January 9, 2008–PGA of America golf professionals, including those that direct the operations at Las Vegas golf courses, are the lifeblood of the game of golf. Recently, the Southern Nevada Chapter, Southwest Section, PGA of America, recognized several members for excellence at the annual awards banquet held at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin. Current president Mike Davis earned the award for Golf Professional of the Year while DragonRidge Country Club pro Matthew Grobe earned the Bill Strausbaugh award. And Kim Dolan (pictured) swept the awards for Player of the Year in the regular and senior divisions.
Dolan, a longtime Las Vegas golf professional who has taught some of the area's best players including LPGA Tour player Stephanie Louden, now works out of Siena Golf Club. In addition to winning both the regular and senior Player of the Year awards, he also won the award for low stroke average. Dolan beat out Marc Benavidez by 3.4 points on the regular tour, and Mike Buss by about 50 points to win the senior award. Dolan won or tied for the win in a total of 11 tournaments on both tours, and was the champion of the Senior Match Play Championship held at The Falls Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas Resort.
Dolan said he was honored to sweep the awards, and also thankful that Travis Long, the defending Player of the Year on the regular tour, didn't play in as many tournaments this season. Long finished 16th in points but earned a Player Series victory at Boulder Creek by firing a 67. Jerry Robers was the defending Senior Player of the Year. He finished fourth.
The Bill Strausbaugh award is presented to PGA members who have shown outstanding integrity, commitment to mentoring PGA Professionals and have made a significant impact on the careers of PGA Professionals. The award also considers the member's service to the association, and involvement in community and charitable activities. Grobe, who is the son of Wake Forest Head Football Coach Jim Grobe, was honored to receive the prestigious distinction.
"Wow, I love getting this award, and it means a lot," said Grobe, who is a past president of the Chapter. "When we moved here a few years ago, it was kind of a difficult transition for us, but people in this room made us feel welcome. You all have made Las Vegas feel like home now, and I thank you very much for that and for this award."
Davis, who recently earned Master Teaching Professional recognition by the PGA of America and serves of the Director of Insturction for Walters Golf, also earned the Teacher of the Year Award in addition to the Professional of the Year Award. The teaching award was the sixth time Davis has earned that recognition.
"This is a team award," Davis said about receiving the Pro of the Year Award. "I am proud of the accomplishments of the chapter in the last year, and thank the executive committee for their efforts, Paul Brown for his hard work, and all of you in this room share in this award."
Chris Cain, the director of UNLV's Professional Golf Management program, earned the Horton Smith award that goes to pros who make an educational impact on the chapter. Cain's "boss" Dr. James Busser was in attendance and was saluted by Cain who said that Dr. Busser has always made it clear that Cain works "with him, not for him". Several current and former students also attended the ceremony.
Paul Brown, current executive director of the chapter, received the Junior Golf Leader award for his work in coducting several junior golf tournament on the US Pro Kids Series and the Antigue Junior Series. The Chapter has stepped up efforts to operate junior tournaments, and also work closely with The First Tee of Southern Nevada to introduce the game of golf to kids throughout the area. The win for Brown ended Tom Carlson's run of four-straight wins in the category.
"I feel like I am just doing my job, and to win an award for that is pretty neat," said Brown. "I thank everyone in this room for their support. I feel like I am the quarterback thanking the lineman because all of you made this year a success."
Jon Spatz earned the Merchandiser of the Year award for resort golf courses for his work at Jack Nicklaus' Reflection Bay Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas Resort. Greg Wickensimer (not pictured)of the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort earned the same award for public golf courses.
Larry Lindholm (not pictured), current president of The First Tee of Southern Nevada, was honored as the Person of the Year by the chapter. Lindholm has helped raise major dollars for The First Tee, an organization that has positively impacted thousands of area kids.
The TPC Summerin is the host course for the PGA Tour's Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to be played this October.