Earning the 2019 Golf Professional of the Year Award is Tom Mason, PGA. A dedicated member of the Section since 1996, Mason currently serves as Director and Owner of The Par Tee Golf Center as well as Head Golf Coach at Columbia College. His dedication to grow the game of golf is showcased through his numerous junior golf initiatives, coaching at the local college, and volunteer time spent with the Carolinas Section and allied associations. Mason has served on numerous Carolinas Section committees and serves at the national level on the Advisory Committee for PGA Jr. League. His growth of the game initiatives include hosting Drive, Chip & Putt competitions since 2016 and coaching PGA Jr. League teams since 2013. Mason’s impact and success is also showcased through his previous awards earned with the Section; 2017 Youth Player Development Award, 2018 Player Development Award, and 2012 Horton Smith Award. His efforts don’t stop within the PGA realm, as his community outreach efforts expand to assisting the local high school golf team gain more tools for success, coordinating a fundraising event for Columbia College’s Koala Pantry, and having served as a Tournament Committee Member for the Columbia City Golf Tournament for 11 years. His footprint is on golf all over South Carolina, the Carolinas PGA, and the PGA of America and many are inspired truly inspired by his positive and professional attitude.
The highest honor paid to a PGA Professional, the Golf Professional of the Year Award honors an individual who exemplifies tremendous overall performance as a Golf Professional at his/her facility, level of service to the Section, leadership ability, image and the ability to inspire fellow professionals, and promotion of the game of golf.
Robbie Fritz, PGA, Director of Instruction at Greensboro Country Club, has earned the tremendous honor of the 2019 Palmer Maples Teacher of the Year. Over the last eight years in the Section, Fritz has been heavily involved in national and section events for his own growth in performance as an instructor. This has afforded him the opportunity to network with other great professionals as well as showcase his great talents as an instructor to professionals from other courses and even other sections. Fritz hosts a robust junior program at Greensboro CC consisting of programs such as PGA Jr. League, Drive, Chip & Putt Bootcamp, Pee Wee Golf Clinics, and a Junior Golf Academy powered by Operation 36. He involves the entire professional staff of 9 with design and implementation of the player development programs which has most notably increased total golf instruction revenue 250% from 2017 to 2019. Prior to creating this impact at Greensboro CC, Fritz spent six years training future PGA members at his alma mater, Methodist University. As many are now PGA members, he continues to consult and support them with their player development programs and personal career paths. Fritz has been named by Golf Digest as one of the Best Young Teachers in America 2018-2019 and one of the Best Teachers By State in North Carolina 2019-2020. He also received the honor of an Operation 36 Top 50 Coach for 2019.
This award bestows special recognition on a PGA Professional who has performed outstanding service as a golf instructor. The award winner has made a tremendous impact on teaching and golf instruction in the Section, had involvement in junior golf activities at his/her facility and the community, provided innovative contributions to golf instruction, and any articles written for publication.
Dr. Robb Wade, PGA, Director of the NC State PGA Golf Management Program, has won the 2019 Bill Strausbaugh Award. Wade’s efforts since becoming a member in 2004 have been “to mentor young men and women every day when I come to work.” He has been involved with the PGA Golf Management Program at NC State since it began and has impacted almost 200 graduates during this time. While his role with the program is educational, it stretches far beyond helping the students pass tests. Wade believes his role is “to help these young men and women become critical thinkers, problem solvers, conflict resolvers and successful members of society.” His service in golf reaches beyond the program as he has served on the Carolinas section Board for the last three years and has volunteered his time at many tournaments in the Carolinas. Wade is active in community outreach efforts as well which stems from his values learned at an early age from his parents and grandparents. He tries to instill many of his own values of compassion, volunteerism, and leadership as a PGA Professional in his students as they grow and make decisions personally and professionally: “Decisions are easy where values are clear.”
This award is presented to a PGA member, who by his/her day-to-day efforts has made significant contributions through mentoring of PGA Professionals and impacting their careers. The award also considers the integrity and character of the PGA member, service to the Section, and involvement in community and charitable activities.
Country Club of Charleston Head Professional, Matt Bova, PGA, has won the 2019 Horton Smith Award. Having been a member of the Section since 2010, nearly half his time has been spent enhancing education opportunities for the Hilton Head Island Chapter of the Carolinas PGA. Bova currently sits in his second year as Vice President of the Chapter and coordinates all education programs. Previously he sat on the Education Committee with the chapter, so has been involved with increasing the number of meetings and seminars and the value that comes with each for five years. Bova spearheaded a more aggressive education schedule in 2016 with events such as Chapter Meetings, Assistants’ Day, Educational Get Togethers, and Teaching Seminars, creating teams of professionals to coordinate all events. Bova believes that attending meetings and educational seminars to better yourself is one of the best things we can do as PGA Professionals. He strives to provide many opportunities for growth and challenges others to become a better, more well-rounded professional through these various opportunities. Bova has also proven his dedication to the section and association with his win in 2014 as the Assistant Golf Professional of the Year in the Carolinas.
The Horton Smith Award is designed to recognize individual PGA Professionals for their outstanding and continuing contributions to developing and improving educational opportunities for the PGA Professional. They are to have made contributions to the Section’s educational program including meetings and seminars held with the Carolinas Section, developed articles and materials which benefit and relate to education, and built the image of both the PGA Professional and the Association.
Our 2019 Player Development Award Winner is Frank Maynard III, PGA. As the Head Professional at UNC Finley Golf Course, Maynard leads many growth of the game and player development initiatives spanning every type of player. Some of his programs include hosting Drive, Chip & Putt qualifiers, PGA Jr. League teams, and Get Golf Ready programs for adults and juniors. His success in the junior golf area has afforded him the opportunity to speak with other professionals in the Carolinas and across the country about his best practices. He strives to lead by example through his work, including his service on the PGA REACH Carolinas Committee. Past the PGA initiatives he has had success with, Maynard has led his team at UNC Finley in a discounted voucher program which has helped increase rounds of golf, enhance player development, and create a stronger financial status at the facility. Maynard also leads by example through his effort to play the game more as challenged by PGA of America President, Suzy Whaley. His promotion to play the game has also involved an implementation of PGA Family tees that allow men, women, boys & girls to play a shorter set of tees which has boosted moral for all player levels.
This award is designed to recognize individual PGA Professionals for their extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of Player Development. This award considers the Professional’s growth of the game leadership commitment at the Section and National levels, plus the impact made at his/her own facility.
William “Bucky” Dudley, PGA has been selected as the 2019 Youth Player Development Award Winner. Dudley currently serves as the Executive Director of The First Tee of Greater Charleston and has been involved with the chapter since its inception in 2008. He began as a founding board member, proceeded to volunteer his time for the next 5 years on the Board of Directors, took the role of Director of Operations and Coach in 2013, and in 2016 transitioned to his current role as Executive Director. Over his years with The First Tee, his focus has been on expanding the number of program locations, increasing the number of young people reached, offering additional participant opportunities, ensuring diversity in the program, and serving as a mentor to coaches, staff, and participants. Dudley has been successful in much of this as he most notably increased the golf in schools program from 14 schools reaching 5,154 students to 34 schools reaching 13,776 students since 2013 as well as raising over 1.5 million dollars in unrestricted funds to teach golf and life skills to young people in the Greater Charleston area. Alongside his First Tee impact, in 2017 Dudley served as the chairman for the committee to kick-start PGA Jr. League in Charleston which started with five clubs and has now grown to 12 clubs in the area. Dudley’s goal is that his “leadership and integrity will bring everyone together to positively impact our future through today’s youth utilizing a sport we all love.”
This award is designed to recognize a PGA Professional who is a leader in junior golf, reflects the qualities and ideals of those who work with our nation’s youth, and provides opportunities and experiences for juniors to learn and play golf. In addition, they showcase integrity as an individual and acceptance by junior golfers as a person of outstanding character are the criteria for this award.
