(2018 Awards – Details Below)
Annually the Wisconsin PGA honors several golf professionals throughout the section for their great accomplishments on and off the course. The process starts at the Wisconsin PGA’s fall meeting, where peers can nominate fellow golf professionals for awards in the following categories:
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 then 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 WPGA Executive Director. The finalist committee then votes on their top choice for each award. Once all the votes have been compiled, the winners are notified in February and the information is released to the general public a week or two later. The winners are then recognized for their accomplishment at the Spring Meeting awards ceremony.
Leading the way for the 2018 WPGA special award winners is Brian Bishop of Maple Bluff CC. This award recognizes total contributions to the game that best exemplify the complete PGA professional. It is Bishop’s third special award, as he was honored for his merchandising efforts in the private category in both 2007 and 2015. He also is currently the employment chairperson for the section and has held the role of southwest district director on the WPGA board since 2015.
Growing up in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Bishop’s passion for the game grew at a young age as he spent time working at Wilbraham CC and Hickory Ridge CC. After graduating from high school he headed south to Methodist University to pursue a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in their Professional Golf Management program. In 1994 Bishop would graduate from the program, however at the time the program was not yet accredited by the PGA of America. His path to becoming a PGA member would then start shortly thereafter as he became a PGA apprentice while on staff at Carolina CC. Over the course of the next six years he continued the pursuit of a PGA membership while being an assistant professional at both The Windsor Club and Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, IL. In spring of 2002 he would accomplish that goal and gain his PGA membership while on staff at Onwentsia. Then just 22 months later Bishop earned his first opportunity to become a head PGA professional, as he made the move to Maple Bluff Country Club in Madison.
Now on staff for fourteen years, the Titleist TPI Certified instructor, takes each and every day as an opportunity to provide the best experience possible for the members and guests of the club. He uses the moto “Don’t Complain, Work Harder” to set the precedent on how things should be done while on the job. The leadership he provides to the club is evident by his inclusion on numerous committees including being part of the process for hiring their golf course superintendent and clubhouse manager.
A consummate professional that leads by example, he is proud of the club he represents and is driven to always put the club’s best foot forward.
“First and foremost I would like to thank my family,” Bishop said in a statement. “I have been fortunate to have great mentors in my life. This award provides a great platform to say thank you to the talented golf professionals I have worked for at these great clubs and people such as Jerry Hogge at Methodist College. It also reminds me to pay it forward with the staff I am lucky to work with on a daily basis. I am humbled and honored to receive this award.”
For the second straight season the Wisconsin PGA is pleased to recognize David Roesch as the WPGA Teacher of the Year. The honor is bestowed on a WPGA member that has shown excellence in the area of instruction and player development.
After giving his best shot at a playing career, Roesch recently finished up his eighth season as a full-time instructor. He currently offers his teaching services at Storm’s Golf Range, The Legend Clubs and his indoor studio in Menomonee Falls. The former Nationwide Tour member’s teaching resume also includes instruction certifications from US Kids and Trackman.
The Milwaukee native has continued to fine tune his craft by teaching players of all ranges of ability, while offering those students the latest range of technology to help improve their games. Once again he set a personal record on lessons given as he topped the 1,700 mark of one hour lessons this past calendar year.
A list of accomplishments by his students this past season is a testament to the affect he has had on their games. Included in that list are the 2017 WSGA Amateur Player of the Year (Student – Jack Schultz), 2017 WSGA Senior Player of the Year (Student – Kevin Cahill), 2017 WPGA Junior Girls Player of the Year (Student – Abby Cavaiani) and several other top finishes by collegiate and high school golfers.
“I’ve been fortunate to turn my passion for golf into my life’s work,” Roesch said. “Winning this award back to back years and receiving recognition from my colleagues is truly an honor. I am grateful for the opportunity to help my students improve their skills, achieve their goals and enjoy the game of golf.”
On the course his game matches up to his impressive teaching skills as he owns one Wisconsin State Open title, a tie for 31st at the 2004 U.S. Open, an NGA Hooters Tour win, three WPGA Match Play Championships, One WPGA Stroke Play title and two WPGA Assistant Championship wins.
