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Don Meadows, 2019 SFPGA Golf Professional of the Year








Dear South Florida PGA Family, It's hard to believe that another year is coming to an end. As we close out this season, I would like to share with you some key highlights from the year. Since late March we conducted Section tournaments across south Florida which was highlighted by our Section Championship in September, held at Quail Valley. Justin Bertsch, also named SFPGA Player of the Year, captured the title. Bertsch and Andrew Filbert represented our section at the PGA Championship in May which was just the beginning of a fantastic year. In addition to events administered for the membership, we conducted 102 events for our 1,197 junior tour members across five different levels. This season, we introduced two new Major Championships to our Championship and Challenge Tour participants and had four boys from our Section finish in the Top 20 at the National Boys Junior PGA Championship at Keney Park this summer. In addition, five young juniors will compete at the National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship this April at Augusta National. Our Foundation activities continued to grow this year as well. We graduated 186 veterans in 2019 and 650 since 2015 through PGA HOPE and Smiling Fore Life has expanded to five healthcare facilities with 1,100 children being impacted thanks to 340 hours volunteered by 18 PGA Professionals. This fall we broke ground on our eighth Habitat for Humanity Home in Puerto Rico and awarded our second $20,000 scholarship to a deserving student. In addition we continue to support countless local charities, providing them with grants to assist with the community outreach needs as well. All our programming is important to us and we appreciate the support of many of you who are actively involved with these programs, helping to ensure their success and making them possible. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to working with you again in 2019!

Geoff Lofstead Executive Director


South Florida PGA Hosts Annual Awards Dinner Don Meadows honored as Golf Professional of the Year

Don Meadows, PGA speaks after receiving Golf Professional of the Year at the Annual Awards Dinner on November 12th.

Don Meadows, PGA Director of Golf at Quail Valley Country Club (Vero Beach), was named the 2019 South Florida PGA Golf Professional of the Year at the SFPGA Annual Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner. As the highest honor a South Florida PGA Golf Professional can receive, Meadows highlighted the evening which also honored his fellow 2019 award winners and the 2019 Hall of Fame Class.The South Florida PGA annually recognizes a PGA Professional for overall performance, level of service to the Association, leadership, image and ability to inspire fellow professionals and promote the game of golf. “Being recognized and awarded the Golf Professional of the Year is one of the highlights of my life,” said Meadows. “To be awarded this in a section with so many talented and dedicated Golf Professionals is humbling. I am truly thankful for all the opportunities I have been afforded in my career - from working as a ‘cart boy’ in high school to now being the Director of Golf at Quail Valley, there are so many individuals who have influenced and enhanced my career, achieving this recognition is a testament to many individuals influence on me.”

Teacher of the Year – Gayle Leslie, PGA Horton Smith Award – Jim McLean, PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award – Paul Clivio, PGA Player Development – Nick Cupper, PGA Youth Player Development – Bela Nagy, PGA Assistant of the Year – Sean McGinness, PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private) – Brad “JR” Friend, PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Public) - Casey Mitchell, PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Resort) – Holly Taylor, PGA Patriot Award – Dave McNulty, PGA Salesperson of the Year – Dwight Rogers


