Golf News for Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | Awards

Carolinas PGA Section announces special awards and honors winners

BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. -- The Carolinas PGA Section Awards and Honors are distributed annually to the 10 Carolinas PGA Professionals who not only excel in their fields of expertise, but also contribute to the game's growth in the Carolinas. These individuals have dedicated themselves to maintaining the integrity of the golf industry. Day in and day out, they exemplify what it means to be a PGA Professional.

The Section's Special Awards and Honors committee chair, and the 41st Inductee into the Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame, Mike Harmon, PGA of Secession Golf Club, is proud to announce the 10 professionals, nominated by their peers, who have risen to the top in 2013.

These 10 professionals will be recognized at the 21th Annual Special Awards and Honors Ceremony on Sunday, February 16, 2014 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC.

GOLF PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR- Chad Newton, PGA - Pinewood Country Club

This year's Carolinas PGA Golf Professional of the Year is Chad Newton, PGA, Head Golf Professional at Pinewood Country Club in Asheboro, NC. The Golf Professional of the Year award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Carolinas PGA Professional. The award is given to a PGA Professional who throughout their career has shown a deep commitment to the game of golf, a high level of service to the Section, overall success as a Golf Professional and dedication to inspiring the next generation of golf professionals. To be eligible for this award, the Awards and Honors Committee takes into consideration not only the past year of a Professional's career, also his or her life-long contributions to the game of golf.

Pinewood Country Club located in Asheboro, NC, an area better known for furniture production than golf. Since his arrival at Pinewood CC in 2003, the club has been brought to new heights including a significant increase in rounds and golf shop sales, along with enhancing the staff quality, productivity of the operation, and tournament program. Newton has led the way in the Carolinas PGA Section in the promotion and education of Growth of the Game programs. The future of the golf industry depends on programs like the ones Newton has initiated that bring in new golfers through a fun and welcoming environment.

Newton credits PGA Professionals Reid Hill, John Buczek, Jeff Nichols, Mike Harmon, Gary Hobgood and many others for instilling in him the values that it takes to be a successful leader in the golf industry. The motto of "acting like a pro wherever you go, and looking like a pro from head to toe" is the message Newton tries to get across to the younger generation of PGA Professionals. One important value that Newton demonstrates and excels in is giving back to your community. Newton and Pinewood CC are both well known for helping numerous local charities with fundraising tournaments. Newton believes that taking the time to help these outstanding organizations is a great way to inspire fellow professionals and amateurs while promoting the game of golf.

"It was very evident in the process that Chad had inspired the younger generation of Carolinas PGA Professionals with his speech from the floor at the CPGA Annual Meeting held in February this year," said Special Awards and Honors Committee Chair, Mike Harmon, PGA. "It is very encouraging for our Section."

Chad Newton, PGA has been an active member of the Carolinas PGA Section by serving on the Board of Director since 2006 and currently the Vice President. Newton has also represented the CPGA on the National Level since 2012, serving on the National PGA Marketing and Member Benefits Committee and the National PGA Scholarship Committee. During his time on the Board of Directors, Newton has attended and represented the CPGA at PGA of America Annual Meetings and Leadership Conferences.

Newton has previously been named the 2006 Carolinas PGA Private Merchandiser of the Year, 2011 Carolinas PGA Horton Smith Award recipient and 2012 Carolinas PGA Player Development Award recipient.

PALMER MAPLES TEACHER OF THE YEAR- Jason Sutton, PGA - Carmel Country Club

This year's Palmer Maples Teacher of the Year is Jason Sutton, PGA, Director of Golf Instruction at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, NC. The Palmer Maples Teacher of the Year award goes to the Teaching Professional who has performed outstanding service as a golf instructor. Emphasizing the past five years of the professional's career, the professional must demonstrate an impact on teaching and golf instruction in the Section, involvement in junior golf activities at his or her facility and the community, innovative contributions of golf instruction and any articles written for publication.

Since joining Carmel Country Club as the Director of Golf Instruction, Jason Sutton, PGA has been responsible for developing and implementing his teaching philosophy for his staff to utilize when giving lessons. Sutton has seen great success in improving his memberships' games when they are receiving a seamless message from all. The most successful program that Sutton introduced this year at Carmel Country Club was "The Biggest Loser Coaching Program." This six-month program had over 50 members participate in the team driven golf challenge. As a result of the combined group and private lessons the teams received, participants were able to cut a total of 40 shots with the "biggest loser" improving their handicap by 50%.

Sutton was featured in four "Titleist Fitters Forum" shows on the Golf Channel in 2013 where he discussed teaching putting, putter shape, and how it affects aim bias, driver fitting and a long game fitting, He also hosted and taught at Guru's Teaching Workshop attended by PGA Professionals from the Carolinas featuring putting research that Sutton and his team had gathered using the SAM Putt Lab. Sutton was ranked the #7 in the Golf Digest Top Teacher List in North Carolina this year.

