The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Of America was formed in 1916 and the Southwest Section of the PGA in 1974. The mission of this volunteer association is to not only support the men and women who work in the golf profession, but to also raise awareness and interest in the game of golf! While nearly every PGA professional supports this mission to a certain extent there are a handful that are recognized every year for their exemplary efforts.
These individuals selected by a committee of their peers and have displayed efforts and talents above and beyond any normal standard. Many have volunteered their time and talents to promote their peers, the game and the Southwest Section of the PGA Of America. These individuals will be recognized at the SWSPGA Annual Awards dinner to be held at Gainey Ranch on Friday January 11, 2013.
The Southwest Section of the PGA encompasses the state of Arizona and Clark County Nevada (Las Vegas and Mesquite). The Section has two chapters (Southern Nevada and Southern Arizona) and is comprised of over 1,400 members and apprentices who work at Golf Courses, Driving Ranges, Golf Retail Outlets, as Merchandise Representatives, Tournament Operators, Tournament Sales People, Instructors and more. This years Section and Chapter Honorees are proudly represented here:
Professional of the Year
Southern Chapter: Dennis Palmer Tubac Golf Resort
Southern Nevada Chapter: Chad Gunier Las Vegas Paiute Resort
Southwest Section of the PGA
Michael Haywood, PGA Tucson Country Club
Michael owns more than 25 years of golf experience with more than 15 years of that at Tucson Country Club. He is currently serving as President of the Southwest Section of the PGA and is also one of 14 District Directors that comprise the Board for the PGA Of America. Michael also manages his own teaching academy and is currently working with players on the Senior PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and the Web.com Tour. Michael was singled out for his countless hours of volunteer service to the association, but was also recognized for his abilities as a golf instructor and as the Head Golf Professional at Tucson Country Club. Michael is still very appreciative of his position and the membership at the club for which he conducts numerous golf and social events while continually promoting the game of golf. Michael is one of the extremely few “two-time” winners of this award (previously in 2006) in the Southwest Section.
Teacher of the Year
Southern Chapter: Susie Meyers Ventana Golf Club
Southern Nevada Chapter: Chad Gunier Las Vegas Paiute Resort
Southwest Section of the PGA
Mark Winkley, PGA The Estancia Club
Having spent time in both the Illinois and Southwest Section Mark has shared his teaching talents with numerous professionals, members and juniors in his nearly 27 years as a teaching Professional. Mark not only possesses a very in-depth understanding of the golf swing but is able to communicate that to players at all levels. Mark has provided instruction around the world including in Thailand, Australia, Singapore and Europe. He has worked with the Golf Digest Schools, has published numerous articles and has provided presentations around the world.
Assistant Professional of the Year
Travis McCutchan Grayhawk Golf Club
A talented person in a premier environment usually yields positive results. This and much more was said about Travis McCutchan and the standard he sets for Assitant Professionals throughout the Section. Rejoining Grayhawk, Travis has shown an eagerness to learn, an excellent work ethic and an ability to be a problem solver. Travis still enjoys playing the game, but also possesses an interest in all aspects of the operation. Currently focusing on Tournaments for this 36 hole Scottsdale gem, Travis continues to learn and grow and looks forward to the challenges ahead.
Player Development Award
Josh Doxtator Trilogy at Vistancia Golf Club
With seven years of experience, all at The Trilogy at Vistancia, Josh Doxtator has developed a true passion for introducing new players to the game of golf. With the support of the club and the ownership Josh has created some very unique instructional-practice-play programs that have brought new players to the game from all walks of life. Josh’s unique individual, group and monthly lesson programs have students coming to the course on a regular basis to not only work on their game, but to also allow time for practice and play. These programs have been beneficial to the club, the staff and most importantly the players involved in the program.
Horton Smith Award (Promoting Education)
Brandon Stooksbury PGA Tour Academy TPC Las Vegas
Primarily a golf instructor in his role at the PGA Tour Academy at The TPC Las Vegas, Brandon Stooksbury was very comfortable expanding his volunteer reach in the Southern Nevada Chapter of the Southwest Section to the overall education offerings for all of the members. While his primary outreach was to support other professionals in their quest to become better quality instructors through instructional training and a teaching summit Brandon also supported other education related to the success of the professionals.
Merchandiser of the Year
Public: Ross McCullough Badlands Golf Club
Most of the 30 million visitors per year in Las Vegas do not come exclusively for golf requiring facilities in this market to create an experience for both the visitor and the local golfer. Ross McCullough at the Badlands Golf Club has been successful in developing a buying plan that accommodates both. The staff at The Badlands make great use of every merchandising square foot in their bright and well lit golf shop and offer an effective combination of soft goods, men’s, ladies and accessories. Ross and his staffs attention to detail and the customers wants and needs have helped them earn this award for 2012.
Private: Mark Thush Desert Mountain Golf Club
With six championship Jack Nicklaus golf courses and more than 2,500 members the merchandising operation at Desert Mountain is a business within a business. Mark and his team have had success by staying up to date on all of the latest changes in golf fashion and apparel, equipment and accessories and listening to the membership. In addition to maintaining the multiple golf shop outlets, Mark and his staff are known for the annual Demo Day during which more than 25 vendors set up on property to allow their products and accessories to be viewed and used by the membership. Mark has had more than 10 years of experience at Desert Mountain and works on improving each area of his merchandising operation each year.
Resort: Matt Hudson Tucson El Conquistador
Another complex property is the Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort in Tucson Arizona. In addition to the 54 holes of golf the property balances the needs of a membership, public and resort play. In just over two years at the property Matt and his team have helped upgrade the merchandise operations in this very complex environment. Prior experience with the Tournament Players Club in Scottsdale and Georgia (TPC Sugarloaf) helped in creating a positive buying environment, however every market is unique and so far things seem to working very well.
Bill Strausbaugh Award (Community and Association Service)
Jamey Lewis, Wickenburg Country Club
As a General Manager Jamey wears many hats related to the Supervising the Pro Shop, overseeing the Golf Operation, Food and Beverage, Accounting and of Course the 18 holes and a driving range that sit right outside of his office. Despite the many responsibilities at his facility Jamey also wears his community and association volunteer hat where he has spent numerous hours over the last few years working as a board member of the Southwest Section of the PGA. Jamey has been active with an assistants association, the upgrade of the SWSPGA’s website and representing the association at numerous community outreach events include the Special Olympics Arizona state games.
Junior Golf Leader
Frank Calvin Southwest Section PGA Junior Golf Director
Although his position with the Southwest Section of the PGA would indicate that Junior Golf would be the definition of his position, Frank Calvin has gone above and beyond on such a consistent basis that his peers have agreed to recognize him as the Junior Golf Leader for the year 2012. Frank administers a variety of programs for the SWSPGA including the PING Junior Series (7 highly competitive high end tournaments each year), supports other professionals with the summer Antigua Tour (12 Districts support 6 tournaments each in an introductory tournament environment provided on a very affordable level) the state Junior Championship as well as several qualifying events. Frank’s efforts over the last four years have improved the landscape for Junior Golf in Arizona.
Player of the Year
Michael Hopper Pointe at Lookout Mountain
A PGA member since 1998, Michael has come into his own in the last two years, and has now claimed his first Player of the Year title in the very competitive SWSPGA. Mike won the Match Play in 2011 and used this as a springboard for 2012. Mike competed in and tied for 20th in the PGA’s Professional National Championship and finished well in the Section Championship, PNC Qualifier and the individual stroke play events. He has also competed in the PGA National Assistants Championship and continues to gain quality tournament experience. At 28 years old we expect to see more quality play from Michael for years to come.
Senior Player of the Year
Bill Dodd Jr. Continental Golf Club
It was ultimately a single round that led to his earning of the award in 2012. Playing last fall in the Senior Professional National Championship on “Cut Day” Bill put together one of the best rounds of the day to make the cut on the number. This round allowed Bill to earn enough additional points to seal the award for the year. This “under pressure” experience came in handy again in December as Bill was able to make a birdie on the final hole—of the final match—of the Goldwater Cup (Senior Division) to clinch a half a point and allow the Senior Team to retain the cup again in 2012.