2023 PGA of America Awards Recipients
JEFF KIDDIE, PGA – PGA GOLF PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR - Aronimink Golf Club – Newtown Square, PA
Jeff Kiddie, PGA, Head Golf Professional at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, is the recipient of the 2023 PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award. This is the highest annual honor given to a PGA of America Professional, awarded for leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game of golf.
A PGA Member for 23 years, Kiddie has spent the past 15 years at Aronimink following a seven-year stint at Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern, Pennsylvania, where he served as PGA General Manager and Head Golf Professional. Kiddie has also been the host PGA Professional during the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink, which will also host the 2026 PGA Championship.
A longtime, dedicated leader in the Philadelphia PGA Section, Kiddie has held numerous positions including President, Vice President, Secretary, District Director, Director of Section Affairs and member of the PGA of America Rules Committee, among others. In 2019, he was elected the 43rd President of the Philadelphia PGA. He served a two-year stint, followed by his current Honorary President role.
A decorated PGA Professional, Kiddie has received numerous awards and accolades, including being honored as the national 2011 PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Private Facilities. He has also received the Philadelphia PGA Section’s 2021 Bill Strausbaugh Award; Horton Smith Award (now the PGA Professional Development Award); 2011 Philadelphia Section Golf Professional of the Year; and is a two-time recipient of the Philadelphia PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year Award - Private Facilities (2007, ‘10).
A resident of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Kiddie views mentoring as his most important task as a PGA Golf Professional. He is committed to sharing his expertise, experiences and successes with the next generation of PGA Professionals, while driving career opportunities for his staff members and young, aspiring PGA Members. Since Kiddie became a PGA Head Professional in 2001, a total of 12 of his Assistant Professionals have advanced in their careers to become Head Professionals across the country.
His passion for the Rules of Golf has led him to become an instructor for PGA and USGA Rules of Golf Workshops. Kiddie is a graduate of Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he competed on the golf team.
KEVIN WEEKS, PGA – PGA TEACHER & COACH OF THE YEAR - Cog Hill Golf & Country Club – Lemont, Ill.
Kevin Weeks, PGA, an Illinois PGA Section Member and Director of Instruction at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, is the 2023 PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year for his “outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.”
A PGA Member for 28 years, Weeks has been a mainstay on Golf Digest’s 50 Greatest Teachers and Best Teachers in Your State lists, joining the 50 Greatest list in 2012 and being recognized as the No. 1 Teacher in Illinois since 2017. Also featured regularly as one of GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers, Weeks is renowned for his putting expertise. His research on the game began in 1999 at Cog Hill, where he created a state-of-the-art putting facility with his patented Dynamic Impact Indicator (using lasers to measure the putter face at impact) and a Putting Robot that has been instrumental in numerous research projects, leading to several discoveries that have earned him opportunities to speak worldwide on the subject. The newest addition to the Lab is a GEARS 3-D motion capture system, which he uses to measure what each segment of the body is doing during the putting stroke.
Weeks’ students have captured 10 PGA TOUR victories and include notable names such as Kevin Streelman, Michael Bradley, Mark Wilson and several other top players. Weeks has also served as the swing coach for students who have won more than 50 professional mini tour events, 25 collegiate events, 11 American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) events and five high school state championships.
Growing the game has always been most important to Weeks, which is why when faced with the decision years ago of traveling with his students on the PGA TOUR or continuing to develop the nationally recognized PGA Jr. League program he built, the decision was easy. With its main goal of having “FUN,” the program now has 371 players. Cog Hill has qualified for the last six National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championships (the only coach in the country to do so), as his program has been listed as a Game Changer Top 25 program for the past three years and is currently the second largest program in the country.
Weeks was named the Illinois PGA Teacher of the Year three times (2005, ‘07, ‘09). He earned a PGA Special Certification for Instruction in 2010, and became certified in the American Development Model (ADM) through PGA Coach in 2020. Weeks has also been honored as a Top 50 Growth of the Game Teacher Elite by the Golf Range Association of America and as a Top 50 Master Kids Coach by U.S. Kids Golf.
After graduating from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Weeks worked for Grand Cypress Resort, Canton Brookside Country Club and John Jacobs Golf Schools before joining the Cog Hill staff, where he’s built his career since 1997.
BERNIE FRIEDRICH, PGA – PGA GOLF EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR - Boyne Resorts – Petoskey, Mich.
Bernie Friedrich, PGA, a Michigan PGA Section Member and the Senior Vice President of Golf Operations for Boyne Resorts in Petoskey, is the 2023 PGA Golf Executive of the Year. The honor recognizes outstanding services in an Executive Management position, as well as leadership, vision, courage, moral character and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game.