HORTON SMITH TROPHY- Ed Sehl, PGA- Ed Sehl Golf, LLC at the Tega Cay Golf Club

Ed Sehl, Owner of Ed Sehl Golf, LLC in Tega Cay, SC, is this year's Horton Smith Trophy winner. The Horton Smith Trophy is awarded to the PGA Professional who continually exhibits a commitment to the development and improvement of golf education for the PGA Professional. This includes contributions to the Section's education program including meetings and seminars held within the Carolinas Section, development of articles and materials that benefit and relate to education, building the image of both the PGA Golf Professional and the Association.

Ed Sehl, PGA has been part of the National PGA Education Program for 20 years, when he was first selected along with 40 other PGA Professionals from around the country to develop the PGA Professional Golf Management Program. He has provided instruction, guidance, and example to hundreds of PGM students in the Carolinas Section at Campbell University, Coast Carolina University, Clemson University, Methodist University, and NC State University.

Working on developing the next generation of PGA Professionals is only part of what Sehl has contributed to the game of golf in the Carolinas. He also focuses on providing learning opportunities for teens and adults interested in improving their golf game at Ed Sehl Golf, LLC. He was ranked by Golf Digest Magazine as a Top 10 Teacher in South Carolina in 2013. Sehl writes a column for the Fort Mill Times in Fort Mill, SC with topics that have included "The Mental Game," "Let the Club Tell You What to Do" and "Covering Major Golf Tournaments for the Newspaper." He also started the Ed Sehl Golf Show, which airs on various radio stations in South Carolina.

BILL STRAUSBAUGH AWARD- Tom Ducey, PGA- Old North State Club

This year's Bill Strausbaugh Award winner is Tom Ducey, Head PGA Professional of Old North State Club in New London, NC. The Bill Strausbaugh Award is given to the PGA member who by his or her day-to-day efforts has made significant contributions to the game and the business of golf through the mentoring of PGA professionals and the furtherance of their careers. While the award centers on the qualities of a PGA Professional that allows him or her to prepare tomorrow's leaders in the golf industry, consideration such as the character and integrity of the member, service to the Section and involvement in community and charitable activities are also part of the selection process.

At Old North State Club, Tom Ducey, PGA feels that mentoring his Assistant PGA Professionals is really just being the day-to-day coach that being a Head PGA Professional requires. He has seen more than 15 former assistants achieve Class A PGA member status over the years. Old North State Club was the top fundraiser for the first year of Patriot Golf Day in 2006 and continues to be a leading money collector of the Folds of Honor foundation each year. Ducey was awarded the Inaugural Fold of Honor Win Man Award in 2012 for his ongoing dedication to the cause.

Ducey spends what time he can giving back to his community and attends town meetings to keep all informed of the development of Old North State Club. He helps manage many golf events for great causes during the year and provides endless options on charitable golf events. Every year he hosts a memorial golf tournament in memory of his late daughter to continue girl's high school golf in Randolph County.

JUNIOR GOLF LEADER- Ryan Dailey, PGA- Campbell University PGA Golf Management

This year's Junior Golf Leader is Ryan Dailey, PGA Faculty Member of Campbell University PGA Golf Management in Buies Creek, NC. The Junior Golf Leader Award is given to the PGA Professional who has proven that his or her commitment to junior programs and initiatives has truly made an impact on the lives of junior golfers at their facility and in their community. The PGA Professional selected for this award readily contributes to Section junior events and PGA junior golf programs, is accepted by junior golfers as a person of outstanding character and provides opportunities and experiences for juniors to learn and play golf.

During the summer of 2010, Ryan Dailey, PGA of Campbell University PGA Golf Management started the iGrow Junior Golf Program at Keith Hills Golf Club. At this time Keith Hills did not have a junior golf program and was located in a market that made it difficult to implement one. iGrow is a golf learning system that takes juniors from "Start to Scratch in 6 levels." By the time they complete the program, they will be able to shoot a 9-hole score of even par or better. Currently, the program has 55 students going once a week for 8 months with plans in 2014 to expand to other golf facilities in the Raleigh area.

Dailey encourages his Professional Golf Management Students at Campbell University to participate in iGrow Junior Golf Program to provide them not only with hands on junior golf teaching experience, but also to improve their own golf skills. Dailey also lectures PGM students on junior golf development, teaches lessons at the local chapters of Special Olympics, and conducts junior camps during the summer.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AWARD- Heidi Wright-Tennyson, PGA, Director of Golf, Moss Creek Golf Club

Heidi Wright-Tennyson, PGA Director of Golf at Moss Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head Island, SC, is this year's President's Plaque recipient. The President's Plaque is awarded to the PGA Professional who has become a leader in the area of player development. Player development covers all manners of golf activities relating to Growth of the Game. The recipient of this award is so honored for their exemplary and extraordinary contributions to player development with consideration for the professional's growth of the game leadership commitment at Section and National levels as well as the impact made at his or her own facility.

Heidi Wright-Tennyson, PGA is currently in her fourth year serving as the Class A advisor to the Hilton Head Island Junior Golf Association, which is considered the strongest junior golf program in the state of South Carolina. This year was especially exciting for Wright-Tennyson and HHIJGA as the PGA Junior League Golf program was introduced to the Hilton Head area. PGA Junior League Golf brings the familiar structure of Little League to the game of golf. Moss Creek GC hosted two teams in 2013 and plans on growing the program next summer.

