News

Ashley Grier Earns Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Award for 2020

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2021) – Jason Caron of Oyster Bay, New York; Ashley Grier of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; and Omar Uresti of Austin, Texas, persevered through the unique circumstances associated with a global pandemic to capture respective 2020 PGA Professional, Women’s PGA Professional and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year awards.

The trio will be honored in conjunction with the PGA of America’s Annual Meeting, Nov. 2-5, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Caron, the PGA Head Professional at Mill River Club, Inc. in Oyster Bay, began his year in strong fashion, emerging from a three-player playoff to win the 2020 PGA Stroke Play Championship. Caron authored two other wins in Metropolitan PGA Section play, winning the Section’s PGA Professional Championship in September, also in a playoff, before claiming a wire-to-wire, two-stroke victory in the 96th Long Island Open in October. He was subsequently named Metropolitan PGA Section Player of the Year.

Caron, 48, collected 625.000 total points, while Rod Perry of Port Orange, Florida, was runner-up with 590.350. Scott Berliner of Lake Luzerne, New York (565.000), was third and Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Nebraska (548.750) 一 the 2018 and ‘19 PGA Professional Player of the Year 一 finished fourth.

“I’ve been playing well for about two and a half years now, but I feel like I really broke through in 2020,” said Caron, who was a member of the PGA Tour in 2000 and ‘03 and finished T-30 in the 2002 U.S. Open. “To (earn the PGA Professional Player of the Year award) means a ton. Just to have this on my playing resume, it’s a special accomplishment. It’s an honor to represent my fellow 29,000 PGA Professionals, the Met Section and Mill River, all who have encouraged me to play this game. My hats off to them.”

A PGA Assistant Professional at Overbrook Golf Club in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Grier tallied 327.500 points to earn her award. The bookend highlights of Grier’s year came with a T-3 finish in the Women’s Stroke Play at PGA Golf Club in February and a November victory in the Philadelphia Assistants Organization Open Championship at Kimberton Golf Club in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. She was later named the Philadelphia PGA Section’s Assistant Player of the Year.

Jennifer Borocz of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida (255.000), was runner-up to Grier, 36, while Sherry Andonian of La Quinta, California (230.000), and Joanna Coe of Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland (185), finished third and fourth, respectively. In 2019, Coe won the inaugural Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year award.

“Anyone that knows me knows how much I love the game of golf and love competing,” said Grier, a member of the victorious 2019 Women’s PGA Cup Team and a seven-year veternan of the Duramed Futures Tour. “To see all of the hard work payoff is a great achievement that I am very proud of. I couldn’t have achieved this if it wasn’t for the support I received from (Overbrook PGA Head Professional) Eric Kennedy, all of my co-workers, and the membership at Overbrook. I know they are always there to cover for me or cheer me on when I am away at an event. It’s nice to win this award and to have something to show or share in a year that wasn’t (what we all expected it to be).”

A PGA Life Member, Uresti won eight times in 2020 一 four in his home Southern Texas PGA Section, four at his home away from home at PGA Golf Club 一 to garner his first player of the year citation from the PGA of America. Uresti’s top Section triumph came by two strokes in the Senior PGA Professional Championship at the Golf Club of Houston in May. At PGA Golf Club, the 52-year-old Uresti won the Quarter Century Championship in early January, the 32nd Senior PGA Professional Championship in October, then tacked on twice in a four-day span in early December, winning Events #1 and #2 of the PGA Tournament Series.

Uresti’s 733.800 points outpaced the 622.950 accumulated by runner-up Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio. Mike Small of Champaign, Illinois (645.000), took third and Scott Hebert of Traverse City, Michigan (587.000), fourth.

“It’s a real honor to earn this award because of all of the talented players that have won it in the past,” said Uresti, the 2017 PGA Professional Champion. “I know Bob (Sowards) was leading the points list late in the year and was dealing with a hip injury that was obviously hindering his play. We’re close friends and it was difficult to see him held back. He’s so talented. He won last year. To put my name on that same list, well, it feels great.”

Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization Announces New Board Roles

Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (January 13, 2021) — The Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization (PAO), an arm of the Philadelphia PGA Section for Assistant Professionals, has announced new roles for its 2021 board, effective immediately:
  • Co-Chairs: Ron Pine, PGA, Aronimink G.C.; and John Rogers, PGA
  • Tournament Chair: Michael Congdon, PGA, Aronimink G.C.
  • Education Chair: Steve Frederick, PGA, Overbrook G.C.
  • Youth Golf / Charity / Finance Chair: Tony Shields, PGA, The ACE Club
  • Communication / Mentorship Chair: Ashley Grier, PGA, Overbrook G.C.
“On behalf of the entire PAO, Section, and our members, we would like to thank outgoing PAO Co-Chair Steve Frederick, PGA, for his service and willingness to continue to serve as the PAO Education Chair,” said current PAO Co-Chair Ron Pine, PGA. “We look forward to getting started with our new board to make the 2021 season as successful as ever.”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. Founded in 1921, the Section celebrates its centennial in 2021.

Contact: Matt Frey, PGA, Communications Director, Philadelphia PGA Section, mfrey@pgahq.com

Mike Mack and Bob Barnett Jr. Inducted into Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame

Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (November 6, 2020) — The Philadelphia PGA Section and its Hall of Fame Committee has inducted PGA Members Mike Mack and Bob Barnett into its Hall of Fame as the class of 2020. Mack and Barnett are the 44th and 45th members of the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.

Mike Mack, the longtime PGA Head Professional at Burlington Country Club in Westampton, N.J., turned professional in 1977 and was elected to PGA of America Membership in 1981. Prior to joining Burlington, he worked at West Chester (Pa.) Golf & Country Club, Kennett Square (Pa.) Golf & Country Club, and Brookside Country Club in Pottstown, Pa., where he worked for Pete Dever.

“I am honored to be mentioned in the same breath as legendary PGA Members like Dick Smith Sr., Pete Trenham, Jack Connelly, Ed Dougherty, Art Wall, and the like,” said Mack. “I am thankful to the Hall of Fame Committee, our Executive Director Geoffrey Surrette, and to those who nominated me, Bob Hennefer and Curtis Kirkpatrick. I’m very fortunate to be part of the best Section in the nation, the Philadelphia PGA.”

Mack has been Burlington’s PGA Head Professional for over 39 years, an increasingly uncommon feat in today’s world, and while his position includes many managerial responsibilities, he has always remained an impassioned coach and teacher. In an effort to improve his own practice as well as the club’s profile, he built one of the Section’s first indoor teaching studios, which still gets perennial use by his students and Burlington’s members.

Furthermore, Mack’s engagement within the community has improved the lives of many. He has been involved with the PGA HOPE Philadelphia program, the flagship military program of PGA REACH Philadelphia, the charitable foundation of the Philadelphia PGA Section, which introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Mack also works with the Buddy Club, Variety Club, and Golf for Life charities to help support local youth. Impressively, he was also the first to introduce the game of golf to the Special Olympics regionally, and has been honored for his work with Camden’s inner-city youth.

In addition to his duties at Burlington, Mack has been involved with the Section at the highest levels. He was first elected to the Section’s Board of Directors in 1989, and served as a Section officer in multiple roles, including Tournament Chair, 1994-95; Secretary, 1996-97; Vice President, 1998-99; and as the Section’s 33rd President, 2000-01.

Mack has always considered playing the game of golf to be an important aspect of being a PGA Professional, and as a result, created the Burlington Classic golf tournament in 1986, one of the longest-running events on the Section’s tournament calendar. The Burlington Classic has been played annually since its inception (with the exceptions of 2000 and 2005, when the club hosted the Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship, and 2020, when it was cancelled due to the global pandemic) and has become a favorite among many Philadelphia PGA Tournament Players Division members. The tournament awards the low PGA Professional and low pro-am team; Mack won the team event in 2007.

Mentoring is also a passion of Mack’s, as he has helped usher many young PGA Associates to their PGA Membership and also served as a Dick Smith Cup Captain, an event created to celebrate 24 of the Section’s best PGA Assistant Professionals. He was also named the 1999 Philadelphia PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest honor the Section can bestow on its members. Mack was nominated to the Hall of Fame by PGA Members Bob Hennefer and Curtis Kirkpatrick.

The class of 2020’s second inductee, Robert Thompson “Bob” Barnett Jr., has been inducted posthumously. Barrett turned professional in 1914 to work as an assistant professional at Bala Golf Club in Philadelphia prior to serving in France for the U.S. Army in World War I. When he returned to the United States, he earned his PGA Membership in 1917 while working as the PGA Professional at Pocono Manor (Pa.) Golf Club. Barnett became the PGA Professional at the now defunct Tredyffrin Country Club in Paoli, Pa., in 1920, where they hosted the Main Line Open beginning in 1921, a golf tournament that attracted the nation’s top players. Barnett and Tredyffrin also hosted the first-ever Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship.

