, serve as a role model through meeting or exceeding intensely high personal standards, and remaining dedicated to the advancement and growth of each individual employee. Saucon Valley’s founder, Eugene Grace, stated that the club should be second to none, and Wood’s team has embraced this philosophy. To assist in motivating his PGA Professionals, while also providing growth opportunities, Wood developed a unique organizational chart in which a PGA Professional could conceivably start as a seasonal assistant professional, work their way through the system to ultimately earn a PGA head professional title at either or both golf shops. This system has allowed Wood and his team to recruit more effectively to the most promising candidates available. He also developed an extensive educational calendar for his team, in which the PGA Professionals present to the facility’s PGA Golf Management interns and other staff members on various topics such as clubfitting, instruction and coaching, youth golf, merchandising, career development and enhancement, and more.
In addition to promoting Saucon Valley, Wood has worked to grow the game of golf throughout the Section and across the nation. Changes to the club’s youth golf program has prompted many parents to remain onsite to use the facility and/or work on improving their own games. Outside of the club boundaries, Wood has partnered with Coordinated Health of Bethlehem to offer golf-specific seminars, and Penn State University’s PGA Golf Management (PGM) University program to host its eighth annual PGM Intern Conference. At the national level, Wood volunteered at the 2019 and 2021 Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club.
Wood was named the Section’s Merchandiser of the Year in the Private Category in 2021.
Steve Sieracki, PGA, the PGA director of instruction at the Legacy Club at Woodcrest in Cherry Hill, N.J., has been named the 2022 Philadelphia PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year for his “outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.” Sieracki was the recipient of the Section’s Youth Player Development Award in 2016.
Sieracki’s role at his facility is to oversee all instruction and coaching programs, consisting of private lessons, clinics, youth camps and golf programs, golf schools, and staff training. As the Legacy Club at Woodcrest is planning a new golf range and a second state-of-the-art indoor studio, club ownership and management has involved him to help design the new buildings, thanks to his experience and understanding how these facilities can successfully grow the game and help their members improve their games.
Annually, Sieracki provides well over 3,000 hours of golf instruction and coaching, in addition to approximately 30 hours of virtual lessons online each week. He has worked to provide the club’s members a plethora of instruction-focused events and programs, including an elite youth golf program which led to six of his students being recognized as top players on the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour, guest clinics from Andy Plummber, AimPoint, a virtual lesson program with Eric Cogorno, and creating a private indoor golf studio in Voorhees, N.J.
In addition to his traditional coaching career, Sieracki has made a point to network with PGA Members and industry professionals from around the country, and give back by presenting at various summits, seminars, and online education events. He has spent a considerable amount of time with some of the Section’s best PGA coaches, and frequently visits renowned instructors such as David Orr, PGA, Andy Plummer, Mike Bennett, and Nick Clearwater, PGA, as well as presenting at other facilities in the Section. He also has spent time building a strong following on his social media channels, allowing him to connect with golfers around the world, and assist them with their swings. For the past year, Sieracki has been writing a program that shows other PGA coaches to easily identify patterns in the golf swing as an additional way to help their own students improve. He has also contributed to national publications, including PGA Magazine’s PGA Professionals’ Best Practices Series, Golf Digest, and Golf Tips Magazine. Sieracki has also continued to educate himself across many subjects, including biomechanics.
Jim Smith Jr., PGA, the PGA director of golf at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Flourtown, Pa., is the recipient of the 2022 Philadelphia PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award; he also received the award in 2006 and 2013. The award recognizes a PGA Professional who demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership, by way of teaching and mentoring other PGA Professionals. A PGA Member for over 28 years, has served his club since 2006, having PGA head professional experience at two facilities previously. Smith, when discussing his career, says he is proudest that he helped 32 former coworkers advance in their careers to management positions, such as PGA directors of golf, PGA head professionals, directors of outdoor services, and so on. He says that helping staff members achieve their career goals via upward mobility in job / position quality is the single most important thing he does professionally, and values it more than any other facet of his job. Outside of his day-to-day work in Flourtown, Smith has served a wide variety of roles within the Section, including terms as president, vice president, and director of Section affairs, in addition to chairing the Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization (PAO), Club Relations, and Long-Range Planning committees, and helping organize and presenting at Section education events. Smith said that as his career progressed, he has always remained true to who he is – a normal person who values every interaction and the relationships he has been fortunate to be a part of. Smith previously was honored as the Section’s Golf Professional of the Year in 2005, and Merchandiser of the Year – Private Category in 2002.
