PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – PGA Master Professional Michael Doctor, in his 28th season as PGA head professional at Skaneateles (N.Y.) Country Club, has been named recipient of the 2013 PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest annual honor bestowed upon a PGA of America Professional.
Doctor, 62, a resident of Camillus, N.Y., heads the 2013 PGA of America award class that will be honored in a ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 22, in conjunction with the 61st PGA Merchandise Show. The PGA of America Awards ceremony will be conducted in the Chapin Theater of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., and the son of a PGA Professional, Doctor was raised in Plattsburgh, a community in northeastern New York. From as early as the fourth grade, Doctor committed himself to building a career as a PGA Professional. Elected to PGA membership in 1979, Doctor has served two terms on the national PGA Board of Directors. He also excelled in Section leadership roles on the Board of Directors of the Northeastern New York PGA through 1984, and he has served two terms as president of the Central New York PGA Section.
Doctor is the 59th recipient of the PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award, and is the second member of the Central New York PGA Section to receive this honor (Harry Shepard of Elmira, N.Y., in 1956).
Other recipients of 2013 PGA of America Awards to be honored on Jan. 22, 2014, are:
•Lou Guzzi of Glenside, Pa. – PGA Teacher of the Year
•Nicole Weller of Savannah, Ga. – PGA Junior Golf Leader
•Daniel Pasternak of Morristown, N.J.– Bill Strausbaugh Award
•John Hughes of Haines City, Fla. – Horton Smith Award
•Jordan Young of Flat Rock, Mich. – PGA Player Development Award
Furthermore, The PGA of America will present two national awards on Nov. 23, at the 97th Annual Meeting at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina in San Diego, Calif. The recipients and awards:
•Bob Beach of Braintree, Mass. – Patriot Award
•Tennessee PGA Section – Herb Graffis Award (for exemplary contributions to Player Development)
Finally, the 2013 PGA Merchandisers of the Year will be honored Jan. 17, 2014, at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Fla. They are:
•Josue Reyes of Kohler, Wis. – Resort Facilities
•Richard Kline of Kutztown, Pa. – Public Facilities
•Scott Paris of Westfield, N.J. – Private Facilities
"We are blessed with a talented class of national award recipients who have always represented our Association at the highest level," said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. "They have been natural-born leaders and impact-makers in their respective fields. Whether it is in the golf shop, on the lesson tee or in front of community leaders, we are proud that this award class serves as the gold standard in the industry."
Michael Doctor - PGA Golf Professional of the Year
Doctor was born into a prolific golf family. His late father, John, competed in two Canadian Opens, five Senior PGA Championships and eight PGA Professional National Championships. Doctor's uncle, Steve, played on the PGA Tour, and two cousins competed on the former Hogan Tour and Canadian PGA Tour. Doctor began learning the game while working for his father in the bag room of Bluff Point Country Club in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Doctor has served two terms on the national PGA Board of Directors as District 4 Director, and continues a nearly three-decade term on the Central New York PGA Board of Directors. In 2007, Doctor was the national Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient for excellence in building club relations. Between 2001 and 2003, Doctor was named to GOLF Magazine's roster of "America's Top Golf Teachers" and was a five-time recipient of the Golf Digest Junior Golf Promoter Award. Doctor was named a U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Teacher in 2011-12, and is a U.S. Kids Certified Instructor.
In 1983, Doctor launched the first golf summit in the Northeastern New York PGA Section, and repeated the same initiative in 1996 and 2010 as a member of the Central New York PGA Section.
Inducted in 2009 into the Central New York PGA Hall of Fame, Doctor was the Section's 1991 and 2012 Golf Professional of the Year; a six-time recipient of the Section Bill Strausbaugh Award; a five-time winner of the Junior Golf Leader award; a two-time Horton Smith Award recipient for contributions to professional education; and was the 1995 Section Teacher of the Year. While a member of the Northeastern New York PGA Section, Doctor was named recipient of the 1983 and '84 Horton Smith Award.
Doctor and his wife, Nancy, live in Camillus, N.Y., and are parents of a son, Jonathan, a former Ohio State University Team member, now a PGA head professional at Chester Valley Country Club in Malvern, Pa.; a son, Michael; and a daughter, Megan.
