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Chisholm and Filler Win at Spring Pro-Pro Championship

Full Tournament Results

Greenville, Del. – The second event of the young Philadelphia PGA season, the Spring Pro-Pro Championship, was played Monday, May 6 at Fieldstone Golf Club. The Pro-Pro brings together two PGA Professionals partnered in a four-ball competition (better of ball of partners). Despite a chilly start the fifty-four teams that teed it up in the tournament were eventually treated to near perfect weather as the clouds made way for afternoon sunshine.

The pace early in the day was set by the team of Mike Moses and Branden Shattuck of Concord Country Club. As a team the pair played bogey-free carding seven birdies along the way to finish with a 7-under (64) total and an early clubhouse lead. However, with most of the field still on the course the pair needed to watch the leaderboard throughout the afternoon.

Playing in the tournament’s final group, the team of Chris Kopelcheck of Gulph Mills Golf Club and Brandon Kuzmich of Merion Golf Club managed to climb the leaderboard and matched Moses and Shattuck at 7-under (64). The pair posted three birdies on the front nine and posted an additional four birdies as they made their way back to the clubhouse.

Unfortunately for the teams at 7-under the team of Scott Chisholm from Rolling Green Golf Club and Nathalie Filler of the Philadelphia Cricket Club had their own idea. After playing the opening nine holes at 3-under the pair continued their good fortune on their inward nine. Chisholm and Filler posted five additional birdies including a pair of birdies on the final two holes to finish with a team score of 8-under (63) and a one-shot victory.

The Section thanks our Spring Pro-Pro Championship partners Ahead, All-Star Pro Golf, 2UNDR, the SVS Wealth Management Team at Morgan Stanley, and the PGA Tour. The Section also thanks the membership and staff of Fieldstone Golf Club for their hospitality in hosting this event.

The Philadelphia PGA will be back in action on Monday, May 13 returning to Radley Run Country Club for the first time in more than a decade for the season’s second points event, the Delaware Valley Open. For more information on the Philadelphia PGA and our tournament program visit www.phillypga.com or you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PhiladelphiaPGA.

Full Tournament Results

Blue Shamrock’s Alex Knoll Charges Late to Win Callaway Golf TPD Championship

Full Tournament Leaderboard

Lafayette Hill, Pa. – The 2019 Philadelphia PGA Callaway Golf TPD Championship, the season’s first points event, was played on Monday, April 22 at Green Valley Country Club. Featuring nearly 140 Section Professionals, the Callaway Golf TPD Championship was played as a modified stableford tournament with players earning 1 point for any par, 3 points for birdies, 6 points for eagles, 9 points for double eagles, and -1 point for any bogey or worse.

Playing early in the day, Michael Tobiason of Deerfield Golf Club posted an impressive 28 points giving the rest of the field a target number as the made their way around the William Flynn designed course. Tobiason’s round was highlighted by five birdies including a stretch of three consecutive on holes 11-13. At the end of the morning wave Tobiason found himself six shots clear of his closest competitors but with the afternoon wave still to play there were plenty of players looking to make a run at the leader.

As the afternoon scores began to get posted it did not take long for someone to join Tobiason at the top of the leaderboard. Brian Bergstol of Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort quickly matched Tobiason’s 28 points after carding seven birdies helping to make up for a lone bogey. After trading a birdie and bogey on his opening nine holes Bergstol made his run as he made his way back to the clubhouse. Bergstol posted five birdies for a total of 19 points on his inward nine and a total of 28 points.

Unfortunately for both Tobiason and Bergstol they did not end the day in the tournament’s top spot. Playing late in the day, Alex Knoll of Blue Shamrock Golf Club had the tournament’s best round leading to 32 stableford points. Starting his round on the back nine at Green Valley Country Club Knoll posted three birdies before adding an additional four birdie over his final nine holes finishing with seven total and a three-point stableford win.

“I haven’t played a lot of competitive rounds recently but I have had some good practice sessions leading up to the tournament so I had a good mindset heading into the TPD,” said Knoll of his round. “It’s also good to get your season off to a great start and I’m hoping to take some of this momentum with me to South Carolina for the PGA Professional National Championship.”

Knoll is one of twelve Philadelphia PGA Professionals competing in next week’s 52nd PGA Professional Championship at Belfair in Bluffton, SC. The tournament will be played Sunday, April 28 – Wednesday, May 1 with the top 20 finishers advancing to the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black later next month.

“I want to thank Callaway Golf especially Laura (Manchester) and Kevin (Martin) for supporting this event. Also thanks to John Cooper and the staff at Green Valley for an outstanding venue.”

In the senior division, John Pillar of CC at Woodloch Springs and Dave Quinn of Laurel Creek Country Club finished in a tie for first place after each posted a stableford score of 16 points. The duo finished two shots ahead of third place finishers Dave McNabb of Applebrook Golf Club and Mark Anderson of the Philadelphia Cricket Club who both posted 14 points.

A pair of super seniors shared the top spot after finishing the Callaway Golf TPD Championship with 12 total points. Earning points as the event’s top super senior were Don DeAngelis of Spring Ford CC and Greg Farrow of Deerwood CC while Jeb Boyle of Centre Hills CC finished in third place. Players age 60 years of age or older are eligible for thsuper senior division.