Jon Rector, PGA, Head Professional at Biltmore Forest Country Club, has won the 2019 Private Merchandiser of the Year Award. Having been a member of the Carolinas since 1995, Rector has been at his current facility for seven years. The facility’s rich history, tradition, and culture which began in 1922 has guided the merchandise philosophy which was recently steered towards more simplicity; less vendors and deeper lines. Since Rector’s arrival in 2012, merchandise sales have grown 125% which he attributes to the entire staff’s tremendous pride in merchandising and the desire to get the Biltmore Forest name and logo exposed across the country.
Benji Boyter, PGA, has earned the honors of the 2019 Resort Merchandiser of the Year. Through Boyter’s duties as the Manager of Retail at The Sea Pines Resort, his primary role is to manage the merchandising operation across the four shops at the facility. A past winner of this award in 2013, Boyter’s philosophy is clearly leading to success as he has the customer experience top of mind. “I view our merchandise operation as an extension of both our brand and experience here at the Sea Pines Resort,” says Boyter. “We must always be anticipating our guests’ needs and looking for ways to fulfill them.”
Kevin Williamson, PGA, General Manager at TPC Myrtle Beach, has won the 2019 Public Merchandiser of the Year Award. Spending roughly half his time with the merchandise operation as the general manager, Williamson strives to instill the TPC merchandise philosophy in his whole team; Keep It Simple. The TPC logo has a great influence on customer’s preferences, so their team is able to offer new brands unique to the area and company. They are also able to maximize sales to membership, regular guests, and guests from package play through unique presentation of the merchandise, which changes almost weekly. Overall, Williamson and his staff are regularly reminded to “keep it simple.”
The 2019 Carolinas PGA Assistant Professional of the Year is Andrew Itterly, PGA. Andrew has been a member of the Section for three years and currently serves as the First Assistant at Country Club of Charleston. During this time he has done many things, one of which has been establishing and growing a PGA Jr. League program at Country Club of Charleston. Since inception of the PGA Jr. League program at his facility in 2016, they have seen 25% growth each year and for the third year in a row, Itterly led his team to win their league. He then went on to captain the Charleston Jr. League All-Star team two of the last three years. In addition to his commitment to growing the game of golf through PGA Jr. League, Itterly serves as CC of Charleston’s Tournament Director in which he runs not only numerous club events but nationally recognized amateur events as well. This has led to increased membership and opportunity to be more involved in the surrounding community.
The Assistant Golf Professional of the Year is awarded to an individual who showcases overall excellence as an Assistant Professional. They exude a quality level of service, promotion of the game, image, and overall performance at his/her facility.
In addition to the Carolinas’ ten annual awards, the Patriot Award has been added to list of honors for 2019. Numerous professionals in the Carolinas are vehemently dedicated to impacting the lives of military veterans through the game of golf and deserve to be recognized for their selfless efforts. Winning the inaugural CPGA Patriot Award is Perry Green, PGA. In addition to his duties as General Manager at The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation, Green has led the charge with the PGA HOPE program in the Charleston area. Beginning the program in 2015 with four veteran participants, Green has now impacted the lives of over 400 veterans in his program alone. Due to the overwhelming success and participation, Green and his team of PGA HOPE trained instructors have created a peer mentor program, this year with 45-50 veterans who are PGA HOPE graduates. His one program in 2015 has grown to five programs in Charleston over the last four years. Green has also spearheaded a fundraising golf tournament called “Chip in for Veterans” sponsored by Hardee’s restaurants which began in 2016. The goal was to raise funds to purchase a Paragolfer, a paramobile golf car for someone who doesn’t have the use of their legs or even doesn’t have legs. Three years later, this event has raised enough money for 7 Paragolfers and have put the rest of the funds towards more growth in the Charleston area. “To my fellow PGA members I can honestly say, if you become involved with PGA HOPE, it will change your life and save countless others.”
The CPGA Patriot Award bestows special recognition on a PGA Golf 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.