Joe Summerhays

Joe Summerhays Wins Winter Classic; Annual Meetings Kick Off 2020 Season

Whether it’s the golf or the meetings, the week of the Utah Section PGA Awards Banquet, Annual Meeting and the RMT/EZGO Winter Classic is always an excellent way to start of the new Utah PGA season.

The annual Awards Meeting really got the week moving by celebrating our 2019 award winners, highlighted by our PGA Professional of the Year Craig Norman.

President Dustin Volk, Professional of the Year Craig Norman, Vice President Kent McComb

Not only did we celebrate Norman and the rest of our award winners, for the first time in Utah PGA history, ABC 4 News Sports Director Wesley Ruff was named as the first Utah Section PGA Honorary Member.

Ruff was completely surprised and received the honor humbly. He is more-than deserving for this honorary membership for all the support he has given to the Section and our members throughout his career.

Executive Director Dustin Dehlin & Utah PGA Honorary Member Wesley Ruff

Another first for the Utah Section happened this week as Glenmoor Head Golf Professional Darci Dehlin-Olsen was sworn in as a director on the Utah PGA Board of Directors during the Annual Meeting, becoming the first-ever woman director in Section history.

Utah PGA Director Darci Dehlin-Olsen & Incoming District 9 Director Jared Barnes

Among all the first-time events, inspiring speeches and celebrating award winners for their overachieving, there was golf being played.

Joe Summerhays showed very little off-season rust as he had a total of 92 Stableford points to win the Winter Classic Championship, with rounds of 66-71. With a seven-under 66 at St. George Golf Club, Summerhays got off to a fast start and was tied for first with Haley Sturgeon for the overall trophy.

The final round didn’t see as low of scores, but Summerhays finished strong with birdies on his last two holes to win the Winter Classic by one point over second-place finisher Chris Moody, and two points ahead of Zach Johnson.

“Feels really good, I’m really pleased,” Summerhays said.  “I’ve actually been practicing quite a lot over the off season. I went to Florida and played some and I’m in pretty good playing shape, so I probably had an advantage over some of the guys.

“I drove the ball really well, it put me in position to score and I made a lot of putts yesterday. Today I didn’t, but I was hitting it good enough to score decent enough to win. I birdied my last two holes, one a par five and then my last was a par three – hit it to five feet and made it, so that was kinda cool. I didn’t know it was to win but it was still fun to finish strong.”

Summerhays has high hopes for this season, focusing on playing better. As for this week, it’s one he enjoys a lot, “I love it, it’s great. It’s always inspiring to hear the awards banquet. Kind of gets you pumped up to do better as an instructor and a player and it’s fun to see everyone. I love it, it’s a great start to the year.”

Haley Sturgeon continued her impressive play with a 66 at St. George Golf Club to tie Summerhays after round one but had a hard time carrying the momentum to the final round at Sand Hollow Resort.

Sturgeon would finish 4th in the overall race but would take home the first-place trophy for winning the Women’s Division with a total of 88 points.

“It feels amazing to start the year off strong,” she said. “I played solid for the two days, I just missed a few key putts coming down the stretch. I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going throughout the season.”

Haley Sturgeon – Women’s Division Champion

Steve Schneiter also started hot with a 66 at St. George Golf Club, playing in the Senior Division for 51 points. He managed to hold onto his lead and win after earning 36 points at Sand Hollow for an 87-point total. Scott Smith finished second with 84 points.

“Pretty much everything was working yesterday,” he said. “I saw the line better, I made a lot of putts, I hit right at my target. Today was a little off. It’s always nice to win a trophy. Even if it’s the old guy trophy. Usually I play the back tees but this week I decided to move up.”

Steve Schneiter – Senior Division Champion

David Hall took home the Super Senior Division with 84 total points, with a pair of 70s at St. George Golf Club and Sand Hollow. He fended off a charging Scott Brandt, who found 50 points at Sand Hollow to finish two points shy of Hall.

David Hall – Super Senior Division Champion

And last, but not least, Chip Garriss won the Legends Division with 78 points. After being tied with Ronald Branca after the first round, he played steady with 35 points in the final round.

Chip Garriss – Legends Division Champion

We owe a big thank you to Brandon Bonham and Chad Kartchner of RMT/EZGO and to Mike Stanger of Underarmour for their support of the Winter Classic.

Thank you to Larry Rickets of SunRiver Golf Club for hosting our Day 1 Team Scramble, and to James Hood of St. George Golf Club and Adam Jasperson of Sand Hollow Resort for hosting the final two rounds.

Click HERE for results.

Click HERE for Awards Banquet and Annual Meeting photos.