The Philadelphia PGA would like to thank our title sponsor Callaway Golf as well as our Section representatives Laura Manchester and Kevin Martin and our presenting sponsor the PGA Tour for their support of today’s event. The next event on the tournament schedule is the Spring Pro-Pro Championship at Fieldstone Golf Club on Monday, May 6.

For complete Philadelphia PGA coverage follow us on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Callaway Golf TPD Championship

Apr 22, 2019

1    Alex Knoll         Blue Shamrock GC           32-32--64 (32)  
T2   Mike Tobiason      Deerfield GC               35-31--66 (28)
T2   Brian Bergstol     Shawnee Inn and GR         31-35--66 (28)
4    Rusty Harbold      Philadelphia Cricket Club  35-32--67 (26)
T5   Andrew Turner      Sunnybrook GC              36-33--69 (22)
T5   Rich Steinmetz     Spring Ford CC             35-34--69 (22)
T5   Peter Lovenguth    Applecross CC              34-35--69 (22)
T5   Braden Shattuck    Concord CC                 36-33--69 (22)
T9   Mike Ladden        Whitford CC                35-35--70 (20)
T9   Michael Little     Lookaway GC                36-34--70 (20)
T9   Steve Swartz       Out Door CC                35-35--70 (20)
T12  Greg Matthias      Tavistock CC               38-33--71 (18)
T12  Shawn Matthews     Squires GC                 36-35--71 (18)
T12  Parks Price        CC of York                 38-33--71 (18)
T12  Jesse Williams     The Peninsula              35-36--71 (18)
16   Chris Duckett      Saucon Valley CC           36-36--72 (17)
T17  Jordan Shuey       West Shore CC              36-36--72 (16)
T17  Dan Marz           Crossgates                 36-36--72 (16)
T17  Jason Calhoun      U of Penn                  37-35--72 (16)
T17  Eric Kennedy       Overbrook GC               34-38--72 (16)
T17  John Pillar        CC at Woodloch Springs     36-36--72 (16)
T17  Trevor Bensel      Overbrook GC               37-35--72 (16)
T17  Dave Quinn         Laurel Creek CC            36-36--72 (16)
T24  Matt Episcopo      Pine Valley GC             37-36--73 (14)
T24  Dave McNabb        Applebrook GC              36-37--73 (14)
T24  Kyle Early         Waynesborough CC           34-39--73 (14)
T24  John Cooper        Green Valley CC            37-36--73 (14)
T24  John Rudolph       Fieldstone GC              38-35--73 (14)
T24  Bill Walker        Riverton CC                38-35--73 (14)
T24  Adam Brigham       Waynesborough CC           36-37--73 (14)
T24  Mark Anderson      Philadelphia Cricket Club  36-37--73 (14)
T24  Tom Cooper         Pine Valley GC             36-37--73 (14)
T33  Ben Debski         The Springhaven Club       37-37--74 (12)
T33  Robert Farnham     Lebanon CC                 38-36--74 (12)
T33  Joe Kogelman       GolfTEC Moorestown         38-36--74 (12)
T33  Mark Sheftic       Merion GC                  38-36--74 (12)
T33  Jakob Gerney       Trump National GC- Philly  38-36--74 (12)
T33  Dave Pagett        Whitemarsh Valley CC       37-37--74 (12)
T33  Don DeAngelis      Spring Ford CC             38-36--74 (12)
T33  John Allen         Huntingdon Valley CC       38-36--74 (12)
T33  Greg Farrow        Deerwood CC                36-38--74 (12)
T33  Andrew Diesel      Manufacturers GCC          36-38--74 (12)
T33  Ashley Grier       Overbrook GC               38-36--74 (12)
T33  Chris Miller       Scranton Golf Center       38-36--74 (12)
T33  Curtis Kirkpatrick Indian Springs GC          39-35--74 (12)
T33  Matthew Deckert    Pennsauken Country Club    38-36--74 (12)
T33  Stu Ingraham       M Golf Range               35-39--74 (12)
T33  Dave Fields        Brookside CC               37-37--74 (12)
T33  Dustin Wallis      Dustin Wallis              36-38--74 (12)

Full Tournament Leaderboard

2019 Spring Meeting Marks End of a Long Off-Season for the Philadelphia PGA 

Lafayette Hill, Pa. – In a sure sign that the new golf season is upon us, more than 270 Philadelphia PGA Professionals gathered at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club for the Section’s annual Spring Meeting on Monday, April 8. The meeting is a chance for all professionals to shake off the dust from a long off-season as well as reconnect old colleagues as they get their 2019 season’s underway.

With a full year under his belt, Section President John Rogers was ready to lead his fellow PGA Professionals through the day’s agenda. As always, the Spring Meeting is a chance for the officers of the Philadelphia PGA to update the membership at large on Section operations as well as highlighting the events of the upcoming season.

In addition to the addresses from Section officers, the meeting was also highlighted by presentations from Philadelphia PGA partners SCNS Foods, Signature Golf, SKYiGOLF, and TCM Bank who spoke about the Philadelphia PGA’s new credit card program. A guest speaker from Morgan Stanley, Prashantha Challa, spoke to the attendees about the dangers of Cyber Security and how everyone needs to take precautions to keep their information secure. As well as District 2 Director Tom Henderson, PGA who spoke on the various PGA of America initiatives as well as updated the attendees on the programs affecting each Section.

