Month: January 2024

PGA of America Honors Jim Smith Jr., PGA, and Dean Kandle, PGA, With National Awards

PGA of America Golf Professionals Jim Smith Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club, and Dean Kandle, St. Davids Golf Club, have been honored as members of the Class of 2024 PGA of America National Awards honorees.

In all, 13 Award recipients will be recognized at the 71st PGA Show today, Jan. 24, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, at 4 p.m. ET on the PGA of America Industry Stage presented by CapTech. All 13 recipients are scheduled to attend the ceremony.

“Our 2024 PGA of America Award recipients have dedicated their lives to helping countless individuals enjoy this game we all love, and they do it exceptionally well,” said PGA of America President John Lindert, PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lansing in Lansing, Michigan. “I have had the opportunity to get to know several of our winners over the years and they truly are a great representation of what our more than 30,000 PGA of America Golf Professionals do on a daily basis. To stand out among their peers is an incredible achievement.”

In addition, the recently announced 2023 PGA of America Professional Players of the Year presented by Rolex award recipients will be celebrated on the Industry Stage, including: Men’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Michael Block of Mission Viejo, California.; Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth of Jacksonville, Florida; and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio.

JIM SMITH JR., PGA – Bill Strausbaugh Award – Philadelphia Cricket Club – Flourtown, Pa.

Jim Smith, Jr., a 29-year PGA of America Member in the Philadelphia PGA Section, and Director of Golf at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, in Flourtown, Pa., is the 2024 Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, which recognizes a PGA of America Golf Professional who demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership through teaching and mentoring other PGA of America Golf Professionals. A native of Jenkintown, Pa., and a resident of Rydal, Pa., Smith, Jr. graduated from Temple University in 1990 with a BS in Finance & Economics. In 1992, he became the Head Golf Professional at The Abington Club in his hometown of Jenkintown, where he worked for four years. In 1996, he became the Director of Golf/General Manager at Talamore Country Club, in Ambler, PA., where he spent 10 years before moving onto his current role at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. A decorated PGA Member, Smith, Jr. has earned numerous awards and accolades in the Philadelphia PGA Section, including PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2005, Merchandiser of the Year, Private in 2002 and the Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2006, 2013 and 2022. He is also a dedicated leader of the Philadelphia PGA Section, having been elected President from 2007-2009, and serving as a member of the Section Board of Directors/Executive Committee from 2000-2011.

DEAN KANDLE, PGA – PGA of America Professional Development Award – St. Davids Golf Club – Wayne, Pa.

Dean Kandle, PGA, a Philadelphia PGA Section Member and the General Manager at St. Davids Golf Club in Wayne, Pa., has earned the 2024 PGA of America Professional Development Award. This honor recognizes a PGA of America Member who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA of America Golf Professionals. A multi-award winner on the Section level, Kandle is a 3-time recipient of the PGA Professional Development Award (2019, ‘20, ‘21), as well as winner of the Bill Strausbaugh Award (2018) and the PGA Golf Professional of the Year (2020). Kandle twice served as a member of the Philadelphia Section Education Committee (2011-13, 2018-22) and represented the Philadelphia Section Board of Directors as the District VI Director (2019-22). He is a regular host and contributor to PGA of America Education seminars and workshops, and a strong supporter of PGA REACH programming. Kandle is passionate about delivering continuing education to help improve the lives of PGA of America Members. One of his most successful projects was the creation of Golf Professional Growth (GPG), a professional-development website that delivers a wealth of content while covering a wide range of important topics, all designed to help PGA of America Members “Work Smarter and Live Better.” Kandle demonstrates his commitment to education by hosting two successful podcasts, “Getting Better Now” and “The Golf Professional Growth Project,” both dedicated to helping PGA Professionals grow as golf professionals and leaders.

2024 PGA of America National Award Recipients
PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year
Tony Pancake, PGA – Crooked Stick Golf Club – Carmel, Indiana
PGA of America Teacher & Coach of the Year
Joe Hallett, PGA – Vanderbilt Legends Club – Franklin, Tennessee
PGA of America Golf Executive of the Year
Kelly Williams, PGA – Greenbrier Golf & Country Club – Lexington, Kentucky
Bill Strausbaugh Award
Jim Smith Jr., PGA – Philadelphia Cricket Club – Flourtown, Pennsylvania
PGA of America Professional Development Award
Dean Kandle, PGA – St. Davids Golf Club – Wayne, Pennsylvania
Deacon Palmer Award
Mark Egly, PGA – Des Moines Driving Range – Des Moines, Iowa
Patriot Award
Jon DePriest, PGA – Sunset Hills Country Club – Edwardsville, Illinois
PGA of America Player Development Award
Crystal Morse, PGA – The Legends Golf Club – Franklin, Indiana
PGA of America Youth Player Development Award
Connie DeMattia, PGA – Cantigny Golf – Wheaton, Illinois
Herb Graffis Award
Iowa PGA Section
PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year – Resort Category
Robert Koontz, PGA – French Lick – French Lick, Indiana
PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year – Private Category
Morgan Jewell – Floridian National Golf Club – Palm City, Florida
PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year – Public Category
Jason Loomis, PGA – Great River Golf Club – Milford, Connecticut