For these accomplishments he was inducted into the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame in the fall of 2016.
The 2018 WPGA Assistant Professional of the Year is Dan Hastreiter of Whistling Straits. He is being recognized for his contributions to the game, to his facility and to the WPGA Section.
Hastreiter is a 2008 graduate of the PGA’s Professional Golf Management program at Florida State University. After completing his education he was hired at Blackwolf Run, where he spent the next six and half seasons before heading across Sheboygan to occupy his current role at Whistling Straits at the beginning of 2015.
The Pittsville, Wisconsin native had quite the year both on and off the job. As his experience has grown he has truly become a jack of many trades when it comes to his role at Whistling Straits. His first assistant duties include important tasks such as hiring, scheduling and training of over 50 employees, handling payroll submission for the golf operations staff, providing instruction and key oversight for the Kohler Golf Academy, assisting in daily tournament operations and serving as the manager on duty.
The list above is just a small sampling of the tasks that Hastreiter takes on throughout the year. Outside of the job Hastreiter has also spent time volunteering for the Wisconsin Assistant Golf Professional Association Board, WPGA Tournament Policy Board, Habitat for Humanity and the Harvest for Hungry event in Kohler, Wis.
He is also an active participant in Wisconsin Section tournaments. This past year saw him card an impressive runner-up finish in the WPGA Match Play Championship and he also teamed up with Whistling Straits Director of Golf, Mike O’Reilly to get the victory at the season ending Pro-Pro Scramble.
For Hastreiter this honor would not have been possible without the help of several PGA professionals along the way. Individuals such as Bret Knutson, David Albrecht, Dave Kemnitz and the aforementioned O’Reilly have had a great impact on molding him into the PGA professional he is today.
“I am truly honored to have been selected as the recipient of the Assistant Golf Professional of the Year award. My parents, Mark and Julie, played the greatest role in shaping me as a person,” Hastreiter said. I owe a tremendous amount of credit to them and the PGA professionals I’ve worked under over the course of my career. I hope that they can be proud of what has resulted from their efforts and investment in me.”
In 1988 the Wisconsin Section, PGA began recognizing PGA professionals for their excellence in youth player development. Taking home this year’s accolade is Brad Munn of The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin. Munn has been on staff with the Madison location since 2014 and currently is their program coordinator.
Prior to arriving to his current job he spent time working at Monona GC, Palm Desert Resort, The Oasis CC, Santa Rosa CC and Tumbledown Trails GC. During his tenure at Santa Rosa CC he was elected to PGA membership in 2006.
As program coordinator he assists and teaches programming at seven different locations throughout the area. The classes and programs that he helps administer feature all types of ages, gender, races and social economic backgrounds. This past season he was part of over 450 different programming classes, taught 100 private lessons to youth, coordinated a special program with the Dane County Juvenile Shelter Home and also played a key part in the “Youth Day & Skills Competition” at the American Family Insurance Championship
Recently Munn was also selected to partner with the PGA of America and Sigmi Pi Phi, an African-American Fraternity, to start a lesson program with inner city juniors with the ambition of becoming a PGA Jr. League team. Nationally he is only one of ten individuals that have been selected for this opportunity.
“I really enjoy what I do, and that’s the most important thing,” Munn said. “But to have some of my peers actually nominate me and then win is very humbling. To prepare my materials for the award and see the things I’ve been doing is just so rewarding. I feel like I’m helping grow the game and that’s what I want to do.”
A testament to Munn’s connection with the youth that he teaches is found in multiple recommendation letters that were submitted on his behalf.
Honorary Director of The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin, Sherri Steinhauer, had this to say about Munn in her letter.
“Brad is so well respected he is referred to as Coach Awesome, the kids adore Brad. He has a special way to teach each and every one of them values in life. To watch him in action is amazing, the kids all have a smile on their face because he knows how to make each kid feel good about them self.”
