Text: Greg Johnson
The Michigan Section PGA recognized the winners of the 2019 Michigan PGA Special Awards during its annual President’s Dinner on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 at the Country Club of Lansing in Lansing, Michigan. The annual celebration honors PGA members who have excelled in their profession and those who have volunteered and served the Michigan Section.
Finalists considered for the Special Awards, which comprise nine different categories—one of which is divided into three separate designations—are chosen based on a nomination, voting, and interview process. Each individual is also recognized based on specific criteria, such as previous awards and non-golf community involvement for the Golf Professional of the Year; or use of innovative techniques and specialty certifications enhancing the candidate’s programs and ability as an instructor in terms of the Player Development Award.
The 2019 Special Awards comprise: Assistant Golf Professional of the Year, Bill Strausbaugh Award, Golf Professional of the Year, Horton Smith Award, Merchandiser of the Year—Private, Merchandiser of the Year—Public, Merchandiser of the Year—Resort, Patriot Award, Player Development Award, Teacher of the Year, and Youth Player Development Award.
Emily Rohdy, head golf professional at Bucks Run Golf Club, was named Assistant Golf Professional of the Year for her contributions to the game and her work in junior golf programs, adult program development; as well as overall character, integrity, and strengths in her profession.
Doug Kreis, head golf professional at Battle Creek Country Club, was recognized as the Golf Professional of the Year; while David VanLoozen, a PGA Teaching Professional at Oakland Hills Country Club, was named the Teacher of the Year.
Kreis, who has worked at Battle Creek Country Club for the past 19 seasons, was chosen by his peers for the award based on his overall performance as a golf professional, service to the Section and the Association, leadership ability, image, and ability to inspire others and his promotion and growth of the game. VanLoozen was honored for his overall impact on teaching and coaching at his facility along with his implementation of innovative and special teaching programs.
Bernie Friedrich, senior vice president of golf operations and resort sales at Boyne Resorts, was selected as the recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award. Established in 1979, the Bill Strausbaugh Award is presented to a PGA Professional who by their day-to-day efforts, have distinguished themselves through mentoring their fellow PGA Professionals in improving their employment situations and through service to the community.
Kevin McKinley, the director of golf at Treetops Resort, and outgoing Michigan PGA President, was selected as the recipient of the 2019 Horton Smith Award, which recognizing outstanding contributions to professional education.
John Paul Westbrook, head golf professional at Indian River Golf Club, was named Merchandiser of the Year for Public Golf Facilities. This award recognizes excellence in business and merchandising at public golf facilities as well as innovation in displays, merchandising techniques, staff training, and overall success and growth.
Doug Brody, head golf professional at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, was awarded Merchandiser of the Year for Private Golf Facilities; and Elliott Oscar, head golf professional at Forest Dunes Golf Club, was named Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Golf Facilities.
Dean Kolstad, director of golf at Gull Lake View Golf Course, was selected as the 2019 recipient of the Patriot Award. Kolstad was honored for personifying patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrating unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected our country.
Michael Fay, director of instruction at Boyne Golf Academy, was recognized with the Player Development Award. This award recognizes a PGA Golf Professional, who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contribution and achievement in the area of player development.
Scott Wilson, a PGA Teaching Professional at Bay Meadows Family Golf Course, was recognized with the Youth Player Development Award. This award bestows special recognition on a PGA Golf Professional, who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contribution and achievement in the area of youth player development.