Fisher and Sturgeon

Fisher and Sturgeon Win the 2019 Utah Section PGA Pro-Assistant Championship

There is a first time for everything, and for The Country Club’s Wayne Fisher and Haley Dunn-Sturgeon it was the theme for their 2019 Utah Section PGA Pro-Assistant Championship victory on November 18-19 at Bloomington Country Club and Sunbrook Golf Club.

“I am ecstatic,” Fisher said about the win. “I’ve heard so much about how she (Sturgeon) plays. This is actually our first time playing together. We came down not knowing how each of us played. I got to watch her and play Bloomington for the very-first time ever, so it’s been a couple days of firsts.”

Fisher and Sturgeon got off to a quick start at Bloomington in the first round with a (-12) 60. At one point, starting on the 13th hole in the shotgun start, The Country Club duo birdied seven holes in-a-row.

Sturgeon shot a career-low (-9) 63 on her own ball in the Fourball format, maintaining her good play from the Utah Section Women’s Match Play Championship.

“Putting, I made putts from everywhere,” Sturgeon said. “I was striking the ball well, putting well and to shoot 63, it was incredible. Career low, first bogey-free round, a lot of firsts down here.”

“I think the country club is going to be ecstatic,” Fisher continued. “This is above and beyond, we’ve talked about coming down. I used to come down with Mr. Branca, but it’s been quite a few years so it’s nice to represent TaylorMade because TaylorMade has been fantastic to me over the years so I’m thrilled that I get to represent this.”

Fisher and Sturgeon shot a second-round (-4) 68 for a 128-tournament total, which barely outlasted the charging Bloomington team of Scott Brandt and Jed Wright, who shot a final round (-10) 62 to finish one-stroke back at 129.

St. George Golf Club’s James Hood and Cameron Hamill, a new associate in the Utah Section, won the Net Division with a (-20) 62-62 – 124 to win by one-stroke over three other teams tied at 125.

“We just ham-and-egged it,” said Hamill. “James made a couple of good putts on our last few holes and got it done.”

“We didn’t make too many mistakes at the same time,” Hood added “We saved ourselves on a couple of holes and took advantage of some good shots.”

We owe Phil Deimling of TaylorMade and Jeff Smith of Adidas a huge thank you for supporting the Section in being sponsors of this year’s Pro-Assistant Championship. They treat our membership well and we’re lucky to have them.

Another thank you goes to Bloomington Country Club and Sunbrook Golf Club for allowing us to use their facilities and play their courses. It was a fitting end to a great year of tournaments.

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Craig Norman

Craig Norman, 2019 Utah Section PGA Professional of the Year

By Dick Harmon

All Craig Norman ever wanted to be was a golf professional, make the game his life. When he got his wish, it was all he dreamed it would be.  Going to his job as head golf professional at Hobble Creek Golf Course is a step towards heaven for the Provo native.

Norman was named the 2019 Professional of the Year by his peers in the Utah Section of the PGA of America in October, an honor that left him stunned and speechless, humbled to his core.  “I had no idea and I may not be deserving of that great honor,” he said.

“If you look at the names on that list over the years, that is a lot to live up to. I am deeply honored and cannot believe it, no, not at all.”

Humility aside, Norman has etched a profile in Utah as a consummate pro, uniquely gifted to strike the right balance between manager of manicured acres and a facilitator of fun with clubs, balls, grass, and cups.  It takes an artist to put it altogether.

Norman, the nephew of one of Utah’s longest-tenured golf professionals, the retired Sonny Braun, replaced Braun a few years ago after being his assistant since 1993. Before that, he was an assistant at Riverside Country Club in Provo from 1986-1993. 

Norman’s work in 2019 is highlighted by overseeing the return of one of the state’s favorite public courses after issues with pump and water rights reduced irrigation by 30 percent for the 2018 season.  He has increased corporate tournament play to 40-plus events a year, organized an efficient, hardworking staff, increased participation in the men’s, women’s and junior associations tied to the course and traveled the state as a volunteer rules official. He was the official starter at the Siegfried and Jensen Utah Open at Riverside Country Club, just 11 days after undergoing back surgery.

A friendly, upbeat, accommodating face in Utah golf, his dedication and love for the game is evident in everything he does. It is a natural offshoot of his upbringing by parents who made golf their lifetime hobby and a sister, Terry Norman Hansen, one of the most prolific women’s amateur players in state history. Craig, who played at Provo High School, played collegiately at Utah State University.

