Thompson: Dixie Section announces its award winners
By Ian Thompson -- The Birmingham News
January 14, 2010, 9:10AM
Chet Hallman of Gunters Landing took home two PGA Dixie Section awards.The Dixie Section of the PGA, the governing body for club professionals across Alabama and northwest Florida, recently announced its annual award winners.
Professional of the Year went to David Musial, head professional at Heron Lakes in Mobile. Other award winners include Player of the Year, Gary Rusnak, Seascape in Destin, Fla.; Player of the Year (Assistant), Bryan Clarke, Grand Hotel Resort in Point Clear; Player of the Year (Senior), Fred Holton, Arrowhead GC in Montgomery; Teacher of the Year, Mark Blackburn, Gunters Landing in Guntersville; Horton Smith Award, Bud Rousey, AC Read GC in Pensacola, Fla.; Bill Strausbaugh Award, Brent Krause, Wynlakes in Montgomery; Junior Leader, Casey Smith, FarmLinks in Sylacauga; President's Plaque, Valerie Vaughn, Eagle Point; Merchandiser of the Year: private club, David Allen, Gadsden CC; public facility, Scott Gomberg, Grand National, Opelika; and resort facility, Chet Hallman, Gunters Landing.
The section is divided into the Alabama and Gulf Coast chapters. The Alabama chapter winners: Professional of the Year, Chet Hallman, Gunters Landing; Teacher of the Year, Neil Thompson, Oxmoor Valley; Junior Leader, John King, Saugahatchee CC in Opelika; Horton Smith Award, Mark Blackburn, Gunters Landing; President's Plaque, Steve Cutler, Wynlakes; Merchandiser of the Year, Bryan McMurray, Riverchase CC; and Player of the Year, Ricky Smallridge, Auburn University Club.
All awards are voted upon by the selection committee except players of the year, which are based on performance in section events.
Musial has been at Heron Lakes for nine years. Prior to that he was known to many Birmingham area golfers as an assistant pro and then head professional at Hoover Country Club.
He has held various section positions and is the outgoing president of the Gulf Coast chapter.
"I remember in school we had to write a paper about what we wanted to do (when he grew up) and interview someone in that profession. I wrote down golf professional and interviewed Jack Payton, who was the pro then at Burningtree Country Club where I grew up in Decatur."
It turns out he was prophetic as he got his start as an assistant at Terri Pines in Cullman in 1990 and he's been in the business ever since.
Vaughn has been a PGA member since 1995 and said this was her greatest honor in golf since becoming a PGA member.
"It is most rewarding to be able to give back to the game that has given me so much in my life," she said.
The President's Plaque recognizes someone who has made extraordinary contributions in supporting various PGA of America initiatives. Eagle Point has numerous such programs that Vaughn and her team have implemented in recent years.
Smith said his award would not have been possible but for the support of the Pursell family, the owners of FarmLinks, and their strong support of The First Tee program.
"The First Tee helps not just with golf skills, but with life skills," he said. "Virtues such as integrity and sportsmanship are emphasized."
Smith said FarmLinks has upwards of 150 children in its program.
Ian Thompson's golf column appears every Thursday in The Birmingham News. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out his bimonthly digital golf magazine at www.golfsouthmagazine.com.
Post a Comment