When the Philadelphia PGA Section was formally established on December 2, 1921, Barnett was unanimously selected by his peers to become the Section’s first president, a role he held for two years. Barnett was just 25 years old at the time.

In March 1923, Barnett resigned from Tredyffrin after accepting the PGA Professional position at the Chevy Chase (Md.) Club, and thus his position as Section president. Barnett went on to help found the Middle Atlantic PGA Section in 1925, and a year later became its second president. During his near 20-year stint at Chevy Chase, he also served as PGA Head Professional at Indian Creek Country Club in Miami, Fla., where he trained two young PGA Professionals, who ultimately became PGA leaders in their own right: Max Elbin, who served as PGA of America President, 1966-68; and Bill Strausbaugh, who became the namesake of PGA’s mentorship award. Nineteen-forty-seven U.S. Open champion Lew Worsham also worked for Barnett at both Chevy Chase and Indian Creek.

“We take great pride in welcoming Mike and Bob to our Hall of Fame,” said Philadelphia PGA Section Executive Director Geoffrey Surrette, PGA. “Our Section would not be where it is today without Barnett’s early leadership and Mack’s ongoing dedication to the game and fellow PGA Professionals. We proudly inscribe their names into our Section’s rich and storied history.”

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, mfrey@pgahq.com

PGA REACH Philadelphia’s Inaugural Pro-Am Championship Raises Over $50,000

Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (October 30, 2020) — On Wednesday, October 28, PGA REACH Philadelphia, the Philadelphia PGA Section’s 501(c)(3) foundation, raised over $50,000 from its inaugural Pro-Am Championship at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa., which featured a sold-out field of 144 players.

PGA REACH Philadelphia launched the new annual event to help support our Youth, Military, and Diversity programming, and to spread the word about our mission to positively impact lives though the game of golf.

“We are so thrilled that our first Pro-Am Championship event was such a big success, the support and interest shown by our partners and the players marks an exciting milestone for our foundation and it’s future,” said PGA REACH Philadelphia Director Leila Mackie, PGA. “With 2020 being a challenging year for all, it’s a good feeling to know we are making a real impact in the lives of individuals and families within our community.”

The 2020 PGA REACH Philadelphia Pro-Am Championship’s Premier Partner is the Union League of Philadelphia. Its Presenting Partners are Henkels & McCoy and American Floors Inc., and is supported by Corkcicle, Doc Murphy, Levelwear, Trinity Flavors, and William E. Howe & Co.

“No one has been unaffected by the ongoing global pandemic this year, our foundation included,” said Philadelphia PGA Section Executive Director Geoffrey Surrette, PGA. “To host such a strong event like this will not only help PGA REACH Philadelphia and its mission, but also our Section’s PGA Members as they prepare to offer programming to serve youth golfers, veterans, and diverse populations leading into 2021.”

PGA REACH Philadelphia offers several programs to support local youth, veterans, and diverse golfers, including PGA Jr. LeagueGolf in SchoolsPGA HOPE Philadelphia (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour Diversity Scholarship, and Diversity Scholars Mentor Program.

Even on a brisk, and at times damp, autumn day, Rolling Green G.C.’s incredible William Flynn layout received rave reviews from the players. The host club’s own Assistant Professional Jordan Abel led his team of amateur partners, Mike Sousa, Brian Hulse, and Bernie Sousa, to a five-stroke victory. Dean Kandle, St. Davids G.C., and his team, Mark Rhodes, Robert Aiken, and Ken Jones, finished in second place at 16-under-par in the one best of four net event. Three teams tied for third at 14-under-par. To view the full 2020 PGA REACH Philadelphia Pro-Am Championship leaderboard, click here.

PGA REACH Philadelphia is already planning next year’s pro-am, which will likely be held in the summer (2020’s event was rescheduled as a result of the pandemic).

PGA REACH Philadelphia, the Philadelphia PGA Section, and its PGA Professionals, thank our partners, Boards of Directors, Rolling Green G.C., its membership, management, and staff, as well as our PGA HOPE Philadelphia volunteers, as the event would not have been possible without their support.

To view photos from the inaugural PGA REACH Philadelphia Pro-Am Championship, click here.

About PGA REACH Philadelphia 
PGA REACH Philadelphia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2018 as the charitable arm of the Philadelphia PGA Section, one of the 41 Sections within the PGA of America. PGA REACH Philadelphia is committed to serving our communities and growing the game of golf through our three pillars: Youth, Military, and Diversity.