Throughout the Spring Meeting, the most recent Philadelphia PGA special award winners were recognized in front of their peers. The special award winners had previously been honored at a special awards dinner held at the Manor House at Commonwealth National on March 10.

After the meeting more than 170 Professionals turned their attention to the Section’s opening event, the Spring Pro-Pro Scramble. Played as a two-man scramble, the tournament was held at both Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and The ACE Club.

At host facility Whitemarsh Valley Country Club it was the team of Joe Kogelman (GolfTEC – Moorestown) and Trevor Bensel (Overbrook Golf Club) who came out victorious. The pair carded a team score of 10-under par (62) and finished one shot ahead of five teams in the season’s opening event.

At The ACE Club the formidable duo of Dave Quinn (Laurel Creek Country Club) and Stu Ingraham (M Golf Range) combined to post a team score of 12-under par (60) finishing one shot ahead of a pair of teams at 11-under par (61). The first of the teams to reach that number was Pat Butkus (Tavistock Country Club) and Jeff Herb (Waynesborough Country Club) who were quickly joined by Michael Shank (Wilmington Country Club) and Bob Lennon (Wilmington Country Club).

At Bluestone Country Club, the teams of Anthony Napoletano (GolfTEC – King of Prussia) and Eric McNamee (Golf Galaxy) and Rick Gibney (Colonial Country Club) and Steve Swartz (Out Door Country Club) finished tied for first with score of 10-under par (61). Five teams finished one shot back in a tie for third with scores of 9-under par (62).

The Section’s Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization (PAO) will hold their Spring Meeting on Monday, April 15 at Whitford Country Club (Exton, Pa.).

For more information on the Philadelphia PGA – philadelphia.pga.com.

Spring Pro-Pro Scramble Leaderboard

Philadelphia PGA Special Award Dinner

On Sunday, March 10, more than 100 people gathered together at the Manor House at Commonwealth National to honor the newest Philadelphia PGA Special Awards winner. This year’s inductees were led by 2018 Golf Professional of the Year Patrick Shine of Commonwealth National Golf Club.

For a complete list of Special Awards winner please see our previous press release:

Announcing the 2018 PPGA Special Awards Class

PGA Compensation Survey

The PGA of America requests your participation in helping to ensure that one of our
Association’s most powerful employment tools remains effective for you and other PGA Professionals.

By completing the 2019 PGA Golf Professional Compensation Survey by March 31, 2019, you can receive up to two (2) Member Service Requirement (MSR) credits. MSR credit is automatically applied upon completion of the survey with a summary of your responses available for your records.

All survey responses continue to be treated confidentially with results being reported only if there are five or more responses. To ensure your confidentiality, results continue to be shared in an aggregated format and not by individual.

Your participation is key to ensuring that your Section’s compensation information is valid and meaningful. Your support of this important PGA initiative is greatly appreciated.

TAKE SURVEY

PGA REACH Philadelphia Debuts as Charitable Arm of the Philadelphia Section PGA

New Foundation to Provide Golf Programming and Grants Focused Specifically on Three Core Pillars of Youth, Military and Diversity

Lower Gwynedd Township, PA., February 28, 2019… The Philadelphia Section PGA introduces PGA REACH Philadelphia, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation whose mission is to positively impact lives and communities through the game of golf, with a focus on 3 core pillars: youth, military and diverse populations.

The Philadelphia Section of the PGA of America consists of more than 880 PGA Professionals and Assistants located in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Trenton – south), Delaware and parts of Northern Maryland, who are at the forefront of golf programming and initiatives that grow the game of golf at more than 300 public and private golf facilities. Under the guidance of these PGA Professionals, PGA REACH Philadelphia’s goal is to grow the game by providing financial assistance, instruction, instructional materials, mentoring, equipment and scholarships to individuals and organizations throughout the region.

“Our entire staff, along with our Executive Committee and District Directors, are thrilled to officially debut PGA REACH Philadelphia and begin our journey to positively impact lives and inspire a new generation of golfers,” said Geoff Surrette, Executive Director, Philadelphia Section PGA. “PGA REACH, at the national level, has made a tremendous impact with programs like PGA HOPE and PGA Jr. League, and we are committed to utilizing these initiatives and many others as our dedicated PGA Professionals introduce the intrinsic values of golf to people from every walk of life.”

Among the key programs offered by PGA REACH Philadelphia is PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere). The PGA of America’s flagship military program, PGA HOPE provides weekly golf clinics to Veterans with disabilities in order to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. As golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for many Veterans with disabilities, PGA HOPE is truly making a difference in their lives.

PGA REACH Philadelphia is working with facilities and VA hospitals to identify golf courses to host five-week golf programs led by trained PGA Professionals that provide Veterans with golf instruction, course access, and adaptive equipment where needed. Prior to the official debut of PGA REACH Philadelphia, the Philadelphia PGA HOPE program served over 100 veterans through their 2 chapters in Bensalem, PA and Burlington, NJ. Under the direction of the new foundation, PGA HOPE is expected to grow substantially in 2019 and beyond, and continue impacting the lives of Veterans across the region.