The Horton Smith Award is given annually to the member that contributes to education programs for the betterment of the members and apprentices in the WPGA. The 2018 winner is Jim Buyze of Wild Ridge GC and Mill Run GC. It is the second time that Buyze has been honored by the Wisconsin Section with the Horton Smith award, with the first accolade coming in 2000.
The Sterling, Illinois native recently completed his twenty-sixth year of PGA membership. He has been on staff at Wild Ridge GC and also their sister course Mill Run GC for the past 13 years. Before arriving in Eau Claire he also was a head PGA professional at Grand Geneva Resort and Geneva National Golf Club.
Buyze’s passion for helping educate PGA members and apprentices dates back to the early days of his PGA membership. In 1996 he stepped into a role as part of the PGA Professional Golf Management program faculty. From that point forward his involvement has only grown. During the winter months he actively travels to the PGA Education Center in Port St. Lucie to be a subject matter expert and present on multiple areas in the business of golf. Recently he has played a key part in the planning of the next version (PGM 3.0) of the PGM program.
On a local level he can be found working with the Golf Enterprise Management program at UW-Stout, volunteering as a board member of the section, and also leading the way for the Chippewa Valley area on the WPGA Player Development committee.
“While the game of golf is very much individual, the business of golf is collaborative. This award is really a tribute to the great golf professionals that I have had the privilege to meet, spent time with and learn from,” Buyze said about the honor. “I am where I am today, because of those that have shared their knowledge, expertise and experiences with me.”
The Ferris State University product has also completed the PGA Certificated Professional Program in the areas of Player Development and Golf Operations.
In total this is Buyze’s third WPGA special award as he was also presented with the WPGA Resort Merchandiser of the Year honor back in 1996.
Annually the Wisconsin PGA Player Development award winner is singled out for their extraordinary and exemplary achievements for growing the game. The 13th recipient of the Wisconsin Section, PGA Player Development Award is Kalynn Dolby of Mascoutin GC.
The Minocqua native is a UW-Green Bay graduate and recently completed her fifth year of PGA membership. She and her husband Tom currently form a dynamic duo of PGA professionals that work in tandem to operate the 27-hole facility in Berlin, Wis.
In 2011 the duo made the move from Timber Ridge GC to Mascoutin and with it came an opportunity to really put an emphasis on growing the game and player development programs. Over the course of her time at Mascoutin she has been able to focus on bringing programs to the club that specifically target women, families and youth. Those programs include the very successful Monday Ladies Happy Hour Clinic, a wide range of different Get Golf Ready Clinics, two PGA Junior League teams and also a corporate group lesson package.
Proof of the success of these programs can be found in the growth of participants and also continued recognition by one of the most known junior golf brands. On the participation side she has taken programs such as the Monday Ladies Happy Hour Clinic and grown it from 30 weekly participants to just over 70 this past season. For her efforts in youth programming Dolby has been named by U.S. Kids Golf as an Honorable Mention Top 50 Kids Teacher five times.
In addition to the great offerings at the club she has shown her passion for growing the game and sharing ideas by sitting on the PGA Magazine Women Leaders Council and also being a panelist at the Beyond the Green Seminar at the PGA Championship in 2015.
“I am truly humbled and honored to have been chosen for the Player Development Award. To be recognized for my efforts in growing the game by a section full of incredible and hard working professionals is something I am truly grateful for,” Dolby said. “This award would not be possible without the support from my club, staff members and especially my husband. Thank you to the committee for their time and effort during the award process. I am looking forward to growing the game more in 2018.”
Brendan Locke, PGA Professional and owner/operator of the Wisconsin GolfTEC locations is being recognized as the 33rd Wisconsin Section, PGA Bill Strausbaugh award winner. It is Locke’s second WPGA special award, with his other honor coming as the 2012 WPGA Teacher of the Year.
The Bill Strausbaugh Award is presented each year to the PGA member who has shown outstanding integrity, commitment to mentoring PGA professionals and has made a significant impact on the careers of PGA professionals.