Lou Guzzi - PGA Teacher of the Year
Guzzi, the owner and PGA director of instruction of the Lou Guzzi Golf Academy at Talamore Country Club in Ambler, Pa., is the first Philadelphia PGA Professional to be named PGA Teacher of the Year. Guzzi, 51, is a resident of Glenside, Pa., and a native of Philadelphia.
One of GOLF Magazine's "Top 100 Teachers in America," Guzzi began his love for golf as a youth, designing a makeshift course near his family home. Guzzi's first experience on a golf course came at age 17, when he and his future wife had a date to play 18 holes at Twining Valley Golf Club in Dresher, Pa. Guzzi turned professional in 1991, but had been giving golf lessons as an amateur long before entering the golf industry. Guzzi and the owner of Talamore developed a state-of-the-art year-round teaching facility on the practice range.
Today, Guzzi's extensive student base features more than 30 men and women PGA Professionals from throughout Greater Philadelphia; many of the highest-ranked junior tournament players in Pennsylvania; and many adult players who have won club championships.
Guzzi, who was elected to PGA membership in 1997, produces weekly instruction tip videos, presenting them on "Save Strokes by Saturday," for GOLF.com. He is an advisory board member and Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional of the Golf Range Association of America and the PGA Magazine Advisory Board: Instruction.
Prior to arriving at Talamore, Guzzi served as Flourtown Country Club head professional from 1991 to 2000, and as PGA director of instruction from 2001-06 at Experienced Golf Center in Fort Washington, Pa. He is the director of instruction for the Golf Talk Live Radio Show and Inside Golf TV Show on Comcast Sports Net. From 2009 through 2012, Guzzi was a member of the PGA Instruction Committee and currently is chair of the Philadelphia PGA Section Teaching Committee.
Guzzi and his wife, Laurie, live in Glenside, Pa., and are the parents of two daughters: Amber and Crystal.
Nicole Weller – PGA Junior Golf Leader
Weller, 41, is the PGA director of instruction at The Landings Club in Savannah, Ga., and is the second member of the Georgia PGA Section to receive the PGA Junior Golf Leader Award.
A native of Lakeville, Mass., Weller is a 1994 graduate of Wake Forest University, where she was a member of the women's golf team. She turned professional in 1995 and was elected to PGA membership in 1999. Weller was the 2012 Georgia PGA Horton Smith Award recipient for contributions to PGA education.
Recognized both locally and nationally as a youth golf leader, Weller is a self-published author of "Stick to Sports: Let's Play Golf," (2011), a sticker rewards book for children ages 4 to 8-plus. In 2012, Golf Digest recognized Weller as one of the "Top 50 Women Teachers," and that same year U.S. Kids Golf listed her on its Top 50 Junior Instructor list. She has also been named to the Top 50 Growth of the Game Teacher roster by the Golf Range Association of America.
Weller is a member of the LPGA Teaching & Coaching Professionals Division; a member of the SNAG Golf Advisory Board; the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Savannah Committee; the national PGA Youth Player Development Committee; the Georgia Junior Golf Committee; and Proponent Group Golf. She is a partner with both Little Linksters and The Littlest Golfer and is a staff ambassador with The Littlest Golfer. Weller is a U.S. Kids Golf Certified Instructor and a SNAG Certified Instructor.
She earned a master's degree in sports psychology from the University of Tennessee and entered the golf industry as an assistant professional at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville. Weller was a teaching professional at Fairways & Greens Golf Center in Knoxville and was president and site director for the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Knoxville (2002-2004), growing that program from 15 to more than 80 members.
Weller's husband, PGA Professional Ty Weller, is the PGA head professional at the Deer Creek Course at The Landings Club. The couple lives in Savannah, Ga.
Daniel Pasternak – Bill Strausbaugh Award (for mentoring PGA Professionals in improving employment situations and through service to the community)
A resident of Morristown, N.J., Pasternak's 22-year professional career includes serving on virtually every committee under the New Jersey PGA Section's jurisdiction and guiding more than 20 individuals to achieve PGA head professional status.
Pasternak, 45, is the PGA general manager and director of golf at Panther Valley Golf and Country Club in Allamuchy, N.J. He is the first member of the New Jersey PGA Section to receive the Bill Strausbaugh Award, established in 1979 in tribute to the late Middle Atlantic PGA Master Professional who left an indelible mark in PGA of America history. The award is presented to PGA Professionals who have distinguished themselves by mentoring their fellow PGA Professionals in improving their employment situations and through service to the community.