For more information on PGA REACH Philadelphia and its mission to positively impact lives through golf, visit PGAREACHPhiladelphia.com. To donate to PGA REACH Philadelphia, please click here.

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, mfrey@pgahq.com

FDS Winter Tour Releases 2020-21 Schedule

ALL EVENTS ARE 10:15 SHOTGUN START

 

Date               Site                              Phone number            Format

 

Nov. 2              Yardley                           215-493-4531                  2 man modified better ball

 

Nov. 9              LuLu                               215-884-5108                  2 man better ball

 

Nov. 16            Odessa National             302-464-1007                Individual

                  

Nov. 23            North Hills                      215-576-9875                 MB 4 Man Wacky Pins

 

Dec. 30            Raven’s Claw                    610-495-4710               2 man DR chapman

 

Dec. 7               Cedarbrook                      215-643-3560               2 man better ball

 

Dec. 14             Talamore                           215-646-8900               2 man scramble

                                    

Dec. 21            North Hills                          215-576-9875                Individual

 

Dec. 28           Bucks Club                          215-343-0350                2 man DR chapman

 

Jan. 4              Paxon Hollow                     610-353-0220               Individual

 

Jan. 11            North Hills                           215-576-9875                 2 man better ball

                                  

Jan. 18            Odessa National                302-464-1007                 Individual

                                    

Jan. 25            Indian Spring                    856-983-0222                2 man scramble

 

Feb. 1              Bucks Club                        215-343-0350                  Individual stableford

                                        

Feb. 8              Kimberton                        610-933-8836                 2 man DR chapman

                                   

Feb. 15            LuLu                                   215-884-5108                  2 man scramble

 

Feb. 22           Bensalem                           215-956-9727                  Individual

 

Mar. 1             Hershey’s Mill                   610-692-6592                2 modified better ball

 

Mar. 8             Indian Spring                   856-983-0222                 Individual

 

Mar. 15             Laurel Creek                    856-778-1342                 4 man/2 better ball of 4

 

Mar. 22             Cedarbrook                      215-643-3560                Championship

 

2020 – 2021 FDS WINTER TOUR

ELIGIBILITY               Both professionals and amateurs are welcome. There is an open and amateur division. The amateur division will compete for net prizes. Amateurs are welcome to participate in both divisions. However they must pay separate entries, but only one walk/ride fee.   Amateurs will receive gift certificates at the HOST club.

SIGNING UP              MANDATORY – You may either email Jamie Shaffer at shaffer004@aol.com or text

EACH WEEK             me at 215-915-3809.

STARTING TIMES     All events will be 10:15 shotgun starts. PLEASE let me know you are playing, SO THE HOST FACILITY CAN BE APPROPRIATELY PREPARED!  ALSO, be ON TIME or WE WILL START WITHOUT YOU.

FEES                          CASH ONLY – no checks will be accepted.

REGISTRATION         $70.00 – must be paid at the first event you play.

ENTRY FEE               OPEN DIVISION $50.00 Individual – $100.00 Team – $5.00 per person of entry will go into a skins pool. In the event there are no skins, the skin money will go into that day’s purse. Walk/ride fee of $20.00 at each event.

AMATEUR DIVISION $50.00 Individual – $100.00 Team – $5.00 per person of entry will go into an optional skins pool. Walk/ride fee of $20.00 at each event.

HANDICAPS               Amateurs will play with their USGA COURSE HANDICAPS – MAX HCP OF 16

If you do not have a handicap, one will be assigned to you.

BIRDIE RACE              OPEN DIVISION PLAYERS ONLY The birdie race will pay a minimum of three places for the total number of birdies made for the year. Players will get credit for their own birdies in individual and better ball events. Players are responsible for notifying scorers of their birdie total at each event.   No card – No birdies.  Eagles and aces count as two birdies.

CONDUCT                  Clubs hosting the FDS Winter Tour have been very generous and hospitable to host us. It is in our collective best interest to return this consideration with respect to the club, the golf course, and the members and staff. Your sportsmanlike behavior will ensure our continued welcome at these clubs.

CHAMPIONSHIP       To be eligible for the championship, you MUST have PAID entries in over 50% of the events that are played.  You may prepay an entry (and not play) on or before the date of that particular event, and it will count toward your total for the championship.

