Las Vegas, Nev. (January 26, 2011)—There’s almost nothing better in the golf game than having the knowledge you’ve done a great job … that feeling you get when you’re at the top of your game. The only thing better is having your peers acknowledge your efforts. And that’s what happened recently when the Southern Nevada Chapter, Southwest Section, PGA of America, handed out the 2010 annual awards honoring the PGA of America pros in Las Vegas. The event was hosted by UNLV’s Professional Golf Management Program on campus.—by Bill Bowman

Matt Kilgariff, working at the Butch Harmon School of Golf in Henderson, is the Teacher of the Year. Kilgariff has been with the Harmon school for 10 years and has taught golf to thousands looking to improve their game. “It’s very pleasing to be recognized for all the hard work you put in,” Kilgariff said after winning the award for the first time. “In the teaching world you have to be a quick problem solver. And seeing the students satisfaction when they are improving is what it’s all about.”

Top instructor Mike Davis, the Director of Instruction for Walters Golf, was honored as the Bill Strausbaugh award winner. The award is named for the long-time instructor who went out of his way to help golf instructors improve. “This is a really neat award,” Davis said. “It shows I’ve helped other professionals and been a role model for some of those professionals. The game means a lot to me and this recognizes those efforts.” Davis is also a past multiple winner of Teacher of the Year honors.

Nevada State Senator Bob Coffin was named Person of the Year. “This high honor is something I will always cherish because it is given by people who I have always looked up to and respected since I was a child,” he said. “The letters ‘PGA’ have always represented all that is good about our great game. In good times and bad times, the professional golfer has kept the game alive for the rest of us to enjoy.” Coffin is a former Nevada State Amateur champion, and has helped guide golf courses through the Nevada legislature on issues that impact the golf industry. He is also a former golf columnist.

For the fourth time, Travis Long, working out of Anthem Country Club, one of more than 50 golf courses in the Las Vegas area, won the Player of the Year honors. “It’s just always great to compete with all these great players,” Long said. “And if I come out with the most points, it’s nice to get a little recognition.” Long also won the stroke average for the regular division, coming in at 72.0. “I’ve always been consistent with hitting the ball well and at 72.0 I guess that shows consistency if I’m right at par.”

Also recognized were winners of sectional awards recently announced at the Southwest Section event. The Southwest Section includes Arizona and Nevada pros, and several Las Vegas pros were deemed the best in this larger area. Paul Brown was named Junior Golf Leader of the Year, David Stead won the regional Bill Strausbaugh Award, and Michael Seiden, Bali Hai Golf Club was named Merchandiser of the Year.

Other Southern Nevada Chapter PGA award winners included:

-Tom Fischer, senior stroke average of the year

-Wes Weston, Player of the Year, Senior Division

-Paul Brown, Junior Golf Leader

-Chad Gunier, Horton Smith Award winner

-Chris Cain, Golf Professional of the Year

-Tommy Darland, Anthem Country Club, Merchandiser of the Year-Private

-Ken Wright, Casata Golf Club, Merchandiser of the Year-Resort

-Michael Seiden, Bali Hai, Merchandiser of the Year-Public

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