Michigan golf professionals, players recognized with annual awards

Michigan golf professionals, players recognized with annual awards

Crystal Mountain Resort’s Greg Babinec

Text: Greg Johnson

Crystal Mountain Resort’s Greg Babinec was named the 2018 Michigan PGA Golf Professional of the Year and LochenHeath Golf Club’s Adam Schriber was named 2018 Teacher of the Year as part of recent ceremonies held at the Michigan PGA’s Annual Fall Meeting in East Lansing, Michigan.

Babinec, a PGA member for about 29 years, is currently the head golf professional at Crystal Mountain. The award is presented to a professional who has demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership and strong moral character.

Crystal Mountain Resort was established in 1956 and is a family-owned, four-season resort that is nationally recognized for its skiing, golf, and award-winning spa. Located in northwest-lower-Michigan, a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the resort features downhill and cross-country skiing, Michigan Legacy Art Park, 36 holes of championship golf, Michigan’s only alpine slide, an outdoor water playground, a variety of lodging and dining options, countless year-round activities, and kids programs, an IACC-approved conference center, weddings, real estate and Crystal Spa. 

Schriber is the director of instruction at Lochenheath. He previously worked at Crystal Mountain and works with several PGA professionals in addition to Lochenheath members.

LochenHeath was designed by award-winning architect Steve Smyers on the coastline of Grand Traverse Bay. Carved from a 300-acre cherry orchard, it is a Scottish-style mix of rolling terrain, open fairways, and well-placed bunkers that measures 7,280 spectacular total yards with sweeping views of the bay.  LochenHeath, a private facility with a national membership, opened in 2002 and changed ownership to a group a members in 2010. 

The two accolades were among several honors awarded to wrap up the golf season, including Ian Ziska of Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Course being named the PGA Horton Smith Award winner and Merchandiser of the Year at a public facility.

Other winners included: AJ Partenio of Walnut Creek in South Lyon, Assistant Professional of the Year; Kevin McKinley of Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Bill Strausbaugh Award; Mike McGonigal of Egypt Valley in Ada, Private Merchandiser of the Year; Elliott Oscar of Forest Dunes in Roscommon, Resort Merchandiser of the Year; Paul Hawkins of Binder Park in Battle Creek, Patriot Award; Scott Wilson of Bay Meadows in Traverse City, Player Development; and Kelly Sivier of Meadowbrook Country Club, Youth Player Development.

During the ceremony, Michigan PGA Hall of Fame inductee Dick Stewart of Kalamazoo Country Club was also honored during dinner and it was announced that Michigan Section member Monty Elam of Whiteford Valley Golf Club in Ottawa Lake has been named the 2018 PGA of American Deacon Palmer Award winner by the PGA of America. The award honors a PGA Professional who personally displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. Following a routine 2007 eye procedure that went wrong, Elam is blind in his right eye and has limited sight in his left eye, and yet he continues to serve his club and teaches golf to others with blindness.