The groundwork for Locke’s mentality on helping his fellow PGA professionals was laid by a great group of PGA professionals that he considered mentors while growing up in Madison. After working for professionals such as Larry Tiziani he decided to follow his passion by enrolling in the Ferris State University PGA PGM program. Shortly after graduating he would then take advantage of an opportunity to start GolfTEC in Wisconsin.
Over the course of the next twelve years Locke has gone on to open four different locations. As an owner/operator he takes great pride in all the professionals he is able to employ and mentor. Evidence of the success of his employees can be seen through several honors, such as Kevin Kihslinger and Tim Boegh being recognized by GolfTEC in recent years as their “Coach of the Year”.
In addition to being able to employ and provide a livelihood for all his employees his business offers him the chance to give back to the community and the game. His charitable efforts in golf include fundraising for Patriot Golf Day and PGA Reach, volunteering for The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin and donating time to speak at Southwest Technical College and UW-Stout.
Outside of golf he also has several causes that he’s been able to dedicate his time to. The most important of which has become a role in raising dollars and awareness to help in the fight against a rare form of cancer known as “Sarcoma”.
“I am honored to be included on this list of many influential golf professionals in the State of Wisconsin. Mr. Strausbaugh was a golf icon and to be recognized for this award makes me feel like the purpose I have in life is to help influence others,” Locke said in a statement. “This award didn’t come without people that influenced my life. Without those people I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I do, and I am thankful for those!”
A new addition to the WPGA Special Awards this year is the Patriot Award. This honor goes to a PGA Professional who embodies patriotism and shows dedication to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
Taking home the debut honor is Andy Gieryn of Oakwood Park GC. The West Allis native earned his PGA membership in 2013 and is currently the head PGA professional on staff at the club. Before arriving at Oakwood Park, Gieryn also spent time at Grayhawk GC, Tuckaway CC, The Legend at Merrill Hills and Whitnall Park GC. His journey into the golf business also included a golf management degree from Southwest Technical College in Fennimore, Wis.
The seed for Gieryn’s interest into military causes comes from his grandfather, as he was a World War II and Korean War veteran. However it was his time as an assistant professional at The Legend at Merrill Hills that led him to developing a passion for helping veterans and their families. The club annually supported Patriot Golf Day and raising money for the Folds of Honor Foundation. During these days Gieryn saw what a difference you can make.
For Gieryn his dedication to Patriot Golf Day has continued as he now heads up his own fundraising effort on Labor Day weekend. In 2016 he doubled down on his efforts as Oakwood Park GC became the host facility for the first PGA HOPE program in the state. PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is the flagship military program of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. PGA HOPE introduces golf to Veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.
After a successful debut, the second season of programming kicked off with a recruiting trip to the Milwaukee VA Clinic in March. A team of Gieryn, Courtney Zeller of VA Clinic and Chet Hendrickson, PGA helped promote the 6-week long program to the veterans. The recruiting process paid off as nearly 30 veterans participated this past season. On the program days Gieryn also spearheaded an instructional staff of professionals that taught all facets of the game. The Milwaukee area program is one of 80 nationwide and has setup a blueprint for future programs in the state.
“I am honored to receive the Patriot Award. The success of the PGA HOPE program was a team effort and would not be possible without the help of the other professionals on staff at the Milwaukee County Parks,” Gieryn said. “It has been the most rewarding work of my career so far.”
Kicking off the trio of impressive merchandisers is Skip Simonds of Milwaukee CC. The Mequon native is the 29th recipient of the Wisconsin Section, PGA Private Merchandiser of the Year honor. Simonds is a 27-year member of the PGA of America and has been in his current role as head PGA professional for the past 22 years. Before assuming his position he also spent time at Ville du Parc CC (River Club of Mequon), Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage and some very helpful years as an assistant professional working under the tutelage of Manual de la Torre.
As a top 100 ranked golf course by Golf Digest, the pressure to present a first class golf shop and shopping experience is something that Simonds has always embraced. This past year produced yet another terrific result for the shop, as the operation continued to put an emphasis on an attention to detail, while providing exceptional customer service.
