PGA of America

2024 PGA of America Awards Recipients

TONY PANCAKE, PGA - PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year - Crooked Stick Golf Club - Carmel, Ind.

Tony Pancake, PGA, the Director of Golf at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., is the recipient of the 2024 PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year Award. This is the highest annual honor given to a PGA of America Golf Professional, which is awarded for leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game of golf. 

A PGA of America Member for 36 years, Pancake has helped steer Crooked Stick’s efforts on the national and international stage since 2003, as the facility played host to several championship events, highlighted by the 2005 Solheim Cup, 2007 USGA Women’s Amateur, 2009 U.S. Senior Open and the 2012 and 2016 BMW Championships. The Club will host the U.S. Senior Open Championship in 2028.

A native of Seymour, Ind., Pancake attended the University of Alabama on a golf scholarship and earned an accounting degree. He served for nine years as PGA of America Head Professional at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., which hosted the 1996 PGA Championship. He then worked at Hurstborne Country Club in Louisville, before being named Head Professional at Baltimore (Md.) Country Club in 2002. Pancake just finished his 20th season at Crooked Stick, serving as Head Golf Professional from 2004-2009 and as Director of Golf & Club Operations since 2010.
Pancake has served the PGA of America more than 30 years at both the Section and National Levels, including being named to the PGA of America Board of Directors in 2018. Through his career, he has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including the Kentucky PGA Section’s PGA Golf Professional of Year in 1992 and the Indiana PGA Section’s PGA Golf Professional of Year in 2009 and 2019.

Pancake is one of Golf Digest’s top 10 Teachers in Indiana. He is also an accomplished player, having qualified for four Section Challenge Cup teams, was a quarterfinalist in the Section Match Play Championship, qualified for a PGA Professional Championship and was the winner of the 2015 Indiana Senior Open Championship.

Tony and his wife Libby have been married for 36 years. They have four children and five grandchildren.

JOE HALLETT, PGA – PGA of America Teacher & Coach of the Year - Vanderbilt Legends Club – Franklin, Tenn.

PGA Master Professional Joe Hallett, a Tennessee PGA Section Member and Director of Instruction at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., is the 2024 PGA of America Teacher & Coach of the Year for his outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.

A PGA of America Golf Professional for 28 years, Hallett is regularly recognized as a GOLF Magazine Top 100 instructor and a Golf Digest Top 50 instructor, including holding the top spot in Golf Digest’s “Best Teacher in Every State” in Tennessee for seven consecutive years. He has coached some of the top LPGA players in the world, including seven-time Major Champion and LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and two-time Rolex World No. 1 and 2023 US Solheim Cup Captain Stacy Lewis. Hallett was also named to the Team USA coaching staff for the 2023 Solheim Cup. 

A longtime presenter at PGA Section, PGA of America and Allied Association education events and seminars, Hallett frequently educates, assists and offers guidance to his peers, colleagues and aspiring members. He has been instrumental in the development and delivery of PGA of America Education programs for Members, Associates and PGA Golf Management University Students. With a commitment to continuing his own education, Hallett earned PGA Master Professional status through Teaching & Coaching in 2023, the highest educational designation a PGA of America Member can obtain.

Already a national award winner, Hallett was the recipient of the 2018 Horton Smith Award (now the PGA Professional Development Award), honored for his commendable additions to the education of PGA of America Professionals. A multiple award winner at the Section level, Hallett was the recipient of the Tennessee PGA Section Professional Development Award (2012, ‘14, ‘21), and three times the Section’s PGA Teacher of the Year (2013, ‘18, ‘21).

KELLY WILLIAMS, PGA - PGA of America Golf Executive of The Year - Greenbrier Golf & Country Club - Lexington, Ky.

Kelly Williams, PGA, a Kentucky PGA Section Member and the General Manager of Greenbrier Golf & Country Club in Lexington, Ky., is the 2024 PGA of America 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 of America Member since 2007, Williams is a collaborative leader whose commitment to serving his fellow PGA of America Members is evident through his role in Association governance at the Section and National levels. He served as an Officer for the Kentucky PGA Section, including a two-year stint as President (2014-2015), District 10 Director (2016-2019) on the PGA National Board of Directors and has served on many Section and National Committees.

Williams started at Greenbrier Golf & Country Club as an Assistant Professional in 2002, working his way up to the General Manager position in 2007. What once was a facility only known for its golf and used by its members six months out of the year, has transformed into a thriving, family-centered club with year-round amenities and programming. Under Williams’ leadership, over $10 million of assessment-free improvements have been incorporated at the facility.