Dean Kandle, PGA, is Golf Business Network’s vice president of professional development and education, and the Section’s 2022 Professional Development Award recipient, an award he previously won in 2019 and 2020. This honor goes to a PGA Member who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA Professionals. Kandle was also named the Section’s 2020 Golf Professional of the Year and 2018 Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient. A PGA Member since 2006, Kandle spent 10 years as PGA head professional at St. Davids Golf Club, prior to taking on his current role at GBN. Kandle has also devoted time to serve the Section, recently finishing his term as District 6 director, and serving as member of the Section’s Education and Awards committees. During his time on the Education Committee, he has helped organize many events concerning management, customer service, productivity, and more. Kandle has also made time to support PGA REACH Philadelphia by creating a charity hockey game played between the Philadelphia and New Jersey PGA Sections. His support of fellow PGA Professionals does not end with his own staff or Section involvement; in 2017, Kandle created a website known as “Golf Professional Growth” to provide content focused on generating awareness on how the modern PGA Professional can better manage their time, lead their people and improve their personal lives. Kandle hosts regular podcasts, “Getting Better Now,” and “Golf Professional Growth,” helps organize professional development programs like Work Smarter, a productivity training series, virtual networking and education events, and has contributed to industry publications such as PGA Magazine. In his current role with GBN, Kandle launched GBN University to complement PGA of America education. Kandle says one of his true passions is helping young PGA Professionals find their way in the golf industry, certainly making him deserving of this honor.
Andy Signor, PGA, is the PGA head professional at Pine Meadows Golf Complex in Lebanon, Pa., and the recipient of the Section’s 2022 Patriot Award. The award bestows special recognition on a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates an unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected our country. Beginning in 2017, Signor started an annual golf tournament to benefit the Folds of Honor foundation, an organization that provides scholarships to the spouses and children of fallen or disabled U.S. military personnel. The annual event also pays tribute to Seldon McIntosh, a since-passed Pine Meadows member and two-time Silver Star recipient. His original fundraising goal was $2,500, and doubled that in his first event. Since then, the annual tournament has raised over $42,000 for the Folds of Honor. Signor has also volunteered his time with the Folds of Honor’s Eastern Pennsylvania / New Jersey Chapter, helping expand its membership, reach, events, and donations. Folds of Honor named Signor as a top performer five times, while his chapter awarded him their Leadership Award. Signor was also named the Central Counties Chapter Golf Professional of the Year in 2018.
David Zimmaro, PGA, the 2021 Section Teacher & Coach of the Year, PGA assistant professional and youth golf director at Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova, Pa., is the recipient of the Section’s 2022 Player Development Award. This honor bestows special recognition to a PGA Member who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development. Hailing originally from Philadelphia, Zimmaro has dedicated his career to guiding youth golfers in the Delaware Valley, via his current role at Overbrook, working as the First Tee of Philadelphia’s site director, volunteering for PGA REACH Philadelphia’s Golf in Schools initiative, the Middle Atlantic Blind Golf Association, Widener Memorial School, Overbrook School for the Blind, La Salle Academy, AIM Academy, the Bridge School, Fort Dix Military Base, and the Department of Justice’s Students for Juvenile Justice. Zimmaro also learned American Sign Language to work with the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Zimmaro has also served as a PGA Jr. League captain for years, fielding a team from Overbrook, which has been undefeated for three seasons and advanced to the Section Championship in 2021 and 2022. Two of Zimmaro’s students also advanced to the Drive, Chip & Putt Regionals at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina in 2017 and 2021. Zimmaro has also been featured in PGA Magazine’s PGA Professionals’ Best Practice Series and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and has appeared on Golf Channel’s “Golf Fix with Michael Breed” television show. Zimmaro previously won the Section’s Youth Player Development Award in 2017 and 2020.
