Met PGA FORECAST - 2021 Year End Edition

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FORECAST Jordan Spieth Family Foundation Inspiring HOPE in Highlights Northport


2021 Year End Edition

Chris Chris Kenney, Kenney, PGA PGA The Patterson Club | A Letter From the President

The past two years have provided the game with an infusion of interest like we have not experienced in more than two decades. With a historic number of players taking up or returning to the game, as well as record numbers of rounds being played, the PGA Professional has been out in front to welcome everyone with a smile. That smile represents the PASSION, CARE and LOVE FOR THE GAME that the more than 800 members of the Metropolitan PGA live by every day as they grow the game at their facilities and in their communities. Thank you to each and every Metropolitan PGA Member for what you do daily to create the greatest golf culture and experience in the country! A goal for the Board of Directors in 2021 was to facilitate the return of our programs and events that were either sidelined or reduced in 2020 and I am extremely proud to say that we accomplished that goal. In 2021 we were able to: Conduct a full tournament schedule including travel Pro-Ams to Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Provide tournament playing and developmental opportunities to over 5,000 junior golfers through our Junior Tour program, Drive Chip and Putt Events and PGA Jr League. Provide golf instruction and playing opportunities to over 900 veterans from our communities, with a goal of engaging an additional 250 veterans in 2022. This is a great testament to the PGA HOPE program which provides so much more than access to the game of golf to our veterans. PGA HOPE has created a community for them. Through the efforts of the Met PGA Foundation, the Jordan Spieth Foundation Adaptive Sports Center located at the Northport VA was completed and opened. Honor the Special Award Recipients during a wonderful dinner and celebration at Pelham CC on November 10th. This evening was headlined by the Golf Professional of the Year, Mike Diffley, and I hope that you enjoy reading about all our award recipients. As we celebrate the return of events like these and growth in the game of golf, we also are confronted with an extremely challenging job market, this at a time when interest in our game and facilities is at a high. While this is a challenge, we all must realize the many benefits that a job in the golf industry can provide: tell the stories such as helping someone with their golf game, the joy of introducing someone to the game, the friendships that we create, the travel to play amazing golf courses with members/students, competing in events, and so many more. Engage with those that are passionate about the game and make sure that they see your passion as well. Together, we can attract the next generation of PGA Professionals. On December 10th, the golf world was introduced to the passion and joy a PGA Professional possesses. It started 15 years earlier when Rob Labritz made a commitment to himself and his family to qualify. Throughout the qualifying stages for the Champions Tour, you could see that commitment. It started with a smile and continued as we all watched the overwhelming joy and emotion that overcame Rob. To work so hard, to make so many sacrifices to achieve your goal, what an inspiration and testament to the Met PGA. Congratulations Rob! As the season winds down and the winter months are upon us, what commitments are you making for yourself? There are a few things that I hope everyone can do: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Make time for yourself and your family. Think outside of the box on how you can continue to create better work life balance. The demands on your time will continue to grow. Reinvest in yourself, learn something new this winter. Add something new to the golf experience at your facility. Make a goal.

As I look back on 2021, there is so much to smile about, and I believe that there will be even bigger smiles in 2022. I hope that you and your family enjoy the Holidays and time with family and friends.

CONTENTS 1-2 3 4-5 6 7-12 13-14 15-21 22-24 25-26 27-28 29-31 32










pine ridge

hudson national





2nd Vice President TRUMP NATIONAL


ANDREW GRUSS greenwich


JOHN GUYTON rockville links

CORY MULLER cc of darien



JAMES ONDO apawamis




Committees Getting involved in a committee is an excellent way to learn more about the Section’s governance and discover ways to enrich the lives of your fellow PGA Professionals. If you are interested in joining a committee or finding out more inforomation, please contact the appropriate committee chairperson by clicking below: STUART WAACK silvermine


Committee Contact Information



EFFECTIVE FOR CYCLE 16 ‐ June 16, 2018 – June 15, 2022

Our MSR Portal is available on our website where you can review all RULES AND REGULATIONS for the Member Service Requirement, (MSR), as defined by the Board of Directors: requirements, brush up on everything you need to know about MSR’s, 1 A Section may require that all Section and Chapter activities be approved in advance. and report MSR activity and player development credits.

2 Based on previously approved activities, established guidelines and Section recommendations, the National Office will approve the credits to be awarded for a certain activity. The Board of Control will determine the number of credits in all disputes and the Board of Directors reserves the right to make modifications to the requirements. 3 A participant may receive compensation for an activity. 4 Fifty‐four (54) Total credits are required for a three‐year cycle; of which at least 36 must come from Meeting/Education/Player Development/Professional Standards and Data. 5 Members who have attained a combination of years of membership and age which adds up to 90 or more before the start of the Professional Development Program Cycle (June 16, 2018), shall be required to earn 12 MSR credits from the Meeting/Education/Player Development/Professional Standards and Data category only (PGA Required). 6 Members in the Unaffiliated Section will be required to earn two thirds (2/3) of the requirement. RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR MSR’S, AS DEFINED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS 7 Effective March 2020, BOD policy extended Cycle 16 to end June 15, 2022.

Click Here to Visit the Portal


#1 (a): PGA MEETING and PGA APPROVED EDUCATION – applies to the PGA REQUIRED CATEGORY Attending career specific (professional development) education, including serving as a speaker/instructor. Any online education must have an assessment. Attending National/Section/Chapter Meetings, including Committee and Board meetings. Attending an Allied Association National Meeting or Education. Career Specific Education EXAMPLE: Attending any career specific education, whether conducted by the PGA or other entity. PGA must approve all online non‐PGA education in advance. (Personal development education is not considered career specific. Any education not conducted by the PGA should be pre‐qualified through the National Office). #1 (b): PGA PLAYER DEVELOPMENT – applies to the PGA REQUIRED CATEGORY Promoting, conducting and reporting PGA Player Development Programs in order to engage and create golfers. EXAMPLE – Reporting creation and activation of new golfers and completing online tutorials and training via #1 (c) Professional Standards and Submitting National Surveys and Data – applies to PGA REQUIRED CATEGORY PGA Compensation Survey, PGA Annual Operations Survey, Career Planning Survey and Session. Education on topics such as youth safety, diversity and inclusion, addiction and health and well‐ being. (May be able to utilize components of the Member Assistance Program) Member conducted Player Development engagement programs which are reported through the Revenue Scorecard. 4 PGA Required MSR credits for the Revenue Scorecard may be submitted once per MSR cycle year by clicking‐scorecard‐faqs REQUIRED 36 CREDITS IN A 3 YEAR CYCLE **MAY BE EARNED EXCLUSIVELY FROM ANY CATEGORY OR ANY COMBINATION OF 1 (a), 1 (b), or 1 (c)** #2 Service to the PGA/Industry – applies to the TOTAL CATEGORY Serving the Section, Chapter, National PGA or Allied Association. Participating in advancement of the game activities such as radio shows, TV shows, speeches, golf promotional non‐playing events, golf clinics and other volunteer activities, such as non‐playing tournament official. Section Surveys. Entered via Member online input #3: Golf Coach – applies to the TOTAL CATEGORY Serving as a golf coach or assistant golf coach of a high school/college golf team in a capacity not considered the Member’s primary employment. (See Rule #4 above) Entered via Member online input #4: PGA Tournament Participation – applies to the TOTAL CATEGORY Participation in Section sanctioned golf tournaments or tournaments conducted by the PGA of America National Office. #5: Merchandise Show Attendee – applies to the TOTAL CATEGORY Attending a National, Section or Allied Association Merchandise Show. #6: Media Related Articles – applies to the TOTAL CATEGORY PGA approved news, media, and magazine articles or published book. Entered via Member online input


1 credit per hour of attendance. (No maximums)

Credits based on the promotion, conducting and reporting of Player Development Programs. (Reference –PROCESS: APPLYING FOR PLAYER DEVELOPMENT CREDITS – below)

Two credits per required survey, per cycle year. Four credits per Revenue Scorecard once per MSR cycle year. Credits for other critical surveys will be determined as needed. Education credited one hour per hour of attendance.