A multi-award winner at the Section level, Williams was the recipient of the Horton Smith Award, now named the PGA Professional Development Award (2009, 2011), Golf Professional of the Year (2013), Professional Development Award (2023) and Golf Executive of The year (2023) for the Kentucky PGA Section.

Frequently recognized by his peers for his passion, energy and leadership, Williams is a firm believer in continuing education and mentorship. As Kentucky PGA Education Chair, he often leads roundtable discussions with panels of industry experts to discuss new trends and share best practices. To complement this, he serves on the Eastern Kentucky University Professional Golf Management University Program Advisory Board, also serving as a mentor to help shape the future of students pursuing their dream of becoming a PGA of America Member.

Williams’ commitment to philanthropy includes founding PGA Golf Day to fundraise for the Kentucky PGA Growth of the Game Foundation, and supporting a breadth of PGA REACH initiatives.

JIM SMITH JR., PGA - Bill Strausbaugh Award - Philadelphia Cricket Club - Flourtown, Pa.

Jim Smith, Jr., a 29-year PGA of America Member in the Philadelphia PGA Section, and Director of Golf at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, in Flourtown, Pa., is the 2024 Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, which recognizes a PGA of America Golf Professional who demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership through teaching and mentoring other PGA of America Golf Professionals. A native of Jenkintown, Pa., and a resident of Rydal, Pa., Smith, Jr. graduated from Temple University in 1990 with a BS in Finance & Economics. In 1992, he became the Head Golf Professional at The Abington Club in his hometown of Jenkintown, where he worked for four years. In 1996, he became the Director of Golf/General Manager at Talamore Country Club, in Ambler, PA., where he spent 10 years before moving onto his current role at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. A decorated PGA Member, Smith, Jr. has earned numerous awards and accolades in the Philadelphia PGA Section, including PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2005, Merchandiser of the Year, Private in 2002 and the Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2006, 2013 and 2022. He is also a dedicated leader of the Philadelphia PGA Section, having been elected President from 2007-2009, and serving as a member of the Section Board of Directors/Executive Committee from 2000-2011.

DEAN KANDLE, PGA - PGA of America Professional Development Award - St. Davids Golf Club - Wayne, Pa.

Dean Kandle, PGA, a Philadelphia PGA Section Member and the General Manager at St. Davids Golf Club in Wayne, Pa., has earned the 2024 PGA of America Professional Development Award. This honor recognizes a PGA of America Member who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA of America Golf Professionals. A multi-award winner on the Section level, Kandle is a 3-time recipient of the PGA Professional Development Award (2019, ‘20, ‘21), as well as winner of the Bill Strausbaugh Award (2018) and the PGA Golf Professional of the Year (2020). Kandle twice served as a member of the Philadelphia Section Education Committee (2011-13, 2018-22) and represented the Philadelphia Section Board of Directors as the District VI Director (2019-22). He is a regular host and contributor to PGA of America Education seminars and workshops, and a strong supporter of PGA REACH programming. Kandle is passionate about delivering continuing education to help improve the lives of PGA of America Members. One of his most successful projects was the creation of Golf Professional Growth (GPG), a professional-development website that delivers a wealth of content while covering a wide range of important topics, all designed to help PGA of America Members “Work Smarter and Live Better.” Kandle demonstrates his commitment to education by hosting two successful podcasts, "Getting Better Now" and "The Golf Professional Growth Project," both dedicated to helping PGA Professionals grow as golf professionals and leaders.

MARK EGLY, PGA – Deacon Palmer Award - Des Moines Driving Range – Des Moines, Iowa

Mark Egly, PGA, Head Golf Professional for the past 30 years at Des Moines Driving Range in Des Moines, Iowa, has been selected for the 2024 Deacon Palmer Award, which honors a PGA of America Golf Professional who displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. A PGA of America Member for 40 years, Egly’s entire golf career has been impacted by health issues, beginning with a serious car accident in 1990 that left him with severe nerve damage in his shoulder, significantly limiting the use of his right arm. After taking a few years off from the game, he came back and played well enough to even qualify for the 1995 John Deere Classic, but then suffered two more accidents resulting in serious injuries. Hardly the end of his health issues, Egly was diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which causes a lack of oxygen, resulting in low energy, exhaustion, breathing problems, and a lack of natural pain management. Despite never having smoked, Egly was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema in 2018.  Furthermore, in 2018, doctors found a tumorous spot on Mark’s pancreas and he was given only a 30 percent chance of surviving six months; the tumor significantly reduced without chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Still, Egly remains motivated and dedicated to golf. With a healthy lifestyle, synced with food protocols and weekly infusions, he has overcome or improved some of his health issues, while focusing on teaching the game and purchasing a driving range. Since becoming a PGA of America Golf Professional in 1983, Egly has exhibited an exceptional level of service and unwavering commitment to the success of others. Egly was named to the 2023 GRAA (Golf Range Association of America) Growth of the Game Teaching Professionals Elite Member Status, with Des Moines Driving Range being named a 2023 GRAA Top 50 Stand Alone Facility. He has been deeply involved in creating a safe haven for children through various youth programs, getting at-risk children on the golf course at no cost and has collaborated with the United States Golf Association, equipment manufacturers, the Iowa Section PGA, the PGA of America and the National Golf Foundation on many occasions to further provide opportunities for youth to enjoy the game.