“I wish my mom and dad were here to see this,” said Craig who lost his father in 2007 and his mother, a prolific association winner at East Bay and old Timpanogos Golf Courses, in 2017.

Norman has always been enchanted by the draw of golf.  “It’s the most unfair game you play because it’s a chase of the unattainable yet attraction of the belief that you can master it.  You can hit it perfectly, but if you can’t make a 3-footer, it’s all for naught.”

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - OCTOBER 3: Zach Johnson hits out of a bunker on the fourth hole during the first round for the 43rd National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship held at the PGA Golf Club on November 14, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Hailey Garrett/PGA of America)

Zach Johnson Leads at the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship

By Pat Kravitz, PGA of America

Farmington, Utah’s Zach Johnson carded a bogey-free, 5-under 67 to gain a one-stroke lead after 18 holes of the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship.

University of Minnesota Assistant Golf Coach Matt Rachey is alone in second place after posting a 4-under 68. PGA Golf Club is playing host to the 43rd edition of the national championship, which concludes Sunday.

Johnson, who began his round on the back nine of the Wanamaker Course, kicked off his day with a 30-foot birdie from the fringe on No. 10. He rattled off three more birdies on 12, 15 and 16 to reach 4-under through his first seven holes.

“The putt on 10 was a nice way to start the tournament,” said Johnson, a 36-year-old PGA Assistant Professional at Davis Park Golf Course in Fruit Heights, Utah. “With the weather and the wind, it wasn’t easy out there. Pars were a good score. Luckily, I drove it really well today.

“I haven’t been playing much. Yesterday, I played a practice round with some friends from Utah and really played like a dog. I spent some time working on things in the mirror last night. I came out and hit it pretty well, so it was encouraging to find something that works.”

Johnson added a fifth birdie on No. 8 and maintained a clean card by knocking in a 10-foot par putt on No. 9 (his 18th).

This week’s champion, if eligible, will earn a berth in the 2020 PGA Professional Championship, which is slated for April 26-29 at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. The winner will also receive $12,000 of the $150,000 purse. The top-four finishers, if eligible, will earn a berth in next year’s National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, to be held November 12-15 at PGA Golf Club.

Leaderboard: https://tinyurl.com/yjs3wwle

Photo by Hailey Garrett/PGA of America

Jon DeBoer

2019 Utah PGA Award Winner Highlight: Jon DeBoer

The Utah Section PGA Assistant of the Year Award was given to Talisker Club at Tuhaye Assistant Golf Professional Jon DeBoer, and for good reasons.

DeBoer focuses on people first, business second. He realizes the game we all love is filled with people that love the game. If those people are taken care of, then his job is done correctly.

When asked what he focused on professionally this year he said, “This season was a transition. Our club went through several significant changes… I focused on continuing the traditions of service while helping to communicate to our membership the new story of our development group. I helped more on the business side of the transition and I think that added value to what golf professionals do for their clubs. Also, I tried to step out from behind the counter to greet people. When I was focused last year on the business I spent way too much time looking at the computer instead of the people who are in front of me. Pro tip of the day: Always make sure your documents are on “auto-save” so you can step away at a moment’s notice.”

It is this mindset of a people-first focus that makes DeBoer the PGA professional he is today and just one of many reasons it is no surprise that he won the Assistant of the Year award for all he’s done in 2019.

“The award reflects an acknowledgment of all assistant professionals within our section,” DeBoer said. “I’ve worked for some amazing head golf professionals throughout my years and hope they know this is a product of their influences.

“Going forward this is just a benchmark in my progression and I hope to improve on the quality and consistency of my efforts,” he continued. “I know the level of professionalism in the other award recipients and other candidates; I feel I need to earn the award more now than ever going forward for them.”

DeBoer has been in the business since 1994, elected to PGA Membership in January of 2018 and at Tuhaye for the past-five seasons.

“I might still be an associate if I hadn’t recently married in 2015 and found a wife who told me to ‘get it done!’” he said.

“Many remember the travel to PGA schools. My first school occurred in Portland, Oregon. One hundred apprentices in the Downtown Hilton were greeted by the administrator. He set the rules for the week, the expectations and the consequences. He then straightened his bowtie and said, ‘Anyone who wants to make it through this week should probably stay away from Jon… Jon, would you stand up?’ Thanks Doug Vilven, I got 93 business cards before the end of the day.”

