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2020 PGA Professional Championship & PGA ChampionshiPostponed

Updated 3/17/20 with further announcements made by the PGA of America.

With the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 pandemic looming, the 2020 PGA Professional Championship (PPC) was postponed by the PGA of America on March 16th. The PGA of America then postponed the 2020 PGA Championship the following day, to be played “at a date this summer when it is once again safe and responsible to do so,” said PGA CEO Seth Waugh.

Comprised of PGA Professionals who advance from the 41 PGA Section Championships, along with past champions, the PPC, which started in 1968, sends the low-20 eligible finishers to compete in that year’s PGA Championship.

Due to the event being postponed, if the PGA Championship is played at a date later this summer, the 20 PGA Club Professionals in the field would be based on the top 20 eligible players listed in the final 2019 PGA Professional Player of the Year standings, Davis Park Assistant Professional, and 2019 Utah Section PGA Player of the Year Zach Johnson is listed eighth on the list and would be eligible to compete at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

The decision to postpone the 2020 PPC and PGA Championship was made due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation not to hold gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks and the current shelter-in-place order in effect in San Francisco.

Utah professionals that qualified for the 2020 PPC were Joe Summerhays, Tracy Zobell, Tommy Sharp, Matt Baird, Todd Tanner and Ryan Rhees. Johnson and Steve Schneiter were exempt into the event.

Unfortunately these qualifiers, other than Johnson, won’t have the opportunity to qualify for the 2020 PGA Championship this year. However, they will still have the chance to compete in the PPC once rescheduled. We wish the best going forward and know future opportunities are not out of reach for these exceptional PGA Professionals.

As the Master’s Tournament has been postponed, this would be the year’s first major championship, now with a local Utah golf PGA Professional to root for, congratulations to Johnson for a successful 2019 season.

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Utah PGA Monthly – March Issue

The March 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 – Nyomy Obcemea

This or That? – Stacey Camacho

Membership Memories – Kean Ridd

Instruction – Ryan Holt

Tips for the Pro – Marty Bauer

Click HERE to read the March issue!

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Utah Section History Made: Dehlin-Olsen First Woman Utah PGA Board Member; Ruff First Honorary Member

It’s tradition for the Utah Section PGA to host the Annual Meeting, Utah PGA Awards Banquet and the Winter Classic Championship during the same week. It’s a great way to start the new season. This year was special with the swearing in of Darci Olsen as the first woman board member in Section history and with the surprise announcement of Salt Lake City’s ABC 4 News Sports Director Wesley Ruff as the first honorary member of the Section.

“I am just grateful for the opportunity, grateful to get voted in to be on the board and have a voice,” Olsen said. “I’ve had really good support from the fellow women in the Section and you know, it’s funny, until it was made a bigger announcement at the Annual Meeting when I was getting sworn in, it didn’t hit me until then that I am the first-ever woman on the board.

“Sometimes I’m just ‘one of the guys,’” Olsen continued. “I’m part of the Section, I’m a PGA member, so sometimes I don’t think about it that way. But when they announced me as the first-ever woman on the bard, I just felt so proud.”

Olsen also received the Bill Strausbaugh award at the Awards Banquet in February and in the past has been awarded Merchandiser of the Year (public) in 2012 and Women’s Player of the Year in 2018.

“Hopefully I can be a good leader and someone to pave the way for some of the younger women up and coming. It just makes me feel a sense of responsibility. I was the first-ever Women’s Player of the Year and the first Section champion for women, so now being on the board, it never really dawned on me that we’ve never had a woman on the board.

“We need the presence and women need to be involved and feel welcome to come to all the events and meetings and feel like we have a voice. I think it’s going to make a turn, it’s hard for some of the ladies at this stage of their life with young kids to come to events, it’s just a little bit different for women. So hopefully as time goes we’ll have a lot more participation, we’ll have a lot more women that want to serve and want to be involved. Hopefully me being on there they can realize that there is a spot for them.”

Another first for the Utah Section was naming Ruff, who has proudly covered Utah’s amateur and professional golf for over three decades, as the first-ever Utah PGA honorary member.

Ruff was fulfilling his usual emcee role at the Awards Banquet when Executive Director Devin Dehlin stepped up to the podium for a brief announcement, completely surprising Ruff with his honorary membership.

“Well I was overwhelmed, floored, flabbergasted, all of it. I am honored beyond belief, flattered that they would think of me. Just stunned,” Ruff said.

“I’ve been in the market for 35 years,” Ruff said. “I was here about the time they went from the Rocky Mountain Section to the new Utah Section. It means the world, because these are people I have been around for 35 years. Golf people are the best people. Of all the sports I cover, golfers are the best. To be included and a part of that family, it’s awesome.”