JON DePRIEST, PGA - Patriot Award - Sunset Hills Country Club - Edwardsville, Ill.

Jon DePriest, PGA, a Gateway PGA Section Member and the Director of Golf Operations at Sunset Hills Country Club in Edwardsville, Ill., is the recipient of the 2024 Patriot Award. The honor goes to a PGA of America Golf 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. The son of a Korean-war Veteran, and a well respected PGA of America Member for 39 years, DePriest is passionate about supporting Veterans. He recognizes the immeasurable impact of golf programming as a form of therapy to help Veterans reacclimate to their communities, and has been a lead PGA HOPE instructor since inception of the program. A well rounded leader and an inspiration to his peers, colleagues and the Veteran community, DePriest started a women’s-only PGA HOPE program in 2022, and nearly 40 female Veterans have already graduated. Passionate in his efforts to support Veterans, DePriest has raised more than $895,000 through fundraising, and hosts free-play days for Veterans as well as Adaptive Golf Training Seminars for fellow PGA of America Members. A multi-award winner at the Section level, he was the recipient of the Patriot Award (2017, 2021 and 2023); Youth Player Development (2019); PGA Golf Professional of the Year (2015) Merchandiser of the Year-Public (1994) and was awarded the President's Plaque for Growth of the Game (2013) and Junior Golf Leader (1994). DePriest’s commitment to service includes PGA REACH Gateway Board of Directors (2020-2023), Folds of Honor St. Louis Chapter Board of Directors (2018-2020) and First Tee of Riverbend Board of Directors (2005-2006). He helped create the Section’s PGA HOPE Committee in 2019 and still serves as a committee member.

CRYSTAL MORSE, PGA – PGA of America Player Development Award - The Legends Golf Club - Franklin, Ind.

Crystal Morse, a 15-year PGA of America Member in the Indiana PGA Section, and Head PGA Professional at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Ind., is the 2023 PGA Player Development Award recipient. This honor bestows special recognition to a PGA of America Golf Professional who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development. A native of Greenwood, Ind., and a former standout junior golfer, Morse went on to play at Western Kentucky University, where she was named to the All-Sunbelt Conference team and served as captain of the WKU team her junior and senior years. Upon graduation in 2003, she spent two seasons as an Assistant Professional at The Legends, before moving to Palm Desert, Calif., where she earned her PGA of America Membership and spent nine seasons as the PGA Assistant Professional at The Lakes Country Club, a 36-hole private club. She then moved on to The Club at Morningside, in Rancho Mirage, CA., where she became the lead teaching instructor. She returned to The Legends in 2017 as the Director Player Development and then quickly became the Head PGA Professional for Ted Bishop, PGA, General Manager and 38th President of the PGA of America. Today, in addition to her position at The Legends, Morse serves as Co-Head Coach of the Franklin Boys and Girls High School Golf Teams and is co-owner of the Morse Golf Academy at The Legends with her husband Jim, a fellow PGA of America Golf Professional, where they teach over 1,500 private lessons per year. Morse runs one of the top PGA Jr. Leagues in the Section, being awarded the PGA Jr. League Gamechanger Award in 2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023. She also runs First Tee Junior programs, is an LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Site Director, organizes “Adult Get Golf Ready Programs” and a summer PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) Program for Military Veterans. A longstanding, dedicated PGA of America Member, Morse has served on the Indiana PGA Board of Directors, currently serves on the Indiana Section Player Development Committee and has been a 2-time recipient of the Indiana Section Youth Player Development Award (2019 and 2020).

CONNIE DEMATTIA, PGA - PGA of America Youth Player Development Award - Cantigny Golf -  Wheaton, Ill.