Another marque program of PGA REACH is their flagship youth initiative, PGA Jr. League, golf’s version of Little League baseball, which provides a fun, social and inclusive opportunity for boys and girls, ages 13 and under, to learn and play the game of golf in a popular “team” scramble format. Each team is coached by a PGA or LPGA Professional, and all players wear team uniforms with player numbers on the back. More than 1,800 kids participated throughout the Philadelphia PGA region in 2018, encompassing over 130 teams, playing in 31 Leagues at 86 public, private and First Tee facilities. In 2019, under the direction of the foundation, the goal for PGA Jr. League is to grow this number and provide opportunities for children to play the game without barriers by providing scholarships to fund those in need of financial assistance.

Also, under the of the youth pillar in PGA REACH Philadelphia, is the Golf in Schools Program. PGA REACH Philadelphia, in collaboration with the Golf Association of Philadelphia, created this program to grow the game of golf among youth in local communities. A comprehensive curriculum, developed by PGA Professionals, is designed to introduce the game to students of all skill levels through their physical education classes in school. The program focuses on the basic fundamentals of the game as well as the mental and physical health benefits that the lifelong sport provides. The goal of the foundation is to grow and expand the program by activating dozens of new schools while continuing to work with PGA Professionals and educators to enhance the program curriculum.

“Establishing PGA REACH Philadelphia is a tremendous achievement for our 880 PGA members throughout the Section, and we are excited for the opportunities the organization presents to use the game of golf to give back and help put smiles on the faces of children, our dedicated Veterans and any individual we can help to inspire,” said, John Rogers, PGA, President, Philadelphia Section PGA.

For more information visit http://philadelphia.pga.com/pgareachphiladelphia/

Craig Bowden-Brett Melton (28-under) Win PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship

By Craig Dolch
Special to PGA of America

Click here for final results

Craig Bowden made a putt he needed to and partner Brett Melton holed a chip he didn’t expect to make.

Those late birdies were the difference as Bowden and Melton shot a 7-under 65 Thursday to win the PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship by two shots at 28-under at PGA Golf Club.

They were tied for the lead at 26-under with two teams when Melton had a 25-foot downhill putt on the par-5 16th hole on the Wanamaker Course. Bowden had also reached the green in 2, but rolled his eagle putt 12 feet past. Bowden chose to hit his birdie putt first.

“I was grinding on it because I knew Brett’s putt was fast and it could get away from him,” Bowden said. “We both were glad to see it go in.”

They were ecstatic when Melton holed a 30-yard chip from behind the par-3 7th green. Melton did his Rich Beem impersonation with a victory dance as they celebrated the clinching shot. It was the first PGA Winter Championship for Bowden of Bloomington, Indiana, and Melton of Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

“I was just trying to get it within a foot,” Melton said. “It went right in the middle like it had eyes. We were joking two holes ago that we hadn’t chipped in all week.”

The final round got off to an unexpected start when the team of Gary Robison-Greg Boyette, who led by two after 54 holes, was disqualified late Wednesday night because of a scoring error. In the third round, Robison was credited with a birdie on the 12th hole when Boyette made it.

Even though their score of 11-under 61 was correct, they were disqualified under Rule 23.2b(1) that states “each side on the scoreboard must be clearly identified as the score of the individual partner who made it; if this is not done, the side is disqualified.” The rule is for handicap reasons. Robison called PGA of America officials Wednesday night to inform them of the error.

“That was horrible,” Melton said. “We had no idea until we got to the first tee and we didn’t see anyone there.” (They played with a marker).

Melton is a PGA Professional at Radley Run and Bowden plays out of Bloomington Country Club. They split $10,000.

Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio and Doug Wade of South Lebanon, Ohio shot a 62 and tied for second place at 26-under with Mike Martin of New Haven, Connecticut, and Peter Ballo of Stamford, Connecticut.

“We held it together early. We hit a lot of good shots on the back nine, but burned a lot of edges coming in,” Ballo said.

Said Martin: “This team was put together at the last moment. It worked out great.”

Frank Esposito of Old Bridge, New Jersey, and Brett Jones of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, shot 62 to finish fourth at 263.

The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfAdvisor.com and PrimeSport.

Philadelphia PGA Announces 2018 Special Award Winners, Highlighted By Golf Professional of the Year, Patrick Shine

Full 2018 Special Awards Press Release

Lower Gwynedd Township, PA., December 17, 2018 … The Philadelphia Section, PGA of America, today announced its 2018 Special Award Winners, highlighted by Golf Professional of the Year, Patrick Shine, the PGA Director of Golf at Commonwealth National Golf Club, in Horsham, Pennsylvania. In total, the Philadelphia PGA, through its Special Award Committee, chose 11 winners for 2018 out of 140 PGA Professionals who were nominated for awards this past season, including:

  • Golf Professional of the Year
    • Patrick Shine – Commonwealth National Golf Club
  • Teacher of the Year
    • John Bierkan – Aronimink Golf Club
  • Assistant Golf Professional of the Year
    • Ashley Grier – Overbrook Golf Club
  • Horton Smith Award
    • John Dunigan – White Manor Country Club
  • Bill Strausbaugh Award
    • Dean Kandle – St. Davids Golf Club
  • Player Development Award
    • Gerry Davis – Flourtown Country Club
  • Youth Player Development Award
    • Andy Miller – LedgeRock Golf Club
  • PGA Patriot Award
    • John Carpineta – Bensalem Township Golf Club
  • Merchandiser of the Year – Resort
    • Sara Muldoon – Hershey Country Club
  • Merchandiser of the Year – Public
    • Dustin McCormick – Glen Brook Golf Club
  • Golf Salesperson of the Year
    • Kevin McClellan

Golf Professional of the Year

A 20-year PGA Member, and the Philadelphia PGA’s 2017 PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Private facilities, Patrick Shine has been named the 2018 Golf Professional of the Year, the highest recognition the Section bestows annually on a distinguished member.
For Shine, his entire life has centered on the golf business, starting as a caddie in the 8th grade, and studying the PGA Professionals he worked under for many years. From that time, he knew he wanted to follow in their footsteps.

