Philadelphia PGA Announces 2019 Award Winners

Lower Gwynedd Township, PA: The Philadelphia PGA Section today announced its 2019 award winners, highlighted by Golf Professional of the Year, John Carpineta, the PGA Professional at Bensalem Township Country Club, in Bensalem, PA. In total, the Philadelphia PGA, through its Award Committee, chose 12 winners for 2019 out of over 100 PGA Professionals who were nominated for awards this past season, including:

  • Golf Professional of the Year: John Carpineta, PGA – Bensalem Township C.C., Bensalem, PA
  • Teacher of the Year: John Dunigan, PGA – Applebrook G.C., Malvern, PA
  • Assistant Golf Professional of the Year: Steve Frederick, PGA – Overbrook G.C., Villanova, PA
  • Professional Development Award: Dean Kandle, PGA – St. Davids G.C., Wayne, PA
  • Bill Strausbaugh Award: Charlie Schuyler, PGA – Saucon Valley C.C., Bethlehem, PA
  • Player Development Award: Steve Wager, PGA – Penn State University G.C., State College, PA
  • Youth Player Development: Andy Miller, PGA – LedgeRock G.C., Mohnton, PA
  • Patriot Award: John Pillar, PGA – C.C. at Woodloch Springs, Hawley, PA
  • Merchandiser of the Year – Resort: Alex McGann, PGA – Seaview G.C., Galloway, NJ
  • Merchandiser of the Year – Private: Brent Wallace, PGA – Northampton C.C., Easton, PA
  • Merchandiser of the Year – Public: Jason Howard, PGA – Woodcrest C.C., Cherry Hill, NJ
  • Golf Salesperson of the Year: Laura Manchester – Callaway Golf

“The Philadelphia PGA is extremely proud to recognize our 2019 award winners, which include an accomplished list of PGA Professionals whose dedication to the game is unmatched, and who have been catalysts in the business of golf throughout the region,” said Geoff Surette, Executive Director, Philadelphia PGA Section. “These individuals represent the best of their profession. We thank them for their service and commitment to golfers and golf facilities across the region.”                                                 

Golf Professional of the Year

A two-time Patriot Award winner (2017 and 2018), and the 2015 Philadelphia PGA Player Development Award winner, John Carpineta, PGA Professional at Bensalem Township Country Club, in Bensalem, PA, has been named the 2019 Golf Professional of the Year.  The highest recognition the Section bestows annually on a distinguished member, Carpineta was honored for qualities of leadership, strong moral character, and a substantial record of service to the PGA and the game of golf.

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 veterans 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 “training aids” that make students feel relaxed with him, as coach, comrade and confidant.

In concert with his desire to help veterans, and as a basis for winning the Patriot Award two years running, Carpineta was largely responsible for securing Bensalem Township Country Club as the new home location for the Section’s PGA HOPE program. Under the direction of Carpineta, PGA HOPE is positioned for continued growth and success, as golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for veterans with disabilities. 

Teacher of the Year 

The Teacher of the Year Award recognizes a PGA Professional for their “outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.” The 2019 recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award is John Dunigan, PGA Professional at Applebrook Golf Club in in Malvern, PA, 

An accomplished PGA Professional, Dunigan was also the recipient of the Philadelphia PGA Teacher of the Year in 2008, 2015 and 2017 and the 2018 Section Professional Development Award, which recognizes a PGA Member who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA Professionals. A PGA Master 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: Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher in 2017; Golf Magazine Top Teachers in 2016; Golf Range Association of America Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019; and U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Jr. Golf Leader in 2012. 

In his new book, “Hole It!” Dunigan provides a guide for golfers 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. 

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 2019 recipient is Stephen Frederick, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova, PA.  With over 19 years of coaching experience, Frederick has been instrumental in advancing golf instruction by using cutting-edge technology and techniques in his students’ lessons, including Trackman, high speed video analysis, launch monitors, biomechanics, personalized conditioning, fitness, and balance technique, among others. Once he considers an individual student’s goals, expectations, physical strengths, and weaknesses, he will develop an individualized plan to help each student reach their maximum potential. Frederick is able to take what is extremely complex and translate it for each student into something they can understand, feel, and repeat. Among his accomplishments, Frederick has earned certifications from Nike’s NG360, the Titleist Performance Institute for adults and youth golfers, and the U.S. Kids and the Positive Coaching Alliance. These certifications have trained him to most effectively enhance the athleticism and performance of golfers regardless of skill level. He has also held the office of Co-Chair for the Philadelphia Assistant’s Organization (PAO) for the last three years.