1 credit per hour of participation with a maximum of 8 credits per day

Maximum of 6 credits per MSR cycle year 2 credits per Section event 4 credits per National event Maximum of 8 credits per MSR cycle year 2 credits per show Maximum of 4 credits per MSR cycle year 1 credit per article Maximum of 6 credits per MSR cycle year Total MSR requirement per cycle = 54 Meeting/Education/Player Development/Professional Standards = 36

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“When I was a young PGA professional, I remember seeing Gene Borek at every Educational opportunity that the Met Section offered. Gene was one of the most accomplished and revered PGA professionals in our Section but was always in search of more knowledge. He had a desire to keep improving and to stay current with information and technology that would keep him at the top of his profession. He had a huge impact on my career, and perhaps I can be a similar motivation to the next generation of PGA professionals. Pursuing and consuming the educational content provided by the PGA of America was an intelligent choice. I feel that the best in any occupation continue to seek new information and strive to better themselves, that certainly holds true in the golf profession. The PGA of America has a massive library of information and best practices that is available to every member of the Association. Although I’ve been a PGA member for many years, the process of attaining “Specialized” and “Certified” status was incredibly beneficial, and worth every penny. It was a valuable investment that has broadened my knowledge, sharpened my approach, and differentiated me from those who don’t jump on these programs. The curriculum was excellent and the journey through each program was clearly mapped out. Some of the testing was easy for a long-standing member, but each program provided its fair share of challenges as well. Like any great golf course, there are some “easy” holes and some that demand focus and serious thought. The PGA Education process is a great “course.” And of course there is tremendous benefit in digging deeper into the area of the business that interests you most. I honed in on Teaching and Coaching and was introduced to some incredible resources. I’m simply a stronger PGA Professional for achieving Specialized and Certified status, and I’m already signed up for the Master Professional Program. Additionally, the support staff was incredible. If I had a question or needed some insight, the team available through the PGA National was attentive and helpful. We should never stop seeking knowledge. The best journeys provide growth and improvement, the PGA Education offerings provide both. Members should identify their path of choice and take advantage of these programs. They’re a fantastic example of ‘Member Benefits’!” -Brian Crowell, PGA Certified Professional

PGA.Coach is the ultimate coaching resource that teaches PGA Professionals about ADM, and how to apply the concepts to coaching golf. ADM is essential for growing the sport and vital to you and your employer’s success. The PGA.Coach Certificate and PGA Coach app will allow PGA Professionals to evolve and adapt to the changes in the game and a new generation of players. Plus, PGA Members will be eligible to earn 3 MSR credits.


Lifelong Learning

ADM Model

Met Section Education



Headed to the PGA Show in January? Be sure to stop by and thank our 2021 Met PGA Partners & Sponsors for their constant support of our Section!

Partners Page Register Today Attendee resources Exhibitor List || Year End 2021 ||


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Click Here to View Videos of Honorees || Year End 2021 ||


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MEMBER MILESTONES Met PGA partner, Morell Studios sponsored the Morell Studios “Member Milestone” Awards. 33 New Member Award winners were recognized including Jordan Bobb, Brendan Bond, Richard Burns, William Dantone, Kyle Doiron, Matthew Dubrowski, Patrycja Feldman, Matthew Galindo, Tristin Goodwin, Ian Illig, John Jordan, Corey Kruger, Jacob Lehman, Matthew Livolsi, Vincent Malonso, David Miller, Stephanie Molloy, Zachariah Nixon, Tanner Oelke, Nicholas Osterman, Christopher Paulino, Justin Pitman, Luke Polland, Casey Pyne, Alexander Ruxer, Oren Shake, Jack Shipman, Terry Slater, Lucas Spahl, James Standard, Jacinth Thomas II, Kurtis Tisch and Nicole Triano. Morell Studios helped highlight the accomplishments of the Met PGA’s more tenured PGA Professionals that feature 18 new members of the Quarter Century Club including Carl Alexander, Frank Bensel, Jr., James Bergholtz, Eric Colchamiro, Pamela Cunningham, Ray Ford, Robert Fraioli, Timothy Garvin, Scott Gileta, Rick Hartmann, Christopher Kenney, Gerald Mackedon, Jr., Wendy Modic, Andrew Pohalski, Michael Rapisarda, Cynthia Reeves, David Renzulli and Grant Turner, along with Half Century Club honorees, Martin Bohen and Thomas Lupinacci. Morell Studios is committed to creating the highest quality award and recognition products for the golf industry and corporations. The company has enjoyed over 40 years of experience providing best-in-class custom awards, shadow boxes, recognition panels, and Hole-In-One awards. Their creations are museum quality and feature rich textures to compliment both traditional and contemporary decor.










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Balin put together a stellar 2021 campaign where he compiled nine top-ten finishes and led the leaderboard at two majors including the POLO Met PGA Head Professional Championship by carding a two-round score of 127 (-13) and the Lenox Advisors/NFP New York State Open by putting together a three-round score of 207 (-6) at the historic Bethpage State Park-Black Course. The Fresh Meadow Country Club Head Professional added to his lengthy list of accolades in 2021 by collecting second place honors at the Met Professional Championship en route to securing the 2021 Player of the Year award. This is Balin’s sixth Player of the Year honor.


In 2021 your season featured nine top-ten finishes and finished atop the leaderboard at a pair of majors including the POLO Met PGA Head Professional Championship and the Lenox Advisors/NFP New York State Open to secure your sixth-career Player of the Year award. How have you sustained success in such a competitive section for so long?


I think over the years I’ve trained myself to understand my golf swing, my strengths and weaknesses and practice those things. Playing full time at one point in my career trained me how to prepare for a tournament. With the little time I have these days to practice, a few days before events I’ll work on a few things that I know make the golf ball go straight and spend a little time with the short game and putting and then to just TRUST IT. I think all golf pros get into the business because we love to play golf and compete, and I love the competition and to be able to have the platform to compete in the best playing, best teaching section in the country is what gives me the desire to play great consistent golf.


In May, you participated in your first PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course in the 103rd PGA Championship. Explain what that experience means to you and what are some takeaways from that tournament that you will apply to your game moving forward?