During the past two decades, including the past 13 years as PGA Director of Golf at Commonwealth National, Shine has done just that, while standing out among his peers for exceptional leadership and customer service expertise. Leading by example is Shine’s trademark for work, life, family and community, and when it comes to relationships and respect, he has no equal. Each and every day for Shine is defined by treating employees, no matter the level, as well as every club member, with the ultimate respect, while creating relationships that transcend business.

Today, Shine is one of only 155 PGA Members, out of a membership of nearly 29,000 men and women, to hold three or more advanced certifications, including Instruction/Player Development, Retail Merchandising and Golf Operations.

“A hands-on approach works best for me; I have done the job of every subordinate, giving me perspective on their needs and wants,” said Shine. “I can literally place myself in their shoes and have a deep understanding of what I can do to make them more successful. There is not a job or chore that I won’t tackle. Each of our golf employees follows my lead and everyone pulls together to ensure the best golf experience for members and guests.”

Having a strong passion for teaching, and recognizing the impact of player development, Shine demands a strong emphasis on teaching and coaching from his entire staff. That is the cornerstone of his entire operation, as he believes that Player Development is the single most important role of any golf professional … driving players to play better and play more often is a recipe for a successful golf club. All of his golf professionals are also encouraged to cultivate a teaching book, and they are scheduled to accommodate a member’s needs for coaching at all times.

He also places a laser-like focus on his junior program, which is led by his CNGC assistant Professional, Dan Mrozinski, combining an intramural program every Sunday in season, with PGA Junior League and a “travel” team within the Colonial League. During his tenure at Commonwealth, Shine also designed and oversaw the construction of a 600 sq. ft. teaching studio equipped with Flight Scope, which has doubled club and lesson sales in the off-season, allowing his staff to teach 364 days per year.

In addition to his success at Commonwealth, Shine’s dedication to his profession, and his fellow PGA members, has been extensive during his years in the Philadelphia Section. In addition to his current role as Junior Golf Chairman, a position he has held since 2011, he served as District VI Director from 2011-2014, Director of Section Affairs from 2015-2016 and he is currently the Philadelphia Section PGA Secretary, a position he was elected to in 2017.

Patrick Shine’s unmatched commitment to being a successful PGA Professional started in the 8th grade, and it has never waned, guiding him all the way to becoming the 2018 PGA Professional of the Year.

“After being recognized by my peers for such an award you begin to reflect on all the people that you have crossed paths with along this journey,” Shine reflected. “From mentors, like Brian Cairns, who was an assistant professional at the club that I began caddying as kid in Michigan, it was seeing him interact with the membership that made me decide at that time that I wanted to become a club professional. To my first boss out of college, Gary Huebner, a professional that set the standard for how to conduct yourself and operate a golf operation.

You begin to recall the financial struggles as an assistant professional and the many miles traveled from club to club as you learn the business, as well as the many failures and successes during those times. I am blessed to have the love and support of my wife, Toni and my daughter Taryn, who often sacrifice with the time required of all PGA Professionals. I am grateful to have a wonderful place to work and being surrounded by a terrific group of members at Commonwealth National for the past 13 years.

We have a tremendously talented collection of over 800 PGA Professionals in the Philadelphia Section, in addition to the Professionals that have won this award and it is tremendously humbling to be singled out amongst such elite company. I want to use this award as a springboard as I move along as a member of the Section’s Board of Directors, to continue to highlight the value of PGA Professionals both on the golf course and in our communities. This recognition is a starting line not a finish line.”

Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year Award is designed to recognize a PGA Professional who is an outstanding teacher of golf among the ranks of PGA membership. This award is based on a professional’s overall performance in teaching; unusual, innovative and special teaching programs initiated or implemented; articles published; as well as outstanding golfers the professional has instructed. The 2018 recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award is John Bierkan, PGA Director of Instruction at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, PA.

An accomplished, award-winning teacher, Bierkan was also the Philadelphia PGA Teacher of the Year in 2014 and has been recognized as one of the Golf Digest Best Young Teachers in America every year since 2010. He is also a talented player having qualified for the PGA Professional Championship from 2011-2016.

According to Bierkan, “Being a strong player is not a prerequisite to being a great teacher. However, if you can do both I believe it’s a winning combination and adds validity to who you are as a teacher. Having the ability to demonstrate and play well in tournaments is a great example to our students. The lessons we learn on the golf course and in competition can be passed along to our students.”

Passing on his expertise to students is something Bierkan does with great passion, as well as unmatched frequency. In fact, from April 11-October 21 of 2018, he gave an estimated 725 hours of private lessons, 65 hours of weekly junior clinics, 24 hours of ladies clinics and 20 hours of instruction at Aronimink’s summer junior program.

