Jim Brotherton Jr.
Golf Professional of the Year
The head professional at Old Overton Golf Club in Vestavia Hills, Ala., Jim Brotherton Jr. is the 50th recipient of the PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award, the highest honor bestowed by The PGA of America on a PGA Professional.
A resident of Birmingham, Ala., Brotherton begins his 11th year at Old Overton Golf Club, and is the first member of the Dixie PGA Section to be so honored.
Born in Clearwater, Fla., Brotherton was introduced to golf by his father, Jim Sr., first as a caddie and then after receiving his first set of clubs on his sixth birthday. When his family moved to Savannah, Ga., Brotherton advanced his love for the game by leading his middle school classmates in forming a city-wide junior golf league. He went on to graduate in 1971 from Armstrong State University, a division of the University of Georgia, with a degree in marketing management. That year, Brotherton declared himself professional and served as an assistant professional at Boca Raton (Fla.) Club, Deer Creek Golf and Tennis in Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Indian Springs Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla. He earned PGA membership in 1975.
Jim Brotherton's career has taken him full circle in golf, from positions at golf clubs, to becoming the first PGA director of Section Affairs (1981-86) at PGA national headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He later served as PGA field representative for PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., and as marketing and public relations manager at PGA national headquarters.
In 1988, Brotherton was hired by Landmark Land Company in La Quinta, and remained until August 1991, before joining Founders Club. He was hired by Fenwick Golf Company in 1992, and in 1993 was named head professional at Old Overton Golf Club.
"J.C. Penney's words have been personal motivation to me," said Brotherton. "People who try to find success solely within themselves are doomed from the start. Success goes to the people who search diligently to find ways to help others."
A distinguished contributor to local junior programs wherever he worked, Brotherton served as national vice chairman of the former National Golf Day (1991-94), a program to benefit junior golf. He has conducted 18 National Golf Marathons and his many activities have included serving as tournament director of the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate Golf Tournament - considered one of the nation's premier collegiate events.
Brotherton and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of four children: James, Julie, Kelly and Kyle.
Teacher of the Year
One of the most popular golf instructors in the country, Laird Small has been on every GOLF Magazine list of the nation's "Top 100 Teachers in America" since 1985 and was recognized by Golf Digest on its "Top 50 Teachers in America," in 2002. Beginning his 17th year at Pebble Beach, Calif., the 46-year-old Small has been a PGA member since 1988 and director since 1996 of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy. Small was named the 1996 Northern California PGA Teacher of the Year and the 1997 Junior Teacher of the Year, an honor given by the AT&T Pebble Beach Junior Golf Association.
The son of a U.S. Army engineer, Small was born in Frankfurt, Germany. His family moved to Mexico, before settling on the Monterey (Calif.) Peninsula five years later. Small said the sight of golf carts traveling to course on the famed golf-rich peninsula heightened his enthusiasm for the game. He began learning the game as a caddie. He went on to graduate in 1977 from San Jose State University with a degree in recreation and leisure studies. He turned professional that year, and through 1980 was an assistant professional at Fort Ord Golf Course. Small attempted to compete as a Tour professional before becoming head professional and later director of golf at Quail Lodge Golf and Country Club in Carmel Valley, Calif. From 1987 through October 1996, Small was head professional and manager of Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach. He remained at that post until opening the Pebble Beach Golf Academy.
"I think as an industry we have made great strides to help people learn to swing the club and hit the ball," said Small, "but we have a way to go to show people how to play the game. And, that follows our Association's efforts to grow the game. The responsibility is on our shoulders to grow the game."
Small was instrumental in the development of the AT&T Pebble Beach Junior Golf Association. The program, in which he also served as president, hosts 1,600 juniors year-round.
In 1993, Small authored GolfCordz the Power Source, an exercise physiology book designed to strengthen, condition and stretch golf muscles. He is a frequent contributor to GOLF Magazine, Golf Tips Magazine and Golf Digest. He is a frequent guest of The Golf Channel's Golf Academy Live, and is a regular instructor on the Northern California PGA's televised Toyota Team Challenge Matches.
