ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- For the second consecutive year, the Sun Golf Association has captured one of the country's most prestigious PGA awards -- this time The Club at Las Campanas director of golf Jason Epstein being named the organization's Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities.
Epstein, 43, will be one honored alongside the other PGA National Award winners at a ceremony Wednesday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The ceremony will be broadcast later this winter on Golf Channel.
"It feels tremendous to be honored by your peers like this," Epstein, who has been at the Santa Fe course for five years, told the Journal. "This is an award won by courses like Congressional, Merion and some of the most iconic clubs in the country. The award speaks to the commitment of our team, the golf environment, the entire staff paying attention to detail and also the business. This isn't something can be done alone."
This prestigious award recognizes a PGA member who has excelled as a business person/merchandiser in the promotion of golf.
Last year, New Mexico State University's Pat Gavin -- the director of the school's Professional Golf Management program -- was named winner of the Horton Smith Award, centered around education of the game.
It's more than a coincidence that Epstein graduated from the NMSU program.
The Miami native played college golf for the Aggies and graduated in 1995.
"Pat (Gavin) has built it into the elite program in the United States," Epstein said of the NMSU PGM. "We've (the Sun Country) won five national awards in history, and to be among company of those, including Pat, is a tremendous honor. It's a testament to their sacrifice commitment, and it's really humbling."
Epstein said Las Campanas had more than 40 PGM interns during the past five years, and 12 have become PGA members.
"To me, that is the best," he said. "To be able to pass on what I've learned, I feel very lucky."
Epstein and wife of 10 years, Tina, have three children: Samuel, 8; Miles, 6 and Alli, 3.
He said raising his family in Santa Fe -- and being a part of Las Campanas -- is a fantastic experience.
"It's a great community," he said. "Las Campanas affords a tremendous amount of latitude to implement my vision. We've been very successful on all fronts, and that means a lot.
"Being a golf professional is a tremendous sacrifice. Your five-day weeks end up including weekends and holidays and are 60 to 70 hours a week. It takes a lot of time away from family, so being acknowledged for the work and sacrifice means a great deal."
This article was written by Mark Smith from Albuquerque Journal and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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