The wisdom and knowledge he imparts on students of all ages and playing levels is born off years of studying the teaching profession from the game’s best minds. As a student of his profession, Bierkan participated in over 40 schools, clinics, workshops and certification programs from 2014 through 2018.

Further validating his credentials as Teacher of the Year, Bierkan has become an in-demand teaching expert, having participated as a guest speaker at dozens of teaching seminars and summits through his career, while also serving as published author and frequent instruction contributor to Golf Digest and other publications.

“Being awarded the Teacher of the Year Award in the Philadelphia PGA Section is very humbling,” said Bierkan. “We have a Section filled with many first-class professionals and teachers and to be recognized among them in this way is a true honor. This wouldn’t be possible without the nomination from Chip Richter, PGA, the support of Jeff Kiddie, my boss and Head Professional at Aronimink Golf Club and the many members who have supported me over the years. Growing up in the golf business, being the son of a longtime PGA Professional in Connecticut, this award is extra special. I am very thankful for the countless PGA Members, Family and Friends that have supported me over the years.”

Assistant Golf Professional of the Year Award

The Assistant Golf Professional of the Year is designed to recognize an individual who has displayed the qualities and attributes for what it takes to become an outstanding PGA Professional. The 2018 recipient is Ashley Grier, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova, PA.

An accomplished player, and former member of the LPGA Futures (now Symetra) Tour, Grier made history in 2017 when she became the first female PGA Professional in the Philadelphia PGA Sections’ 95-year history to win a points event. She also earned a spot in the 2018 the KMPG Women’s PGA Championship. In addition to those accomplishments, and prior to her arrival in the Philadelphia PGA, Grier was a four-time Middle Atlantic PGA Women’s Player of the Year.
She also has a PGA of America Winter’s Series win on her resume after she took home the top spot at the 2013 PGA Women’s Championship. Grier is also no stranger to National Championships as she competed in the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open.

In her role as an Assistant Golf Professional at Overbrook GC, Grier brings the same passion to her job as she does to her competitive game, balancing a full schedule of teaching, merchandising, tournament operations, playing, and member relations. She is also an active participant in both the Golf and Greens Committees, while helping run clinics, junior programs and being actively involved in numerous volunteer initiatives, such as Philadelphia PGA Reach Program, PGA Golf Day Marathon and the PGA Hope Veterans Program, among others. All of these experiences, along with being the daughter of a PGA Professional, has helped position Grier as one of the Section’s rising young PGA Members.

“I am honored to have received the Philadelphia PGA Assistant of the year award,” said Grier. “I’ve only been in the Philadelphia Section for three years and I often feel most people think of me as just a good player, but I am more proud to be known as a good person and a great golf professional. I hope that my enthusiasm and passion for my job and the game of golf can inspire others to work hard both on and off the course, knowing that you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other and you can be successful in both areas.”

“I also consider myself lucky to be at Overbrook Golf Club and working for head professional Eric Kennedy. Eric has been an incredible role model and has taught me so much in the three years I have been working for him. With such a great membership and amazing staff, I truly love working there. If you love the game of golf and love what you do it makes being a golf professional a very fulfilling job.”

Horton Smith Award

The PGA Horton Smith Award recognizes the PGA Professional who is the model educator of PGA Golf Professionals. This award is designed to give special recognition to a PGA Professional for outstanding and continuing contributions to professional education.

The 2018 recipient is John Dunigan, PGA Golf Professional at White Manor Country Club in Malvern, PA. A PGA Master Teaching Professional and PGA Tour Coach, Dunigan’s reputation and award-winning accomplishments are unrivaled. He’s a book author, published writer on teaching and instruction, and an in-demand speaker at conferences and seminars nationwide. Among his many honors include: Philadelphia PGA Teacher of the Year in 2008, 2015 and 2017; Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher in 2017; Golf Magazine Top Teachers in 2016; Golf Range Magazine Top 50 in 2015 and 2016; and US Kids Golf Top 50 Jr. Golf Leader in 2012.

In his new book, Hole It! Dunigan provides a guide for golfers in to developing expert level skills and shooting lower scores by making more putts when it counts. Dunigan delivers his unique approach to coaching and learning through no-nonsense skill-building exercises, key concepts, technical improvement, and practical mental game coaching that have worked for golfers of all ability levels. Dunigan is also regarded for taking high level instructional information, such as in biomechanics, ground forces and motor learning, and simplifying it for professionals, as well as everyday golfers. He has also successfully collaborated with motor learning doctor, Will Wu, on a program for professionals called, The Coaching Connection, which they are turning into a certification course that will help professionals teach better, change their student’s lives, and make more money while doing so.

“One of my favorite aspects of my job is education,” said Dunigan. “I love to attend, host, and present at various programs in our section and outside of it. Serving as a mentor to several young professionals and sharing my experience as a long time PGA Member is an honor that I value very highly. The Horton Smith Award is a wonderful recognition of what I see as an essential part of my job: sharing back and forth with my fellow Professionals.”

Bill Strausbaugh Award

The Bill Strausbaugh Award recognizes a PGA Professional who mentors fellow PGA Professionals by improving their employment situations through service to the community. The 2018 Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient is Dean Kandle, PGA Head Golf Professional at St. Davids Golf Club in Wayne, PA.