Stephen A. Cox and Mark VanDyck Inducted into SFPGA Hall of Fame

MarkVanDyck, PGA and Dave Marr III

Stephen A. Cox, PGA and Dave Marr III

Longtime PGA Professionals and committed South Florida PGA members, Mark VanDyck, PGA and Stephen Cox, PGA are the newest members inducted to the South Florida PGA Hall of Fame this year. VanDyck and Cox, the 42nd and 43rd inductees, have been recognized for exemplary leadership and service to the South Florida PGA and are set to be honored at the SFPGA Annual Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner this November. For over 20 years, VanDyck has served the Section in a leadership role, starting on the Southern Chapter Apprentice Committee in 1997 and completing his term as South Florida PGA Honorary Past President this June. During his tenure as President, VanDyck oversaw the growth of the Section office, placed more of a focus on the South Florida PGA Foundation, expanded junior golf programming and was named South Florida PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2017. Additionally, VanDyck’s commitment to the members has been made clear through his work to enhance the South Florida PGA Chapters and growing membership involvement. Through teamwork, respect and appreciation of others, VanDyck has been instrumental to growing the game of golf at the highest level. VanDyck is not done serving, last month he was sworn in as the District 13 Director for the PGA of America National Board of Directors from 2019-22. “I’ve given and will continue to give everything I have for this great game forever,” said VanDyck. “There are so many of the Section Professionals who share a part of this achievement and I thank them so very much from the bottom of my heart.” Cox is recognized for his outstanding commitment and leadership to the South Florida PGA. During his term as SFPGA President from 2009-11, Cox reorganized the South Florida PGA Foundation, helped to find permanent office space for the Section and increased the size of voting membership on the Section Board of Directors. Cox has also furthered the growth of the game on a national level, serving as District 13 Director for the PGA National Board of Directors from 2011-13.A respected leader and dedicated PGA Professional, Cox was awarded the Section Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2005 and has been a four-time finalist for the PGA National Bill Strausbaugh Award. "It is an enormous honor to be included with those that have given service and leadership to this great game and to those that love it so much,” said Cox.The South Florida PGA Hall of Fame annually inducts new members who have devoted their careers to growing and enhancing the game of golf. Click here for a full list of members.


Annual Awards

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South Florida PGA Recognized on National Stage Judy Alvarez wins Patriot Award and SFPGA receives Herb Graffis Award

Judy Alvarez, PGA Director of Instruction at Monarch Country Club (Palm City) accepted the National Patriot Award in November at the PGA of America Annual Awards Dinner. The celebration came as part of the 103rd PGA Annual Meeting that was held at the Convention Center in West Palm Beach.The Patriot Award annually recognizes a PGA member who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to all who have served the United States. Alvarez has been teaching golf to people with disabilities and veterans since 1990 and has been involved in Folds of Honor, PGA HOPE and Salute Military Golf Association. “I’ve always felt compelled to share with local organizations what I do and how the game of golf can help to benefit our veterans,” said Alvarez. “My goal is to provide a safe environment for a veteran to let their guard down, relax, feel safe and enjoy the experience. Ultimately it is about their accomplishments.” Alvarez has helped to establish six PGA HOPE programs in South Florida, impacting more than 500 veterans in the region. Additionally, Alvarez hosts a free golf clinic for veterans once a week, provides year-round adaptive golf programs and has been an advocate for golf and the impact the game can have on veterans. Throughout her career, Alvarez has taught more than 10,000 veterans and students with disabilities the game. In addition, The South Florida PGA received the Herb Graffis Award during the 103rd PGA Annual Meeting. The Herb Graffis Award is designed to recognize a PGA of America Section for extraordinary contributions in the area of player development. By prioritizing youth, diversity and the military, the South Florida PGA aims to impact more lives in south Florida through the game of golf.In junior golf, the SFPGA offers year-round programs for all ages, impacting more than 9,300 youth golfers over the past 12 years. In 2007, seven events were conducted for 250 participants and in 2018 over 150 events were administered for over 1,700 participants, an increase of 700 percent. In addition to extensive junior golf programming, the SFPGA Foundation has impacted more than 12,000 lives through junior golf, charitable gifting and scholarships. “This award is a testament to the tireless effort of South Florida PGA members who strive to grow participation and enjoyment in the game of golf every day at their facilities throughout the section,” said Geoff Lofstead, Executive Director of the South Florida PGA. “It is also a testament to our Section and Foundation board of directors for providing the direction and resources that have made growing the game a primary initiative of section staff. It is an incredible honor to be recognized on a national level, amongst the great work being done by the 41 PGA sections around the country.” The PGA of America annually recognizes 11 PGA Professionals and one PGA Section. In addition to the Patriot Award and the national award as a Section, Scott Kirkwood, PGA will be honored with the National Merchandiser of the Year Award (Private) at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show in January. Click on the images above to view the Patriot Award video and the Herb Graffis video.