The experience is always the “celebration of my career.” To be able to share the week with my family, my friends, my fellow Professionals, and all the Members at all the courses I have worked at and especially Fresh Meadow Country Club who cheer for me to play good golf is what playing in the PGA Championship is all about. || Year End 2021 ||



What was the strongest aspect of your game in 2021? I think my short game is always the best aspect of my game. I hit the driver straight but not that far compared to the young guns these days, but I have a very creative mind and love for the 60 degree wedge and how to get creative with all situations around the greens with it. What are your goals and objectives for 2022? Goals are always to qualify for the PGA Championship and to win Player of the Year in the Met Section. I think if I can accomplish those goals, then we have had an amazing year. Every year is harder and harder with all the great players that we have in the Met Section and having a family takes my focus off of practicing as I’d rather be home hanging with them but playing good golf all the time and being consistent every round I play will allow good results to happen. Do you have any pre-round rituals or superstitions that set you up for success or anything the Section may not know about you? I don’t have any real rituals besides some stretching exercises I do before each round. I play a Titleist Pro V1 #3’s. For some reason I only play #3 balls. I think it’s because golf is so difficult that I always think to myself if I could finish in 3rd place in every event I play in, then I would be able to make a good living playing golf and be very successful.

2021 Lenox Advisors New York State Open Champion



In 2021, you put together six top-ten finishes, en route to your firstcareer Player of the Year award including a victory at the Met Professional Championship. How do you plan on carrying this success into 2022? I will continue to do the same things that I’m doing now only I will have more events to compete in to stay even more tournament sharp. In May, you participated in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course in the 103rd PGA Championship. Explain what that experience means to you and what are some takeaways from that tournament that you will apply to your game moving forward?


The PGA Championship was my 4th consecutive major I believe! That’s just a huge learning week for me. I love getting in the mix with the best players in the world to see what they and their coaches are doing together in the moment. We also get to compete on the most difficult, pure, courses around in major championship condition with the crowds…it’s just an amazing week! It’s awesome to see how many golf fans there are out there! I love every second of that! Some take aways: I’m just as long. I’m more calm. I want to do it again and reach my goal of a top 15 finish in a regular Major Championship.



What was the strongest aspect of your game in 2021? The best areas of my game are my consistency, my short game and putting have improved (I want to be more like Balin with the wedge) and my fitness and mental game have improved as well! 50 is the next 35! What are your goals and objectives for 2022? I don’t really ever tell anyone my goals except for my inner circle as I like to keep to myself in that regard, but as a coach I’ll let you in on my goals for 2022. There is only one goal at this moment which is to win Finals of Champions Tour Q School and win Senior Majors! Objectives would be to qualify for the PGA Championship, US Open, Senior British Open and the US Senior Open in 2022.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! (Rob wrote this before competing in the Finals of Champions Tour Q-School. See Page 24 for the full story)

Do you have any pre-round rituals or superstitions that set you up for success, or anything the section may not know about you? Yes. Get my body “on-line” by a pre-round activation, eat a great breakfast, warm up from the hole backwards. (And a few other secrets). I go out in every tournament with the mindset to play my best and always make more birdies than bogeys but in competition I’m truly rooting for all other competitors to play well! This only elevates your game. || Year End 2021 ||





In 2021, you totaled seven top-ten finishes in Met PGA events including victories at the Met PGA Women’s Championship and at the Women’s Match Play to secure your first Women’s Player of the Year award. How do you plan on continuing this success in 2022?


I hope to be able to continue to play as well as 2021. I was fortunate to spend the 2021 winter in Jupiter so was able to compete in the PGA Events in Port St. Lucie. I hadn’t truly played competitive golf in over 8 years. Maybe a KPMG here and there, or a Met Open but in my mind it didn’t really count. I wasn’t competing regularly. This really kicked off the year and allowed me to have a few events under my belt before the Met spring/summer events. I won’t be able to spend as much time in Florida this season, as our kids are getting older (8 and 5), this will be more challenging. We’ll see, I’m just going to continue to play, get the rust off after not competing for so many years, and hopefully it’ll be like riding a bike.


Both you and your husband are teaching professionals at The Mill River Club, how has your family influenced your success on the course and what role does golf play in your life?


I feel like we influence each other’s success by being good listeners. We aren’t by nature the people that discuss our golf that much, when we are home, we usually talk about the kids, not our golf game. However, it has been nice to have Jason reinforce things that I have forgotten about my past success as an amateur and collegiate player. For the past 8 years my golf has taken a backseat to Jason’s, by design. The kids needed me, as a mother there is no more rewarding job than to take care of your children. Now that they are bigger, we are able to travel a little more and I can compete, so this is a wonderful opportunity to show them “Hey, mom can play golf too!” The highlight of my season wasn’t playing well and top finishes, it was having our oldest daughter, Caroline caddy for me in the Met PGA Match Play event at Fenway. It was challenging for me, I couldn’t whisper any inappropriate words if I miss-hit a shot, but that was by far my most memorable golf experience. She did such a wonderful job raking the bunkers, staying quiet (not her strength as an 8-year-old little girl) and helping clean my clubs/balls. To know that Jason and I have raised a little girl that can sit through an entire round of golf and be so respectful is the greatest trophy I could ever hope for.


What was the strongest aspect of your game in 2021? I think the strongest aspect of my game is length. I don’t always fully use it to my advantage off the tee, but on the par threes it’s nice having short irons into the greens. Also, being able to reach a par five in two is helpful. As Golf Professionals our own golf games take a backseat to our member’s games during the summer, so it is much easier to make a birdie with two putts, or by chipping it close than it is to rely on longer iron approach shots. What are your goals and objectives for 2022? Just to play in as many events as I can, schedule permitting. More importantly, keep being positive and up about my golf game. It’s easy to slip into that slippery slope of negativity, but it’s just golf. Rolling a ball into a hole on a beautiful course and hopefully on a sunny day. What could be better than that? Do you have any pre-round rituals or superstitions that set you up for success or anything the Section may not know about you? I used to have a bunch when I played on tour but now it was probably debilitating looking back. Now, I just try to use a new golf ball for every round.




In 2021, you finished in the top ten on four separate occasions including finishing in first among the Seniors at the Lincoln Women’s Met Open Championship to secure your third-career Senior Women’s Player of the Year award. How have you sustained success in such a competitive section?


My short game is the key for me. I am constantly working on bunkers, chipping and most of all putting. If I feel confident in these areas, I know I can get up and down when I am competing. I always get on the course and play as a tournament gets closer. This helps my rhythm and pre-shot routine get in sync.

was the strongest aspect of your game in Q What 2021? I was very accurate with my TaylorMade driver this A year and my putting and chipping improved as I played more.


What are your goals and objectives for 2022?

I had very specific goals for 2021 that did not work out. I am trying a different approach this year. In 2022, I want to be calm and focused in events big and small. I have to stay positive through all the ups and downs. Do you have any pre-round rituals or superstitions that set you up for success or anything the Section may not know about you? I played college golf at Rollins College and after I graduated I had a few different careers before I came back to golf. I worked at a kids day camp, was a flight attendant for People Express Airlines in Newark, New Jersey, and became a claims adjuster for State Farm insurance in Orlando, Florida. I finally realized that golf was the best career choice for me. || Year End 2021 ||




Your family was named the 2020 Metropolitan Golf Writers Association Family of the Year. How has your family influenced your success on the golf course?


My family has been the biggest influence in my success. Its been a life process for how important my family has been for me. From both my parents teaching and supporting my golf career to my brother being someone I could look up to and learn from once I became a PGA Professional. I can not thank each of them enough for everything they have done to improve my golf career in all aspects.



In May, you participated in your first PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course in the 103rd PGA Championship. Explain what that experience means to you and what are some takeaways from that tournament that you will apply to your game moving forward?