Kandle epitomizes the term mentor and has dedicated his career to giving back to his fellow PGA Members. In his position as the Head Professional at St. Davids, he has been committed to furthering the careers of each of his fellow staff members, many who have gone on to earn leadership positions throughout the industry.

Among his mentorship techniques, and to help guide the current staff at St. Davids Golf Club, Kandle meets in private for 30 minutes each week during the season. After catching up on what’s happening at home and at the club, they spend the last 10 minutes talking about the Professional’s future, and setting goals to reach the next career level.

In order to create a wider impact on his fellow PGA Professionals, in April 2017 Kandle created a website known as Golf Professional Growth (www.golfprofessionalgrowth.com). With the tagline of “Work Smarter, Live Better,” the content is focused on generating awareness on how the modern PGA Professional can better manage their time, lead their people and improve themselves. The goal of the site is further the values of the Association and the golf profession as a whole through one singular focus … commitment: Commitment to the Game, Commitment to Leadership and Commitment to Growth. Through this unique online platform, Kandle can promote constant growth and education and guide fellow members to learn from his lifetime of experiences.

“Knowing the legacy of Bill Strausbaugh, being recognized with this honor makes it even more special,” said Kandle. “There have been so many PGA Professionals that I’ve looked up to for help during my career, that giving back to others can only begin to repay my gratitude for that assistance. One of the special aspects of our business is the commitment to helping each other succeed, and I appreciate all of the people that I’ve been able to work with and impact in a small way.”

Player Development Award

The Player Development Award is designed to recognize a PGA Professional for extraordinary, exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development. The 2018 recipient, for the 2nd consecutive year, is Gerry Davis, PGA Head Golf Professional at Flourtown Country Club in Flourtown, PA.

Highlighting the intangibles that earned Davis the repeat honor include his dedication to Section and community activities that focus on cultivating golfers on many levels, such as being a member of the Player Development and Education Committees; and volunteering at the Philadelphia Golf Show, ShopRite LPGA Tournament, Drive, Chip and Putt qualifiers, and PGA Hope Program for Veterans.

In his duties at Flourtown CC, Davis epitomizes the drive and desire needed to grow the game, and develop players. One of his unique best practice creations is “Golf at the Pool,” a program which brings golf to Flourtown’s more than 1,200 pool members, and has directly led to golf membership growth. In addition, Davis’ Golf 101 for Ladies is a big hit, as he conducts 3 levels of player development for women, including a ‘Golf and Wine Clinic,’ ‘Bring a Friend Clinic’ and ‘I want to win the Club Championship Clinic.’ Davis’ passion also resonates at the junior level, as he has been instrumental in growing Flourtown’s PGA Junior League Golf since 2014. In addition, he makes certain his spirited golf programming remains expansive and inclusive by working with the Special Olympics, hosting local High School golf teams and conducting clinics for adults and kids during his annual community “Growing the Game” initiative.

“I am once again extremely honored and humbled to have been awarded the Philadelphia Section Player Development Award for 2018,” said Davis. I am excited to be recognized as a leader in growing the game of golf and service to the PGA. I am passionate about changing lives and love what I do every day. Above all, it is an honor to be part of the Philadelphia Section PGA and their dedicated Professionals.”

Youth Player Development Award

The Youth Player Development Award is designed to recognize a PGA Professional who has displayed extraordinary, exemplary contribution and achievement in the area of player development. The 2018 Youth Player Development Award recipient is Andy Miller, PGA Director of Instruction at LedgeRock Golf Club in Mohnton, PA.

An accomplished, award-winning PGA Professional, Miller has received numerous honors and accolades throughout his career for his work with youth player development, including: Philadelphia PGA Junior Golf Leader Award in 2013; US Kids Golf Top 50 Instructor in 2013 and 2014; US Kids Golf Master Teacher in 2016; Golf Range Association Top 50 Growth of Game Instructor in 2016 and 2017; and Golf Digest Best Teacher in State 2017-2018. He is also a frequent guest speaker on the topic of building successful junior programs at conferences and seminars around the country, including the PGA Merchandise Show.

Miller has had the opportunity to serve on the Philadelphia Section’s Player Development Committee and currently serves as the Chairperson for the Philadelphia Section Instruction Committee. Further, he’s been part of the local Berks County Junior Golf Association Championship for the past 3 years and has helped to grow junior golf tremendously in the area.
Since moving to LedgeRock Golf Club in 2015, Miller has driven tremendous growth in the junior golf programming at the facility. He started a Junior Ladder Program with 6 levels that gives juniors a clear path to becoming an elite player. He also grew the PGA Junior League Program from 10-36 participants which enabled LedgeRock to host its own league. And, he started a Fall Junior Team Golf Program that had 24 participants in each of the first two seasons, 32 players by year three and then 36 in 2018.

“Receiving this award is extremely gratifying in the sense that it is selected by my peers,” said Miller. “It means that other PGA Golf Professionals think I’m doing a great job in developing young boys and girls not only as golfers, but as young men and women. I take great pride in what I do, and am blessed to have the opportunity to work with such amazing juniors.”