RULES OF PLAY       “Winter Rules” – lift, clean and place within one club length, no closer to the hole, everywhere.  The ball must remain in the same condition – i.e. rough stays in rough, fairway stays in fairway, ball in the water stays in the water (you can go no closer to the hole in more shallow water, but it must stay in the water)        

INFORMATION          Call or text Jamie Shaffer at 215-915-3809 or email at shaffer004@aol.com, if you have any questions. The first person to email me the correct answer to the following question will receive a free entry. As a junior golfer, when something unfortunate happened on the golf course, FDS legend Dave Roberts had a predilection to a certain curse word. What was that word he delivered with a pubescent whine?

                                   You get one guess only.

 

Philadelphia PGA Member John Pillar Sworn in as PGA of America District 2 Director

Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (October 29, 2020) — Philadelphia PGA Member John Pillar was sworn in as the PGA of America’s District 2 Director today during the Association’s Annual Meeting, which was held virtually for the first time ever due to the ongoing global pandemic.

Pillar, the PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Woodloch Springs in Hawley, Pa., was nominated to the PGA’s Board of Directors by the Philadelphia PGA Section, which along with the Metropolitan and New Jersey Sections, comprise the Association’s District 2. Pillar will serve a three-year term on the national board.

“Being elected by my PGA Member peers not just here from the Philadelphia PGA Section, but from the Metropolitan and New Jersey Sections too is a humbling accomplishment,” said Pillar. “Representing these three great Sections is an immense task, but I am confident I will be able to continue the unique unity we have built amongst each other over the past 10 years.”

In addition to his full-time duties at the C.C. of Woodloch Springs, Pillar also served the Philadelphia PGA Section in multiple roles, chief among them President (2014-2015) following his stints as Vice President (2012-2013), Secretary (2010-2011), and Director of Tournaments (2007-2009).

“My goal for my term is to ensure the voices of our three Sections are relayed at the national level,” continued Pillar. “I am very proud and humbled to represent my fellow PGA Professionals.”

Through his work in Hawley, volunteer work with the Section, and his work with veterans, Pillar has also been recognized by his peers, being named the Philadelphia PGA’s Golf Professional of Year in 2007, the highest honor the Section can bestow on one of its PGA Members; and Merchandiser of the Year – Resort Category in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2014; in addition to winning the Section’s Patriot Award in 2019.

While Pillar has excelled on the business side of the golf industry, he has also competed at the highest levels, winning the 2009 Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship, the 2019 and 2020 Philadelphia Senior PGA Professional Championships and the 2014 Pennsylvania Open. He has also competed in a U.S. Open and two U.S. Senior Open Championships.

The Philadelphia PGA Section, its board, and PGA Professionals wish John the best in his new role.

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, mfrey@pgahq.com

Trevor Bensel Wins 2020 Philadelphia PGA Match Play Championship

Paoli, Pa. (October 21, 2020) — As the last PGA Professional standing from a field of 59, Trevor Bensel, Overbrook G.C., won the 2020 Philadelphia PGA Match Play Championship at Waynesborough C.C., his second Section victory of the year (Delaware Valley Open) and second Match Play title (2017).

No. 3 seed Bensel won the championship match definitively, 6 and 5, over defending champion and No. 1 seed Zac Oakley, following his semi-final match, in which he defeated (31) Nicholas Iacono, Chester Valley C.C, 2 and 1.

“I saved my best golf for the championship match, which is what I needed to do,” said Bensel. “It was nice to make a few putts against a great opponent in Zac [Oakley]. Thank you to Waynesborough C.C., its members and staff for hosting us for three days and to Overbrook G.C. for allowing me to play. I would also like to thank J.R. Delich, my coach and mentor, for all his help and patience with me.”

Bensel was seemingly in control of his game all week; in the six-round championship, his smallest margin of victory was 2 and 1 (semi-final), with his other wins amounting to 6 and 4; 6 and 5; 6 and 5; and 4 and 3.

Oakley reached the championship match with rather decisive victories of his own, as his smallest margin was 3 and 2. To reach the final match, Oakley beat (4) Andrew Turner, French Creek G.C., 4 and 2.

To view the full 2020 Philadelphia PGA Match Play Championship leaderboard, click here.

The 2020 Philadelphia PGA Match Play Championship, an OMEGA Player of the Year event, is supported by OMEGA and the PGA Tour. The Philadelphia PGA Section and its PGA Professionals thank Waynesborough C.C., its membership, management, and staff, as well as our partners, as the event would not have been possible without their support.

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, mfrey@pgahq.com