The experience of playing in the PGA this year was the best for many reasons. It was the most fun week of golf in my life, even though I missed the cut. I had the best support group there watching and cheering me on and having my brother right next to me every step of the way was something only out of a dream. It was also a week that I learned what some people could wish to learn in a lifetime. Every person I played with was so open to talking to me about things I asked them and being up close to the best players in the world you learn so much from just watching them. It was an experience of a lifetime. Throughout the 2021 season, you registered 12 top-10 finishes including four tournament victories to win Assistant Player of the Year honors. How do you plan to continue to pile on the accolades in 2022? This season will be hard to duplicate but I will try my best of course. I am going to continue to trust the process that I am on, continue to work hard with my coach John DiPilato to fine tune my game and continue to just enjoy the ride of golf. What was the strongest aspect of your game in 2021?

I would say this season my strongest aspects of my game were my driving and iron/wedge play. I feel like I’m a better than average putter and with what I think was an improved iron/wedge game this year it made it easier on my putter. I feel like I hit more greens this summer which translated to a closer proximity to the hole for me. Do you have any pre-round rituals or superstitions that set you up for success or anything the Section may not know about you? I have a 24 hour routine when I’m at home. I have a few different restaurants around town that I have for dinner during tournament weeks. Pre-round I don’t do much but get to the course about an hour and 30 minutes or so before tee off. I do this because I enjoy the camaraderie at all of our events and take time to talk to all my friends who I don’t see on a regular basis.

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KEEPING UP WITH THE PROS Met PGA Professionals making an impact on local and national levels

LPGA and Golf Digest Top 50 Teachers Announced || Year End 2021 ||


Ballo Family Honored as Family of the Year Mike Ballo Sr., Page Ballo, Mike Ballo Jr., and Peter Ballo were recognized as Family of the Year at this year’s Metropolitan Golf Writers Association Dinner hosted by the Metropolitan Golf Association. The 69th National Awards Dinner was held at Winged Foot Golf Club and recognizes golf’s greatest players, contributors, and organizations since 1952. Met Golf Writers Association President Dave Donelson said, “We are delighted to recognize the many contributions to the game of golf made by the Ballo family. They have taught us and inspired us, grown the game and demonstrated how it can be played and enjoyed at every level.” The Ballo Family has been making an impact on the game for decades. Mike Sr., Head Professional at Woodway Country Club from 1971 – 2003 was just recently inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame at Hartford Golf Club. His wife Page competed at UNC and earned All-ACC honors while competing. Mike Ballo and Peter Ballo have been making their mark as Assistant Professionals in the Met Section both competitively and in the golf community.

Rich Jones National Award REcipient On an inspiring night at the Wisconsin Center, the 2020 PGA of America National Awards winners finally received their just honors during a rousing ceremony to kick off the 2021 PGA Annual Meeting. Delayed a year by the global pandemic, the PGA paid tribute to a class of 12 influential PGA Members that included 2021 Player Development Award Recipient Rich Jones, PGA for his thriving programs at Pine Ridge Golf Club in Coram, New York and his work at Golf Galaxy in Bayshore, New York. “It means the world to me, and I think of the shoulders I stood on to get here,” said Jones. “It means a lot, and I am honored to receive this award.” “To reach this pinnacle of success, you have to be extraordinary in your career, and each winner in their own right has accomplished just that,” said PGA President Jim Richerson, as he opened the ceremony. “In fact, the PGA of America National Awards winners do represent the best of the best among our 28,000 men and women Members throughout the country. These winners and their expertise in the game and business of golf is highly respected throughout the industry. And through these awards, we recognize PGA Members who stand out as coaches, business leaders, innovators, mentors and patriots. They inspire other PGA Members and PGA Professionals to continually pursue the highest standards of success and drive the golf profession to a new standard of excellence.”

Rob Labritz Earns Medalist Honors at Q-School By Connor Stange, PGATOUR.COM

Lutz, Florida – Trailing by one entering the final round, Rob Labritz carded the low score on Friday with a bogey-free 7-under 64 to win the PGA TOUR Champions Qualifying Tournament (Final Stage) at TPC Tampa Bay. He posted a 72-hole score of 17-under 267 to finish three strokes ahead of runners-up Thongchai Jaidee and David Branshaw. “I’ve been envisioning this happening. And it did, which is crazy,” Labritz said after achieving his dream of 15 years. “It shows the power of the mind. I’m beyond the moon. I’m almost speechless. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this, to know that my golf game held up.” After opening with four consecutive pars in the final round, Labritz, a club professional at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, New York, birdied seven of his next 10 holes before closing with four pars. Labritz, who turned 50 on May 31, advanced to Final Stage by finishing runner-up at the First Stage Qualifier at Buckhorn Springs last month in Valrico, Florida. Labritz has played in eight PGA Championships, including each of the last three, and earned low club professional honors in 2010 (T68) and 2019 (T60). At the Senior PGA Professional Championship in October, he finished sixth, one spot away from an exemption into Final Stage. Labritz added: “I’ve played with so many players – TOUR players, Champions Tour players, amateurs and even in the majors – and they kept saying ‘You’ll get your chance. Just keep grinding.’ And I grinded. And I turned 50. And it seems like 50 is the new 30. We just won Champions Tour Q-School. We just got on the Tour that was supposed to be the hardest thing to do. I’ve waited for this – and it’s here.” Labritz is one of five players to earn status on PGA TOUR Champions from this week’s Q-School. Jaidee, Branshaw, Roger Rowland and Tom Gillis are also exempt into open, full-field events for the 2022 season. Jaidee and Branshaw shared runner-up honors at 14-under 270 before Jaidee birdied the first playoff hole (No. 10) to earn the No. 2 spot. “I performed well this week,” Jaidee said. “I’m putting very well. Everything is better than it was earlier this year. Hopefully I can keep it going.” Rowland was 2-over after six holes on Friday before playing the final 12 holes in 8-under, including an eagle on the par-5 14th and a back-nine 30. He finished fourth at 9-under 275. Gillis shot 1-over 72 to finish fifth with an 8-under 276 total, edging a quartet of players by one stroke for the final PGA TOUR Champions card. Players who finished sixth to 30th at Q-School are eligible to play in open qualifiers in 2022. || Year End 2021 ||


Met PGA Senior Championship Our Senior Professionals were welcomed by Head Professional Jimmy Farrell and his staff at The Hamlet Golf and Country Club for the 2021 Met PGA Senior Championship. Carl Alexander of Golf Club of Purchase went low in round one, shooting 5-under par to propel him into the final group for round two. Difficult final round conditions increased the challenge for our senior professionals, but Alexander remained consistent. With a birdie on 18, Alexander clinched his second-career victory. Alexander competed in the 33rd

Senior PGA Professional Championship in Port St. Lucie, Florida, accompanied by the following senior professionals: Rob Labritz of GlenArbor Golf Club, Michael Laudien of P.J. Rotella Memorial Golf Club, Del Ponchock of Hudson National Golf Club, Jimmy Farrell of Hamlet Golf and Country Club and Charlie Bolling of Glen Cove Golf Club.

KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship The Metropolitan PGA will be represented by a trio of Professionals who qualified for the 82nd KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship that will take place from May 26-29, 2022 at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich. Jimmy Farrell (Hamlet Golf & Country Club), Rob Labritz (GlenArbor Golf Club) and Del Ponchock (Hudson National Golf Club) will all make their first-career appearance at the oldest and most prestigious Major in Senior Golf that debuted in 1937. Farrell, Labritz and Ponchock will compete at the first beach, golf and residential waterfront community in Michigan’s Great Southwest and the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Course on Lake Michigan. The course allows golfers to experience all the different courses you can play in Michigan, all in one course. The first six holes are in the inland terrain while the following three holes are in a Dunes terrain with dramatic views of Lake Michigan. Holes 10-13 are in the Woodlands terrains, which wind through rolling hills, ravines and hardwood forest. The finishing holes (14-18), are placed in a River terrain which border the Paw Paw River, Ox Creek and its wetlands. || Year End 2021 ||


The Augie Met PGA Championship Pro-Am kicked off an exciting week for the Section. Old Oaks Country Club played host to this year’s highly anticipated event, opening their doors to 124 players who share the love and dedication that event host, Augie Hoerrner has for giving back to the game of golf. Hoerrner, Chairman of the former Wall Street Charity Pro-Am and Board Member for the Met PGA Foundation, has always said:

“There are many blessings in life, but none more gratifying than giving back to those in need.”

27 || Year End 2021


This wonderful event benefits the Met PGA Foundation that is committed to promoting the goodwill and growth of the game by positively impacting the lives of junior golfers, veterans and those who are underserved by the game. This year’s event honored Old Oaks Director of Golf, Bobby Heins for his efforts on and off the course for the Metropolitan Section. The day featured an auction that included pictures of legendary golfers including Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods along with a photo of Gene Sarazen’s legendary “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” at the 1935 Masters Tournament. Century Country Club, The Fishers Island Club, Friar’s Head Golf Course, Glen Oaks Club, GlenArbor Golf Club, Hudson National Golf Club, Maidstone Club, Quaker Ridge Golf Club, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Westchester Country Club and Winged Foot Golf Club added to the fun by throwing in threesomes and foursomes for golfers to enjoy at their respective clubs. The event was preceded by the Lincoln Met PGA Championship which capped off an unforgettable week at Old Oaks. Peter Ballo of Silvermine Golf Club finished atop the individual leaderboard with a 65 (-5) while also leading Oakland Hills Country Club Team 2 to victory in gross (133, -7) and net scoring (121, -19) with William Carroll, Jay Judge and Mark Anusbigian by compiling a score of 133 (-7).

29 || Year End 2021


by Mike Dougherty

Lohud. | Rockland Westchester Journal News PURCHASE - All week long, Peter Ballo was in a comfort zone. There was a lot at stake during the Lincoln Met PGA Championship, but the assistant professional from Silvermine Golf Club in Connecticut is always in a good place when he rolls into Old Oaks Country Club. Ballo worked here for three seasons and remains a frequent visitor, taking lessons from the club’s lead assistant John Dipilato. “It’s my home away from home,” the 30-year-old Stamford, Connecticut resident said.

Matt Dobyns Meadow Brook Club

course. I was here for three years with Bobby Heins and Nick Maselli and the course never played harder than it did today. I’m here quite a bit and it helps when you know where to hit it and where to miss it...Luckily I was hitting the It took a birdie on the 54th hole to get to ball right where I knew I could and gave myself a 6-under for the championship and force a look into the green every time which was nice.” playoff with Matt Dobyns, who shot a finalround 66 in blustery conditions that had all Danny Balin, a Valhalla resident and head pro but four players backing up. at Fresh Meadow Country Club on Long Island Ballo signed for a 67 on Thursday and went shot a 69 on Thursday and came in third with a 3-under total of 207. Only three players finished back to the 18th tee. in the red. Ballo, Dobyns and Balin were all tied He again reached the par 5 in two, calmy at 5-under through 10 holes on Thursday, so putted across the width of the green and there was plenty of drama in the way in. capped a wire-to-wire victory with a threefoot birdie. Dobyns was in trouble right off And the wind gusts were regularly pushing 25the tee and his approach was carried long and right. He was unable to get up and 30 mph. down. “It’s a tough little golf course and you’ve got “It’s just beginning to settle in, but it was some wind,” Balin said. “It seemed like a such a fun day,” said Ballo, who also won massacre out there besides the three of us... this event in 2019. “It was such a fun day This is why we play golf. That’s really the fun and yes, it helped being so familiar with this of it all, getting yourself in position and then seeing what happens. Unfortunately, it didn’t There is always plenty of tension during the section’s biggest event of the season. There was more this year for Ballo, who needed a victory to secure player of the year honors. || Year End 2021 ||


happen for me today.” Westchester Country Club’s Alex Beach and Pine Hollow Country Club’s Mark Brown finished in fourth at at 4-over. Brae Burn Country Club’s Alex Newman and GlenArbor’s Rob Labritz tied for seventh at 7-over. Ballo suffered bogeys at 16 and 17 to fall a shot behind Dobyns, but he took full advantage of the familiar 18th hole in regulation and in the playoff. “It was a lot of fun with all three of us playing well, I mean a 66, 67 and 69 in these conditions,” Ballo This is why said. “It helped me stay Danny Balin focused. You knew we play golf. someone could make Fresh Meadow CC That’s really a birdie at any point in time. You couldn’t sit and wait for people to make a mistake the fun of it all, so we were all just throwing jabs at each other all day... I hit getting yourself driver, 5-iron and driver, 6-iron on 18 with the wind off the left. in position and The first one I got got a nice break and stayed in the fairway and then in the playoff I caught a really good break and was then seeing what sitting up perfectly on top of the rough.”


Peter Ballo - Silvermine GC

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TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP The Bridge Golf Club and Gardiners Bay Country Club played host to the two-round 2021 Met PGA Team Championship. The following day, the 40-team field completed the tournament at the opposite course. Michael Sweeney of The Bridge Golf Learning Center, with partner Paul Dickinson of Atlantic Golf Club sank eight birdies in the opening round and posted a nine-birdie performance to compile the best score in both rounds (64-62, 126) to clinch a six-stroke victory with a score of 16-under par. Carl Alexander of The Golf Club of Purchase and Mark Brown of Pine Hollow Country Club made 14 birdies while remaining bogey-free through 36 holes as they climbed to the top with a score of 128 (65-63) to clinch a 14-under par.

Paul Dickinson & Mike Sweeney

Mark Brown & Carl Alexander

After play concluded, professionals had the opportunity to win a cash prize courtesy of ARGOLF! A putting competition was set up on the putting green at The Bridge where teams of professionals played 9 mini golf holes to determine a champion. Congratulations to Joe DiDomenico and Mitch Gray on winning the Inaugaural ARGOLF Team Putting Championship!

Women’s Match play championship No one was going to stop Liz Caron from capturing the 2021 Met PGA Women’s Match Play Championship, with none of her three matches needing to play past the 16th hole. Caron, the No. 1 seed in the bracket, beat Kammy Maxfeldt 5&4, Wendy Modic 3&2, and finally Carina Capobianco in the finals 6&4. The final match being held at historic Piping Rock Club designed by the legendary Charles Blair Macdonald in Locust Valley, N.Y. was a worthy test for the final competitors. The turning point of the match came on the par 5 sixth hole, where Caron found herself off to the right of the green on her approach shot. The hole was in the back and on top of a shelf with not a lot of room for error. Caron holed her fourth shot, turning what looked like a tough par into an amazing birdie. Capobianco missed her putt to tie and went three down in the match. Caron had an extremely hot putter, making four birdies including the final two holes to close out the match on the 14th. Carina Capobianco Woodway CC This was Caron’s second win of the 2021 season after also capturing the 2021 Met PGA Women’s Championship at Rockaway Hunting Club.

