In efforts to better recognize, celebrate and get to know the growing membership of the Utah Section PGA, Utah PGA Monthly digital magazine was created!
We are looking forward to highlighting individuals, recognizing accomplishments and going behind the scenes with our PGA Professionals and all they do to provide this game we love.
In partnership with Fairways Media, Each issue will be delivered to Utah PGA members directly in their email at the beginning of each month and will recap scheduling events and highlight 3-4 PGA Professionals.
The Oaks Golf Course Head Professional Ryan Rhees proved
that winning the 2018 Utah Section Omega Senior Player of the Year was no
mistake by winning the title again in 2019.
“It feels good,” Rhees said about winning the season-long
race in consecutive years. “We have a lot of good senior players in the Section
and to be able to play good enough to come out first is great. It’s fun,
everybody gets along great in our Section. It’s just fun playing with the guys.
“It’s not life or death out there but we go out and play
hard and try to do the best we can and have fun with it.”
Highlighting the list of his 2019 accomplishments was his
victory in the Senior Section Championship played at Alpine Country Club with
rounds of 66-72 – 138. The win also qualified him to compete in the 2019 Senior
PGA Professional Championship in Texas early October.
“For sure the Senior Section Championship, that was a big one,” Rhees said about which of his four wins meant the most.
Anyone working in the golf industry knows the difficulty of
finding time to play and practice, for Rhees, it’s a work in progress.
“It’s hard, you have to get used to playing your best when
you know you haven’t put in as much time as you should have. You’ve got to try
and talk yourself in to the fact that you can go out and play good.
“I’m a competitive person and I like to go out and win and
play the best I can. That keeps me motivated to practice as much as I can and
stay in shape as much as I can to stay competitive.”
Rhees tallied four wins on the season, including the Senior
Divisions of the Rose Park Open, Sanpete County Open, Tony Basso Group Black
Diamond Open and the Senior Section Championship.
Not only did he secure four wins in his 17-events played,
but he finished runner-up four times and only finished outside of the top five
on two occasions.
“It’s fun playing with the guys in the section. It’s one
thing I look forward to. It keeps me motivated at work, knowing I’ve got a
tournament to go play in on the weekend that I can go hangout and play golf
with the guys I like to be with and play against. It’s a fun Section to be in
because everyone gets along so well and there are a lot of great players so
it’s good to get out and test your game.”
Ryan Rhees Fast
What book are you currently reading?
Shoe Dog, the Phil Night biography. That one was really good, just finished that
one and another book called Can’t Hurt Me,
it’s a Navy SEAL book, I really enjoy those.
I like to read, that’s
one of my hobbies, something I like to do when I’m not working.
What’s the last movie you watched?
I don’t see many movies anymore, really… Last movie we
watched was Downtown Abbey.
If you’ve watched The Country Club’s Assistant Professional Haley Dunn-Sturgeon play golf, the last word you would use to describe her game is ‘rookie.’ However, in her rookie season as a PGA associate member of the Utah Section PGA, there was no stopping her in claiming the Omega Women’s Player of the Year.
“Words cannot describe how amazing it feels,” she said. “I
love competitive golf and to win Player of the Year, it truly is an honor. I have
been working hard on my game and recovering from injuries so it is nice to get
back on top.”
She took the Section by storm by playing in four events that
provide points in the season-long race, and won two of them. She won the
Women’s Low Pro in the Valley View Open and cruised to the top of the Utah
Section PGA Women’s Match Play Championship at Riverside Country Club.
Sturgeon finished runner-up in the Brigham City Open Women’s Division and finished 10th at the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open, her lowest finish of the season.
Finishing runner-up in the points race was TopGolf’s Carly
Dehlin-Hirsch, followed by Promontory Club’s Sadie Palmer in third and
Glenmoor’s Sam Crawford in fourth. This top-four have all recently started the
PGA Professional Golf Management Program (PGM) and are new associate members of
After the points were totaled for the year, Sturgeon added
one more win on her season, just for good measure, at the Utah PGA
Pro-Assistant Championship in November when she teamed up with The Country
Club’s Wayne Fisher.