A PGA Member for nearly 40 years, Friedrich started as a Golf Professional at Boyne Resorts in 1976 and has been instrumental in leading the Company’s growing golf division. Today, Friedrich oversees Boyne Golf’s 13 courses and semi-private clubs in Michigan, Maine and Montana, including all staff, course agronomy and marketing nationwide, plus two golf membership groups—Bay Harbor Golf Club and Country Club of Boyne.
A multi award-winning PGA Member at the Section level, Friedrich has been recognized as the Golf Professional of the Year twice (1998, 2001), Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient (2019), PGA Golf Executive of the Year (2021) and five times as Merchandiser of the Year (1990-’92, 1995-’96). In 2019, he was inducted into both the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame and the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
His commitment to service and supporting philanthropic initiatives runs deep. He currently serves on the Michigan PGA Employment Committee, is a founding member and board member of The First Tee of Northern Michigan and is a co-founder of the Harbor Cup Fund, a charitable fund that has raised more than over $700,000 since its inception in 1997.
This year, Team Boyne, led by Friedrich, raised a record-breaking $90,000 for the Manna Food Project, a local food bank, and the First Tee of Northern Michigan. The donation to Manna provided 240,000 meals to local families in need.
Friedrich attended Northern Michigan University and has also been involved in course development during his 46 years with Boyne Resorts.
JACK DRUGA, PGA – Life Member – BILL STRAUSBAUGH AWARD - Metropolitan PGA Section - Southampton, N.Y.
Jack Druga, PGA, a PGA Life Member, is the 2023 Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, which recognizes a PGA Professional who demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership through teaching and mentoring other PGA Professionals. The former Head Golf Professional at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, and current Vice President, Development and PGA Ambassador at the Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation, Druga is renowned for mentoring and impacting the careers of countless PGA Professionals in the Metropolitan PGA Section. A PGA Member for over 35 years, his mission has always been to help PGA Professionals succeed throughout their careers by preparing them to pursue, apply and interview for job openings. This includes several Assistant PGA Professionals who he directly mentored in their pursuit of Head Golf Professional positions. Druga has held numerous committee positions within the Metropolitan PGA Section during his career, which included serving on its Board of Directors for 11 years and Club Relations/Employment Committee for 25 years. A decorated PGA Professional, Druga won the Metropolitan PGA Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2018 and 2001, as well as the Merchandiser of the Year award in 2010. Prior to his 15 years at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Druga spent 11 years at the Country Club of Fairfield as PGA Head Professional. He has also served at The Loxahatchee Club in Jupiter, Florida and The Creek Club in Locust Valley, New York before joining Shinnecock in 2007. After watching Johnny Miller’s famous final round 63 at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, Druga began his career golf journey at age 14 as a Caddie at the legendary club, where he was named “Caddie of the Year” in 1977, and eventually became the Assistant PGA Professional under PGA of America Hall of Fame Member Bob Ford. Druga has the distinction of being one of a small group of PGA Professionals who have played in a U.S. Open (1990) and served as host PGA Professional (2018).
NICK PAPADAKES, PGA – PGA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AWARD - Onwentsia Club – Lake Forest, Ill.
Nick Papadakes, PGA, an Illinois PGA Section Member and PGA Head Professional at Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, has earned the 2023 PGA Professional Development Award. This honor recognizes a PGA Member who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA Professionals. A five-time recipient of the Professional Development Award at the PGA Section level (2012, ‘15, ‘18, ‘20, ‘21) and recipient of the Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award (2017), Papadakes demonstrates his commitment to representing the golf profession with class and integrity and is passionate about mentoring peers and young professionals to help them achieve their desired goals within the industry. A PGA Member for nearly 20 years, Papadakes is currently the Honorary President of the Illinois PGA Section and has been an Officer since 2016, serving as Secretary, Vice President and President. Previously, he was the Illinois PGA Education Committee Chairman from (2010-’16) and Finance Committee Chairman (2018-’20). Currently, Papadakes is the Chairman of both the Illinois PGA Special Awards Committee and the PGA of America Employment Committee. Before arriving at Onwentsia Club in 2015, Papadakes was the Head Professional at Old Elm Club (2007-’14) and the Assistant Golf Professional at Conway Farms Golf Club (2002-’07).
JAMIE NIETO, PGA – DEACON PALMER AWARD - The Preserve at Oak Meadows – Addison, Ill.
Jamie Nieto, PGA Head Golf Professional at The Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison, Illinois, has been selected for the 2023 Deacon Palmer Award, which honors a PGA Professional who displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. On his 20th birthday, Nieto was lighting a fire pit in his backyard when the can of accelerant exploded, engulfing his body in flames. He sustained 3rd degree burns to 65 percent of his body. Nieto spent six weeks in the ICU at Loyola University Medical Center—three weeks in an induced coma— as surgeons performed skin-graft operations to save his life. Four years after working with doctors to rebuild his injured right hand so he could play golf again, Nieto registered as a PGA of America Associate (then known as an “Apprentice”), and earned his PGA Membership in 2012. Nieto has a simple, three-word motto that he embodies and lives by and challenges those around him to live by: “Never give up.” He spreads this message when volunteering his time and counseling other burn patients, sharing his story and relating it back to the game of golf. In the Illinois PGA Section, Nieto won the Distinguished Service Award in 2016, and the Deacon Palmer Award in 2020. Prior to arriving at The Preserve at Oak Meadows, Nieto spent seven years as the PGA Head Professional at Pheasant Run Resort. Alongside his golf career, Nieto has dedicated 17 years as a volunteer SOAR Patient Counselor through the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.
JOHN CARPINETA, PGA - PGA PATRIOT AWARD - Bensalem Township Country Club - Bensalem, Pa.
John Carpineta, PGA, a Philadelphia PGA Section Member and Assistant Golf Professional at Bensalem Township Country Club in Pennsylvania, is the recipient of the 2023 Patriot Award. The honor goes to a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected the United States of America. An inspiration to many, Carpineta earned his PGA Membership at 63 years old. Today, at age 81, he remains a driving force in leading the growth of the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program in the Philadelphia Section. A U.S. Army Veteran, Carpineta is an advocate for golf programming to be used as a form of therapy for Veterans, and thanks to his efforts, more than 500 Veterans have been positively impacted. Additionally, Carpineta is a staunch supporter of Patriot Golf Day, hosting events annually to support the initiative. Carpineta has been the recipient of multiple awards at the Section level, including Golf Professional of the Year in 2019, the Patriot Award (2017, ‘18, ‘20) and the Player Development Award in 2015. Carpineta has also been instrumental in mentoring other PGA Professionals who have aspirations to be heavily involved in PGA HOPE programming. His commitment to service at the Section level includes being the Co-chair of PGA HOPE Bensalem since 2016, a member of the Player Development Committee since 2016, and an Education Committee member since 2011, among other Section and Chapter committees.
JOSH TREMBLAY, PGA – PGA PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AWARD - Springfield Golf & Country Club – Springfield, Va.
Josh Tremblay, PGA, a nearly 20-year PGA Member in the Middle Atlantic PGA Section and Director of Golf at Springfield Golf & Country Club in Virginia, is the 2023 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. A 2002 graduate of the Penn State PGA Golf Management University Program, Tremblay has held numerous leadership positions at facilities throughout the Middle Atlantic PGA Section and boasts an outstanding track record in customer service, leadership and creative golf programming that drives player development and helps grow the game. He was one of the first four PGA Professionals to bring PGA Jr. League to the Section and has been a flag bearer for the program ever since. He also is a Callaway Master Staff Professional and specializes in teaching juniors, women, beginners and seniors. Tremblay was elected to a two-year term as Middle Atlantic Section President in 2019, after serving as Secretary and Vice President. He is a decorated PGA Professional, having won numerous Middle Atlantic PGA Section awards, including the Player Development Award in 2021; Horton Smith Award in 2018 (now the PGA Professional Development Award); Golf Professional of the Year in 2014; and Youth Player Development Award in 2010. Tremblay has led the golf program at Springfield Golf & Country Club since December 2009. Previously, he served four years as the PGA Head Professional at the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland. Tremblay began his career as an Assistant PGA Professional at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware.
SUSIE REDMAN, PGA – PGA YOUTH PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AWARD - The Woodlands Country Club – The Woodlands, Texas
Susie Redman, PGA, a PGA Professional at The Woodlands Country Club in The Woodlands, Texas, is the 2023 PGA Youth Player Development Award winner. The honor is given to a PGA Member who has made extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of youth player development. Redman prides herself in her ability to serve youth, parents, the facility and its management, the Southern Texas PGA Section and the PGA of America by implementing the American Development Model (ADM) in all youth golf programs, which is endorsed by the United States Olympic Committee. ADM introduces the right aspects of play at the right time in junior golf instruction, with a structure that is fun, engaging and progressively challenging and also focuses on educating parents. Redman also supports the “Make Golf Your Thing” industry-wide initiative to grow the game to new and diverse audiences. Redman is actively involved with the “Positive Coaching Alliance,” which strives to create a positive youth sports environment, and focuses on developing coach, athlete, sports parenting and athlete administration awareness. Prior to teaching at The Woodlands, Redman was a LPGA Touring Professional for 20 years and has been a Class A member of the PGA of America since 1993. Redman is currently playing on the Legends of the LPGA, the official senior tour of the LPGA.
SOUTHERN TEXAS PGA SECTION - HERB GRAFFIS AWARD
The Southern Texas PGA Section has earned the 2023 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. The Southern Texas PGA Section, led by President James Brown, PGA and Executive Director Thomas Hutton, PGA, has seen the importance in growing junior golf since the Section Foundation’s inception in 1994. Now, the STPGA has an established player pathway on how to become a lifelong golfer. All STPGA programming is designed to drive revenue and exposure to STPGA Professionals and their facilities. Junior Golf programming provides a minimum of a $14 million economic impact each year towards golf in Southern Texas, with over 4,000 kids taking part in STPGA Junior Golf membership. The Section prides itself with the fact that a junior can start off with a lesson from a PGA Professional and work their way up to a 36-hole Championship with college coaches watching, utilizing the STPGA Junior Golf Journey. The Section is proud that 29 STPGA Junior Golfers have advanced to compete in the Drive, Chip and Putt Finals at Augusta National Golf Club since the program’s beginning in 2013; more than 1,400 juniors participated in PGA Jr. League in 2022; and over 300 Veterans participated in its PGA HOPE programs last year.
GRACE HURLEY, PGA - PGA MERCHANDISER OF THE YEAR - RESORT CATEGORY - Ponte Vedra Inn & Club – Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Grace Hurley, PGA, the Director of Sports Retail at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is the 2023 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award - Resort Category winner. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who excel in business and merchandising for the promotion of golf. Hurley’s merchandising philosophy is to create featured displays that tell a story throughout the golf shop. She has a unique skill set for merchandising with the customer in mind, as Grace and her team provide a customized shopping experience to everyone who walks through the doors. She is a two-time winner of the North Florida Section PGA Merchandiser of the Year - Resort Category award (2021, ‘22), an Association of Golf Merchandisers Platinum Winner (2017, ‘18) and has earned the Best of the Best Golf Shop honor from Jacksonville Magazine in each of the past five years. Hurley is a graduate of the University of Idaho PGA Golf Management Program where she also played Division I Golf for the Vandals.
KATIE WIEDMAR, PGA - PGA MERCHANDISER OF THE YEAR - PRIVATE CATEGORY - Winged Foot Golf Club – Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Katie Wiedmar, PGA, the Golf Shop Manager and First Assistant Professional at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, is the recipient of the 2023 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. Katie’s approach to merchandising is focused on recognizing member preferences. Working at Winged Foot for the past 10 years and developing relationships with members has boosted her ability to understand their style and tendencies, allowing her to formulate a buying planfor respective members. She graduated from the Eastern Kentucky PGA Golf Management University Program, where she competed on the golf team and fulfilled internships at several notable facilities, including Valhalla Golf Club, Indian Creek Country Club and Winged Foot Golf Club. Following her internship at Winged Foot, Wiedmar was offered a full-time position and eventually became the first woman to serve as Golf Shop Manager and First Assistant at Winged Foot. She was instrumental in working with the USGA in preparation for the 2020 U.S. Open Championship. Wiedmar received her MBA from Iona University in 2020, and was the recipient of the PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award - Private Category from the Metropolitan PGA Section in 2021.
IAN ZISKA, PGA – PGA MERCHANDISER OF THE YEAR - PUBLIC CATEGORY - American Dunes Golf Club – Grand Haven, Mich.
Ian Ziska, PGA, the PGA Head Golf Professional at American Dunes Golf Club in Grand Haven, Michigan, is the 2023 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award - Public Category recipient. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Ziska oversees the retail operation at American Dunes, while offering a widespread collection of some of the most patriotic gear in golf, with profits from all purchases supporting the Folds of Honor Foundation. With a keen eye for merchandising, Ziska takes pride in designing creative displays that showcase patriotism, innovative styles and new trends. He is a seven-time Michigan PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year (Public Category - 2014, ‘16, ‘17, ’18, ‘21, ‘22; and Resort Category - 2010). He has also been awarded the Section’s Horton Smith Award (2018 - now the PGA Professional Development Award), Youth Player Development Award (2006, ’16) and the Bill Strausbaugh Award (2016). Ziska graduated from the Ferris State University PGA Golf Management Program, where he played on the men’s golf team and earned his PGA Membership. He has served as the Michigan PGA Section Tournament Chair, as well as the Northern Michigan PGA Chapter President, Vice President and Tournament Chair. Prior to his arrival at American Dunes Golf Club in 2019, Ziska spent seven years as the Manager & PGA Head Golf Professional at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Course and 11 years at Manistee National Golf and Resort, ascending to serve as the facility’s PGA Head Golf Professional.