PGA Golf Professional of the Year Tom Wildenhaus, Teacher & Coach of the Year Jamie Mulligan, Golf Executive of the Year Joe Assell, lead class of 12 Members celebrated by the PGA’s nearly 28,000 Professionals
Editors: For photos of the PGA National Awards recipients, please click here.
FRISCO, Texas and PHOENIX – A stellar group of 12 influential PGA Members will be honored at the PGA of America National Awards ceremony at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix next Tuesday, Nov. 1, to kickoff the 106th PGA Annual Meeting. They will be celebrated for their unwavering commitment to represent the nearly 28,000 PGA Professionals across the world and the game of golf at the highest of levels.
Hosted by Dave Marr III, the PGA of America National Awards program annually acknowledges PGA Members for their outstanding performances both on and off the course.
“This distinguished class of National Awards recipients is inspiring those involved with the game of golf and the advancement of PGA Professionals throughout our industry,” said PGA President Jim Richerson. “The PGA of America is proud to recognize their accomplishments as they reflect the incredible expertise and talent throughout our Association. From nearly 28,000 PGA Professionals, these recipients are at the forefront, reflecting a standard of success for all of us to emulate and admire.”
PGA of America National Awards Recipients
PGA Golf Professional of the Year – Tom Wildenhaus, PGA, the Director of Golf at Olde Florida Golf Club in Naples, Florida, will be presented the PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award. This is the highest annual honor given to a PGA of America Professional, awarded for leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game of golf.
PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year – Jamie Mulligan, PGA, Southern California PGA Section Member and Chief Executive Officer of Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, California, for the past 20 years, will receive the PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year for his “outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.” Mulligan’s students have captured hundreds of professional victories across every major tour, highlighted by Patrick Cantlay, John Cook, Melissa “Mo” Martin, Amy Alcott, Jessica Korda, Nelly Korda, Paul Goydos, among many others.
PGA Golf Executive of the Year – Joe Assell, PGA, a Colorado PGA Section Member, and the President & Chief Executive Officer of GOLFTEC in Englewood, Colorado, was named PGA Golf Executive of the Year, which recognizes outstanding services in an executive management position, as well as leadership, vision, courage, moral character and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game.
Bill Strausbaugh Award – PGA Master Professional Tim Beckwith, PGA was a decorated PGA Member in the North Florida PGA Section and most recently the Director of Golf at Sarasota National Golf Club in Venice, Florida. He is being honored posthumously with the Bill Strausbaugh Award after passing away last year following a courageous bout with cancer. The Award recognizes a PGA Professional who demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership through teaching and mentoring other PGA Professionals.
PGA Professional Development Award – PGA Master Professional Dr. Rich Ballinger, a PGA Member since 1996, has earned the PGA Professional Development Award. This honor recognizes a PGA Member who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA Professionals. A graduate of the Ferris State University PGA Golf Management University Program, Ballinger has served as the Director of the Sam Houston State PGA Golf Management University Program in Huntsville, Texas, since its inception in 2005.
Deacon Palmer Award – Bryan DeMarco, PGA, Head Professional at Pine Barrens Golf Club in Jackson, New Jersey, has been selected for the Deacon Palmer Award, honoring a PGA Professional who displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. Diagnosed with cancer at just 21 years old during his junior year at Penn State, DeMarco battled the disease while pursuing his dream to become a PGA Professional.
Patriot Award – Joe Grohman, PGA, Owner and Operator of the Joe Grohman Golf Foundation in Hobe Sound, Florida, is the recipient of the Patriot Award. The honor is granted to 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. Grohman serves as a National Trainer for PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), the signature military program of PGA REACH.
PGA Player Development Award – Thomas Yost, PGA, a 24-year PGA Member in the Sun County PGA Section, is the PGA Player Development Award recipient. This honor bestows special recognition to a PGA Member who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development. Yost is a teacher of life skills and character values as the Director of Programs at the First Tee – Four Corners in Kirtland, New Mexico.
PGA Youth Player Development Award – Andrew Miller, PGA, a Philadelphia PGA Section Member and PGA Director of Instruction at LedgeRock Golf Club in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, is the 2021 PGA Youth Player Development Award winner. The honor is given to a PGA Member who has made extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of youth player development.
PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Resort Category – Caroline Basarab, PGA, a Georgia PGA Section Member and Director of Retail at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia, is the PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award – Resort Category winner. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who excel in business and merchandising for the promotion of golf. This marks the second time that Basarab has received this national award (2009).
PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Public Category – Brian Tolnar, PGA, the Director of Golf Operations & Recreation at Mill Creek MetroParks Golf Course in Youngstown, Ohio, is the PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award – Public Category recipient. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf.
PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Private Category – Ian Brown, PGA, a Member of the Illinois PGA Section and Director of Golf at Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook, Illinois, is the recipient of the 2021 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award – Private Category. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf.
For full bios of the National Awards recipients being honored at the 106th PGA Annual Meeting, click here.
The Herb Graffis Award will be presented to the Carolinas PGA Section on Wednesday, Nov. 2, during the PGA Annual Meeting.
Michael Abramowitz PGA of America email@example.com 561-389-4647
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