Born in Middletown, N.J., Pasternak attended Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., where he was the Most Valuable Player on the men's golf team in 1988, before graduating in 1990. He turned professional in 1991, and was elected to PGA membership in 1996.
Since 1999, Pasternak has served on or chaired 40 New Jersey PGA Section Committees. He served as Section president from 2009-10. Pasternak is a two-time recipient of the Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year (2007, '11) and a four-time recipient of the Section Bill Strausbaugh Award (2007, '08, '09, '11). In 2007, he was presented the Special Olympics New Jersey Chairman's Award for supporting the Higgins Classic, one of the state's largest fundraisers for Special Olympics. He is a member of the Special Olympics Golf Committee for the 2014 National Special Olympics, to be conducted in Absecon, N.J.
Pasternak is a founding trustee of the New Jersey Golf Foundation, and continues as a fundraiser, chairing the Foundation's golf marathons. He completed eight golf marathons, raising more than $150,000. Among his charitable endeavors are serving on the New Jersey State Golf Association (NJSGA) advisory board and supporting the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship.
Pasternak and his wife, Courtney, live in Morristown, N.J. They are the parents of sons, Liam and Ryan.
John Hughes – Horton Smith Award (for outstanding and continuing contributions to professional education)
PGA Master Professional John Hughes, 50, of Haines City, Fla., is the national director of Instruction for Golf Digest Schools in Orlando, Fla., and is the third member of the North Florida PGA Section to receive the Horton Smith Award, which was established in 1965 for outstanding contributions to professional education. The award is named for the late PGA Past President and inaugural Masters Champion.
Born in New York City, Hughes attended Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., where he graduated in 1985. He turned professional in 1993 and was elected to PGA membership in 2000. Hughes was the 2009 North Florida PGA Teacher of the Year and a two-time (2011, '13) Section Horton Smith Award recipient.
From 2005 through 2011, Hughes served on the PGA President's Council for Growth of the Game. Pursuing a promising career as a goalkeeper in semi-pro soccer, Hughes suffered a second knee injury, a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), in 1982, and made the transition to golf at age 24. Among the projects and initiatives that Hughes has played a key role in, is co-founding the North Florida PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit in 2009; launching the North Florida PGA University in 2010; and collaborating for a Master Professional Luncheon during PGA Merchandise Show week in Orlando.
Hughes and his wife, Judy, live in Haines City, Fla., and are parents to a son, Jack, and daughters, Lacey and Lauren.
Jordan Young – PGA Player Development Award
Young, a resident of Flat Rock, Mich., is the PGA director of instruction at Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth, Mich., and an eight-year member of The PGA of America. He is the first member of the Michigan PGA Section to be named recipient of the PGA Player Development Award.
Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, Young, 42, was a downhill skier in his early teen years before he went through a wide range of injuries that convinced him that he would be better served devoting his time to golf. Young was introduced to golf at age 9 by his maternal grandfather and became skilled enough to play collegiately at Eastern Michigan University. Following graduation in 1994, Young competed on the Canada PGA Tour from 1995 through 1998. He returned from the Tour to work in private golf clubs in Canada for the next 12 years.
Young, a Canadian citizen, applied for permanent U.S. residency in 1997, and marks his seventh season at Fox Hills Learning Center. Under Young's direction, Fox Hills developed a Junior Performance Center; launched a Junior Golf Camp in 2009; hosted a winter golf school; coordinated women's programs and fitness programs; hosted a high school coaches' "Open House;" secured a clubfitting and custom repair specialist; built community outreach with the local Plymouth (Mich.) Rotary chapter; and advanced its social media technology by promoting Global Golf Lessons. Young also serves as assistant men's golf coach at his alma mater.
He is in his second term on the Michigan PGA Board of Directors and in his second year at president of the Section's Eastern Chapter. Young was the 2012 Michigan PGA Teacher of the Year, the 2011 Section Horton Smith Award recipient and the 2009 and '11 Section Player Development Award recipient.
In 2009, Young founded the Michigan PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit, which annually engages more than 300 Section Professionals. Last winter, Young helped plan and coordinate the first Motor City Golf and Travel show in Detroit. The event attracted nearly 10,000 attendees.
Young and his wife, Kristin, live in Flat Rock, Mich., and are parents of a son, Dylan.