Liz Caron Mill River Club



Hoffhine memorial pro-am The Met PGA is extremely grateful to be a part of the Hoffhine Memorial Pro-Am at the Westchester Country Club West Course for decades. The 7,002-yard course was designed 99 years ago by Walter J. Travis as a test for champion golfers and recently hosted the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Four holes on the course (2, 3, 6, and 17) were ranked among the toughest on the PGA Tour during the course’s long tenure as a host on golf’s top professional circuit. The 18-hole Stableford event included a 50-team field that featured some of the area’s strongest professionals and amateurs. The contest was extremely close and was decided by just two points. The stellar play of Silvermine Golf Club’s, Peter Ballo and Ross Kronberg ultimately took home the championship by compiling a combined score of 76 points. Ballo and Kronberg registered seven birdies along with an eagle on the seventh hole en route to the victory. As part of the victory, the champions received their trophy and infamous bottle of wine donated by Ghost Cellars.


Ross Kronberg and Peter Ballo

2021 GENE BOREK Squire Cup The Gene Borek Squire Cup is an annual event hosted by the Section to pay tribute to the late Gene Borek, honoring his legacy of achievements in the areas of leadership, professional performance and playing ability. Recognition of the outstanding Assistant Professionals in our section for all that they do for the golf community and the Met PGA is an essential way of preserving the dedication and devotion to the game in our area. This year, Head Professional Adam Rainaud and his golf staff at Country Club of New Canaan hosted the event as twelve Assistant Professionals and twelve Head Professionals battled head-to-head in a Ryder Cup style format. After two years of great success for the Head Professionals, the team of Assistant Professionals took back the Gene Borek Squire Cup Trophy! Congratulations to the following Assistant Professionals who were chosen to be a part of this great event: Peter Ballo of Silvermine GC, John DiPilato of Old Oaks CC, Chris Gabriele of Sleepy Hollow CC, Tristin Goodwin of Rockaway Hunting Club, Mitch Gray of Saint Andrew’s GC, Robb Heering Jr. of Trump Hudson Valley, Dan Hemme of The Patterson Club, Tyler Lower of The Bridge Learning Center, Carly Peters of Quaker Ridge GC, Dylan Newman of Brae Burn CC, Casey Pyne of The Stanwich Club, John Schmoll of Burning Tree CC and Dan Sposato of Mill River Club.


Assistant Professionals

Head Professionals 35 || Year End 2021



FARLEY CUP The John Farley Cup helps celebrate the service and dedication of John Farley, our long-time Tournament Director who died suddenly in 2008. This event features the top 12 players from Long Island competing against the top 12 players from Westchester (to include Fairfield and Upstate counties as well). The top 10 players with the most points on the Met PGA Player of the Year list in each jurisdiction and the top 2 seniors with the most points on the Met PGA Senior Player of the Year list in each jurisdiction after the conclusion of the Met PGA Championship will earn a spot on their respective teams. This year, the event was held at Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, NY. Team Westchester and Team Long Island were dressed in the best at this year’s Farley Cup thanks to long-time partners, Summit Golf Brands. This year Carl Alexander of GC of Purchase, Alex Beach of Westchester CC, Matt Belizze of Hudson Hills GC, John DiPilato of Glen Oaks Club, Mitch Gray of Saint Andrew’s GC, Reid Howey of Manhattan Woods, Peter Kampmann of Manhattan Woods, Rob Labritz of GlenArbor GC, Del Ponchock of Hudson National GC, Casey Pyne of Stanwich Club, Kent St. Charles of Westchester Hills, and Craig Thomas of Metropolis GC from Team Westchester earned bragging rights and took back the Farley Cup trophy from Team Long Island!

1st Team Westchester


team Long Island



Assistants corner The Assistant’s Tour had a very successful season with thirteen events played. There were three players who won twice on the tour, David Abolt of Meadow Brook Club, Casey Pyne of Stanwich Club and Dylan Newman of Brae Burn Country Club. Peter Ballo of Silvermine Golf Club captured the Assistant’s Player of the Year Award. Congratulations to our winners in 2021 and a big thank you to the outstanding facilities who hosted us this year. The facilities and champions were awarded with Met PGA Assistant’s Tour flags. Thank you to the Met PGA Head Professionals who donated in record amounts through the Head Professional Contribution Fund. This fund benefits Assistant Golf Professionals with William A. Mitchell Education Scholarships. The fund also adds to our Assistant’s Tour purses. A big thank you to all who contributed!

John Schmoll ‘19 - ‘21 President

Earlier in 2021, the Assistant Education offerings were again done via Zoom and had record turnouts. Mike Ballo of Westchester Country Club, our Education Chair, did an outstanding job coordinating national talent and served as a moderator for multiple events. In all, it was a very strong year of education. Thank you to the many Assistants who were part of our exceptional panels in 2021. Thank you to Chris Marinaro of Trump National Hudson Valley who served as Assistant’s Liaison this year. Chris was a big part of our Mentor Program along with Peter Procops of Lawrence Yacht and Country Club. This is only a start, and we will be continuing this program for the future. If you would like to get involved, please reach out to Chris or myself. Congratulations to Assistant’s Board Member, John DiPilato, who was recently named Director of Golf at Connecticut Golf Club and to Joe Condomitti and Jason Peterson who received Head Professional appointments at Bonnie Briar and Paramount respectively. Thank you to the Met PGA Staff for all they do to help the success of our Association. We especially want to thank Kevin Rodine, Assistants Tour Tournament Coordinator, for his dedication to all things Assistant Golf Professional in the Met PGA. Kevin is stepping down after this year and we will miss his honesty, sincerity and his dedication. He ate, slept and breathed Met PGA Assistants Association. Thank you, Kevin! Lastly, it was a great year for the Met PGA Assistants Teams who were winners of the Squire Cup at the beautiful Country Club of New Canaan. Met PGA Assistants were also victorious in bringing home the Assistants Cup against the New Jersey PGA Section at the spectacular Stanwich Club. Congratulations and well-done Met PGA! On a personal note, it was incredible to get the call from Met PGA President Chris Kenney to inform me that I had won the 2021 Met PGA Assistant of the Year. What a great honor. It has been a pleasure to serve the Met PGA Assistant’s Board the last five years in various offices with the last two as President. There are many people to thank who have helped me along the way: Everyone at Burning Tree who have treated me like family, my own family, the many PGA Professionals and mentors who have helped me along the way including Gene Toth, Jim Dwyer, Billy Farrell, Mike Gilmore, Todd Wingerter, Rob Labritz, Bill Smittle, Anthony Cancro, Kirk Oguri, Mike Ballo, along with many others. What makes the Met PGA so special is that so many people are willing to share information and help, all you need to do it ask. I am so thankful for everyone who has helped me be the person I am today. The icing on the cake for this incredible year was getting married to Tara Daley. She is an incredible person and I have never been happier! Thank you to all the Met PGA Assistants for helping grow the game every day. John Schmoll, President

37 || Year End 2021


Bethpage State Park welcomed 150 Assistant Professionals to the Red Course for the playing of the 2021 National Car Rental Met Assistants Championship. Casey Pyne of Stanwich Club and Scott Ford of Glen Oaks Club both shot 4-under par to sit atop the leaderboard after round one. Defending champion Dylan Newman of Brae Burn Country Club was just one off the lead at 3-under. The Red Course proved more difficult on day two, but Newman found his rhythm and remained consistent. With birdies on holes 16 and 17, Newman sealed the top spot and claimed victory for the second year in a row! Newman competed at the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship along with the following assistant professionals: Alex Willey of Meadow Brook Club, David Abolt of Meadow Brook Club, Scott Ford of Glen Oaks Club, Casey Pyne of The Stanwich Club, Mark Brown of Pine Hollow Country Club, Cian Curley of Silo Ridge Field Club, Peter Ballo of Silvermine Golf Club, Mitch Gray of Saint Andrew’s Golf Club, Tristin Goodwin of The Rockaway Hunting Club, and Nick Beddow of Nassau Country Club.

