West Allis, WI – The Wisconsin Section of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (WPGA) proudly announces their class of 2023 Special Award recipients. Recognizing individuals for their expertise, service, dedication, and performance in the golf business, highlighting eleven PGA professionals from the state from a record number of applicants. The honorees formally receive their awards during the annual WPGA Special Awards Dinner held at Blackwolf Run in Kohler on February 27. The Wisconsin PGA awards are supported by the Wisconsin Golf Sales Association and PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
“This year’s process featured a record number of WPGA professional applicants,” said Jeff Ellingson, WPGA past president and committee chair. “To navigate their way past such a deep field of candidates and to come out on top is something each one of these winners should be very proud of.”
Headlining this year’s award winners is Golf Professional of the Year, Vince Pulizzano, head PGA professional at Westmoor Country Club (Brookfield). This is Pulizzano’s fifth WPGA special award in the past seven years.
“I am humbled and excited to be recognized by my peers as the 2023 Wisconsin PGA Golf Professional of the Year,” said Pulizzano. “Since moving to Wisconsin in 2014 I have made every effort to give back to the section through education, mentoring and upholding the image of the PGA Professional. I take great pride in this award and look forward to celebrating this award with our current and former team members of Westmoor Country Club.”
Bios for each professional will be posted as clickable links as they are released on social media over the course of the next 11 days.
- Golf Professional of the Year – Vince Pulizzano, PGA, Westmoor Country Club (Brookfield)
- Assistant Golf Professional of the Year – Jake Wisniewski, PGA, Ozaukee Country Club (Mequon)
- Teacher and Coach of the Year – Travis Becker, PGA, TPC Wisconsin (Madison)
- PGA Professional Development Award – Jonathan Stuart, PGA, Sand Valley Resort (Nekoosa)
- Youth Player Development Award – Michael Tabbert, PGA, Beloit Club and Ironworks Golf Academy (Beloit)
- Bill Strausbaugh Award – Andrew Barrett, PGA, X-Golf American Family Field (Milwaukee)
- Player Development Award – Scott Walecki, PGA, Dretzka Park and Currie Park Golf Courses (Milwaukee)
- Patriot Award – Jamie Christianson, PGA, Horseshoe Bay Golf Club (Egg Harbor)
- Merchandiser of the Year (Private) – Skip Simonds, PGA, Milwaukee Country Club (River Hills)
- Merchandiser of the Year (Public) – Shaun Finley, PGA, The Oaks Golf Course (Cottage Grove)
- Merchandiser of the Year (Resort) – Danny Rainbow, PGA, SentryWorld (Stevens Point)
About Vince Pulizzano, PGA, 2023 Golf Professional of the Year
An impressive run of WPGA special awards culminates with Skokie, Illinois native, Vince Pulizzano, being named WPGA Golf Professional of the Year. Over the course of the past seven years the 40-year-old has also earned two Bill Strausbaugh honors, a PGA Professional Development award and the Merchandiser of the Year award among Wisconsin Section private facilities.
Pulizzano’s journey to the highest honor bestowed on a WPGA professional began as a self-proclaimed late bloomer to the game. Drawn in by “The Tiger Boom”, his interest in the game would grow quickly through his teenage years. He’d go on to attend Ferris Status University and earn a degree in marketing and professional golf management in 2004. Shortly after graduating he would be elected into PGA membership in the winter of 2005. Over the course of the next five years, he would work his way up the ladder and eventually be named head professional at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in 2010. After four years in New Jersey, he would return to his Midwest roots and be named to his current head professional position at Westmoor CC.
During Pulizzano’s tenure he has constantly looked at ways to better himself, the club’s golf operation, and his staff. He takes great pride in mentoring and education. Along the way he has helped five different assistant golf professionals ascend to head golf professional or director of instruction roles. From a personal perspective he became a PGA certified professional in golf operations in 2018 and continually participates in golf related conferences that help him stay informed.
In 2022, the Westmoor golf operation once again produced impressive results. The main customer service initiative centered on the golf shop staff listening intently to their members and looking for preemptive solutions of a member’s next need before they ask for it. With customer service initiatives like this Pulizzano and his staff were able to set a record for the most gross sales by the Westmoor golf shop in their history. In addition, for the fourth straight season the club would again partner with the Wisconsin based Caddie and Leadership Academy. The partnership would produce four deserving caddies with Evans Scholarships. Also in a forward-thinking mentality, Pulizzano was the driving force behind creating the “Future Leaders of Westmoor” group. From recruiting the individuals to organizing a networking trip to South Carolina, the goal was to help prepare and produce the next group of leaders for the Brookfield club. The group will be key as a golf course renovation is underway and the clubhouse will follow shortly after.
Pulizzano resides in Brookfield with his wife Marsha and his two daughters.
About the Wisconsin PGA Annual Awards Process
The Wisconsin PGA honors golf professionals annually. Professionals are nominated by fellow professionals for an award(s). After a professional is nominated it is his or her choice as to whether to submit materials for consideration. Materials are generally due by early December. The materials are then reviewed by a different sub-committee for each award. The WPGA past president takes their feedback and finalists are determined. Once the finalists have been selected, their materials are forwarded on to the finalist committee made up of the district directors, independent directors and the WPGA executive director. The finalist committee votes on their top choice for each award. Once all the votes have been compiled, the winners are notified and then the information is released to the general public early in the calendar year. The winners are recognized for their accomplishment at the annual Spring Meeting Awards Dinner.
About the Wisconsin PGA
The Wisconsin Section is one of the 41 sections that comprise the regional entities of the PGA of America. Over 500 members and associates belong to the Wisconsin Section, stretching from areas in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to almost the entire state of Wisconsin. Annually, the Wisconsin Section conducts over 40 professional events, operates their foundation – PGA Reach Wisconsin, and participates in several growth-of-the-game activities including PGA Junior League, Drive, Chip and Putt and PGA Hope. Wisconsin PGA Office is located at 11350 W. Theo Trecker Way in West Allis, Wis.
About the PGA of America
The PGA of America is the world’s largest working sports organization, comprised of nearly 28,000 male and female golf professionals who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The organization serves millions of people throughout its 41 PGA Sections nationwide. Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has enhanced its leadership position by growing the game of golf through its premier spectator events, world-class education and training programs, significant philanthropic outreach initiatives and award-winning golf promotions.