In fact, it was at the Pro-Assistant Championship that added
the extra icing on top for Sturgeon’s year when she shot a personal-low 63 on
her own ball in the first round at Bloomington Country Club.
“The highlight of the season is probably when I shot 63 on
my own ball,” she explained. “I made sure I putted out every shot so it was a
true score. It was also my first bogey-free round. I felt unstoppable that
Though her Utah Section play brought a season’s-worth of
results, she also fit in a Q School prep event for The Cactus Tour, where her best and worst shots of the year came on
the same hole.
“I believe it was on hole 16 on the Dinah Shore Course at
Mission Hills. It’s a dogleg right with a wide fairway and a palm tree on the
right side. Before teeing off I was talking with my dad to create our game
plan. Basically, it was to hit one down the middle and stay away from the palm
tree that blocks the second shot. What did I do… sprayed my drive right and
put it perfectly behind the palm tree.”
Luckily her best shot followed from 158 yards to the pin.
“I visualized a low hook that would bounce in front of the
green and roll up by the pin. I asked my dad for the five iron and hit the shot
exactly how I envisioned. It was icing on the cake when it stopped 15ft from
the hole. I then rolled in the putt for my most amazing birdie.”
Sturgeon started the PGA PGM program this year and is
currently teaching at The Country Club. She will be traveling back to Arizona
for the Cactus Tour during the off season.
Sturgeon looks forward to the opportunity to continue to
play and compete in Section events in 2020 as the amount of women members continues
to grow each year.
Haley Sturgeon Fast
Do you have any superstitions when it comes to golf or
playing in tournaments?
I wish the answer was no, but I do. I try to only play with
a number four golf ball. When I’m on the practice green making three-foot
putts, if one ball misses multiple times, I feel that is the “bogey” ball and I
put it back in my bag… I’m slowly getting over this one.
What’s the last movie you watched?
The last movie I watched was Linsey Vonn: The Final Chapter.
What book is currently on your nightstand?
I’m not a huge book reader, but I love audio books. This is
usually what is playing while I’m practicing. Right now, I’m listening to Harry
Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
If you had to pick one PGA Tour member, one LPGA Tour
member and one actor to complete your group, who would you pick?
I would choose Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer and Justin Timberlake.
Golf is a game of no guarantees, and the unexpected
typically runs the show. However, when Davis Park Assistant Professional Zach
Johnson tees it up, it’s expected that he’ll be in contention.
After being in the mix to capture the Utah PGA Omega Player
of the Year award for years, Johnson finally came out on top in 2018 and has
done it again in 2019.
“To win Player of the Year for the second year in-a-row is very special,” Johnson said. “Each year it’s a goal at the top of my list that I set out to achieve. We have so many great players in our Section, you have to stay on top of your game and be competitive throughout the whole year in order to keep yourself in contention for this award.”
Johnson’s season included wins at The Oaks Open, the Utah Section Match Play Championship, tied for first at the Millard County Open, won the Salt Lake City Open and then capped off the season with a win at the Utah Section Championship.
“Of victories this year I would definitely say the Match
Play Championship was the sweetest,” he said. “I have had a few opportunities
to win that event and never was able to get it done. To win this year by
chipping in for eagle on the first extra hole of the final match was pretty
Though the Section Match Play Championship brought a lot of
excitement and a career-first, it wasn’t on the top of his personal highlight
list this season.
“Looking back on the year, the highlight for me was getting
back in contention to qualify for the PGA Championship again. In the final
round at the PGA Professional Championship I shot two-under to get into a
playoff. Although I fell short and was disappointed I didn’t advance through
the playoff, I proved a lot to myself in that round and event. I was able to
create some belief and momentum with my game which really kick-started my year.”
Johnson has had several opportunities to play on a national
level, including the 2018 PGA Championship and several PGA Professional
Championships and PGA Assistant Professional Championships.