Winged Foot Golf Club, one of the most historic clubs in golf’s history played host to our Assistant/Assistant Match Play Final in early October, this match being the culmination of five previous matches that started in late May. Dylan Newman and Drew Billard of Brae Burn Country Club went head to head with Gregory Pace of Wheatly Hills Country Club, and Scott Wise of North Hills Country Club. The match started out with a flurry of five straight birdies between the two sides. Standing on the par 3 6th tee, Pace and Wise had found themselves with a 1 UP lead. That lead would not last long, with a bogey at the par 4 7th and a great birdie by Newman/Billard on the par 5 8th hole. Newman/Billard made the turn at 1 UP as the two teams traded birdies on 10 and 11, but the Brae Burn CC duo never looked back. With another birdie on the 16th hole to put the match at dormie, only a par was needed on the 17th hole to secure the victory and Newman and Billard did just that.

AssisTants Team Championship This year’s Assistants Team Championship was held at one of the Section’s premier private golf clubs on Long Island, Meadow Brook Golf Club. David Abolt and Davis Tuttle were no strangers to Meadow Brook as they teamed up to lead the 51-team field with a score of 64 (-8) at their home club. Abolt and Tuttle displayed consistency compiling 7 birdies and 1 eagle to secure the victory!

39 || Year End 2021


Top Four Assistant Players of the Year are going to the Emerald Isle! The Race to the Emerald Isle has ended! Congratulations to the top 4 Assistant Professionals in the Section who will be heading to Ireland in April:

With over 400 world class courses, home to over a third of the worlds natural links, and not to mention the Culture and of course the Guinness, Ireland offers a golf experience unlike no other. Over the past 20 years Ireland has been named ‘International Golf Destination of the Year’ on several occasions by The International Association of Golf Tour Operators, therefore it is not surprising that it welcomes over 240,000 golfers a year from all over the world. With 100 plus years of combined golf and travel experience, including 2 PGA Professionals, Travelling the Fairways has been a proud partner of the Met Section for over five years. Considering arranging a trip with your members? To find out more please contact Emilee Taylor Bradshaw: Email: | Direct Line: 00441334845422 | Free Phone: 1-800-414-8519

FOUNDATION As we look back on 2021, our greatest accomplishments were celebrated in the smiles on the faces of our junior golfers and veterans as we were able to return to near normal programming this year. The success of the Foundation would not be possible without the dedication of our PGA Professionals, Associates, and their clubs who continuously support us in our mission. Together, we are using the game of golf to impact the lives of others who otherwise may not have had the opportunity. A special thank you to PGA Professionals who continued to find ways to support our fundraising efforts through sharing the story of the Met PGA Foundation at their clubs. We urge more Professionals to get involved in these efforts and leverage the good work being done in the community to continue to build your brand at your facility. By educating members and sharing your passion to grow the game of golf, you will intrinsically raise your own value at the same time. Covid-19 forced many of us to rethink and redesign how we operated and out of those exercises did come some unexpected wins. For example, we redesigned our Military Golf League structure to mirror Jr. League and the product that was created provided our veterans and our PGA Professionals with a memorable and unique experience that will remain our model for upcoming years. We saw over 200 veterans return to the golf course this spring in the league, and then were able to return to normal programming in the fall and graduate an additional 80 new veterans through the program. Year to date, we have now graduated over 900 veterans. We also saw the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation Adaptive Sport Center come to fruition at the Northport VA Hospital and have already started to see the veterans of Long Island begin to reap the benefits. That success paired together with new partnerships formed with Golf Galaxy/Dick’s Sporting Goods and Topgolf, our veterans are set to continue playing golf all winter long in indoor settings. All of our Junior Golf Programs returned this year with Jr. League, Drive, Chip, and Putt and the Junior Tour all exceeding expectations in 2021. There is an infusion of golfers of all ages flooding to our tee boxes and we are excited for the future of golf. As we look to 2022, we look forward to continuing to build on this year’s momentum and find creative ways to retain the new golfers we have gained. Many of you reading this found your way to the game of golf because you had a mentor that introduced you to the game and gave the gift of golf to you. If you have not been involved with Met PGA Foundation initiatives to this point, we ask you to please get involved in 2022. If not for yourself, as a thank you to your mentor to pay the gift of golf forward. There are so many ways to engage with the Foundation and we hope you find one below that inspires you to act and get involved! We wish you the best for a terrific off-season and look forward to seeing you in the spring!

NEW YEARS RESOLUTION CHAIRMAN Charlie Robson BOARD Brian Crowell, PGA Rich Jones, PGA Heath Wassem, PGA Ed Fitzmaurice Augie Hoerrner Dave Scialabba

GET INVOLVED IN 2022! • Host a Junior Tour event • Mentor a junior golfer • Host a fundraiser at your club • Become certified PGA HOPE • Participate in the 100 hole challenge instructor Volunteer for PGA HOPE • Play in the Augie Pro-Am • Mentor a PGA HOPE veteran • Donate a foursome • Hire a veteran at your club through • Host a junior golfer at your club VETWORKS through Fairways to Success • Host a PGA HOPE play day • Encourage your junior golfers to • Create awareness and promote participate in junior golf programs Foundation activities • Become a PGA Junior League Captain • Become a PSAL instructor || Year End 2021 || 41

JORDAN SPIETH FAMILY FOUNDATION INSPIRING HOPE in Northport Project Complete - The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation Adaptive Sports Center at the Northport VA Hospital is now open.

The Metropolitan PGA Section Foundation, through a partnership with The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation (JSFF), is proud to announce the opening of The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation Adaptive Sports Center at the Northport Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital in Northport, NY. The three-year project included the renovation of the Adaptive Sports wing at the Northport VA which now includes a new Veteran’s Gym and Golf Center, featuring a Full Swing Simulator, putting green, and lounge. Thanks to a JSFF financial grant, veterans of the Northport VA now have access to playing the sport of golf throughout the entire year as well as over ten other virtual sports that the donated multi-sport Full Swing Simulator features. For many injured veterans, adaptive sports provide their first exposure to physical activity after injury and functions as a form of therapy and The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation Adaptive Sports Center is a huge enhancement to the tools available to serve the veterans of Long Island.