Steve Chalmers, PGA, the PGA director of instruction at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa., is the 2022 Philadelphia PGA Youth Player Development Award recipient. The award is given annually to a PGA Professional who has made extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of youth player development. In addition to his day-to-day duties, Chalmers also serves on the Junior Golf Committee, and works as the junior coordinator to cater to all youth golf activities at his facility. Since joining the Saucon Valley staff in 2020, Chalmers has created one of the best youth golf programs in the state, with participation increasing each season. Taking feedback from the committee, he worked to create popular events such as a Halloween Parent / Child Glow Golf Night, and started offering two junior championships for club members: one for 13 years of age and younger, and one for 14 and above. Chalmers continues to promote youth golf outside of Saucon Valley’s property, volunteering at a YMCA in Bethlehem, Pa., for their LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of the Lehigh Valley program, participating in the Colonial League team event, the Tri-State Championship for highschoolers looking to play competitive college golf, coaching the Lehigh women’s golf team, and working with Blairs High School. He also captains a PGA Jr. League team, offers weekend youth clinics, parent-child clinics, a youth summer coaching program, summer camps, a player development program for competitive golfers, and mixed sports winter coaching. Chalmers also runs a college golf night at Saucon Valley, hosting college coaches to share their experiences with college recruitment.
Todd Love, PGA, the PGA head professional at West Shore Country Club in Camp Hill, Pa., has been named the 2022 Philadelphia PGA Merchandiser of Year for the Private Category. The award recognizes PGA Professionals working at a private golf facility who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Love has worked at West Shore in various roles since 1996, and took over as PGA head professional in 2017. He spends about half his time in the club’s merchandising area, allowing him to gather feedback from their over 800 members. He says his philosophy is to provide plenty of options to the members, where tastes may vary widely. Love is not shy about changing displays (he does so on a weekly basis), and works closely with his team to present the merchandise in the best way possible. His shop has increased sales, including by double digits in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Ian Madinger, PGA, the PGA head professional at Plantation Lakes Golf & Country Club in Millsboro, Del., has been named the 2022 Philadelphia PGA Merchandiser of Year for the Public Category. The award recognizes PGA Professionals working at a public golf facility who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Madinger started in his current position in 2020, following four years as a PGA assistant professional at the same facility. He spends approximately 30 percent of his time merchandising, and tries to avoid marking items above the suggested retail price. He explains that he wants his customers to get the same price in his shop compared to what they may pay at a big box retailer. Madinger also works to ensure his shop is stocked with anything a golfer may need; from snacks to tees, rangefinder batteries, hand warmers, sunscreen, and so on, Plantation Lakes stocks it. He even goes to the trouble to bring in new items should a customer request something that is not in stock. Madinger’s shop is expected to finish with a double-digit percentage increase over last year’s sales figures.
Alex McGann, PGA, is the PGA director of golf at Seaview in Galloway, N.J., and the 2022 Philadelphia PGA Merchandiser of Year for the Resort Category, an award he previously won in 2019. The award recognizes PGA Professionals working at a resort golf facility who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. McGann spends 20 percent of his time working on the facility’s merchandise operation. His primary retail focus is the establishment and execution of purchasing goods and developing a solid golf shop sales strategy. McGann and his team rolls out a retail promotional calendar each offseason based on expected product deliveries, and finalizes monthly sales targets with his team, including Area Retail Manager Katie Werner, and PGA Head Professional Jeff Carswell, PGA. This season, McGann introduced a retail incentive plan to Seaview’s PGA assistant professionals and hourly shop employees, offering bonus commissions once the shop hit monthly targets. The Seaview golf shop experienced double-digit percentage growth in sales year-over-year in 2022.