When asked about Simonds business acumen, Ted Robbins of Titleist said.
“Skip personifies professionalism, attention to detail and offers an organized timeless golf retail environment. He and his staff offer expert advice to their members with knowledge from basic details to the most high tech fitting amenities. Results of his time proven philosophy is shown through solid double digit sales growth in several categories. These are impressive when you think about a dedicated golf professional that has been at the same facility for 22 years, outstanding!”
Having a great merchandising operation is something Simonds is very proud of but in 2016 he truly went above and beyond what a job as a head PGA professional entails. It was then where he was pressed into action to perform CPR on a member of the club. The selfless act saved the member’s life, which resulted in being recognized by the North Shore Fire Department with their 2016 “Call to Duty” award.
“I take a lot of pride in what I do as a PGA golf professional and receiving this recognition is very gratifying,” Simonds said. “I am also happy for the young men and women who work with me at Milwaukee Country Club. Our success is a team effort.”
When SentryWorld reopened four years ago after their renovation it was met with rave reviews. Those reviews have continued to pour in as more and more people see the new product. An affirmation of that buzz and their product comes in the form of an award this year for their director of golf.
Madison native, Danny Rainbow has become the 23rd different individual to take home the Wisconsin PGA Public Merchandiser of the Year award. The UW-La Crosse CC graduate recently completed his third season as the director of golf at SentryWorld. Before arriving at the facility he also spent time working at University Ridge GC, Interlachen CC and The Meadows of Sixmile Creek. His commitment to the game of golf stretches beyond his day to day job, as he has served his fellow PGA members by sitting on the WPGA board of directors for the past four seasons.
The award marks the second time that the SentryWorld golf shop has been recognized as the Public Merchandiser of the Year. The other instance came in 2008 when Brian Dumler earned the award.
When given the opportunity to comment on the honor, Del Kolasinski of Callaway Golf offered these thoughts on the SentryWorld operation.
“Danny provides a first class visual experience within his pro shop. The layout of the shop always feels fresh, and is very crisp and organized,” Kolasinski said. “The merchandising principles and leadership that Danny provides to his team help make SentryWorld a first class shop. A key part of his leadership is letting his team use their creativity in merchandising, which helps raise the bar even higher. Whether it is a visual perspective or ensuring an enjoyable shopping experience for his customers, they cover all the bases at SentryWorld.”
Past accolades for Rainbow include the 2017 Wisconsin PGA Horton Smith Award, the 2011 Golf Course Owners of Wisconsin annual leadership award and the 2004 Acushnet PGA Scholarship award.
“It is a tremendous honor to win this award and be recognized by the Wisconsin PGA and the Wisconsin Golf Salespersons Association,” Rainbow said about the accomplishment. “Operating a golf shop at an award-winning level requires a team that is on top of its game and is focused on servicing its customers. I am incredibly proud of our team at SentryWorld for stepping up to the challenge and delivering an outstanding experience to our guests.”
2017 produced quite the year for Erin Hills, and on the heels of the U.S. Open comes their second straight Resort Merchandiser of the Year honor. Pocketing the award for the facility is their Head PGA Professional, Jim Lombardo. Lombardo and Erin Hills now have three total awards, as their other merchandising accolade came on the public side of things in 2013, before they built their onsite lodging options.
The merchandising operation for the award winning shop starts with the duo of Lombardo and buyer, Stephanie Williams. The twosome along with the rest of the golf shop staff have successfully built up Erin Hills to be one of the top golf shops in the nation for an 18 hole facility. Their success is evident by the fact that for the fifth straight season they increased their average dollar spent per guest by a significant amount. The increase was so notable this past season that they were able to top their sales revenue from the prior year even though they did not open until early July after the U.S. Open.
Mike Warren, president of the Wisconsin Golf Salespersons had this to say about the award winning operation.
“Having the wonderful atmosphere Erin Hills offers is a pretty nice foundation to build from,” he said. “Jim Lombardo, his assistant golf professionals and the entire merchandising team led by Stephanie Williams have an incredible sense of what products their guests desire. Coupled with superior personal service they provide an experience that is often hard to find at busy resort facilities.”
Lombardo, a Wausau native, has been in his current role at Erin Hills since the club opened in 2006. Prior to assuming his position he was the head professional at Olde Highlander GC and also spent time as an assistant professional at Ozaukee CC, Desert Mountain and Troon North GC.
“It is an honor to share this award with all the staff who contributed to the success of our golf shop and operation,” Lombardo said. “This was a total team effort. For our facility to be recognized in this way is truly special and validates all the hard work and effort we put into merchandising.”
At age 53, Madison native Jim Schuman doubled up this season in Wisconsin PGA Section play. Schuman, who works out of Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in the summer and is based in Arizona in the winter, became on record the first player to win both the OMEGA WPGA player of the year and senior player of the year honors in the same season.
“I really played well,” Schuman said when asked to reflect on his season. “It’s been a great year for me. At age 53, I can’t really ask for much more. I’m ecstatic about it.”
Schuman got a quick start on the season at the WPGA Match Play Championship in May at Janesville Country Club. Schuman won the tournament for the sixth time thanks to a 1-up win over long-hitting Dan Hastreiter in a title match of contrasting styles. Schuman won thanks to his 3-iron, which he played off several tees, and his wedge game.
He relied on those same clubs at the Wisconsin PGA Professional Championship at Bull’s Eye Country Club in September, where he won the tournament for the fourth time. Schuman shot 69-69-74–212 this time around, and along with the three-stroke victory earned one of five exemptions for the 2018 National PGA Professional Championship.
Schuman also went low at several one-day events in 2017, including victories at the Hornung Classic June 12 at South Hills Golf & Country Club (shooting 64), the WIGSA/WPGA Memorial Classic on May 15 at Butte Des Morts Country Club (66) and the Prestwick Golf Group/Cobra Puma Classic on July 10 at Morningstar Golfers Club (66).
In senior events Schuman’s play was just as impressive. He was medalist, with a round of 68, at the U.S. Senior Open local qualifier on June 9 at Meadowbrook Country Club. At the Senior Open, held at Salem Country Club in Massachusetts, Schuman made the cut and tied for 49th place.
Schuman also won the Wisconsin Senior PGA Professional Championship at The Legend at Brandybrook in the middle of July, shooting 71-66–137 to win the title by eight strokes. Going along with the win was a spot to participate in the Senior PGA Professional Championship in late September.
He also engaged in a spirited battle with fellow WSGA Hall-of-Famer Eddie Terasa at the Wisconsin State Senior Open, held at Tuckaway Country Club, where Terasa made birdie on the first playoff hole to win.
Afterward, Terasa called Schuman, “our best player this year,” referring to his fellow members of the Wisconsin PGA Section.
The year was then finally capped off with a run at the title at the aforementioned Senior PGA Professional Championship. The 2-time State Open champion nearly took down a field of 263 other PGA Professionals at Desert Mountain as he finished in second place overall. His great play during the week earned him one of the 35 spots available into the 2018 Senior PGA Championship next May.
Schuman has now earned WPGA player of the year honors four times (he also did it in 2001, ’02 and ’11). The WPGA senior player of the year honor is his third straight.
In his first season as a PGA apprentice, Andy Hansen was able to earn OMEGA assistant player of the year honors. The University Club of Milwaukee assistant professional quickly asserted himself on the WPGA tournament scene.
His quality play from the start helped him earn low assistant professional honors at five different point events during the season. The highlight of that great play would come at the National Car Rental WAGPA Championship in July at The Legend at Brandybrook. The former UW-Parkside golfer was able to shot 69-68–137 to win by five shots and become the only player to finish the event under par.
“Winning the player of the year is a big honor and one of the things that I made as a goal of mine at the beginning of the year,” Hansen said. “I’m was fortunate that I was able to peak at the right time for some of our bigger events, which really helped a lot.”
For the year the Mequon resident was able to pile up 1,190 points to top the standings. The total was nearly 470 more than his closest pursuer.