Bob Beach – Patriot Award
Beach is the PGA head professional at Braintree (Mass.) Municipal Golf Course, and has served as a lead instructor in the New England PGA Section for teaching golf to the physically challenged. A 28-year member of The PGA of America, Beach is the first member of the New England PGA Section to receive the Patriot Award.
Born in Watertown, Mass., Beach, 60, attended Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. The son of a World War II Air Force veteran, Beach began caddying and playing golf at age 13, learning the game at Oakley Country Club in Watertown. He later earned a Francis Ouimet Scholarship.
Beach turned professional and assisted at Braintree Municipal through 1979. From 1980-81, he worked at New England PGA summer camps, and from 1982 through 1990, at the Newton (Mass.) Commonwealth Golf Course.
Beach, who was elected to PGA membership in 1985, became PGA head professional at Braintree Municipal in 1991. His New England PGA Section honors include receiving the 1996 PGA Junior Golf Leader Award; the 2005 Teacher of the Year; the 2007 President's Plaque; the 2008 Golf Professional of the Year; the 2009, '11 and '12 Horton Smith Award; and the 2012 Patriot Award.
In 2008-09, Beach and his wife, Cathleen, donated golf equipment and clothing to Lt. Col. Gerry Hart of Westwood, Mass., and his command in Iraq. Since 2010, Beach and his wife have assembled Care Packs that included golf clubs and balls for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Beach served from 2009 through 2012 on the national PGA Disabled Golf Committee. In 2012, he conducted 46 free golf clinics, incorporating New England PGA Professionals, to provide instruction for veterans and disabled veterans at four locations in Massachusetts and one in Rhode Island.
Beach and his wife, Cathleen, live in Braintree, Mass., and are the parents of a son, John, and a daughter, Anne.
Tennessee PGA Section – Herb Graffis Award (for extraordinary and exemplary contributions in player development)
The Tennessee PGA Section (TPGA), comprised of more than 500 members and apprentices, is the recipient its first Herb Graffis Award, presented annually to a PGA Section that displays extraordinary or exemplary contributions in player development and growth of the game programming. The Herb Graffis Award is named in honor of the late golf historian, author, and founder of golf magazines, the National Golf Foundation, and co-founder of the Golf Writers Association of America.
The Section headquarters is at Golf House Tennessee in Franklin, 30 minutes south of Nashville. The TPGA Section's growth of the game initiatives are managed through the Tennessee Golf Foundation, which also supports disadvantaged youth through golf. Additionally, the Tennessee PGA Section's direct efforts among its PGA-operated facilities are channeled through Growth of the Game and Youth Player Development Committees.
Established in 1991, the Tennessee Golf Foundation is one of the largest and most respected golf organizations in the country. In 2012, more than 25,000 youth participated in Foundation-supported programs. The facility serves as the home for the state's golf associations; a nine-hole, par-3 course; and the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. The Section also continues the 40-year tradition of supporting the Tennessee PGA Junior Academy, which had 392 youngsters from 11 states participating in 2012.
Last year, 24 scholarships were distributed to children of military from Fort Campbell, and another 89 scholarships were presented to participants from The First Tee of Tennessee and other states.
Founded in 1968, the Tennessee PGA Section currently has 159 PGA-staffed facilities within the Section's boundaries. There are 25 employees on staff at Golf House Tennessee. Golf in Tennessee generates a total economic impact of $1.9 billion, a direct economic impact of $960.5 million, according to Section Executive Director Jeff Abbot. Golf is larger than Smoky Mountain Tourism, one-third the size of the music industry in the state, and golf raises more than $37 million in annual charitable donations.
There are 22,500 individuals employed in Tennessee through the game of golf and an annual wage income of more than $564 million. The Tennessee PGA Section also supports the statewide Toyota Junior Tour, which featured a record 1,518 members in 2012, with 74,000 rounds played in 44 days, surpassing another Tour standard.
Rick Kline – PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Public Facilities)
The PGA head professional at Sittler Golf Center in Kutztown, Pa., Kline, 51, was elected to PGA of America membership in 1989. He is the fourth Philadelphia PGA Professional to be named a recipient of the PGA Merchandiser of the Year award.
