Kent McComb 2022

Merchandiser of the Year (Public)

Kent McComb’s collection of seven career Utah Section PGA awards is well rounded, although one theme emerges regularly. For the third time in his tenure as Bountiful Ridge Golf Course’s Head Professional, McComb is the Merchandiser of the Year for public facilities.

McComb is tied with retired pro Lynn Landgren of Salt Lake City’s golf program for the most public Merchandiser of the Year awards in Section history (Robert McArthur and Eric Nielsen each has three private awards). The further distinction is that Bountiful Ridge claims five awards, with Scott Whittaker having earned the first two in 1987 and ‘88.

Merchandising “has always been both a great tradition and a team effort at Bountiful Ridge,” McComb said. “We try to keep our entire staff involved as much as possible. We believe that when our staff is having fun with it and feels invested, we are able to provide a higher level of customer service.”

Written by Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe.

Matt Seare

2022 Jon Unger Salesperson of the Year

Darci Olsen, Glenmoor Golf Course’s Head Professional, knew she could count on Matt Seare to help with her facility’s Special Olympics Unified Golf program, because of the way he approaches his job.

Seare’s nature of being attentive to a golf shop staff’s inventory needs made him the 2022 Jon Unger Salesperson of the Year in the Utah Section PGA.

Seare, a University of Utah graduate, has spent 19 years with Bridgestone Golf. The award “means everything to me, because it comes from my customers,” he said. “I’m so lucky to have a career that I love and get to do business with some wonderful people.”

Ned Siegfried 2


Named in honor of former Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, the Governor’s Golf Industry Service Award is presented about every two years, recognizing “an individual or golf facility that shows tremendous service and support to the Utah golf community.”

Ned Siegfried’s 2022 award coincides with his 20th year as the title sponsor of the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open. He’s also an independent member of the Utah Section PGA’s board of directors.

Siegfried is a two-time Wesley Ruff Golf Citizen of the Year, including one award he shared with Mitch Jensen, the co-founder of their law firm. Siegfried considers himself honored “to serve the greater golf community.” Devin Dehlin, the Section’s executive director, said of Siegfried’s Utah Open support, “Anything we’ve ever asked, he’s done.”

Written by Kurt Kragthorpe.
Photo: Ned Siegfried 2022 Utah Open with Devin Dehlin.

Brock Padilla 2022

Merchandiser of the Year (Private) – Alpine CC’s, Brock Padilla

The description of the Utah Section PGA’s Merchandiser of the Year awards includes the phrase “promotion of the game.” There are a lot of ways to accomplish that goal, as Brock Padilla and his staff showed in 2022 while earning the recognition among private facilities.

Padilla, Alpine Country Club’s Head Professional, developed Alpine-theme items such as scented candles, soap, bar ware, basketball hoops, cornhole sets and tie-dyed caddie towels. The golf shop took on something of “a boutique feel,” Padilla said, as the staff maximized the club’s rebranding process as “an opportunity to bring in new items that our members haven’t seen before.”

Padilla has over 20 years of experience in the golf industry and has been with Alpine for over eight years.

Chris Marx

Chris Marx selected for Jeff Beaudry Golf Ambassador Award

The Jeff Beaudry Golf Ambassador Award is unique among the Utah Section PGA’s annual honors, recognizing longtime performance. Approaching his 25-year anniversary as the Head Professional of Brigham City’s Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Chris Marx certainly qualifies. Even so, Marx said, “I keep trying to view myself as a young guy. … It’s kind of a weird feeling to think I’ve been here that long. I’m still going 100 miles an hour.”

That pace is partly due to Marx’s ability to govern himself, as an independent contractor at a municipal facility. That’s unusual in the industry these days, and he appreciates Brigham City’s model. He’s also appreciative of having role models and mentors in the Section, including veteran pros whom he actually addresses as “Hero.”

Marx is a former Professional of the Year, a Player Development Award winner and a two-time Youth Player Development Award recipient. As for his latest award, he said, “The thing that means the most to me is having my name next to some of the people that are on that list. It makes you feel awesome.”

Written by Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe.

Sue Billek Nyhus plays her tee shot at the third hole during the first round of match play at the 2018 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis, Mo. on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.  (Copyright USGA/Matt Sullivan)

Utah Golf Hall of Fame’s Sue Nyhus named Utah PGA Professional Development Award honoree

Coaching comes naturally to Sue Nyhus, formerly the longtime women’s golf coach of Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. Having recently become a PGA Professional, Nyhus considers herself “uniquely qualified” to mentor aspiring PGA members. She has the life experience of a veteran teacher, yet also can relate to someone who’s going through the process.

That vantage point, plus a willingness to give back, have resulted in Nyhus’ 2022 Professional Development Award in the Utah Section PGA. “I love helping, and will do it as long as I can be effective,” said Nyhus, a Utah Golf Hall of Fame member who works as the program director for The First Tee of Utah.

She contacted every associate member of the Section, offering any assistance and encouraging them to “finish one more assignment and to keep moving” in the PGA program.

Written by Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe. Photo Credit: USGA/Matt Sullivan 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.

Dustin Volk3

Dustin Volk, named Bill Strasbaugh Award honoree

Dustin Volk believes he can speak for Zach Johnson and Pete Stone in labeling Davis County’s top golf administrators “all super happy” about the way their jobs have evolved over the past two years.

Having been promoted to a new position as the county’s director of golf, Volk has used his experience as a day-to-day head professional to redefine those jobs for Johnson at Davis Park GC and Stone at Valley View GC. That work fits the evolving description of the Utah Section PGA’s Bill Strasbaugh Award, given to a member who has “created dramatic improvement in employment conditions of PGA golf professionals.”