Professional Development Award

The Section’sProfessional Development Award recognizes a PGA Professional who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA Professionals. The 2019 recipient is Dean Kandle, PGA Head Professional at St. Davids Golf Club, in Wayne, PA. Kandle epitomizes the term mentor and has dedicated his career to giving back to the game and his fellow PGA Members. In his position at St. Davids, Kandle has been instrumental in furthering the careers of his fellow staff members, many who have gone on to assume 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 PGA Professional’s future, and setting goals to reach the next career level. In order to create a more substantial impact on his fellow PGA Professionals, in April 2017 Kandle created a website known as Golf Professional Growth ( 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 their personal lives. 

Bill Strausbaugh Award 

The Bill Strausbaugh Award recognizes a PGA Professional who demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership by way of teaching and mentoring other PGA Professionals. The 2019 Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient is Charlie Schuyler, PGA Director of Golf at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, PA. 

Schuyler’s passion and deeply rooted commitment to mentoring PGA Professionals (and others) comes from a very strong desire to help each teammate reach their maximum potential, both personally and professionally. At a very young age and from a reflective perspective, he possessed a strong desire to help others. Years later, little did he know that this innate quality and yearning to help others would unveil itself in the form of personal and professional mentorship. 

Throughout his successful career in the golf business, which most recently brought him from the storied Augusta National Golf Club (May 2018) to his current position at Saucon Valley, Schuyler has personally managed a professional development program for well over 50 PGA Golf Management University Students and 20 PGA Assistant Professionals. Additionally, he speaks regularly to hundreds of aspiring youths on the topic of personal and professional development. One of his greatest personal accomplishments is founding the “Pros Fore Clothes Foundation,” a 501(c)3 non-profit that collects clothes from PGA Professionals, facilities and manufacturers across the country and delivers it to those in need. To date, “Pros Fore Clothes” has delivered over 135,000 pounds of clothing to those in need within the U.S. and around the world. 

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 2019 recipient is Steve Wager, PGA Director of Player Development at Penn State University Golf Courses in State College, PA. Also, the 2016 Philadelphia PGA Section Player Development Award winner, and a U.S. Kids Top 50 Honorable Mention recipient in 2017 and 2018, Wager’s achievements at Penn State University Golf Courses are well known. His success is highlighted by his commitment to the national Get Golf Ready program, which has become one of his most significant initiatives. Wager brings 12-18 students, of varying golf experience and sports backgrounds, together each week to learn the game, in a welcoming environment. This program has been a great feeder for his men’s and women’s leagues, local golf tournaments, and memberships. 

He teaches eight-week classes that meet four times a week, where students learn golf etiquette, history, and Rules as well as proper techniques for the short game, full swing, and putting.  Additionally, he’s been instrumental in developing a Women’s League Program, Family Golf Program and many youth golf initiatives, as Wager is committed to bringing the community together through learning the game of golf. In addition to his player development programs, wager teaches a Golf 1 Kinesiology class at Penn State, a great program that introduces college students to the game. 

Youth Player Development Award 

The Youth Player Development Award is designed to recognize a PGA Professional who has displayed extraordinary, exemplary contributions and achievement in the area of youth player development. The 2019 Youth Player Development Award recipient – for the second consecutive year – 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 kids, including: Philadelphia PGA Youth Player Development Award in 2013; U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Instructor in 2013 and 2014; U.S. Kids Golf Master Teacher in 2016; Golf Range Association of America Top 50 Growth of Game Teaching Professional in 2016, 2017 and 2018; and Golf Digest Best Teacher in State 2017-2018. He is also a frequent guest speaker on the topic of building successful youth programs at conferences and seminars around the country.

Miller has served 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 three years and has helped to grow youth golf tremendously in the area. Since moving to LedgeRock Golf Club in 2015, Miller has driven tremendous growth in youth golf programming at the facility. 

Patriot Award 

The PGA Patriot Award bestows special recognition on a PGA 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. John Pillar, PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club at Woodloch Springs, Hawley, PA is the recipient of the 2019 Patriot Award.

