Christopher Cain, a 12-year member of the PGA of America, has an undergraduate and Master’s degree from Penn State University and is currently nearing completion of his PhD at the University of Las Vegas Nevada. It sounds more like the career path of a professor than a golf professional, but Chris has been able to pursue these interests while having a very in depth connection with the golf industry.
Chris started his professional career as an Assistant Golf Professional for Pocono Farms Country Club in Pennsylvania, later joining the management team at the Tournament Players Club in Las Vegas. Cain relocated to Penn State as PGA Head Golf Professional from 1999-2002, transitioning to a PGA Teaching Professional while completing his Master’s degree from 2002-2004. Cain’s graduate work included working with the Penn State PGM Program and instructing for the Departments of Kinesiology, Turfgrass Management, and Exercise and Sports Science.
Cain relocated to Las Vegas in 2004 to accept the Directorship of the PGM Program at UNLV. While serving as Program Director, Cain began serving the PGA of America at the local, Section, and national levels. Cain’s service started as a member of the Board of Directors for the Southwest Section Southern Nevada Chapter in 2005, and has served as the Chapter’s Secretary, Vice President, and President from 2006-2011. Cain served the Southwest Section as a member of the Board of Directors and Committee Chair of Membership Education from 2009-2011, and also served terms as an appointed member of the Board of Directors for the PGA’s Allied Associations including The First Tee of Southern Nevada and the Southern Nevada Golf Association
Cain is currently serving as Honorary President of the Southern Nevada Chapter PGA, the PGA of America’s Adjunct Faculty, and recently accepted a four year appointment to the PGA of America University Golf Management Accreditation Team. Cain’s ability to serve his professional association is made possible through the support of his wife Trisha, the UNLV administration, Hotel College faculty and staff, and the PGM Program staff and the PGM students he serves.
Teacher of the Year: Paul Trittler – Grayhawk Learning Center
Paul Trittler and the staff at the Grayhawk Learning Center have earned the distinction of being Golf Digest’s #2 Golf School in the country! In his 15th year at Grayhawk and with 25 years of teaching experience Paul definitely has a lot to offer to all levels of players. Paul played on the Tour for a short period, but has definitely found a home in the world of golf instruction having appeared on “Golf Academy Live”, the cover of Golf Digest and in numerous golf articles and publications.
Player of the Year: Marty Jertson – Ping
Marty Jertson earned his first SWSPGA Player of the Year honor in 2011 and it looks like he will be a strong candidate for the foreseeable future. Marty won the SWSPGA Section PNC in 2010 and earned a spot in the PGA National PNC for 2011. In the national event, which had a field of 312 PGA players, Marty finished and impressive T5th and earned a spot in the 2011 PGA Championship. Marty also had an undefeated week at The PGA Cup in September and as he said “It has been an enjoyable year”.
Senior Player of the Year: Mike Malaska – Mike Malaska Golf
Mike used a strong performances in the Section (Tie 3rd) and National Professional National Championships (T73 in a field of 264) to earn the Senior Player of the Year honors for 2011. This is Mike’s first Senior Player of the Year honor since recently joining the over 50 set. This award is especially rewarding for Mike as he is also being recognized as the PGA of America’s Teacher of the Year for 2011.
Bill Strausbaugh Award: Don Rea – Augusta Ranch Golf Club
The Bill Strausbaugh award is presented to a Section leader with a demonstration of record of service to the association. This years award winner is Don Rea, Jr of Augusta Ranch Golf Club. Don is currently the vice president of the SWSPGA and participates and volunteers in many of the SWSPGA activities. Don has been actively involved in Section activities for more than a decade.
Junior Golf Leader Award: Jay Larscheid – Longbow Golf Club
For the last 20 years Jay has worked at McCormick Ranch (10 years) and Longbow Golf Club (10 years). Although he has held the General Manager position for nearly 7 years, Jay continues to show a dedicated personal interest in the area of Junior Golf. Longbow hosts several significant junior golf events, provides junior golf camps and junior golf rates to the golf stars of the future. Jay currently co-chairs the Junior Golf Committee for the SWSPGA.
Merchandiser of the Year (PUBLIC): Tom Fischer – Las Vegas Paiute
After more than 15 years working as a golf professional in Florida, Tom made a move to the Las Vegas desert where he has been working for the last eight years. In his first year at the Las Vegas Paiute property Tom has given the merchandising part of the operation and nice boost with some innovative ideas. These efforts have led to his recognition in this category for the current year.
Merchandiser of the Year (RESORT): Brian Hawthorne – Wynn Golf Club
Brian has been surrounded by some great merchandising talent in his career and is now putting it to good use at the Wynn Golf Club. Brian spent nearly seven years with the Tournament Players Club organization and an additional four years at Cascata before coming to the Wynn seven years ago. This unique golf course and environment have enabled Brian to put his talents to work and earn the award for 2011.
Presidents Plaque: JOHN Gunby -The Club at Prescott Lakes
Being an inspiration to fellow PGA Professionals in the area of player development is a critical measure in earning the Presidents Plaque. This year’s winner John (Gunner) Gunby truly exemplifies this requirement. A creator and promoter of the FUNdamental golf program, a long time member of the board of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona and lifetime supporter of junior golf John has helped countless individuals to play Safe, Fast and Courteous golf! John and his Golden Retriever Ingrid are appreciative of this award.
Horton Smith Award: Mark Black – Encanterra Country Club
The Horton Smith Award recognizes and individual that has fostered the educational pursuits of the PGA Professional. Mark Black was recognized for his efforts in working with the Professional Golf Management program at Arizona State University and his twelve year commitment to an adjunct faculty position with the PGA of America.
Assistant Golf Professional of the Year: Scott Shapin – Tucson Country Club
Scott graduated from the Professional Golf Management program at Penn State University and went to work at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland where he spent 41/2 years working in the private club environment. A move to a warmer climate brought him to Tucson Country Club where he has worked for the past two years. Scott handles a variety of duties at this esteemed and established facility in addition to work on his own game as well.