A committee member of the 2000 and 2002 PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit, Small's students have included Tour Professional Kirk Tripplet, Bob Wolcott, Tom Sullivan, entertainer Oprah Winfrey, former major league baseball pitcher Orel Hershiser, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, NFL football coaching legend Bill Walsh, former NBA star Julius Erving and amateur Wandra Liang, the youngest woman to qualify for the San Francisco City Amateur.
Small and his wife, Honor, are the parents of two boys: Riley, 6 and Emmett, 4.
Horton Smith Award
A PGA member since 1975 and a PGA Master Professional, Ray Cutright has served as a member of the PGA Section Affairs Committee (1991-92), National Golf Day Committee (1993) and as an ACE Counselor (1981), a past program that featured mentoring in all aspects of the golf profession. Cutright, 52, is the third Georgia PGA member to win the national Horton Smith Award, the PGA's highest award for contributions to professional education.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Cutright spent most of his life in Atlanta, Ga. He played high school golf and at age 14 started working in the golf shop at Berkeley Hill Country Club in Atlanta under the supervision of PGA Life Member Louis "Butch" Hansen.
From 1994-97, Cutright was one of the original faculty members of the PGA's Golf Professional Training Program, and since 2000 has been a member of the PGA Board of Control.
"Education is everything; it's what creates all the opportunities for a golf professional," said Cutright. "I believe in a hands-on approach instead of the classroom. I am so excited that we are diversifying in our Association, which is essential for our long-term survival. The customer will go to where he or she is stimulated. We have to continue to diversify in our educational programs. And, we still have to educate the employer. The employer only knows if you can make him or her successful."
Cutright attended Auburn University for three years and turned professional in 1970, and began his career as an assistant at Toccoa Country Club. Cutright was elected to PGA membership in 1976 and became head professional and general manager at Riverside Country Club. He left in 1982 and spent the next seven years as head professional at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. From 1989 to 1992, Cutright was director of golf.
On Jan. 1, 1992, Cutright became director of golf operations and just the fourth head professional in the history of Idle Hour Golf Club, a facility that opened in 1912.
One of the most active and decorated members of the Georgia PGA Section, Cutright is a two-time Section Golf Professional of the Year (1992, '97), a three-time Section Horton Smith Award winner (1981, '82, 2002) and two-time Section Merchandiser of the Year (1992, '99). Cutright was a member of the Section Board of Directors from 1993-99, serving as president from 1996-97.
Cutright and his wife, Kris, are the parents of five children: Lauren; twins Jeffrey and Gerral; Richard; and MacKinsey Raye.
Bill Strausbaugh Award
Beginning his 11th year at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I., Steve Napoli is the third New England PGA Professional to win the Bill Strausbaugh Award. Inspired by the late Bill Strausbaugh, a PGA Master Professional who died in 1999, the award recipient exhibits characteristics and qualities that Strausbaugh - nicknamed "Coach" - possessed during his lifetime. Award recipients must demonstrate service to the Association through mentoring their fellow professionals, overall contributions to the Association, and through contributions and service to the local community, including charitable work.
"I believe that the requirements of this award are things I consciously try to do every day in my work," said Napoli, a 1977 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, who became a PGA Professional in 1979. "I have always made it a point to hire good people and to do what I can to ensure that I can help assistants go on to good jobs and become contributors to the Association and their communities."
Napoli, 48, has been a member of the New England PGA Club Relations Committee for the past 16 years, serving as chairman from 1993-94. He served as Section president from 1999-2001, and has gone on to serve on the national Membership Steering Committee (1991-94), Membership Committee (2000 to present) and the Awards Committee (2003). In 1992, he was named New England PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the 1997 and 2001 Rhode Island Chapter Golf Professional of the Year, and the 1998 Section Bill Strausbaugh Award winner.
Napoli was introduced to golf at age 10 by his father, Armando, who would take Napoli and his brother, Jay, to the course. Napoli said it is easy to cite the moment of his career-making decision.
The late Bill Barry, a PGA Professional formerly of Wanumetonomy Country Club, who died in 1991, inspired Napoli to remain in golf.