Brian Peaper Leads South Florida PGA to Victory in Senior Challenge Cup

Last October, Brian Peaper went 4-0 to lead the South Florida PGA to a 19 ½-10 ½ victory over the North Florida PGA in the Senior Challenge Cup Matches at Harbor Ridge Yacht & Country Club. It was South Florida’s third consecutive victory in the matches for players 50 and older.Peaper, the PGA Director of Golf at Lost Tree Club, teamed with Roger Kennedy Jr. to win a pair of matches Tuesday, then partnered with David Ladd to win the match before completing a version of the Grand Slam with a singles victory.“I had some great pairings, and I played pretty well,” Peaper said. “You know how these matches are – you can play well and lose. We had a really good team.” The South Florida PGA jumped to an 8 ½-1 ½ lead after the opening day's Four Ball and Scrambles matches. North Florida cut the lead to 10 ½-5 ½ in before South Florida pulled away by going 8-2-2 in singles. Geoff Lofstead, South Florida PGA’s executive director, said the 24 players on both teams have combined to play in 102 majors, 266 PGA Tour events, 309 PGA Tour Champions events, 121 PGA Professional Championships and 85 Senior PGA Professional Championships. They have also combined to win 21 Senior Player of the Year, six Section Players of the Year and one National Player of the Year. “It’s such a different event,” Lofstead said. “We take such great pride in the quality of the players we have in the Section. All year we’re worried about running great championships. The opportunity to conduct an event and pull for our own team is a different camaraderie for us.”Gary Benoit was captain of the South Florida PGA. Ladd, the PGA Director of Golf/General Manager, at The Champions Club, and Daniel Heaslip, the PGA Director of Golf at Windstar on Naples Bay, both also went undefeated (3-0-1). So did Roger Kennedy Sr. (2-0-2), who helped start the matches in 2006 before the two sections took over running the championship in 2010. The other members of the South Florida PGA team were JC Anderson, Rick Gomes, Jay Horton, Roger Kennedy Jr., Mark Mielke, Pete Oakley, Mike San Filippo and Jerry Tucker.


Mark Mielke Qualifies for 2020 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship Mark Mielke, PGA Life Member qualified for the 2020 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship after an impressive outing at the 2019 Senior PGA Professional Championship in Austin, Texas at the Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa. Mielke (277) finished tied for eighth to be one of 35 PGA Professionals to qualify for the Senior PGA Championship. The Atlantis, Florida resident was paced by an openinground 67, to finish 9-under overall and just seven strokes off the lead. The Senior PGA Professional Championship was played October 3-6 in Austin, Texas with players rotating between Coore Crenshaw Cliffside Course and the Fazio Foothills Course. Mielke, 57, who earned the 2017 and 2019 Senior Player of the Year for the South Florida Section, followed his 67 with a 68 and a pair of 71s to close out the weekend. The 264-player Championship, supported by Golf Channel and John Deere, featured a $300,000 total purse.

Mielke watches a tee shot at the Senior PGA Professional Championship.

Forty-two states were represented in the field, which was trimmed after two days to the low 90 scorers and ties. The final 36 holes was contested on the Fazio Foothills Course. Each of the top five earned an exemption into the final stage of the 2019 PGA Tour Champions National Finals. The top eight, including ties, automatically qualified for next year's Championship, to be held Oct. 15-18, 2020, at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Click here for full results.


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Chapter Corner Southeast Chapter: For the second year, the Southeast Chapter celebrated the holidays season with a toy drive for children at Palm Beach Children's Hospital In addition to collecting toys at multiple locations throughout the Chapter, PGA Professionals personally distributed the gifts at the hospital on December 12th.

Southern Chapter: The Southern Chapter held their 2019 Fall Meeting on December 3rd and honored 12 deserving award recipients. These individuals were recognized for their talents and their efforts and contributions to serving the golf community. Click here for the list of winners.

Southwest Chapter: The Quarry Golf Club of the Southwest Chapter hosted the Inaugural SFPGA Foundation Pro-Am on December 9th. PGA General Manager Bob Radunz spearheaded this effort and many PGA Professionals came out to raise money to support the SFPGA Foundation.

Island Chapter: Island Chapter PGA Professionals have been hard at work this Fall building the SFPGA Foundation's eighth Habitat for Humanity home in Puerto Rico. The Chapter will dedicate this home on January 30th.