Kevin Duffy, PGA, the PGA head professional at Riverton Country Club in Cinnaminson, N.J., is the first-ever recipient of the Philadelphia PGA Deacon Palmer Award. The award bestows special recognition on a PGA Professional who personally displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership, in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. This individual is an unsung hero/heroine at their facility and in their community, who serves to inspire, empower and assist others, both inside and outside of the game. After Duffy’s first child, Molly Rose, was born in 2013, she was diagnosed with hereditary spastic paraplegia type 47 (SPG47), a disease so rare that Molly was the first in the United States to be diagnosed, and only the seventh in the world. While helping his daughter through therapies, Duffy continued his work at Riverton, in his first year as PGA head professional, and remained committed to making sure he exceeded his members’ expectations. Duffy’s son, Owen Patrick, was born in 2021, and unfortunately was also diagnosed with SPG47. To help support those affected by SPG47, the Duffys teamed with another family impacted by the disease to create the non-profit Cure SPG47, with a mission to develop a treatment for the disease. He started a golf outing named “Golf for a Cure,” which has grown into an impressive community event. The event hosts over 220 golfers annually, and has raised over $1.4 million in just six years. Additionally, a gene therapy is in its final stages of development and hopes to go through the FDA approval process in the coming months. Outside his work for SPG47 and career at Riverton, Duffy has also found the time to volunteer for the Philadelphia PGA Section, serving as the District 2 Director, and as a member of a number of committees.
Keith Clawson, PGA, is a PGA assistant professional at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., and the Sections’ 2022 Justin Riegel Assistant Golf Professional of the Year. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf, and is named for the late Justin Riegel, a past Section Assistant Golf Professional of the Year. Clawson believes that to be a successful PGA assistant professional, you must have a strong passion for the game of golf and the golf business, in addition to a strong work ethic. As the chair of the Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization (PAO), he knows successful PGA assistant professionals such as himself need to have a willingness to learn and grow, which is why he has worked with the PAO to offer numerous education opportunities for their members. Under Clawson’s tutelage, he estimates that the PAO has experienced a 25 percent increase in participation. At Merion, Clawson is responsible for their youth golf program, merchandising and inventory management, men’s golf tournaments, team building, while also providing private lessons for club members. Clawson tries to inspire his fellow PGA assistant professionals through leading by example, such as volunteering at the local PGA HOPE Philadelphia chapter at Union League Liberty Hill, providing free instruction during the 2022 PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship Youth Day, or by simply supporting his coworkers. Clawson says that reflecting on his career reminds him of PGA Professionals like the namesake of this award, Justin Riegel, PGA, or Brian Kienke, PGA, as he always looked up to them, and emulated their working styles.
John Rutecki, PGA, an account executive for Greyson Clothiers out of Howell, N.J., is the Section’s 2022 Salesperson of the Year. This award recognizes a sales representative who contributes to the Section and is involved with sponsoring Section events. They are also respected among their fellow Section clubs and have implemented new ideas to assist growing the game of golf. Rutecki, an industry veteran with over 25 years of experience, says he learns from every interaction he has, and always tries to treat his partners with the same respect, integrity, and service that he would expect if the roles were reversed. Rutecki knows what it is like working as a PGA Professional, which has helped both his operation, as well as his clients’. Over the years, Rutecki has supported PGA Sections, including Philadelphia, through partnerships for Pro-Scratch, Pro-Official, and Pro-Assistant tournaments, allowing him to give back to those who supported him and his company. While at Greyson, Rutecki helped launch an ambassador program to ensure they get the best feedback from PGA Professionals who sell their products on a daily basis, and is working to create a similar program for PGA assistant professionals.
About the Philadelphia PGA Section
The Philadelphia PGA Section, covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, is one of 41 geographical managing entities of the PGA of America. This Section manages nearly 900 PGA Members and Associates who are employed at over 590 golf facilities in our region.
Contact: Matt Frey, PGA, Communications Director, Philadelphia PGA Section, firstname.lastname@example.org