Connie DeMattia, PGA, Director of Instruction at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton, Illinois, and an Illinois PGA Section Member, has been named the 2024 PGA Youth Player Development Award winner. This prestigious award is given to a PGA of America Golf Professional who has made extraordinary contributions and achievements in the area of youth player development. DeMattia has been with Cantigny Golf since 2007, where he is responsible for managing and directing arguably the largest youth golf program (ages 4-18) in the Chicagoland area. DeMattia has leveraged his experiences as a competitive golfer to pioneer a rock-solid process for engaging youth golfers. Throughout his career, his objective has been to build young golfers’ self-confidence, establish proper fundamentals and build on competitive experiences. DeMattia has created a process for guiding them through a holistic development progression that considers the physiological, psychological and kinesthetic aspects of the game. Prior to Cantigny Golf, DeMattia served as the Director of Instruction at Medinah Country Club from 2000 to 2006.

IOWA PGA SECTION - Herb Graffis Award

The Iowa PGA Section has earned the 2024 Herb Graffis Award, given annually to one of the 41 PGA of America Sections that has shown tireless dedication to grow the game of golf and furthering player-development programming in the community. The Iowa PGA Section, led by President Erin Strieck, PGA, and Executive Director Greg Mason, PGA, has delivered quality golf programming that has helped grow the game for over 40 years. The Section has implemented many programs with a focus on youth, including Swing with Kids Golf in Schools, in which a PGA of America Golf Professional adopts a local School District and supports the Physical Education Teachers in elementary and middle schools to teach golf and life skills. The program has more than doubled in size over the past five years and now serves over 25,000 students. Iowa’s PGA Jr. League program is the number-one program by growth percentage across all PGA of America Sections in number of players as well as teams. The Iowa PGA Section is also supporting local military Veterans with their GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) program, where PGA of America Professionals teach the game of golf to Veterans as part of their rehabilitation. The program has supported more than 2,300 Veterans since its inception. Iowa PGA Junior Tour events were hosted by 67 percent of the facilities within the Section in 2023. Additionally, the Iowa PGA has remained number one across all Sections on the percentage of membership for PGA of America Golf professionals certified through ADM and, completing training and certification in 2023.

ROBERT KOONTZ, PGA - PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year - Resort Category - Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort - French Lick, Ind.

Robert Koontz, PGA, Head Professional at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind., and member of the Indiana PGA Section, is the recipient of the 2024 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award - Resort Category. This prestigious award recognizes PGA of America Golf Professionals who excel in business and merchandising for the promotion of golf. A two-time Indiana PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year - Resort (2017, 2023), Koontz has worked at French Lick Resort since 2016. He served as the Head Professional of the Donald Ross course until 2021, when he received his current position as Head Professional of the Pete dye Course. In addition to this role, Koontz is the Assistant Director of Golf at French Lick Resort and the Director of Golf Merchandise at all three venues of the resort. The merchandising philosophy that Koontz lives by is to create new opportunities through clean, neat displays filled with a well-planned variety of branded products while maintaining the business operations and margins required for a successful golf shop. To maintain a strong grasp on merchandising in the golf industry, Koontz is focused on studying the retail world, researching lifestyle trends, watching for social trends, building partnerships and learning from fellow PGA of America Golf Professionals. These actions, along with analyzing the sales data, create an on-hand supply of high demand product that produces Koontz’s successful golf shops.

MORGAN JEWELL, PGA - PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year - Private Category - Floridian National Golf Club - Palm City, Fla.

Morgan Jewell, PGA, Head Professional at Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City, Fla., and member of the South Florida PGA Section, is the recipient of the 2024 PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year Award - Private Category. The award recognizes PGA of America Golf Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Jewell, the South Florida PGA Section Merchandiser of The Year - Private (2018) and a three-time Association of Golf Merchandisers Platinum Award Winner while in the Massachusetts PGA Section(2010, 2011, 2012), has been with Floridian National Golf Club since 2015. He also helps manage merchandise at the Houston Open on the PGA Tour, as well as the retail store in Minute Maid Park where he manages all Houston Astros golf products. Throughout his professional career, Jewell has created a four-point merchandising philosophy: Attention to detail, communication, creativity and personal touch. His main goal is to create an environment and retail experience that customers can only get at Floridian National Golf Club.

JASON LOOMIS, PGA - PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year - Public Category - Great River Golf Club - Milford, Conn.

Jason Loomis, PGA, General Manager at Great River Golf Club in Milford, Conn., and member of the Connecticut PGA Section, is the recipient of the 2024 PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year Award - Public Category. The award recognizes PGA of America Golf Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Loomis was hired by Great River Golf Club in 2019 as the club’s Head Professional and after much success was named General Manager in 2023. At Great River, Loomis is dedicated to a unique merchandising philosophy that helped him earn the 2021 Connecticut PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year Award - Public. His merchandising principles are rooted in “Have Fun” and “From A to Z.” These ideologies allow Loomis and his staff to enjoy their time creating displays, running sales, marketing and interacting with members and guests, which turns the shopping experience into an enjoyable time for customers.