“As a working pro with a family sometimes it gets hard to
juggle family, work and playing. Usually the first thing to be compromised is
playing so to be able to qualify and represent the Utah Section at national
events is always a privilege and something to look forward to each year.”
No matter how many national events Johnson has competed in,
the nerves are still there.
“I have to admit, I’m nervous during all competitive rounds to some extent,” he explained. I like that feeling. To me, it shows that I still care and want to compete. To overcome tournament nerves, and don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s easier than others, you have to believe in yourself and draw from previous experience.”
Though golf is never a game of guarantees, it’s fair to say
that when the Davis Park assistant pro is in the field, it’s a safe bet to find
him in the mix or at the top of the leaderboard.
Zach Johnson Fast Facts:
If you had to pick one PGA Tour member, one LPGA Tour
member and one actor to complete your foursome, who would you pick?
My foursome would be Tiger, Annika Sorenstam and Michael
Jordan. I’m not much of a movie guy so I went with another greatest of
all time athlete in Jordan.
When you find time,
do you prefer to play or practice?
To be completely honest, I don’t spend a lot of time working on my game. When I do have time to play or practice I prefer getting out and playing and competing over spending time on the range or practice greens. That’s what works best for me when it comes to preparing for events. This winter though I have set a goal for myself to work on getting in better physical shape and gaining some club head speed!
As the year winds down, local tournament playing opportunities
become far and in-between, which is why the 2019 Southern Utah Open, hosted by
SunRiver Golf Club and Head Professional Larry Ricketts, saw a large amount of
Utah Section professionals taking advantage of the opportunity to play and make
it a long weekend before the Pro-Assistant Championship began the following
Golf Lab Teaching Professional Tommy Sharp won the
Professional Division and the first-place check with a (-4) 70-68, outlasting
Joe Summerhays and defending champion Justin Keiley by one stroke. Sharp birdied his last-three holes to make it
Sharp shot a (-1) 70 in the first round and was trailing
Summerhays and Keiley by one stroke. A one-stroke lead isn’t much going into
the final round, but a slow start in the final round wasn’t helping.
“Overall, I really hit the ball well and actually was getting
very frustrated in the middle of my round that I couldn’t make any putts,”
“With eight holes to play, I set a goal of playing my
final-eight holes in four-under to have any chance of winning and luckily I did
it… I birdied my final-three holes and got some help from them (Summerhays and
“It felt great to win the pro side of the Southern Utah Open
as it was my first victory in the calendar year, even though the points go for
next season,” Sharp continued. “On a funny note, my six-year-old son had
been giving me a hard time recently by saying ‘Dad, you haven’t won a
tournament in so long’ with extra emphasis on ‘so long.’ After the
round, I called him first to tell him and he was quite excited.”
This may be Sharp’s first win in the 2019 season, but with
consistent, steady play in his 14-events played, including a second-place
finish in the Section Sidebar of the 2019 Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open, Sharp
will finish fourth in the Omega Player of the Year race.
Bloomington Country Club’s Scott Brandt held a one-stroke lead
in the Pro Senior Division over The Oaks Head Pro Ryan Rhees after the first
round with a (-2) 69. Brandt would go on to a five-stroke win with a
second-round 69, with birdies on his final-two holes for good measure.
Quintin Sasser claimed the Super Senior Division after
trailing first-round leader Henry White by one stroke. Sasser’s 72 in the final
round was steady enough to finish one-over and win by two strokes.
A first-round 64 propelled St. George’s Hayden Christensen
(a) to a two-stroke lead over close friend Caden Hamill (a) in the first round.
but it was an eagle on the par-five 17th hole in the final round
that proved just enough to win the whole thing. Christensen shot rounds of (-8)
64-70 to claim the 2019 title.
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
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
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
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.
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.
The Utah Section PGA Assistant of the Year Award was given
to Talisker Club at Tuhaye Assistant Golf Professional Jon DeBoer, and for good
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
“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.”
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.”
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.”