John Bermel, the head men’s and women’s golf coach at Northern Iowa as well as the PGA head professional at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course and a member of the Iowa PGA Section, has been named the winner of the Labron Harris Sr. Award. The award, presented by E-Z-GO in cooperation with The PGA of America and the Golf Coaches Association of America, is presented to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game and who represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.
“As a member of two outstanding organizations -- the PGA and GCAA -- to be recognized as the recipient is truly a great honor,” Bermel said. “Labron Harris paved the way for us as golf coaches to be a member of both the PGA and GCAA.”
Bermel, who began his UNI career in 1995, guided the men’s team for seven seasons (1995-2002) and then took on the additional duties of the women’s golf team in the 2002-2003 season. He was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2001.
A three-time NCAA Division III All-America honoree and four-year varsity letter winner at Central College in Pella, Iowa, Bermel brings nearly 20 years of competitive and teaching experience to the Northern Iowa men’s and women’s golf programs.
After graduating from Central College in 1984, he served as assistant golf professional at three highly respected Iowa courses between 1986 and 1989 -- the Mason City Country Club, the Des Moines Golf and Country Club, and Sunnyside Country Club in Waterloo. While at Mason City, he was chosen the 1987 Assistant Golf Professional of the Year.
In 1990, Bermel became the head golf professional at Beaver Hills Country Club in Cedar Falls, a position he held until December 1995. He currently is the head professional at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course, also in Cedar Falls.
In addition to his vast technical expertise, he also is quite a competitor. He is a four-time Iowa Section PGA Champion and a runner-up on five other occasions. He also competed in three National Club Professional Tournaments, four Nike/Hogan Tour Events, four PGA Tour Events between 1990 and 1995, and two PGA Championships.
Bermel also serves as the teaching instructor of Executive Golf Limited. He’s worked with some of the best golf instructors in the United States to learn and teach the latest methods of golf instruction. Bermel also served as director of the Iowa PGA Junior Academy.
In July 2009, Golf Digest named Bermel “The Best Teacher” of golf in the state of Iowa, based on a poll of golf instructors. He was also named Iowa Section Teacher of the Year in 2000 and served on the section’s board of directors from 2000-2002.
“The Iowa PGA Members, Apprentices, and Staff congratulate John Bermel on winning the 2011 Labron Harris Award,” said Iowa PGA Section Executive Director Troy Christensen. “John Bermel’s participation in junior golf initiatives at the section level displays his passion and his willingness to improve the lives of children through the game of golf. John has been instrumental in implementing and constantly improving the Iowa PGA Junior Tour, Iowa PGA Pee-Wee Tour, Iowa PGA Drive, Chip, & Putt Championship, and Iowa PGA Parent Child Events. If our office ever needs help with any type of junior event, John Bermel is only a phone call away, just waiting to help.”
Bermel follows in the footsteps of past Labron Harris Award presented by E-Z-GO recipients Jay Hardwick (Virginia Tech/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Devon Brouse (Purdue/Indiana PGA Section), the late Rod Myers (Duke/Carolina PGA Section), Herb Page (Kent State/Northern Ohio PGA Section), Jim Brown (Ohio State/Southern Ohio PGA Section), Pat Owen (U.S. Naval Academy/Middle Atlantic PGA Section) and Rick Pohle (Williams College/ Northeastern New York PGA Section).
“E-Z-GO is honored to partner with the GCAA to present Coach John Bermel with the Labron Harris Sr. Award,” said Kevin Holleran, president of E-Z-GO. “Coach Bermel has dedicated his career to enriching the lives of young men and women through the game of golf. His devotion to growing our sport is matched only by his track record in developing successful, confident student-athletes of integrity and character, both on the course and in the classroom.”
E-Z-GO, a Textron Inc., company, is a leading global manufacturer of golf cars, utility and personal transportation vehicles. Products sold under the E-Z-GO brand include RXV and TXT fleet golf cars, Freedom® RXV and Freedom TXT personal golf cars, E-Z-GO Terrain and Express personal utility vehicles, and the 2Five street-legal low-speed vehicle. E-Z-GO also produces the Cushman line of heavy-duty material carriers and utility vehicles, and the Bad Boy Buggies line of off-road utility vehicles for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.
E-Z-GO boasts the largest sales and service network in the industry, with more factory branch locations and independent distributors than any other manufacturer of golf cars and utility vehicles. Founded in 1954 in Augusta, Ga., E-Z-GO became part of Textron Inc. in 1960.