DeBoer, like many, worked for Vilven and was influenced by his happy demeanor, work ethic and professionalism that a PGA professional should have.

“I enjoy the sense of community that exists within the membership.  If I needed support in anything—professional or personal—the group of PGA professionals that were there for me is humbling.  I am proud of how PGA members look to enrich the game, the business and the people who are part of golf.  I am part of other professional groups but the Utah PGA Section has grown to becoming a family over my career.”

Jake Wyatt

2019 Utah PGA Award Winner Highlight: Jake Wyatt

Gladstan Golf Course Assistant Golf Professional Jake Wyatt, who’s been a member of The PGA of America since October 2017, has been selected to receive the 2019 Utah Section PGA Youth Player Development Award.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Wyatt said. “I am extremely humbled and grateful to win this award. Junior golf development has always been a passion of mine since entering the PGA.”

Every golfer can agree that growing the game is important to keep one of the world’s oldest sports alive and thriving, but it requires honorable characteristics to focus their career on helping youth learn the game and reap from the benefits of the life lessons the game teaches.

“Introducing the game to the next generation is a big motivation,” Wyatt continued. “I want our game to be accessible to anyone and everyone. Focusing on junior golf and making a less-intimidating, more-fun oriented program has always been a goal of mine. The more friendly and fun we make it up here, the more students we have seen come back and enjoy our practice facilities and the golf course. I want to make Gladstan a place where all the kids in Payson and the surrounding areas love to come, enjoy and spend their time learning the game that we already know and love.”

Gladstan Golf Course offers a yearly junior golf program with several classes, lessons and fun competitions. In addition to their own program Wyatt has lead the creation of and coaches the Gladstan PGA Jr. League team.

“Starting the PGA Jr. League in Utah County has been tremendous,” Wyatt said. “Seeing how the kids react in the team environment and the friends they make has been amazing. I look forward to seeing how we can keep growing and improving the league in the coming years.”

In addition to his responsibilities at Gladstan, Wyatt volunteers his time with the local high school golf team and loves to play golf with his family.

The game offers many things to those who dedicate their time and effort to sharing it with others. For Wyatt, it’s what his career is centered on and he’s influencing the game in Utah because of it.

“It has been the most fulfilling part of my PGA membership experience. Seeing the joy and excitement when a student hits a great shot or comes into the shop to tell me how they played or how much fun junior camp is. It’s been very rewarding.”

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2019 Utah PGA Award Winner Highlight: Bryant Boshard

Golf often has a stereotype of being a private game, or a game that’s hard to begin because of price, location and intimidation. For The Ridge Golf Club Head Professional Bryant Boshard, winner of the 2019 Utah PGA Player Development Award, it’s exactly opposite.

“Everyone needs a chance to excel in something they enjoy doing,” Boshard said. “Each person that walks through our doors is another opportunity for us to share the great game with. Our program selection makes it easy to cater to every type of golfer, from young to old and beginner to advanced. We want you at The Ridge and we are here to help develop your game and enhance your experience on and off the course.”

Boshard has been in the golf business for 20 years, received his PGA Membership in 2014, has been at The Ridge for seven years and the head golf professional for two.

Inclusion is a main focus for Boshard and his staff. Developing programs for juniors, seniors and veterans has shaped the day-to-day life at The Ridge in West Valley City.

“I became a PGA professional because of my love and passion for the game,” Boshard explained. “Over the past few years working with juniors, seniors and veterans has shown me the value and joy it brings to not only their lives, but my own as well. My new reason for being a PGA professional is to continue to spread the game to as many people as possible and share the joy and love it brings to my life.”

Because of this inclusion-centered belief, The Ridge has won several awards including the Utah Parks & Rec Outstanding Adaptive Program in 2018 because of their focus on veterans and the Utah Best of State Golf Programs in 2019.

The Ridge offers leagues for men, women, juniors and veterans. In the first year of The Ridge Veterans League it ran for three months, the next year doubled and ran for six months and they are expecting it to continue to grow for next year.

“I’m grateful and humbled that I have been selected for this prestigious award and I will take pride in receiving it,” Boshard said. “This award would not have been possible without our amazing assistant golf professionals and the entire staff at The Ridge. Since we re-opened our doors in 2013 our goal has always been the same: Make The Ridge Golf Club a place where people of all ages and skill levels can call home. A place they feel comfortable and a place where they know that our staff is always here to help.”