Join Us for a PGA of America Associate Networking Event at Sunnybrook Golf Club

The Philadelphia PGA Section has organized a free networking event for PGA of America Associates on Wednesday, February 7 at 5:00 p.m. in Sunnybrook Golf Club’s swing studio. In addition to networking with peers, PGA of America representatives Joe Doughty, PGA, and Leila Mackie, PGA, will be in attendance to answer questions about the Association, employment, compensation, along with updates from the Section and PAO (Philadelphia Assistants Organization).

To register, click here.

PGA of America Associate Networking Event

Wednesday, February 7
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Sunnybrook Golf Club
398 Stenton Avenue
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

Free to attend

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,

Message from Philadelphia PGA Section President Chip Richter

Dear Fellow PGA of America Golf Professionals:

I hope this message finds you well and you all had a happy and healthy holiday season. I know 2023 was another busy year for all of us. Certainly a little time off will be good for everyone to recharge the batteries and get ready for another busy year in 2024.

Shortly after our Fall Membership Meeting at Philmont Country Club, your Section team traveled to Frisco, Texas, for the PGA of America Annual Meeting at our new headquarters. First, if you have not seen the new facility, you need to. The entire campus is amazing. Trust me on this one, if you get a chance to go, take advantage of it. It was great to see two of PGA of America Members from our Section win sational awards as Johnny Carpineta won the Patriot Award, while Jeff Kiddie was named Golf Professional of the Year, the PGA of America’s highest honor; he is the first ever recipient to hail from the Philadelphia PGA Section. It did not take the many people there very long to start treating “Johnny C” like a rockstar. The guy was getting high fives and handshakes from everyone there after hearing his story. It was fun to experience.

We had a lot of interesting breakout sessions and presentations while in Texas. PGA REACH, PGA LEAD, future projections, and more were discussed. Another very interesting presentation was from the National Golf Foundation, which had a lot of great data on the growth of the game. Specifically, post-pandemic growth. The bottom line is golf grew at significant rates in 2020 and 2021, and although growth has slowed slightly, it is still trending upwards, and all metrics show continued growth expected in 2024.

Our Section Awards Committee met in December to determine our newest winners, and they did a really nice job of picking the recipients. There are so many deserving stories but this year’s winners are as inspiring as ever. For full details on the winners and their stories, click here. We will be honoring our winners on March 17 at our annual awards dinner, which promises to be another fun celebration.

If you got a phone call or email toward the end of the year asking for your help in completing your compensation profile, and you filled it out, thank you! If you did not, there is still time to get your survey completed. It is completely confidential and only takes five or six minutes to complete. Our tiered funding from the PGA of America is directly tied to our completion percentage on this, and honestly, we are not real good in relation to the other 40 Sections for completion percentage on these surveys. We could really use your help on this folks, please take a few minutes to fill this out if you can by clicking here.

The staff at the Section office, as well as our committee members, are working away on schedules and programs for 2024. If you are interested in hosting a Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour event or have an idea for an educational event in 2024, please let us know. In most cases, our best ideas come directly from our member.

The first few months as your president have been busy, but very enjoyable. If you have any questions or ideas, I can always be reached via email at or on my phone at (717) 421-0211. I am always available and happy to help in any way I can. Until next time, I hope you all have a wonderful start to 2024, and may we all get to enjoy a little rest and family time over the next few months.

Best Wishes,

Peter G. “Chip” Richter PGA
Philadelphia PGA Section

Dr. Alison Curdt, PGA, to Present at Merion Golf Club on Wednesday, February 21

Merion Golf Club PGA Director of Instruction Joanna Coe and the entire staff has invited our PGA of America Golf Professionals to attend a 90-minute presentation at their club from PGA of America and LPGA Master Professional Dr. Alison Curdt on Wednesday, February 21 at 5:00 p.m. Topics will be applicable for club golfers and coaches alike which will include the “Big Five” of sports psychology-the basic fundamentals of building a solid mental game. Dr. Curdt’s presentation will focus on practical solutions to build and fine tune those skills with an emphasis on emotional regulation, visualization, concentration, goal setting and confidence. The session will include a worksheet for all participants. The event will also be broadcast online via Zoom and will be recorded.

