The Utah Section of the PGA of America recently honored an impressive group of Golf Community Leaders and Awards Winners. The 2011-2012 “class” of award recipients were honored at a gala awards banquet held in conjunction with the 27th Utah Section Annual Meetings held in St. George Utah. One of the many highlights of the event was the presence of PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. ABC 4’s Award Winning Sportscaster, Wesley Ruff who served as Master of Cerimonies, joined President Wronowski.
Over fifteen special awards were presented to Utah Section PGA Members and deserving golf industry leaders. Two outgoing Utah Section Board Members and one former Section President were also honored for their section service. Ten of the Utah Section PGA Players of the Year and major Champions were also acknowledged. Although the Utah Section is smaller than many sections across the country they have always been honorably represented by the quality of their award winners and the playing skill of their top golfers. Four of the Utah Section most valued PGA Member Awards are the Professional of the Year Award; The Teacher of the Year Award; The Assistant Professional of the Year Award; and the Junior Golf Leader of the Year Award.
This year’s Professional of the Year Award went to Ron Branca, Head Golf Professional at The Country Club in Salt Lake City. Ron followed in the footsteps of his “Utah Golf Hall of Fame” father Tee Branca. Ron Branca has certainly proven himself worthy recipient of this award in his own right. Ron has been a prominent member of the PGA for over 35 years and a member of the Utah Section PGA since its inception 25 years ago. Ron has served as an officer of the Central Chapter of the Rocky Mtn. Section, which was a precursor to the Utah Section. He has won Section Awards on numerous previous occasions including Teacher of the Year, Merchandiser of the Year, and the Gentleman Jeff Award. He is not only a great recipient of this award but a great PGA Golf Professional.
Ron’s commitment to quality service for the members at The Country Club, his service to his fellow golf professionals, and the interest in the golf community at large has been inspiring to all of us. He is a proven leader and a great player of the game. He exemplifies the great qualities that we most admire in our golf professionals. Congratulations to Ron for achieving this, “the highest award” bestowed on one of our PGA Members.
Corey Badger is the Utah Section PGA Teaching Professional of the Year for 2011-2012. He began his golf career working at Bonneville Golf Course twenty years ago under the tutelage of the legendary Dick Kramer. Badger apprenticed at Mountain Dell for over three year prior to moving into his current position as Director of Instruction at The Golf Lab. While working in his current position Corey has been able to immerse himself in his true passion of teaching the game.
Dustin Volk won the Assistant Professional of the Year Award for his work at Davis Park Golf Course under Head Golf Professional Brad Stone. Dustin won the award in the last possible year in that his quality work as an assistant professional was recognized and rewarded by Davis County elevating him to the Head Golf Professional position at Valley View GC. Dustin has worked at Davis Park for the past eleven years and made the move to Valley View as of August of last year. Dustin also proved he is a well-rounded PGA Professional by capturing Utah Section PGA Player of the Year honors as well as the Utah Section PGA Championship.
2011/2012 Award Winners and Championship Honorees:
Professional of the Year- Ron Branca, The Country Club
Assistant Professional of the Year- Dustin Volk, Davis Park GC
Teacher of the Year- Corey Badger, The Golf Lab
Junior Golf Leader- Quentin Sasser, Nibley Park GC
Merchandiser of the Year- Public Facilities- Jon Schneiter, Schneiter’s Bluff GC
Merchandiser of the Year- Private- Robert McArthur, Riverside CC
Horton Smith Award (Member Education & Mentoring)- Scott Brandt
Bill Strausbaugh Award (Member Employment & Community Activity)- Eric Nielsen, Willow Creek CC
Bill Howard Award (Amateur Golf Citizen of the Year)- Mark Yardley, Beaver High School Coach
Course Superintendent of the Year- Private- Tom Hulet, Bloomington CC
Course Superintendent of the Year- Public- Steve Larsen, Southgate GC
John Wallace Award (Salesperson of the Year)- Phil Deimling, TaylorMade
PGA President’s Plaque (Growth of the Game)- Chris Newson, Soldier Hollow GC
Gentleman Jeff Award (Professionalism)- Tom Costello
Retiring Board Members- Director Justin Moore, Mizuno Golf and Matt Baird, Riverside CC
Past President Honoree- Don Branca, Mulligans/Toads Golf & Games
Utah Section Player of the Year- Dustin Volk, Valley View GC
Utah Section PGA Section Champion- Dustin Volk
Utah Section PGA Assistant Player of the Year- Chris Moody, Riverside CC
Utah Section PGA Assistant Champion- Chris Moody, Riverside CC
Utah Section Senior Professional Champion- James Blair, Mulligan’s/Toads Golf & Games
Reid Goodliffe Utah Senior Professional Champion- James Blair, Mulligan’s/Toads Golf & Games
Utah Section PGA Senior Player of the Year- Brad Stone, Davis Park GC
Utah Section PGA Senior Match Play Champion- Brad Stone, Davis Park GC
Utah Section PGA Super-Senior Champion- Bob Rudd, Central Valley GC
Utah Open Champion- Clay Ogden
Utah Section PGA Match Play Champion- Troy Watkins, Riverbend GC
Utah Section Fourball Champions- Matt Baird & Chris Moody, Riverside CC
Utah Section PGA Nike Winter Classic Champion- Zack Johnson, Davis Park GC