A native of Newport, R.I., Napoli, now oversees a staff of 14 and lives in Barrington, R.I. He began his professional career as an assistant at Wanumetonomy Country Club the summer after college graduation. He went to Vero Beach (Fla.) Country Club in the winter of 1978 and spent two consecutive winters in Florida, working for two courses owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He returned to his home ground as an assistant professional at Rhode Island Country Club (1980-81) in Barrington, and later at Salem Country Club in Peabody, R.I. (1981-82). He became the head professional at Pawtucket (R.I.) Country Club in 1983 and remained there until 1992 before taking his current post at Wannamoisett Country Club.
Napoli and his wife, Mary Ann, are the parents of a son, Stephen Jr.; and a daughter, Sarah
Junior Golf Leader
Steve Hogan, a PGA member since 1997, is head professional at Miller Park Golf Course in Omaha, Neb., home of "Hogan's Junior Golf Heroes." It is easily one of the country's most remarkable inner-city golf success stories. Hogan, 50, is the first Nebraska PGA Section member to win the PGA Junior Golf Leader Award, which is presented to a PGA Professional who demonstrates leadership in junior golf and reflects the ideals of those who work with youth.
A 28-year employee of the City of Omaha's Parks & Recreation Department, Hogan arrived at Miller Park Golf Course in 1988 and observed a par-3 layout that rested in the heart of the city. He noticed acts of vandalism on the property and a lack of juniors playing the course.
"One day I caught a couple kids riding their bikes across the course and stopped them," said Hogan. "They didn't know it was a golf course. They thought it was a big park. I took the bikes to the clubhouse. They begged me to give them back, but I said they would be returned to their homes, and then offered them an option.
"I asked if they would like a job on the course. They came back the next day and began learning about the game of golf. Those two kids learned to play the game and one went on to college. They're both good players now and have helped bring other kids into golf."
That chance encounter in 1990 resulted in the birth of Hogan's Junior Golf Heroes, which now serves more than 600 boys and girls annually. The program features a 22-member staff, including three PGA apprentices, high school golfers and nearly 40 volunteers. The City of Omaha has supported the program to the level that Miller Park now features a learning center, short-game facility with five target greens and an enlarged putting green.
Hogan, who attended Bellevue (Neb.) College for two years before turning professional in 1989, is a two-time (1999, 2002) Section PGA Junior Golf Leader Award winner and among many community service awards, is the recipient of the 2001 Dr. Martin Luther King's Living the Dream Award and the 1997 American Institute for Public Service Jefferson Award. He also was named winner of the 2003 Nebraska Hall of Fame's Dr. Herbert H. Davis Memorial Award.
Hogan and his wife, Denett, are the parents of two children: Steve Jr. and Sierra.
Merchandiser of the Year - Private
Beginning his sixth season this past November as the head professional at St. Charles (Ill.) Country Club, Impastato is a 1991 graduate of Milliken University in Decatur, Ill. He became a PGA member in 1995 and is the fourth Illinois PGA member to win a PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award and the second from his facility. PGA Master Professional Regi Starzyk, now of Boynton Beach, Fla., was the 1994 Private Facilities winner.
A native of Taylorville, Ill., the 35-year-old Impastato began playing golf at age 13. He played college golf and after declaring himself professional, spent two years (1994-96) training under Starzyk. Today, Impastato oversees a 19-member staff, including a marketing manager and three assistant professionals at a club serving 266 members.
"It was a great experience working for Regi Starzyk," said Impastato. "I tried to position myself under a head professional who could help me, and I was fortunate.
"This award is a great honor for not only myself, but our whole staff. They work exceptionally hard and we're going to enjoy it. Together, they have made a fabulous golf shop. Receiving this award fulfills what we are all trying to do. I hope that it is a step in a long career for me."
Impastato said the St. Charles Country Club staff is "energetic and diverse," each finding a niche in the overall operation - including purchasing decisions, online technology, product knowledge and servicing members. Among the "tools" of service, Impastato said, "are mass e-mails to reach members and non-resident members.
"We aim to be fair and we know that the members will recognize that and support us," said Impastato. "If you can gain the members' respect, they will not be going outside the club for their business."
Impastato also built customer trust by opening a junior golf program to children as young as four ("Lil' Rippers") and added children's apparel and equipment lines. He also blended giving lessons and clubfitting.