The cost for PGA of America Golf Professionals to attend is $25 per person. Merion Golf Club members will also be in attendance. Please note: Merion Golf Club has mobile device and attire policies, which are listed below.

To register, click here.

Dr. Alison Curdt, PGA, LPGA Presents at Merion Golf Club

Wednesday, February 21
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Merion Golf Club
450 Ardmore Avenue
Ardmore, PA 19003

$25 per person to attend
About Alison Curdt, PGA, LPGA: Alison is a PGA Master Professional in Instruction, LPGA Master Professional and Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher in America. Being one of 9 women to achieve the highest PGA credential earned by an instructor and only 1 of 2 women to be a dual master professional in both organizations, Alison has over 34 years of golf competition background and played on a full scholarship as a 2-time Academic All American at Florida State University while earning degrees in Psychology and Professional Golf Management.  Her teaching prowess has been recognized in many ways including being selected by the LPGA in 2018, 2017, 2015 & 2012 as the Western Section Teacher of the Year. Alison was chosen as the LPGA’s National Teacher of the Year in 2015 and the PGA Northern Chapter Teacher of the Year in 2015. In 2016, Alison was selected as the Southern California PGA Teacher of the Year and Golf Digest added her as one of the Best Young Instructors in America. Her clubfitting skills were recognized in 2016 as the Northern Chapter PGA chose her as Clubfitter of the Year and the SCPGA awarded her club fitter of the year in 2018. Recently the LPGA chose Alison as a Top 50 Instructor for the second time and the SCPGA inducted her into the Teaching Hall of Fame. The SCPGA Northern Chapter selected her as Golf Professional of the Year in 2017. In 2019, the SCPGA selected her as the Golf Professional of the Year and the LPGA Western Section selected her as the 2020 Golf Professional of the Year. Alison currently teaches at Wood Ranch Golf Club in the Los Angeles area

Alison completed her Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Sport Psychology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a practicing psychotherapist in the state of California and currently works with adolescents, couples, families, and individuals in her private practice Curdt Performance Therapy, in Los Angeles, CA. Alison strives to develop and coach golfers in all areas of their lives.

Alison continues to be very active playing competitively and has played in 7 LPGA Tour Majors: 2 LPGA Wegman’s Tour Championships in 2012 and 2014, and the 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, & 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.  She is the first women from Southern California to ever qualify for the PGA Professional Championship in 2018 and made a return trip to the PPC in 2021. She helped Team USA win the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup in October 2019. Alison has been a seven-time SCPGA Omega Women’s Player of the Year.

Alison’s teaching philosophy is a student-centered approach allowing her to use a vast approach of modalities to help students reach their goals. Extremely well versed in video analysis, club fitting, golf fitness, and the mental side of the game students can be assured all areas of their game will be benefited.

Cell Phones and Electronic Devices Policy
As stewards of one of the great, historic golf venues in the world, Merion’s culture is grounded in the traditions and values of the game of golf. Mobile devices may only be used for voice or silent functions, including texting and emailing, in the privacy of your automobile or in designated house phone rooms. This includes smart watches and other devices. Cell phone cameras may be used anywhere on Club property, provided the action is exercised with good judgment and the photos are for personal use only. Members and guests who will be sharing photographs taken at the Club may not share or post material that is disrespectful, offensive, defamatory, obscene, or otherwise unsuitable or inappropriate, or that would cause distress to, or infringe on the privacy of the Club or the rights of another person, including Merion Golf Club members, their families, guests, and Club staff.

Attire Policy
All Merion members and guests are expected to be dressed in appropriate golf attire. Hats and caps must be worn with the brim facing forward. Hats, caps, and visors worn by gentlemen should be removed while they are under cover (Dining Terraces and in the Clubhouse). “No cover under cover.” Gentlemen are to have their shirts tucked in at all times. Men’s shorts are not to exceed 3” above the knee; women’s shorts, golf skorts, and golf skirts are not to exceed 5” above the knee. Inappropriate items include short sleeve mock turtlenecks (men only), t-shirts, denim of any color, flip-flops, Crocs, cargo pants/shorts, open-toed shoes (men only), and non-golf athletic attire. Women may wear leggings under a golf skirt.

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,