Junior Tour Section Sacristan, Fischer Win Overall Titles in South Florida PGA Junior Tour Championship Sebastian Sacristan needed a timeout from golf. Jordan Fischer needs a bigger trophy case. Sacristan and Fischer both got what they wanted - victories in the South Florida PGA Junior Tour Championship, presented by The Honda Classic at Jonathan's Landing Golf Club at Old Trail. Sacristan, a 15-year-old Coral Springs resident, won the boys overall title with a 2-over 73 on the Hills course to finish at 1-over 143, a shot ahead of his peers. Fischer, a 14-year-old North Fort Meyers resident who is home-schooled, won for the third time in four starts on the South Florida PGA Junior Tour. She shot a 1-over 72 for a two-day total of three-over 145 to win by two. In addition, the 2019 Player's of the Year are as follows: Championship Tour Boy's Overall- Garrett Giles Championship Tour Girl's Overall - Nicole Yugay Challenge Tour Girl's 11-12 - Morgan Pichler Challenge Tour Boy's 11-12 - Pavel Tsar Challenge Tour Girl's 13-18 - Jade Scott Challenge Tour Boy's 13-18 - Payne McEntee

Five South Florida Juniors Qualify for National Drive, Chip & Putt This fall, 32 South Florida junior golfers competed in the Drive, Chip and Putt Regionals at TPC Sawgrass. The DCP Regional consisted of participants from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Puerto Rico, the Carolinas. With each age division competing for only ONE qualifying spot to move onto the National Finals at Augusta National, five South Florida kids advanced. Reese McMillan (Girls 7-9)- Total 102 Ryan Nana Tanke (Boys 7-9)- Total 157 Elyse Meerdink (Girls 10-11)- Total 111 Morgan Rodriguez (Girls 12-13)- Total 145 Elijah Zamarron (Boys 14-15)- Total 167 Reese McMillan smiles after qualifying for the National Drive, Chip & Putt competition


Junior Tour Section Congratulations to our 2020 SFPGA Junior Tour College Signees! Alexa Tiano | Rhodes College Kayla Holden | University of Tennessee Gabby Vetter | University of North Alabama Leopodo Herera | University of Central Florida Madyson Gold | University of North Carolina - Asheville Jake Beber-Frankel | Stanford University Jenna Fonda

Karly Falaga | Lipscomb University Jenna Fonda | Jacksonville University Taylor Oberparleiter | Limestone College Xander Kline | Appalachian State University Natalia Jaminez | Rollins College TJ Boros | Mississippi College Tori Bien | Hofstra College

Garrett Giles

Garrett Giles | Iona College Agatha Allesson | University of Arkansas at Little Rock

TJ Boros


Junior Tour Member Profile: Kayla Holden Kayla Holden has signed to play golf for the University of Tennessee, beginning next fall. Holden's first involvement with the South Florida PGA was through Team Golf, which introduces youth to the game, starting at age six. Over the years as her skills progressed, she went on to compete in the Prep, Challenge and Championship Tours - the highest level offered by the SFPGA. With each step in her golf journey came new expectations and rising challenges. By competing at the high-level championships, Holden was able to come into her own and compete with other elite juniors. "The SFPGA Junior Tour showed me how much fun competitive golf is and how hard work does pay off," said Holden.

Holden and her parents on signing day.

The SFPGA has impacted Holden long before she learned the game. Her father, Russ, is a longtime PGA member and has been Holden's swing coach since the first day she picked up a golf club. "As a PGA Professional, I am overwhelmed with the impact that the South Florida PGA has had on Kayla and her golfing experience," said Holden's father. "It seems only yesterday she was entering the Junior Tour program. It has been wonderful to see her grow not only as a player but as an individual." Holden is grateful for all her father has shown and given her over the years. "He has had an extremely large impact on my golf career and has shaped me into the player and person I am today," Holden said. "My dad has been my number one supporter since day one and I am so thankful for him." Holden treasures the memories she has created throughout her time on the Junior Tour. "I remember winning my first Prep Tour event," said Holden. "I will never forget hearing my name called for first place and receiving my first medal. That lit a fire in me that I don't think will ever stop burning." All the SFPGA events were a great stepping-stones for Holden's junior golf career. "The events were so well-organized and are offered for each step and she would certainly not be here today without the South Florida PGA and the many professionals and memberships that are given so freely to help promote junior golf," said Holden's father. "Playing for a top-ranked Division I school was at the top of her drams as she developed and we are so grateful for her place at Rocky Top." As Holden reflects on her time with the SFPGA Junior Tour, she offers a few words of wisdom to fellow players:Play as many events as you can to gain exposure and to be yourself, play your own game and focus on one shot at a time. The SFPGA Junior Tour provides junior golfers with opportunities to grow and develop their skills as they aspire to play collegiate golf and beyond. "Playing on the different tours helped develop a routine and learn my own game," explained Holden. "I have learned the aspects of the game which are most important to practice as well as how to manage my time between school and golf." Holden is looking forward to representing her entire school and having every student and fan behind her. I am extremely excited to play on such a high level and against some of the best players in the country," said Holden. "It will be a great experience making new friends and working hard to be my best. I can't wait to be a Lady Vol." The SFPGA wishes Holden the best as she starts her collegiate career at the University of Tennessee next fall.




South Florida PGA Foundation South Florida PGA Island Chapter Breaks Ground on Habitat for Humanity Home Build The South Florida PGA Island Chapter, through the support of the South Florida PGA Foundation, broke ground on a Habitat for Humanity project this fall in Loiza, Puerto Rico. This marks the eight home the SFPGA Foundation has sponsored. Since the partnership with Habitat for Humanity began, the SFPGA Foundation built eight homes and plans to build a total of 14, one in each county of the South Florida section, which includes Puerto Rico. Beginning Tuesday, October 22nd, PGA Professionals began restoring a house in Loiza which was destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Maria. With a completion date expected in early December, the house will be gifted to a Puerto Rican family in need. Once all 14 homes have been built, the Foundation will have granted $700,000 to Habitat for Humanity and more than 15,000 volunteer hours. The South Florida PGA Foundation believes it is important that PGA Professionals get involved in the community in a way that expands beyond golf.


The JW Marriott at Marco Island Hosts First-Ever Skins and Fins Event for PGA HOPE Graduates The JW Marriott at Marco Island, in conjunction with members of its two courses The Rookery at Marco Island and Hammock Bay Golf and Country Club, hosted 12 PGA HOPE graduates for the first-ever Skins and Fins event. Skins and Fins was designed to celebrate local veterans for graduating PGA HOPE which provides free golf lessons to veterans as a form of therapy and socialization. “The purpose of this event was to provide a unique and new experience for PGA HOPE participants and to get our membership involved and celebrate our veterans,” said Chris Major, PGA, General Manager of Golf at the JW Marco Island. “This is an easy way for us to recognize what our veterans have done for us and it’s great that we are able to use the game of golf to do that.”

St. Andrews Country Club Donates $10,000 to PGA HOPE

The dozen PGA HOPE graduates were divided into teams and joined by two members and a PGA Professional for a fishing excursion and an 18-hole scramble. Teams were based on the four program sites of PGA HOPE: Miami, West Palm Beach, Cape Coral and Fort Myers and competed based on total fish caught and lowest golf score. Members hosted the veterans on their personal boats and the golf scramble was played on the Hammock Bay course while all guests were housed at the JW Marriott Marco Island Resort. Team Miami came out on top after the two-day competition.

St. Andrews Country Club donated $10,000 to the South Florida PGA Foundation PGA HOPE Program. The members and professional staff hosted a golf tournament to raise these funds. Special thanks to Paul Clivio, PGA Director of Golf for organizing the event!

The golf outing was followed by a luncheon where members were invited to learn more about PGA HOPE and how it has positively impacted its participants. “If you are a veteran and you have the opportunity to be a part of the PGA HOPE program, you need to do it,” said Al Hunter who served in the U.S. Army and graduated from PGA HOPE Miami. “It has enhanced my life because it has gotten me out of the house, socializing with other veterans and PGA Professionals. I am so thankful for the PGA.”


In addition to the outing, members of the JW Marriot’s Rookery and Hammock Bay courses pulled together to fundraise for the PGA HOPE program and through generous donations granted $20,000 to the South Florida PGA Foundation’s PGA HOPE program. “It was such a great experience to share our home and boat with our nation’s veterans,” said Marco Island resident and JW Marriot members Matt and Jeannie Mauchline. “The whole community of Marco Island came together to help honor these people that serve us.” PGA HOPE introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Golf sessions are offered at no cost to veterans by South Florida PGA Professionals. Learning and playing the game of golf is a proven activity that has helped thousands of military Veterans assimilate back into their community through the social interaction the game of golf provides. Click here to learn more about PGA HOPE and how you can get involved. Special thank you to PGA General Manager Chris Major for making the weekend possible!

Original HOPE Participant, Mary Anderson-Kokell Selected as National Ambassador for PGA HOPE

Mary Anderson-Kokell, an original SFPGA HOPE participant from Palm City, was selected by the PGA of America as a National HOPE Ambassador. Anderson-Kokell is one of two dozen military veterans with disabilities selected to serve as ambassadors for the growing PGA HOPE program. PGA HOPE is a national program that the South Florida PGA administers across the south Florida Section to introduce golf to military veterans to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. During the Inaugural PGA HOPE National Golf & Wellness Week, which was held in October at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland the PGA HOPE Ambassadors, including Anderson-Kokell, completed of a specialized training. The four-day program included advanced golf instruction and wellness training. Each participating veteran received a specially-designed golf and wellness tool kit that included golf training tips, exercises and other recommendations for healthy living. Anderson-Kokell will represent the South Florida PGA and support their fellow veterans in communities across the country during PGA HOPE clinics and training programs. Prior to becoming a PGA HOPE Ambassador, Anderson-Kokell received her first lesson from PGA HOPE instructor and 2019 Patriot Award winner Judy Alvarez.


Over $14,000 Raised for the SFPGA Foundation at Quail Valley Pro-Am Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach held its annual Quail Valley Pro-Am in December with proceeds benefitting the South Florida PGA Foundation. Together the 104 amateurs and professional golfers from south Florida raised over $14,000. Teams were comprised of one Professional and one amateur with contests being held in the net, gross and professional divisions. First place in the Gross Division went to Lee Stroever, PGA and his amateur Gary Pohrer with 45 points, edging out the second-place finishers Alexandra Jacobsen, PGA and John Picket by one point. PGA Professional Ken Duke and Richard Bradley took home first place in the Net Division, scoring 54 points and also winning by one over David Champagne, PGA and Scott Bayman.

The Quail Valley Pro-Am winners pose for a picture after the event on December 2nd.

Along with the team competition, Ryan Leahey Assistant Golf Professional at the Lost Tree Club earned 40 points to be named Low Professional of the event. This event marked the Seventh Annual Pro-Am at Quail Valley to raise funds for the South Florida PGA Foundation and the programs it administers, including, Habitat for Humanity, Smiling Fore Life, PGA HOPE, Scholarships, Charitable Gifting and Junior Golf. The event was supported by Tire Kingdom, Galvin Green, Signature Golf, Heritage Creations and FLAGD.

Inaugural Foundation Pro-Am at The Quarry Golf Club In season can mean two things in south Florida this time of year. It usually means that snowbirds have moved back to south Florida, and it also means tis the season for giving. In the spirit of the season, The Quarry Golf Club hosted their inaugural SFPGA Foundation Pro-Am with teams comprised from the southwest Florida area. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness and funds for the South Florida PGA Foundation. A full day of golf followed by a cocktail reception and dinner hosted by General Manager Bob Radunz, PGA and his professional staff were enjoyed by all. To conclude the event, a presentation of the vision and mission of the SFPGA Foundation were presented to participants. Close to $4,000 was raised to support the efforts of the Foundation and all of the life-changing programs offered. Friends of the SFPGA Foundation lay the groundwork for supporting the life-changing programs including PGA HOPE, Smiling Fore Life and Habitat for Humanity. If not for this network of friends, these narratives would not be possible. We are so thankful for the way we can continue to give back through the game of golf to veterans, pediatric patients and juniors because of PGA Professionals like Bob that create events such as this that help cultivate these networks of friends.