As Volk said, “The jobs we all have now are different than they ever were, due to me experiencing it all.”

He likes what he’s doing, overseeing both courses with an approach that’s “not a lot of micromanaging, from me or the county (government),” Volk said.

Johnson, Stone and the assistant pro at each course seemingly have just the right amount of autonomy and incentives that have helped produce record revenues the past two years, Volk said.

Volk’s previous Section awards include Professional of the Year (2021), Merchandiser of the Year-Public (2018), Assistant Professional of the Year (2011) and Golf Citizen of the Year (1998).

Written by Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe

Kevin Connole VRT

Topgolf’s Kevin Connole earns Utah PGA Player Development Award

Kevin Connole describes himself as a golf “traditionalist.” That background seemingly wouldn’t translate well to a facility where music is playing, food is being served and golf balls are being launched into an area surrounded by giant netting.

Yet the longtime PGA Professional loves his job at Topgolf Salt Lake City, developing golfers in a venue that clearly has a role in growing the game. Connole’s 2022 Player Development Award is both a tribute to his teaching efforts and an acknowledgment of Topgolf’s place in a changing industry.

Having once thought of Topgolf as “not really golf,” Connole said, “my views have changed.”

He discovered that there are multiple ways of bringing new golfers into the game, and he’s thriving in Midvale. Connole gives as many as 35 lessons per week during the peak season and teaches about 150 junior golfers in summer camps. While some students just want to have more success hitting balls to Topgolf targets, many of them progress to golf courses. “They come here, and they get interested in the game,” Connole said.

Having worked as a pro at courses in Arizona and California, the BYU alumnus moved to Utah and was out of the golf business for five years before the Topgolf opportunity developed in February 2021. Connole quickly embraced his role. “My job is to teach golf, period,” he said.

And in less than two years, he has made a big impact. “We went from very few people knowing that Topgolf had an instructor to Kevin having lessons nonstop,” said Jordan Reese, the facility’s golf services manager. “His approach to each lesson is a testament to his desire to grow the game.”

Connole also uses Fore Lakes Golf Course as a way to helping golfers transition to playing the traditional game, and he conducts playing lessons with high school golfers.

Written by Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe

Todd Tanner Stacey Jones Inmotion

Stacey Jones, Todd Tanner – 2022 Youth Player Development award winners

The number of students is one way to judge the impact that Stacey Jones and Todd Tanner have made. The improvement of those golfers is another measurement. Yet the most remarkable gauge for the founders of InMotion Junior Golf is that kindergartners who began working with them are now high school golfers.

A lot can happen in 10 years, and InMotion now works with nearly300 students per week. The business “has grown into something that we never could have expected or imagined,” Jones said, “and we love it.”

Jones and Tanner share the Utah Section PGA’s 2022 Youth Player Development Award, honoring their enterprise that’s based at River Oaks Golf Course in Sandy and the Backyard Greens indoor facility in Lindon.

They try to make golf fun for children, although their approach is not just based on entertaining them. “The biggest part is actually seeing improvement from the kids,” Tanner said. “We want the kids to get better at golf.”

Jones added, “I want them to not only have fun, but truly learn the game, and learn the correct way.”

The former Stacey Parkinson grew up in a golf-oriented family and played for Lone Peak High School, prior to the launch of high school girls golf in Utah. She’s known for her patience in working with youngsters. It probably helps that she’s a mother of five children of age 6 and younger.

Jones is proud to be one of the many women whose influence in Utah golf keeps increasing. “We want to show the love of the game to these young girls, so they carry that on throughout their lives,” she said.

Tanner, a former Utah State golfer, was the top-performing Section member in the 2022 Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open. Approaching his 50th birthday, Tanner said, “I still love to play and compete, to kind of validate your teaching.”

By Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe

Paul Phillips

Paul Phillips named Utah PGA Teacher of the Year

Some degree of irony framed Paul Phillips’ 2022 Teacher of the Year award in the Utah Section PGA. The coronavirus that redefined his career kept him from competing in the Assistant PGA Professional Championship in mid-November, a few weeks after his award was announced.

While being disappointed to miss the Florida trip, Phillips would have to calculate the effects of the virus on his life as a net gain. Immersed in his job as the tournament and group sales director of Stonebridge Golf Club, Phillips got a jolt in the spring of 2000 when the pandemic halted gatherings such as corporate and charity events, a major component of his 27-hole facility’s operation in West Valley City.

Stonebridge had to adapt and develop new strategies; so did Phillips, a longtime Stonebridge staff member and the Section’s 2016 Assistant Professional of the Year. He realized he could switch his focus to “two things I’ve been missing: teaching and playing,” Phillips said.

He’s doing both of them very well lately. In his early 50s, the former University of Utah golfer has become one of the Section’s best players among assistant pros and seniors, and has created quite a niche in teaching. It all stemmed from Phillips’ evaluating how he could become a better player. One answer was improving his short game. So he visited Parker McLachlin, a former PGA Tour player who markets himself as the “Short Game Chef.”

The four-hour lesson at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona was “pretty expensive,” Phillips said, “but it was worth it.”

Especially after he used that knowledge to build a business. “We can become specialists,” said Phillips, who likes how students can improve their short games immediately, compared with full-swing overhauls that can take much longer.

And he’s good at it. One of his fellow Section members said he learned more about the short game in an hour from Phillips than in his previous golfing lifetime. “I can have success with everybody all the time,” Phillips said.

Written by Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe