PGA of America

2020 PGA of America Awards Recipients

Sherrill Park Golf Course - Richardson, Texas

Ronny Glanton, PGA, the Head Professional at Sherrill Park Golf Course in Richardson, Texas, is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award. This is the highest annual honor given to a PGA of America Professional, awarded for qualities of leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the PGA and the game of golf. Glanton has spent more than 35 years as Head Professional at Sherrill Park Golf Course, which is consistently ranked among the Top 10 municipal facilities. A PGA Member since 1984, he manages golf operations including rounds, Food and Beverage, teaching, property renovations and course maintenance for the over 300-acre facility. Glanton has created a culture that enables individuals from all walks of life to embrace the game in a welcoming environment.

The current Honorary President of the Northern Texas PGA Section (NTPGA), Glanton served as Section President from 2018-’19 and 2006-’07. He also served as District 12 Director for the PGA Board of Directors (2010-’12); Chairman of the PGA of America Associate Committee (2008-’09); and Chairman of the Tournament Committee (Member Events Only/2010-’14). Glanton played an integral role in the PGA Frisco project, which includes two 18-hole courses, the relocation of the PGA of America headquarters and a new headquarters for the NTPGA. An accomplished teacher, Glanton believes that golfers who establish good fundamentals from day one will enjoy the game for a lifetime. Glanton is the first three-time recipient of the Section’s PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award (1999 ,’07, ’19). He also is a five-time NTPGA Bill Strausbaugh Award winner (2003, ’04, ’05, ’08, ’14) and was named the 1994 NTPGA Merchandiser of the Year - Public Category. An accomplished player, Glanton has competed in nine PGA Professional Championships; four Senior PGA Professional Championships; and seven AT&T Byron Nelson events on the PGA Tour.

Greystone Golf & Country Club - Birmingham, Alabama

Mark Blackburn, PGA, a 15-year PGA Member in the Alabama-NW Florida Section and Director of Instruction at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year Award for his “outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.” A decorated PGA Member, Blackburn is a four-time Alabama-NW Florida Section PGA Teacher of the Year (2008-‘10, ‘15) and two-time Alabama-NW Florida Section Horton Smith Award* recipient (2011, ‘18).  He is also one of GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers and one of Golf Digest’s 50 Best Teachers in America. His Blackburn Golf Academy develops and coaches juniors, club golfers, elite amateurs, college and professional clients from around the world. Among the many PGA Tour golfers taught by Blackburn are Chez Reavie, Kevin Chappell, Charley Hoffman, Mike Weir and Heath Slocum.
A native of England, Blackburn came to the United States in 1994 on a golf scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was a letterman and team captain. Following college, he had aspirations of playing professionally, but inconsistencies and injuries led him down a new path, studying the golf swing, teaching theories and coaching philosophies. Those findings transitioned into Blackburn’s “Coaching Codification” which applies a holistic, sport-science approach to teaching and coaching golfers. He founded Blackburn Golf in 2000, and continues to work with golfers of all levels, focusing on each student’s unique movement patterns to develop an efficient and repeatable technique for their desired ball flight.  In conjunction with coaching, Blackburn is a passionate educator, keen to share knowledge while presenting to PGA Sections and International Federations around the world.

The Horton Smith Award was renamed the PGA Professional Development Award in 2020.

Troon® – Scottsdale, Arizona

Dana Garmany, PGA, a Southwest PGA Section Member and Executive Chairman of Troon® in Scottsdale, Arizona, is the recipient of the inaugural PGA Golf Executive of the Year Award. The honor bestows special recognition for performing outstanding services in an executive management position, while possessing qualities of leadership, vision, courage, moral character and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game. Garmany has more than 35 years of industry experience developing and operating golf facilities worldwide. He founded Troon in 1990, and today serves as chairman of a company that leads the industry in golf course and private club management, operating at more than 440 locations worldwide. 

He has been named as one of the most powerful and influential people in golf by Golf Inc., Golf Digest and Golfweek. Under Garmany’s leadership, Troon leveraged its foundation in golf-facility management to extend its vision beyond the golf course with a diverse portfolio that includes 10 distinct brands: Troon Golf, Troon Privé, Troon International, Honours Golf, OB Sports, Green Golf Partners, CADDIEMASTER, True Club Solutions, Cliff Drysdale Management and RealFood. Garmany has received numerous honors, including induction into the Southwest PGA Hall of Fame, Arizona Golf Hall of Fame, University of Alabama Hospitality Hall of Fame and DeKalb County Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Garmany has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the HSBC International Golf Forum and the 2019 Southwest PGA PING Anser Award for advancing and promoting the game of golf throughout Arizona. He serves on the Advisory Board of McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

Muirfield Village Golf Club - Dublin, Ohio

Larry Dornisch, PGA, a 48-year PGA Member in the Southern Ohio PGA Section and Director of Golf at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, is the recipient of the 2020 Bill Strausbaugh Award. This award recognizes a PGA Professional who demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership, by way of teaching and mentoring other PGA Professionals. Dornisch is a role model for young PGA Members, including his son, Peter, who has followed in his footsteps. More than 30 of Dornisch’s protégés have ascended to either PGA Head Professional, Director of Instruction or Club Manager positions. An ambassador for the game, Dornish has worked with Jack Nicklaus to pilot several growth-of-the-game initiatives at Muirfield Village Golf Club, including a 12-hole scorecard as an option for members, and tournaments using an 8-inch cup, among others. Each year, Dornisch is the Host PGA Professional for the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament. He has long stated his specialty is “the ability to organize and oversee a complete golf program suited to the needs and wants of the membership.” Dornisch has received numerous awards from the Southern Ohio PGA Section, including the 2016 Bill Strausbaugh Award, 2015 Golf Professional of the Year and 2001-’02 Merchandiser of the Year-Private Category.

Jim McLean Golf School - Coral Gables, Florida

Jim McLean, a PGA Master Professional and a 42-year PGA Member, is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Professional Development Award.* This honor goes to a PGA Member who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA Professionals. As the CEO of the Jim McLean Golf Schools, headquartered at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, McLean is widely considered as one of the country’s most influential golf minds, having provided decades of instructional education internationally, nationally and at the Section level. More than 260 of his protégés have ascended to either Director of Golf or Director of Instruction positions. McLean, who has spent the past 27 years as a South Florida PGA Member, has taught numerous professional tour players, including major champions Tom Kite, Dave Eichelberger, Cristie Kerr, Liselotte Neumann, Lexi Thompson, Keegan Bradley and Gary Woodland. Eight of his junior players have been ranked No. 1 in the United States. An accomplished player in his early career, McLean dominated the Pacific Northwest as an amateur, competed as a touring professional for two years and captured several victories at PGA Section events. He qualified for 10 PGA Professional Championships; won the Westchester PGA Championship in the Metropolitan PGA Section; and the National Skins Game in Palm Springs, California. He competed in the 1972 Masters as an amateur (finishing tied for 43rd); and qualified for two U.S. Opens. A member of six Halls of Fame, including the World Teachers Hall of Fame, McLean has won numerous awards throughout his career, highlighted by the 1994 National PGA Teacher of the Year, 1987 Horton Smith Award* in the Metropolitan Section and the 2019 Horton Smith Award* in the South Florida PGA Section; 1996 and 1998 South Florida PGA Section Teacher of the Year; and 1986 Metropolitan PGA Section Teacher of the Year. McLean is ranked as one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America and for two decades has been ranked by Golf Digest as the No. 3 Teacher in America. McLean is a graduate of the University of Houston, where he majored in Economics and was an All-American golfer.
The Horton Smith Award was renamed the PGA Professional Development Award in 2020.

Fountain Head Country Club - Hagerstown, Maryland

J.P. Lunn, a 27-year PGA Member and Head Professional at Fountain Head Country Club in Hagerstown, Maryland, is the recipient of the 2020 Deacon Palmer Award, honoring a PGA Professional who personally displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. Lunn never missed a Section meeting while serving as an Officer, despite enduring treatments for a brain tumor that was diagnosed in 2014. A member of the Middle Atlantic PGA Section since 1990, Lunn has volunteered to serve his Chapter and Section since 1997. He reached the highest level of Section leadership in 2001 when he was elected Director at Large for its Board of Directors, then became Secretary, Vice President and eventually the 48th President of the Section. He has served the MAPGA as a Board member 17 of the last 19 years, and has been involved in many committees within the Section. Lunn has received numerous MAPGA honors including 2020 Professional of the Year; 2017 Bill Strausbaugh Award; and the 2009 and 2014 Horton Smith Award.*

The Horton Smith Award was renamed the PGA Professional Development Award in 2020.

GOLFTEC - Spokane, Washington

Christopher Runyan, an nine-year PGA Member in the Pacific Northwest PGA Section and a PGA Teaching Professional at GOLFTEC in Spokane, Washington, is the recipient of the 2020 Patriot Award. As golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for many Veterans with disabilities, PGA Members like Runyan have dedicated their careers to serving America’s heroes. This honor bestows special recognition on a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates an unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected our country. A Marine Corps Veteran, Runyan’s family has served in virtually every major conflict since 1860, including the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War and Gulf War. Runyan has used his commitment and passion to assist fellow Veterans in finding hope through the game of golf. As a PGA Member, he has been instrumental in growing the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program for Veterans throughout the Pacific Northwest PGA Section. He also founded VETS on the Green, a complementary program to PGA HOPE that helps get PGA Professionals involved in teaching the game to Veterans, while making a difference in their lives. Runyan is a six-time recipient of the Section’s Patriot Award (’13-’16, ’18-’19).

Pine Ridge Golf Club - Coram, New York
Golf Galaxy - Bay Shore, New York

Rich Jones, PGA, a 18-year PGA Member in the Metropolitan PGA Section, and Director of Instruction at Pine Ridge Golf Club in Coram, New York, and Golf Galaxy in Bay Shore, New York, is the 2020 PGA Player Development Award recipient. This honor bestows special recognition to a PGA Member who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development. Jones boasts an extensive track record of success in developing and managing creative programs throughout Long Island that are focused on adults, juniors, seniors, disabled golfers and professional athletes. Known as a tremendous recruiter of newcomers to the game, Jones is committed to the Golfer Development Pathway model, a method to introduce and keep golfers engaged in the game. A First Tee Certified Coach in Suffolk County, Jones has expanded his junior programs to serve the diverse needs of individuals of all backgrounds within the community. His combined programming has enabled approximately 3,000 junior golfers access to the game, while many of his junior students have successfully moved on to play golf in high school, college and beyond. Among his initiatives are the Little Linksters program, In-School programs and gang prevention golf programs. He also has transformed football and baseball fields into miniature golf courses. Jones was honored with the Section’s 2019 Player Development Award and the 2010 Junior Golf Leader Award. He was named a US Kids Golf Top 50 instructor from 2009-’11 and is a 2018 PGA Lead graduate.


Chris Thomson, PGA, a 29-year PGA Professional and a Southwest PGA Section Member, is a PGA Professional at Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Youth Player Development Award, given annually to a PGA Golf Professional who has made extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of youth player development. Certified in Player Development and for PGA.Coach, Thomson is also a Certified US Kids Coach. He boasts an impressive track record of serving the PGA Member and growing the game, by serving as a Section leader, contributing to numerous committees and holding several officer positions, including Nebraska PGA Section President from 2007-2009. Thomson's player development programs when he was previously at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club were revered in the Lincoln, Nebraska community, as they were widely considered the place to go to introduce kids to the game. He also has a passion for growing the game for golfers of all ages and skill levels, as displayed through the success of his player development programs, such as Get Golf Ready, junior camps and youth leagues. Thomson has received several awards from the Nebraska PGA Section, including 2006 and 2008 Golf Professional of the Year; 2011 and 2018 Youth Player Development Award; 2013 and 2017 Player Development Award; 2017 Bill Strausbaugh Award; 2019 Patriot Award; 2000 and 2009 Merchandiser of the Year Award; and 2002 and 2003 Horton Smith Award.* He was also recognized as a Golf Digest Best Teacher in Nebraska, and was awarded the NCGOA (National Golf Course Owners Association) National Player Development Award.

The Horton Smith Award was renamed the PGA Professional Development Award in 2020. Thomson is being honored with the 2020 PGA Youth Player Award for his previous work while at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club.

The Nebraska PGA Section is the recipient of the 2020 Herb Graffis Award, given to a PGA of America Section that has shown tireless dedication to growing the game of golf and furthering player development programming in the community. Led by Section President Gil Russell, PGA, and Executive Director David Honnens, PGA, the Nebraska Section’s youth programming has achieved impressive growth, highlighted by placing more than 1,800 kids in Nebraska Junior Golf Programming and hosting 80 events in just three months in 2019. As a leader in junior golf, the Section is focused on driving youth engagement through mainstream media, social media and direct marketing. Nebraska Junior Golf, a joint venture that began with the Nebraska Section PGA and the Nebraska Golf Association in 2009, has seen an over 200 percent increase in participation over the last decade. For years, many Nebraska PGA Professionals have been engaged in their communities through civic volunteer organizations, providing an opportunity to create interest and awareness of the game through special events and non-traditional community golf experiences. In 2013, the Section launched their foundation, PGA REACH Nebraska to expand their reach in their communities through the YMCA PGA Sports Academy, Golf N Schools, Omaha Golf Outreach program and PGA HOPE Nebraska. Through their foundation, the Section has a unique opportunity to introduce golf to individuals who might not have an initial interest in the game, while successfully targeting key customer growth markets, including Youth, Military Veterans and multicultural communities.

The Herb Graffis Award will be presented to the Nebraska PGA Section on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

Destination Kohler - Whistling Straits/Blackwolf Run

Josue Reyes, PGA, a 15-year PGA Member, a Wisconsin PGA Section Member and Director of Merchandising for Destination Kohler - Whistling Straits/Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin, is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award - Resort Category. The award, which Reyes also won in 2013, is designed to recognize those PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising for the promotion of golf. A passionate retailer always searching for the latest trends, Reyes has parlayed his extensive experience and track record of success into becoming a mentor and team leader at his facility. His successful merchandising philosophy centers on several key focus areas, but most importantly delivering on the “4 P’s” of marketing by offering “the right Product, at the right Price, in the right Place, and through proper Promotions.” By engaging and involving his PGA Professionals and staff, Reyes’ golf retail operations at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run continue to exceed financial goals, help develop future golf retail professionals and achieve industry-wide recognition. He is a seven-time recipient of the Wisconsin PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award (2010-’13, ’15-’16, ‘20).


Jacob Lippold, PGA, a nine-year PGA Member in the Pacific Northwest PGA Section and Head Professional at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington, is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award - Public Category. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Lippold is regarded as a detail-oriented merchandiser who is diligent, with a strong work ethic and always focused on the betterment of the bottom line. His philosophy of flexibility enables him to seamlessly transition to a new merchandising idea at any moment. He also keeps a close eye on retail trends on the local, regional, national and international levels. His diligence with vendors and reps is best realized through continued communication and open dialogue, which allows his team to establish strong relationships. He maintains close personal communication with members and guests looking for specific products, as he believes that personal touch goes a long way in repeat business. Lippold was also recognized by the Pacific Northwest PGA Section with the 2019 Merchandiser of the Year – Public Category Award.

Lippold is being honored with the 2020 PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Public Category Award for his previous work while at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington.

Oak Hill Country Club – Rochester, New York

Jason Ballard, a 17-year PGA Member of the Western New York PGA Section and Head Professional at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award - Private Category. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Ballard oversees the entire golf operation at the famed 36-hole Oak Hill Country Club, which includes a single 1,500-square-foot golf shop located inside the main clubhouse, which most recently served as host to the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Backed by an incredible passion for merchandising, his philosophy centers on hiring great people who care about hospitality. He spends considerable time sourcing, vetting, interviewing and educating, while creating an integrated staff education program called “Oak Hill University” that outlines his expectations for success. Since Ballard arrived in 2014, Oak Hill’s golf shop has enjoyed strong growth thanks to several key initiatives, including a new member logo, member-only inventory, and by creating new catalog inventory. Ballard has built a culture of continuous improvement based upon quality standards, protecting the Oak Hill brand and always exceeding customers’ expectations. Ballard was also recognized with the Western New York PGA Section with the 2019 Merchandiser of the Year – Private Category Award.