Past President of the Philadelphia PGA Section (2013-2014), Pillar manages the entire golf operation for the 450-acre residential community. Passionate about honoring the lives of local military servicemen and servicewomen, he has embraced the Folds of Honor Foundation, whose mission is to provide educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service-members. Backed by Pillar’s leadership, the Folds of Honor Golf Classic at Woodloch Springs has raised more than $160,000 since inception and continues to grow each year. Additionally, Woodloch Springs has added a new element, by providing complimentary vacations for six Folds of Honor families each year, at no cost. A selfless leader, Pillar and his team at Woodloch Springs continue to support Folds of Honor, while honoring military from the local 109th National Guard. 

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 Philadelphia PGA Section honors PGA Professionals in three categories: Private, Public and Resort facilities. The 2019 Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Facilities is Alex McGann, PGA Director of Golf at Seaview Golf Club in Galloway, NJ. McGann’s merchandising philosophy centers on offering fresh and constantly evolving merchandise. Seaview’s fixtures, tables and displays are constantly rotated to keep all guests aware of their many different offerings. One of his best practices was the creation of a mobile experience store for high profile events. At Seaview, they now have four outings per year that include a mobile golf shop experience for their guests. Through relationships with vendors, they place orders at tournament pricing and set up an entire golf shop experience exclusively for that event’s guests. These experience shops have set Seaview apart from several area club events and offer a good margin and solid profitability.    

Merchandiser of the Year (Private)

The 2019 Merchandiser of the Year – Private is Brent Wallace, PGA Director of Golf at Northampton Country Club in Easton, PA. The owner of the Golf Merchandise Concession at Northampton since 2018, Wallace is responsible for all aspects of the golf shop operation including, product selection, viewing lines, merchandising displays and business operations. On top of this, Wallace was tasked with overseeing the renovation of the golf shop when he was first hired at Northampton. With the shop at Northampton being a smaller space, Wallace has maximized the square footage while adding distinctive décor to create a rustic boutique, reflective of the membership and the area of the country. Wallace provides his customers with an assortment of products that are priced competitively and beautifully displayed, and combines that with friendly, knowledgeable service. His attention to detail is unmatched, and he recognizes the importance of taking extra steps to ensure customer satisfaction, especially with his regular customers. He’s established strong communications with the membership, sending handwritten thank you notes with a special order, and always alerting them on new brands and styles he believes they may be interested in.

Merchandiser of the Year (Public)

The 2019 Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities is Jason Howard, PGA Director of Golf at Woodcrest Country Club, Cherry Hill, NJ. The building blocks of Howard’s merchandising philosophy are to listen and understand what his members want and consistently work to elevate the level of customer service that every member and guest receives. Most customers know what they like in terms of colors and fabrics in apparel, and it’s the professional golf staff’s job to share with them different ideas and options that are on the shelves for them. Another fresh, new idea that supported their approach this year was the Trackman 4 technology, which they launched at Woodcrest in late March 2019. Many customers who were in the market for hard goods took them up on the offer to check out their driver or club against the latest and greatest technology. Howard’s team also hosted several demo days and offered a more popular option of individual fittings, as their customers have gravitated more to the one-on-one experience.

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 2019 Golf Salesperson of the Year is Laura Manchester, Outside Sales Representative for Callaway Golf, from Lederach, PA. When it comes to golf sales, Manchester checks all the boxes, as she is known for being trustworthy, accountable, committed, and dedicated to club members at all levels. A consummate professional with an unwavering devotion to the Philadelphia PGA Section, she has spent many years supporting PGA Professionals and going the extra mile in every facet of her job as a Callaway sales representative. Manchester was also the recipient of the Philadelphia PGA’s Golf Salesperson of the Year in 2011.

About the Philadelphia PGA Section 

The Philadelphia PGA Section (PPGA) is one of 41 geographical sections of The PGA of America. Composed of PGA Professionals who serve as the “Experts in the Game & Business of Golf,” the PPGA encompasses Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Trenton – south), Delaware and parts of Northern Maryland. Since the 1920s, the PPGA has been the voice and face of golf throughout the region backed by over 850 PGA Professionals and Apprentices who promote the enjoyment and involvement in the game of golf, and who are at the forefront of programming/events at more than 300 public and private golf facilities, including some of the country’s most acclaimed golf courses. PPGA members collectively impact over 2 million rounds of golf annually, encompassing over 100,000 club members, hundreds of thousands of public course golfers, business leaders and one of the country’s strongest stable of junior golfers. The PPGA is further complemented by its charitable arm, PGA REACH Philadelphia, which was created to positively impact lives and communities through the game of golf.  For more information, visit or follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.