Ruff grew up in Springville, Utah, where golf has been a major part of his life from a young age. He has continually showed his support for the Section and the PGA Professionals in Utah by covering events and tournaments throughout his career, and many fond memories have come from it.

“I was in Wendover when they first started having the Utah Section Championship out there, meeting Jeff Beaudry when he first got started, and obviously, the work we did with the Ben Hogan Tour and the Nike Tour and of course being there when Special Olympics got its start in golf. I was a part of that clinic on the driving range at Riverside Country Club.

“Covering some of the Section guys back then like Milan Swilor, who would just tear it up on the Nike tour at Riverside and in the Utah Section. There are so many good people, just the best. You know, meeting Bob Bentley and Bruce Summerhays. It’s been a great ride.

“And to be the first,” he said. “that means so much to have that happen to me. I just look at myself as a dopy kid from Springville that likes to play golf.  Suddenly I get the chance to rub elbows with people in the Section and get to emcee some banquets, hang with them and play in some events. Now to be an honorary member I could not script that any better, it’s been awesome.”

The Utah Section PGA is proud and grateful to have Olsen as a board member and Ruff as an honorary member. The impact the two of these individuals have had on the Section and on golf in Utah is irreplaceable. Thank you for everything!

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.

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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!

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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.          

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PGA of America Debuts New PGA.com to Enhance Connection Between PGA Professionals and Consumers

By Michael Abramowitz, PGA of America

The PGA of America has launched a newly reimagined PGA.com to connect consumers with PGA Professionals. The redesigned site, which is now managed in-house by the PGA, focuses on the journey a golfer takes to begin or improve his or her game, no matter their skill level.

PGA.com and its affiliated championship sites will also continue to provide coverage of prominent events, such as the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. However, an important emphasis of PGA.com will be on the opportunities enabled by enhancing the coach-consumer relationship.

“PGA.com is designed to bring to life the special relationship between PGA Professionals and consumers through coaching and other consumer-focused services, with a vision that ‘your best golf is ahead of you,’” said PGA Interactive General Manager Rob Smith. “There are so many ways in which a journey in golf can positively impact your life. Our job is to identify the best ways to connect with PGA Professionals across all aspects of the game, beginning with coaching.”

An important shift in the new PGA.com site will be speaking through the voice of the PGA Professional. On the site, PGA Professionals will be featured prominently and given the opportunity to provide exclusive content to engage consumers, including first-person feature articles, videos and advice to help golfers with various aspects of the game and the golf lifestyle.

In the second phase of the launch, scheduled for later this year, consumers will be able to easily search for PGA Professionals who have completed both their American Development Model for Golf (ADM) training available on PGA.Coach and a detailed PGA.com coach profile. ADM utilizes long-term athlete development and quality coaching concepts to promote sustained physical activity, athlete safety and age-appropriate growth. PGA.com is designed to help these coaches establish a relationship with new golfers and then build upon that connection, to give consumers the resources they need to achieve their goals.

“The PGA of America is committed to the future of coaching through the American Development Model for Golf,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “As we look to transition the industry from a transaction against a lesson to the lifetime value in a coaching relationship, PGA.com is being architected to facilitate the digital evolution of coaching.”

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Todd Mullen Selected as Utah High School Girls Golf Coach of the Year

By Hannah Wishart, The Richfield Reaper

Richfield High School’s girls’ golf Coach Todd Mullen has been selected as the 2018-19 Utah Girls Golf Coach of the Year by the National Federation of High School Coaches Association, Jan. 3. Mullen was specifically nominated by the Utah High School’s Activities Association as the most deserving recipient for the honor. 

This year’s honorees were selected based upon their coaching performance in the 2018-19 school year, lifetime community involvement, school involvement and philosophy of coaching. The NFHS relies on its member state associations to recognize those who are leading their sport, shaping their athletes and contributing to their community, according to Dr. Karissa L. Neihoff, executive director of the NFHS. 

“It is our pleasure to recognize leaders and role models at the interscholastic level,” Neihoff said. “And, it is to the credit of athletic directors like Richard Barton that coaches like Todd are able to contribute in such a positive way to the youth of our country and communities.” 

Todd Mullen is the head golf professional at Cove View Golf Course in Richfield, Utah, and won the 2018 Utah Section PGA Youth Player Development Leader Award for his continued efforts in sharing the game to the youth in the Richfield community.

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Utah PGA Monthly January Issue

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.

Click here to read the first issue.

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Rhees Defends Senior Player of the Year Title

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.

Rhees teeing off on Alpine Country Club’s 9th hole in the Senior Section Championship.

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 Facts:

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.

Who are you currently listening to?

I listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcast a lot.