Kline and his wife, Patti, literally built the golf shop at Sittler Golf Center from the ground up after acquiring a facility in 1995 that included a driving range, mini-golf and an ice cream shop. From those modest beginnings, the Klines laid the foundation for a golf shop at Sittler Golf Center that would grow to more than $1.15 million in sales. A true family affair, Sittler Golf Center is run by a staff that also includes their two sons, daughter and Rick's father.
Kline began as an apprentice in 1984 at Seaview Country Club in Atlantic City, N.J., the host facility of the 1942 PGA Championship. In 1985, it was acquired by Marriott and became the Marriott Seaview Resort, where Kline would become PGA director of golf. At Sittler Golf Center, Kline has created a facility that has been named by Golf Range Magazine as a Top 50 Golf Range in America and by Golf Digest as one of the America's 100 Best Club Fitters. Meanwhile, Kline has mentored 12 PGA members into becoming PGA head professionals.
Kline and his wife, Patty, both graduates of Kutztown University, live in Lenhartsville, Pa. They are the parents of sons, Ricky and Ryan, and a daughter, Kasey.
Scott Paris – PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private Facilities)
Paris is the PGA director of golf at Plainfield Country Club, in Edison, N.J., and was elected to PGA of America membership in 1994. Paris, 45, is the fourth New Jersey PGA Section Professional to be named a recipient of the PGA Merchandiser of the Year award.
Paris manages a golf shop that while only 900 square feet in size, has made quite an impact. Annual sales have more than doubled since his first season at Plainfield in 1997, while growth has occurred in every retail category.
In the last two years, Plainfield was named a Platinum Club and one of the most prestigious private clubs in the world, with its course ranked in the Top 100 by Golf Digest, Golfweek and GOLF magazines. Over the years, the facility has hosted The Barclays in 2011, the 1987 U.S. Women's Open and the 1978 U.S. Amateur. With 330 active members, Plainfield Country Club generates 18,000 rounds per year from members and guests, in addition to 1,500 outing rounds.
The golf shop displays often play into the rivalries of the season. So, apparel themes and promotions are built around the famed Yankees-Red Sox battles in baseball and the Penn State-Syracuse game on the gridiron.
A member of the New Jersey PGA Section Board of Directors since 2002, Paris is currently the vice president of both the Section and the New Jersey Golf Foundation. Prior to serving at Plainfield, he was a PGA assistant professional at Aronimink Golf Club from 1992-96. He also served as an instructor at Simon Holmes Golf Schools, in Orlando from 1993-97. In addition, Paris competed on the Tommy Armour and North Florida Mini Tours from 1991-93, and taught at Bonita Bay Club Golf Schools from 1992-93.
A 1989 graduate of Bucknell University, Paris and his wife, Rachel, live in Westfield, N.J., and are parents of a son, Jack, and twins, Kate and Will.
Josue Reyes – PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Resort Facilities)
Reyes, 32, is the merchandise manager of Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits, in Kohler, Wis. A native of Puerto Rico, Reyes was elected to PGA of America membership in 2006. He is the fifth Wisconsin PGA Professional to be named a recipient of the PGA Merchandiser of the Year and the second from his facility (Dirk Willis in 2007).
In 2005, Reyes became the PGA head professional and golf shop manager at The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Sarasota, Fla. He was instrumental in the original design and layout of the shop, as well as in the club becoming the only AAA Five Diamond Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Resort in the United States.
Reyes joined the Kohler Co.'s Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits in 2008, and since then, the courses have respectively hosted the 2012 U.S. Women's Open and 2010 PGA Championship. Whistling Straits will also host the 2015 PGA Championship—for which Reyes serves as the Merchandise and Media Team Chair—and the 2020 Ryder Cup.
He has been named the Wisconsin Section PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Resorts in four consecutive years (2010-13); a Golf World 100 Best Golf Shop award recipient six times (2006, 2009-13); and an AGM Front Nine Award winner three times (2010-12).
Whistling Straits is known for its iconic and instantly recognizable logo. The concept for its creation was greatly inspired by a combination of a piece of furniture that contained gargoyle figures in the design of its legs; an image of the whistling wind; and a special twinkle in the eye of the logo's character, which pays homage to a God of Wind.
Reyes' family moved to Orlando from Puerto Rico when he was 8 years old. In 2004, he graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Hospitality Management. Reyes and his wife, Melissa, live in Sheboygan, Wis., and are parents of a son, Roberto, and a daughter, Adriana.