HOPE Graduate Brian Forkin working on his game in the new Simulator

“Having the simulator in our adaptive sports program has been amazing,” stated Katie Poppe, Acting Chief of Recreation Therapy. “It has brought back so many opportunities for our veterans to be active moving forward through the COVID pandemic. Having them be able to be here, be social and be back together has been such a huge benefit for all our veterans, both outpatients and inpatients. It truly has been a wonderful gift and resource for our veterans here.” Metropolitan Section PGA Foundation Chairman, Charlie Robson said, “The end product has been so rewarding for us to see not only in the way that it looks but the response that the Veterans have shown here. The use of the facility is terrific, but it’s been a long three years plus…it’s been a lot of work and effort and to have it finally finished and completed is absolutely rewarding and exciting for us.” Met PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), is a six-week adaptive golf program offered free of charge by the Metropolitan Section PGA Foundation, local VA hospitals and PGA Professionals. It utilizes golf as a rehabilitation tool to improve veterans’ quality of life by enhancing their mental, social, physical, and emotional well-being.

(Top from left to right) Ricky Bozella, Jinny Mullin, Ken Miller, Charlie Robson, Kelli Clayton, Katie Poppe. (Bottom from left to right) John Coronna, Mark Brown, Brian Forkin

The program is open to all veterans with an emphasis on serving those with physical and emotional disabilities who would benefit the most from such an initiative. Current sites for Met PGA HOPE include Mosholu Golf Course, Spook Rock Golf Course, Woodside Club, and Rolling Hills CC. Since Met PGA HOPE’s inception in 2015, the Foundation has served over 900 veterans, and graduates an average of 200 veterans annually.

Veterans Gym

After graduating the program, veterans are gifted a set of golf clubs to continue their golf journey, and are invited to play in the Met PGA Military Golf League. They also receive a membership card offering golf-related benefits in the region.

Veterans who have participated in Met PGA HOPE, including Brian Forkin and John Coronna, raved about the golf simulator and how it has made an impact on them and their golf game. Forkin said, “I take advantage of this [the simulator] every day…its been a lot of fun. We like to play outside, but this will be great for the winter!” “This is a more advanced product than I expected,” commented Coronna. “I’ve written to Jordan Spieth thanking him for this wonderful opportunity to get out of the cold and come into the warmth on a winter day and I appreciate all he has done for the Veterans.” The Northport VA is just one of the many VA Hospitals that Met PGA HOPE serves. Projects like this are not possible without the relationships with PGA REACH, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and our local Recreational Therapists. Through various donations generated by PGA Professionals at local golf facilities and support from local companies, the Metropolitan Section PGA Foundation strives to continue to enhance the lives of veterans in the metropolitan area. The PGA of America’s tradition of commitment to the United States Military traces back to World War I, when the Association first purchased ambulances to support our nation’s troops. As well, during World War II, PGA members built golf ranges and courses at military hospitals and conducted war bond drives to further the cause. PGA HOPE exists in 37 of 41 sections of the PGA of America with 163 programs with over 3,500 veterans participating throughout the United States the support of PGA REACH. || Year End 2021 ||


Special thank you to the following people and companies that supported in this project’s completion: Bob’s Discount Furniture, Elmont Paint and Wallpaper, Full Swing Simulators, Home Green Advantage (Michael Lehrer), M & M Awning (Michael Mere), Morell Studios (Jon Clay), Titleist, WHM Contracting (Bill Murphy), and the amazing Engineering and Recreation staff of the Northport VA (Mark Brown, Ricky Bozella, Katie Poppe, Jinny Mullen).

Golf Simulator

Lounge Space

Putting Practice Area


45 || Year End 2021



THANK YOU FOR GIVING! LEGACY CLUB - $20,000 & UP Saint Andrew’s Golf Club

“The Augie” Met PGA Championship Pro-Am

PRESIDENT’S CLUB - $15,000 & UP Burning Tree Country Club

Old Oaks Country Club

FOUNDER’S CLUB - $10,000 & UP Hudson National Golf Club Meadow Brook Club Novak Family Foundation

Redding Country Club Rockville Links Club Rolling Hills Country Club

AMBASSADOR’S CLUB - $5,000 & UP Crowell Bowl Garden City Golf Club

Huntington Country Club Woodside Club

CHAMPION’S CLUB - $1,000 & UP Atlantic Golf Club Beekman Golf Course Brae Burn Country Club Christopher Clark Connecticut Golf Club Country Club of Darien

Golf Club of Purchase Michael Davis Met PGA Junior Tour Members North Hills Country Club Patriot Hills Golf Club Wheatley Hills Golf Club

BLUE & GOLD CLUB - $500 & UP Silvermine Golf Club

Westchester Country Club

FRIEND OF THE FOUNDATION - $100 & UP Thank you to the hundreds of people who supported us this year!

On behalf of the Met PGA Junior Tour, we would like to thank you for working together with us to complete a very successful 2021 season. The support of our membership is invaluable to us, and we truly appreciate your patience and understanding to help make this season possible. It was an honor and privilege to be able to host events and give a semblance of normalcy to our members during these unprecedented times. There is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our members. We could not have asked for any better cooperation and because of you we were able to write a success story. Our biggest thank you is to our head and assistant PGA professionals that support us always with Abe no Junior Tour. Thanks to the work of these professionals and their desire to give back and grow the game, we are able to have the greatest impact for junior golfers of all ages and abilities. We are very excited to share with you our 2021 Virtual Junior Tour Awards ceremony to honor and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of our players this season. Please click below to view the Awards Ceremony hosted by our very own Director of Junior Golf, Dan Frankel. Congratulations to all our juniors for your achievements this season!


47 || Year End 2021



Joe Condomitti

Head Professional | Bonnie Briar CC

As a young kid, discovering my love for the game of golf was one of the best things that ever happened to me. A passion for the game was created which will last for the rest of my life. Countless lifelong friendships were made with many different individuals. This passion for the game of golf that I had at a young age ended up turning into a career as a PGA golf professional.

Advice to Juniors Follow your passion. My passion was/is the game of golf. Every day I get to go to work at a country club and talk golf, it doesn’t get much better than that. Your passion might be different than mine. You may love to become a sales rep and sell golf merchandise to golf professionals or you may love club fitting and can help golfers reach their potential by setting them up with the right clubs. There are so many different avenues you can choose as a PGA Professional and there is no rush to figure it out. If you want to become a PGA professional, figure out your passion and then go 110% towards becoming the best.

In 2010, I was fortunate enough to work as an intern for the Met PGA Junior Tour. I knew that I wanted to become an assistant golf professional at a prestigious club in the Westchester area. By working for the Met PGA I knew this would help me accomplish this goal. One of the best parts about this job was that we worked at a different golf course every day. Each course we worked at I made it a point to introduce myself to every head golf professional and expand my network. My goal at the end of the season was to meet as many head golf professionals as possible and hopefully land my next position. My plan was successful as I was able to land a job as an assistant at Sunningdale Country Club working under Michael Breed. The best part about working for the Met PGA is that we were and still are a family. Each person I worked with I am still very close with to this day. Kelli Clayton, Dan Frankel and Kaitlin Sabbagh were co-workers/ bosses that were great people to work with/for. Every time I see them at a Met PGA event it’s like seeing an old high school friend that you haven’t seen in years. My experience working for the Met PGA taught me many valuable lessons that influenced my desire to become a PGA golf professional. I learned how to network, how to run golf tournaments, how to create a team environment and how to inspire others (the junior golfers on the tour). The summer of 2010 working for the Met PGA Junior Tour will be a summer that I will never forget.