Feb 2020 PGA Monthly Social Media

Utah PGA Monthly February Issue

The February issue of Utah PGA Monthly digital magazine is here! In efforts to enhance communication with Utah Section PGA members, Utah PGA Monthly was created to celebrate and recognize PGA Professionals in Utah and all they do.

In this issue:

  • Why I Play with Lakeside Golf Course Assistant Professional Tim Kjar.
  • Industry Insider junior golf tips from InMotion Junior Golf Co-Owner Stacey Parkinson-Jones.
  • PGA Merchandise Show tips from Jeremy Ranch Golf & CC Head Professional Jake Hanley.
  • Membership Memories with The Barn Head Professional Kelly Woodland.

Click Here to Read!

Mick-Riley 1

Mick Riley: Utah’s Mr. Golf

By Shaun Delliskave for the Murray Journal

Cover photo: Mick Riley, right, and George Von Elm reunite in the 1950s to recall past glories. Photo courtesy of Marriott Library.

What is the only golf course in Utah named after an actual professional golfer? If you said Jeremy Ranch or Nibley Park, try again. That distinction belongs to Mick Riley Golf Course, named after the man known as the “Dean of Utah Golfers.” While the Murray course is always busy, most people have forgotten or don’t even know about Riley. Also, contrary to many high school golf team rumors, Mr. Riley is not buried by the clubhouse (he is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery, although he probably wouldn’t have complained had he been buried at a golf course).

Born in 1897 in Burke, Idaho, Joseph Michael (Mick) Riley found his way to Utah. There weren’t many options for linksters when Riley was taking up the sport in the 1910s. At the time, Forest Dale had a hitching post for golfer’s horses.

Riley learned golf by caddying at the Salt Lake Country Club, being mentored by notable golfers such as George Von Elm, several years his junior. Von Elm, who grew up in Utah and California, and with Riley as his caddie, took on one of the preeminent golfers of the day, Bobby Jones (who would later found the Masters Golf Tournament). Von Elm became the first golfer from west of the Mississippi River to win a major tournament, and he not only instilled in Riley a passion for golf but exposed him to some of the best golf courses in America.

Like a duck to water, Riley’s experience, plus winning an occasional tournament, helped to secure his position as the first head professional at Nibley Park Golf Course. According to sportswriter Bill Johnston, there were only 122 active golfers in Salt Lake City at the time. For the uninitiated, a professional at a golf course is someone who makes their living from teaching the game, running golf clubs and classes, and dealing in golf equipment.

An adroit golf pro, Riley earned the praises of the Salt Lake Telegram at the end of Nibley Park’s first season in 1922. “The work of Professional Riley at the course is worthy of special commendation. It was Riley’s job to develop interest and get the golfers out. He did.”

Not only did he get the golfers to come out, he developed a course championship, several tournaments, and high school matches. He developed greens and challenging hazards; he also developed aspiring golfers and advocated the sport to women. It was this latter undertaking that led Mick to meet his wife, Estella at one of his classes.

Mick Riley strongly advocated for women to pick up the game. Photo courtesy of Marriott Library.

Utah’s most enthusiastic golf cheerleader would do anything to bring people to experience the game. Even winter was no match for Riley, who opened one of the first indoor golf ranges in downtown Salt Lake in 1930. The Telegram reported that by 1947, 80 percent of all Utah golfers were, at one time, a pupil of Riley’s.

His green design skills were in high demand, as he helped plan courses in Magna, Tooele, Richfield, Moab, Indian Springs, and American Falls, Idaho, as well as Salt Lake’s Bonneville Golf Course. He also revamped the Nibley Park and Forest Dale courses. However, his passion project was Meadowbrook on 3900 South, which he designed and managed until his death. His progressive thinking led to the establishment of a daycare center at Meadowbrook, so that young mothers could take up the game.

After forming the Utah Golf Association, Riley was elected as vice president of the National PGA and served for three years. He also served on several national PGA committees. He was president of the Rocky Mountain Section of the PGA and Golf Professional of the Year in 1955 for the Rocky Mountain Section.

During the 1960s, he was asked to design the Little Valley Golf Course off of Vine Street in Murray. However, his death in 1964 prevented him from ever teeing off at the course. That honor was given to Estella, his wife, and their children at the newly christened Mick Riley Golf Course in 1967. Riley was also posthumously honored as a member of the Utah Golf Hall of Fame.

Perhaps the Salt Lake Telegram summed up Riley best, “The story of Mickey Riley is the story of golf in Utah, for without him many of the municipal courses that have made golf available to the ‘working man’ might not be.”    

Story reposted with permission by Shaun Delliskave and the Murray Journal.