"I am always looking for the newest teaching technology," said Impastato. "The computerized swing analysis has led to a huge increase in lesson bookings and equipment sales."
Impastato and his wife, Melanie, live in Batavia, Ill., and are the parents of a daughter, Samantha; and a son, Carson.
Merchandiser of the Year - Public
Homebred at Tam O'Shanter Golf Course in Hermitage, Pa., Kerins is the son of PGA Life Member Jack Kerins, who purchased the course in 1947 and continues to assist at the golf shop today. John Kerins lived for 10 years above the small golf shop at Tam O'Shanter.
A 1979 graduate of Florida Southern University, Kerins turned professional in 1986 and was involved in the operations of the golf course. He was elected to PGA membership in 1990, the same year he became Tam O'Shanter's director of golf. Kerins, 47, also has spent the past 23 years serving as golf coach at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage. Kerins is the third Tri-State PGA Section member to win the PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award. Bob Ford of Oakmont, Pa., won twice in the Private Facilities division in 1985 and 1997.
"It's always an honor and a great privilege to win a national award, and this award is a team effort and the fruits of having a great staff," said Kerins, who oversees a 15-member staff and estimates he spends 50 percent of his time merchandising. "My father and Jerry Smith, who has been head professional for our club for 32 years, have been instrumental in helping me throughout my career."
Kerins' wife, Kimberly, whose many duties include that of soft goods buyer, is part of the "team" at Tam O' Shanter. The couple searches flea markets for unique display items that may be used for special occasions and holidays.
"The key to our business is repeat customers and referrals," said Kerins. "We try to instill the feeling in everyone who comes into the golf shop that he or she is important. There are a few simple steps to building success in sales. The most important is service. We take care of each customer and that reflects in many referrals. Secondly, you must build trust and become friends with your customers. Number 3 is teamwork. Number 4, you must develop friendships and good working relationships with your salesmen. And fifth, is clubfitting. This is the biggest advantage a small golf shop has to compete and beat any discounter.
"I have been blessed to have great support by both my family and staff. It's been a great atmosphere to grow up in and watch the game grow and to see improvements made over the years on the course."
Kerins and Kimberly live in Hermitage, Pa.
Merchandiser of the Year - Resort
A native of Asheboro, N.C., Miller is a 1986 graduate of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., and was elected to PGA membership in 1988. He is the second Colorado PGA Section member to win the award.
From 1991 to 1998, Miller served as head professional and later director of golf at Landfall Club - now Country Club of Landfall - in Wilmington, N.C. He was named director of golf at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., one of the country's premier golf resort destinations, in May 1998.
Miller credits four PGA Professionals who helped train him: renowned teacher and two-time U.S. Amateur Champion Harvie Ward, formerly of Interlachen Country Club in Winter Park, Fla.; Keith Davidson of Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas; Scott Bailey of Greensboro (N.C.) Country Club; and Drew Pierson, formerly of Landfall Club.
Miller, 40, oversees a 45-hole facility that has annually serviced more than 45,000 rounds of play. The Broadmoor golf staff of 84 includes 32 who are exclusively involved in outside operations.
Miller lists "name recognition" as a "standard" at The Broadmoor. Guests and members are provided the availability to special order any item not available in the store, or items not normally in stock. Additionally, Miller said the Broadmoor Golf Shop excels in product knowledge.
"Knowing our product is extremely important to us in order to provide exceptional customer service," said Miller. "In order to sell merchandise the sales associates should be properly educated. Every season, recruits educated in the golf and retail industry are brought in from around the country and serve as interns for the golf season. PGM interns (from the PGA's Professional Golf Management Program) assist in outside services and the Golf Shop."
To maintain the lofty standards that a discerning public expects of The Broadmoor, is not a simple process, Miller said.
"We have developed a boutique-style shop at The Broadmoor. The days of the large logoed products are gone. Most customers would want to purchase a shirt, for example, that you could wear to dinner. So, we have been building non-logo merchandise to meet this demand."
Miller and his wife, Linda, live in Colorado Springs, and are the parents of sons, Tanner and Tyler.
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