As the Director of Golf at Moss Creek Golf Club, Wright-Tennyson has challenged her staff to create programs to engage every segment of their membership. One of the programs offered at Moss Creek GC to bring new golfers in to the sport are the Annual Junior Golf, Tennis and Swim Camp. This week-long camp held in the summer has been a very successful in introducing juniors to the golf in a fun environment and creating new players. The "Play it Forward" program encourages golfers to play from tees most suitable for their golf game. This national program has seen a large impact in men's events and many men are still competing in the tournaments because of the options of playing from the white tees.

Merchandisers of the Year

Divided into three separate categories that represent the very different facets and markets of golf merchandising, each of the Golf Merchandisers of the Year have proven themselves to be successful in their respective niche, supplying quality merchandise to their patrons, presenting their staff with effective ideas and tools, and superior merchandising techniques, performance and shop operations.

Public: Michelle Kempe, PGA, Director of Retail at National Golf Management in Myrtle Beach, SC, is the 2013 Public Merchandiser of the Year. As the Director of Retail, Kempe is responsible for overseeing the retail buying, sales and merchandising for the more than 20 golf facilities run by National Golf Management in the Myrtle Beach Area. The merchandising philosophy that Kempe has established at each facility is to create the best experience possible for each guest by providing a clean, fun and organized shopping environment combined with outstanding customer service. In 2012 National Golf Management merchandising concessions saw gross sales of $2,160,000.

Private: Jeff Nichols, PGA, Director of Golf at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, NC, is this year's Private Merchandiser of the Year. The merchandising philosophy at Carmel CC is to always provide their members the opportunity to enjoy a great shopping experience with high quality merchandise and have the ability to enjoy great value. Nichols and his staff utilize their Learning Center to the fullest extent for custom club fittings, which helps drive up hard goods sales while keeping inventory down. Nichols previously was award the Carolinas PGA Private Merchandiser of the Year in 1996.

Resort: Benjamin Boyter, PGA, of Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, SC, is this year's Resort Merchandiser of the Year. Golf Merchandising at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a unique setting that must cater to a variety of customers including golfer, resort guests and business travelers. Located in a five-star, five-diamond hotel, the Kiawah Golf Shop strives to create a balance between a traditional golf shop and a men's specialty store. Guests can expect to find a wide variety of merchandise, which changes a minimum of 30 times a year, ranging from golf apparel to bathing suits.

TaylorMade - adidas Assistant Professional of the Year
Brian Joyce, PGA- Old Chatham Golf Club

This year's TaylorMade- adidas Assistant Professional of the Year is Brian Joyce, PGA of Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, NC. The PGA of America and its more than 20,000 PGA Head Professionals have always been committed to mentoring and developing the golf industry leaders of tomorrow. The Assistant Professional of the Year is awarded to the Class A-8 Assistant Professional who exhibits the promise and dedication that will lead us into the coming years. A candidate for this award continually demonstrates a high level of excellence at his or her facility and service to the Section while promoting the game of golf and projecting the image of a Golf Professional.

As the first assistant golf professional at Old Chatham Golf Club, Joyce has made it his daily philosophy to put all members' needs at Old Chatham ahead of his own while at work. Some of Joyce's responsibilities include serving as the Tournament Director, managing the outside staff and teaching lessons. As the Tournament Director he oversees five major tournaments each year for the members including two Member-Guests and the season-ending Member-Member.

While attending college at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Joyce was a four-year starter and served as team captain. In 2005 Joyce won the Colonial Athletic Association Championship as an individual and was a member of two team championships in 2004 and 2005.

Last year, Joyce served on the Carolinas PGA Tournament Committee. He was instrumental in securing the Golf Shop of Wake Forest and Golf Pride as a partner for the Carolinas PGA Assistants Association. This partnership has helped the Carolinas PGA Association provide more tournament playing opportunities to the Assistant PGA Professionals across the Carolinas.

Joyce also takes time to promote and grow the game of golf around his community and this past year assisted a local Boy Scout troop in Chapel Hill, NC, with earning their Golf Merit Badges.

Along with this award, Joyce will receive $1,500 from TaylorMade - adidas to use for educational and career advancement. He is also eligible to receive a one-year, full staff line contract including a full set of clubs, clothing, footwear, golf balls and gloves.

Since its inception in 1923, the Carolinas PGA Section has been committed to nurturing and improving the quality of the game for the thousands of golfers using its member facilities. Now the largest of the PGA's 41 sections, the Carolinas PGA Section of the Professional Golfers' Association boasts nearly 2,000 professional members and represents more than 800 golf facilities within North and South Carolina as well as portions of southern Virginia. PGA professionals are responsible for conducting a variety of golf-related functions which include human resource management, golf shop merchandising, golf instruction, tournament operations, junior golf programs, growth of the game initiatives, golf club repair, administering the rules, public relations and much more.

Media contacts:
Martin Armes, 919-608-7260,
Brad King, 336-306-9219,