The Metropolitan PGA Section, composed of 737 members and apprentices, was presented Saturday with its first Herb Graffis Award, which annually recognizes a PGA Section for extraordinary or exemplary contributions in player development, whether by conducting or supporting Play Golf America initiatives.
The Herb Graffis Award is named in honor of the late golf historian, author, founder of golf magazines, the National Golf Foundation and co-founder of the Golf Writers Association of America. Graffis died at age 95 in 1989.
2010 PGA OF AMERICA ANNUAL MEETING
The Metropolitan PGA Section, with headquarters in Elmsford, N.Y., was recognized at the 94th PGA Annual Meeting at Westin Copley Place in Boston.
"The Metropolitan PGA Section, and its talented membership, reflects the best values and qualities of our Association," said PGA of America President Jim Remy. "The Section has never wavered in its commitment to helping those who aspire to play the game. The Section's membership continues to display a great passion for contributing to player development. By its hard work and initiative, its members have formed a bond with many other organizations throughout the golf industry and it gives us great pride to present the Metropolitan PGA Section with the Herb Graffis Award."
The wide spectrum of events that Metropolitan PGA Professionals have endorsed, said Section President Joe Felder of Griffith Harris Golf Course in Greenwich, Conn., "has made us one big team."
"Whatever the event, the program, we have bonded together as PGA Professionals," said Felder. "I can point most recently to how our professionals gave lessons on Wall Street following the recent Ryder Cup Captain's news conference to having our Life Members giving clinics in Brooklyn. We have been fortunate to have 100 percent support in how we daily go about making golf better for everyone."
"It's not a measurement of one program or one success story, it is an accumulation through the years of a number of great PGA Professionals who are dedicated to developing the game and developing programs for growing the game as well as serving their own employers," said Metropolitan PGA Executive Director Charles Robson.
"We are dedicated to not only having playing opportunities for youngsters in the Met Section, but also have been pleased to introduce the game to children of all ages who otherwise would never be exposed to golf. An example of that dedication has been the Golf In Schools Program and the formation of The First Tee of Metropolitan New York. It is not a five-year fix, but rather a continual priority of our Section that dates back to the 1980s."
The Metropolitan PGA Section established the Met PGA Junior Tour in the 1970s, which today features more than 90 events. The success of the Tour led to the Met PGA Junior Golf Association in the 1980s that today services more than 1,300 youngsters.
The Metropolitan PGA Section has a unique partnership with The First Tee of Metropolitan New York, joined by the Metropolitan Golf Association, and a group of business and golf leaders. The First Tee of Metropolitan New York has expanded to four golf facilities and three affiliates or satellite venues, servicing more than 100,000 golfers annually.
The Section's Golf In Schools program began a new curriculum several years ago by offering PGA of America instruction to the New York City Schools that featured golf teams competing in the Public School Athletic League. Metropolitan PGA Professionals now have contact with hundreds of youngsters annually who are playing golf on high school boys' and girls' teams.
This year, the first Met PGA Kids Festival was presented, joining youngsters in the Met PGA Junior Association and The First Tee of Metropolitan New York.
The Metropolitan PGA also joined The PGA of America's efforts to educate local, state and federal lawmakers to the value and importance of the golf industry. A major team effort took place to complete the project, which involved the Metropolitan PGA, the Northeastern, Central and Western PGA Sections, the Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA), amateur associations, club managers, superintendents, owners, builders and industry leaders. Together, the effort resulted in a New York Golf Economy Report, which was released in March 2010 in Albany, N.Y., to legislative leaders, key agencies and political groups.