PGA Patriot Award

The PGA Patriot Award bestows special recognition on a PGA Golf Professional, who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected the United States of America. The 2018 Patriot Award recipient, for the second consecutive year, is John Carpineta, PGA Golf Professional at Bensalem Township Golf Club, in Bensalem, PA. In addition to winning his second straight Patriot Award, Carpineta also won the 2015 Philadelphia PGA Player Development Award, as well as both the 2006 and 2011 President’s Council on Growing the Game, which is a national award.

Along with serving on the Section’s Player Development Committee, Carpineta co-chairs the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program, along with the Wounded Warriors Project and Philly VA Amputee Swing endeavor. Having served in the military himself and having attended many seminars dealing with vets and military personnel, Carpineta has acquired a sense and feel for the needs of his students beyond the lesson tee. By combining his service experience with the requirements of military golf programs he feels prepared to help his students in ways unrelated to golf. He has now added some different items to his standard “teaching aids” that make students feel relaxed with him, both as teacher, comrade and confidant.

In concert with his desire to help Veterans, and as a basis for winning the Patriots Award two years running, Carpineta was largely responsible for securing Bensalem Township Golf Club as the new home location for the PGA HOPE program, after the previous site lost its lease. Now, moving forward, and under the direction of Carpineta, PGA HOPE can reach new heights in using golf to enhance the physical, mental, social and emotional well-being of Veterans with disabilities.

“Once again, I am proud to be chosen for the Patriot Award for my work with PGA HOPE,” said Carpineta. “This program is my passion and to be honored twice for work that I love is truly humbling.”

Merchandiser of the Year (RESORT)

The Merchandiser of the Year Award is designed to recognize a PGA Professional who has excelled as business person/merchandiser in the promotion of golf. The PGA honors PGA Professionals in three categories: Private, Public and Resort facilities. The 2018 Merchandiser of the Year (Resort) is Sara Muldoon, PGA Director of Golf at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, PA.

In winning her third award (2015-2016 Merchandiser of the Year – Resort) Muldoon remains in unique situation, whereby Hershey Entertainment and Resorts owns the golf merchandise concession at Hershey Country Club. As a result, all earnings from Hershey Country Club help to fund students at the Milton Hershey School, a private philanthropic boarding school in Hershey, PA., which was established for impoverished, healthy, male and female orphans of various backgrounds.

“It is truly an honor for Hershey Country Club to win this award. We continue to raise the bar in our golf shop in terms of products and service to our customers year after year,” said Muldoon.
Muldoon’s key to success to golf shop centers on a full understanding “who” Hershey’s customer is, thus ensuring that orders are tailored to the individual. Aside of seasonal weather-related issues that club deals with, Muldoon looks at all challenges as opportunities when it comes to merchandising, such as managing dead zones, like a window area, handicap computer area and a wall area outside the golf shop office. Her team’s focus on these areas has paid off with a sales increase of 9.54 % in just one year.

Muldoon’s overall merchandising philosophy for Hershey Country Club begins by asking five key customer questions – Who? What? When? Where? And How? By knowing the answers to these questions, and continually evolving with trends in the marketplace, she truly believes that her operation will enjoy consistent and continued success.

Merchandiser of the Year (PUBLIC)

As with the Resort category, the Merchandiser of the Year Award for Public facilities is designed to recognize a PGA Professional who has excelled as business person/merchandiser in the promotion of golf. The 2018 Merchandiser of the Year (Public) is Dustin McCormick, PGA Head Golf Professional at Glen Brook Golf Club in Stroudsburg, PA.

McCormick, who has owned the golf shop at Glen Brook for the past 5 years, is solely focused on the customer experience and trains his staff to go out of their way to welcome and assist customers, without too much interference that will impede a sale.

“It is an absolute honor to receive the Philadelphia PGA MOY Public award for 2018,” said McCormick. “There is so much talent within our Section, this award could have gone to a number of great golf professionals. I hope I can represent the Philadelphia PGA in proper fashion and be there to lend assistance to any fellow professional in the future. I wish everyone the best of luck in the upcoming season.”

As part of his customer-centric approach, McCormick has created a truly welcoming environment in his shop, that features seating areas with TV’s and coffee all day long. He believes the longer he can keep customers in the golf shop the better chance of selling product. It also creates a great deal of loyalty with customers, where they are supporting Glen Brook instead of the big box stores.

Golf Salesperson of the Year

The Golf Salesperson of the Year 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. The 2018 Golf Salesperson of the Year is Kevin McClellan, Sales Professional for Heritage Creations/Cutter & Buck in the Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern NJ and Delaware Regions.
McClellan, who also won the Salesperson of the Year Award back in 1999, operates based on the philosophy of “say what you do and do what you say.” Throughout this career working with Philadelphia PGA Section facilities, he has enjoyed great trust and confidence among the PGA Professionals he services. He has also served as a dedicated sponsor of the Doylestown Open, The Pro-President, Match Play Championship and The Pro-Assistant Pro. In addition, he has supported the PAO and Central Counties Chapter over the years.

“I was taken by surprise when I heard the news regarding the Salesman of the Year award,” said McClellan. “Being recognized by The Philadelphia Section PGA is very humbling. I care deeply about my customers’ success and to have those same people select me for this honor is extremely gratifying. I plan to use this milestone in my career as motivation to push to new levels professionally. Thank you for all for the continued support and warm wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.”

Full 2018 Special Awards Press Release