PGA HOPE, Bonding Brothers in Arms When Army Veteran Dave Thomas started PGA HOPE in 2016 - the first program offered in Palm Beach County - he underestimated the greater impact it would have. This fall, his brother, Air Force Veteran Philip Thomas, graduated from PGA HOPE at Southwinds Golf Course and left a lasting impact on the Thomas brothers. "I pressured him to do something with me to get him out of the house and learning the game of golf is a great way to decompress," said Dave who brought Philip to PGA HOPE after experiencing its impact. PGA HOPE (Helping Our Veterans Everywhere) introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Golf sessions are offered at no cost to veterans and are taught by PGA Professionals. Dave, the elder of the two, served for 23 years as part of the United States Army while Philip was part of the United States Air Force before becoming a police officer in south Florida. "Since going through the HOPE program, it has allowed me to get out and socialize with other veterans and lean on some of the other veterans through the difficult times we've had." explained Dave. While transitioning out of life in the military can be hard enough, Dave and Philip have been faced with some of life's toughest battles personally. The Thomas brothers' mother and father have been fighting different forms of cancer. "The game has been a great outlet," said Philip who was reluctant to first get involved. "It took a while because I prefer to bowl but this has become a way to spend time with my brother and keep him out of depression." Not easily convinced to join the program, Philip proposed a wager. Philip would learn his brothers' preferred sport, and in one year if he beats Dave at golf, then Dave would have to take on Philip's favorite sport, bowling. After going through PGA HOPE, Philip understood why his brother had been pressuring him. "You tend to gravitate to the different people you meet in this program because we have that common bond," explained Philip. "I would have never joined had Dave not encouraged me to do it. The game of golf builds relationships so whether you are a veteran or not, this is a great game to learn." Those relationships are what have propelled Dave and Philip to cope with their post-war and personal struggles in a positive manner. "The people you meet in HOPE are constantly there for each other whether it is a phone call to check-in or an invite to come out and play golf to get my mind off things, it has been a wonderful group to be a part of," said Dave. When Dave first began with PGA HOPE in 2016, the South Florida PGA offered just two programs, graduating 10 participants. This year, the SFPGA has administered programs all over south Florida and has graduated 150 participants, including Philip. "This program is awesome," said Philip. "I am fortunate that the PGA does this for us."



Rules With Brett This edition of Rules with Brett deals with ball searches. Hopefully, part of everyone's New Year's Resolution will keep it in the fairway more often in 2020, but there are a few important things to know about searching for your golf ball when you get off the beaten path.

First off, a ball may NOT be declared lost by a player. Under rule 18.2, a ball is lost when it has not been found within three minutes after the player or his or her caddie or partner begins to search for it. Under 18.3c(2)/s, if a player does not plan to search for his or her original ball because he or she would prefer to continue to play with a provisional ball, the player may ask others not to search, but there is no obligation for them to comply.

The rules can help when searching for your golf ball. Rule 7.4 says there is no penalty if the player's ball is accidentally moved by a player, opponent, or anyone else while trying to find or identify it. Reading through Rule #7 and #18 can help you know what you can do in the unfortunate circumstance when you have to look for your golf ball or play a provisional ball.


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Staff Spotlight Danielle Muench graduated from Central Michigan University in May 2019 with a degree in integrative public relations. Over the course of her time at CMU, Muench had the opportunity to intern with True REST Float Spa and the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce to gain experience in social media marketing and communications. During her final year at CMU, Muench took on the role of director of digital communications for PR Central, a student run public relations firm. Last summer she spent time working as an assistant junior golf instructor at Lincoln Hills Golf Club.

Over the past seven months at the SFPGA, Muench has had the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects. While most of her efforts have been dedicated to growing the game within junior golf programs, she had the chance to work on communication and public relations efforts for the Annual Awards and Hall of Fame Night. Next up, Muench will transfer over to the The Honda Classic and will be involved in sponsorship/ticket sales, marketing and promotional initiatives, grassroots marketing programs, and execution of operations. Muench will have the chance to collaborate with the Honda Classic team and external parties to manage new and ongoing tournament initiatives with the goal of growing awareness for the tournament and its fan enhancements. We wish Danielle the best of luck at The Honda Classic and thank her for her wonderful contributions to the SFPGA! We encourage you to wish Danielle all the best in her next step as well as her continued career in the golf industry. daniellemuench@gmail.com



FALL 2019

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SFPGA Topics Newsletter | Winter 2019  

SFPGA Topics Newsletter | Winter 2019  

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