PGA National Awards

2018 PGA of America National Award Recipients


Darrell Kestner

Dan Pasternak, PGA
Essex Fells (New Jersey) Country Club

Dan Pasternak, the PGA General Manager at Essex Fells (New Jersey) Country Club, has been named the 65th recipient of the PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award. In winning the highest annual honor given to a PGA Golf Professional, Pasternak heads the 2018 PGA National Awards class for “qualities of leadership, strong moral character, and a substantial record of service” to the PGA and the game of golf overall.

As the first-ever PGA Professional to assume the role of General Manager at the 122-year old Essex Fells Country Club, Pasternak has enjoyed a distinguished 22-year career as a PGA Member. A selfless leader and mentor, Pasternak has guided more than 20 former assistants and colleagues to PGA Head Professional status. This is part of an unrelenting passion to ensure his fellow colleagues and young professionals are equipped with the tools needed to advance in their careers.

Pasternak, the first New Jersey PGA Section Member named PGA Golf Professional of the Year, has served as a New Jersey PGA Section Officer and on virtually every committee in the Section, as well as at the national level on the PGA of America’s Board of Directors. This commitment to volunteerism and service is reinforced by his current role as President of the New Jersey Golf Foundation, which he helped launch in 2004, as the charitable arm of the NJPGA. Additionally, recognizing the importance of continued education, he recently earned certification in General Management through the PGA Certified Professional Program.

The 2013 Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient on the national level, Pasternak also received the award from the New Jersey PGA Section on four occasions (2007, ’08, ’09, ’11). Among his many awards, he is also a two-time recipient of the NJPGA Golf Professional of the Year (2007, ’11).



David Leadbetter

James Sieckmann, PGA
The Golf Academy at Shadow Ridge Country Club - Omaha, Nebraska

James Sieckmann, a 23-year PGA Member in the Nebraska Section and the PGA Director of Instruction at The Golf Academy at Shadow Ridge Country Club in Omaha, is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Teacher of the Year Award for his “outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.

“Recognized by GOLF Magazine as a “Top 100 Teacher in America,” Sieckmann currently instructs 16 PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Tour players, including Stewart Cink, Ben Crane, Anirban Lahiri, Cameron Tringale, Ben Marten, Tom Pernice Jr., Duffy Waldorf and 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open Champion In-Kyung Kim, among others. He has also been named to Golf Digest’s “50 Best Teachers in America” list from 2015-2018.

Sieckmann is highly regarded as a mentor, educator and role model for fellow PGA Members. His recognition as 2018 PGA Teacher of the Year follows a long list of awards and accolades, including nine times as the Nebraska PGA Section’s Teacher of the Year (1996, 2000, ’01, ’02, ’04, ’09, ’14, ’15, ’16). He was also named the Nebraska Section Horton Smith Award Winner in 2000, and was inducted into the Nebraska Golf Association’s Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame in 2016.




Brendon Elliot

Cameron Milton, PGA
Polson Bay (Montana) Golf Club

Cameron Milton, a PGA Member in the Pacific Northwest PGA Section and PGA Head Golf Professional at Polson (Montana) Bay Golf Course, is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Youth Player Development Award. This honor recognizes a PGA Professional who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievement in the area of youth player development. A PGA Member for 10 years, Milton is widely recognized for creating an inclusive environment at Polson Bay, by developing and implementing youth programming that both alleviates financial barriers and encourages kids from all backgrounds to experience the game. Milton’s deep passion for junior golf has opened new doors to the game for boys and girls throughout the area. He established the Mission Valley Junior Golf Association—a 501(c)3 non-profit—and was instrumental in launching the Golf in Schools program, which introduces the game to more than 400 middle school kids in Polson each year. Under Milton’s direction, PGA Junior League has grown 650 percent in three years at Polson Bay. In addition, he offers a lineup of impactful programs for kids and families to enjoy the game, such as the annual Polson Bay Junior Camp, which offers more than 120 juniors three free days of learning and play. Milton is a Past President of the Pacific Northwest PGA Section’s Western Montana Chapter and is a three-time Pacific Northwest PGA Section Youth Player Development Award recipient.



John Kennedy

Cameron Doan, PGA
Preston Trail Golf Club - Dallas

Cameron Doan, a second-generation PGA Member in the Northern Texas Section and Head PGA Professional at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas, is the recipient of the 2018 Bill Strausbaugh Award. This award recognizes the PGA Professional who demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership by way of teaching and mentoring other PGA Professionals. A 25-year PGA Member, Doan fully embraces his leadership role and responsibility to help the next generation of young professionals advance their careers and deliver required performance outcomes. Doan’s native acuity to identify and implement best practices in leadership and organizational development from business and sport serve as the foundation of his approach in promoting individual and team growth. Cameron’s service extends to philanthropy, as he co-founded KidSwing, which has helped raise more than $2 million for Scottish Rite Hospital, while also introducing and growing the game’s popularity to more than 3,000 local kids. In addition, he helped start the Preston Trail scholarship program that has awarded more than $500,000 for children to further their education. Doan is the recipient of multiple Northern Texas PGA Section awards, and earlier in his career, Sun Country PGA Section recognition. His honors include the NTPGA Bill Strausbaugh Award (2017, 2012); 2010 NTPGA Golf Professional of the Year; 2008 NTPGA Player of the Year; and 2003 NTPGA Teacher of the Year. His Sun Country Section awards include Player of the Year (1996, ’97, ’98); Merchandiser of the Year (1996, ’97, ’98); and Teacher of the Year (1997). He was inducted into the El Paso Golf Hall of Fame in 2017.



Jeffrey Adkerson

Joseph Hallett PGA
Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club - Franklin, Tennessee

Joseph Hallett, a PGA Member in the Tennessee PGA Section and Director of Instruction at Vanderbilt Legends Golf Course in Franklin, is the recipient of the 2018 Horton Smith Award. This honor goes to a PGA Member who exhibits commendable additions to the education of PGA Professionals. An accomplished teacher, who is recognized as a GOLF Magazine Top 100 instructor and a Golf Digest Top 50 instructor, Hallett has taught/coached some of the top LPGA players in the world, including 2008 U.S. Women’s Open Champion Inbee Park and two-time Rolex World No. 1 Stacy Lewis. A sought-after presenter at PGA Section, PGA of America and Allied Association education events and seminars, Hallett relishes the opportunity to educate, assist and offer guidance to his peers, colleagues and aspiring members. He has been instrumental in the development and delivery of PGA Education programs for PGA Members, PGA Associates and PGA Golf Management University Students. A multiple award winner at the PGA Section level, Hallett was the recipient of the Tennessee PGA Section Horton Smith Award in 2012 and 2018; and was named the Section’s PGA Teacher of the Year in 2013.



Tom Morton

Marvol Barnard, PGA
Haven Golf Club - Green Valley, Arizona

Marvol Barnard, a PGA Member in the Southwest PGA Section and the PGA Director of Instruction at Haven Golf Course in Green Valley, Arizona, is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Player Development Award. This honor bestows special recognition on a PGA Member who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contribution and achievement in the area of player development. A PGA Member since 2007, and the 2016 LPGA Teacher of the Year, Barnard created a Player Development pathway to introduce new golfers, bring lapsed players back into the game and offer a myriad of opportunities for golfers of all ages and skill levels to learn, play and socialize. Having achieved advanced PGA certification in both Teaching and Player Development, Barnard’s approach to creating and delivering player development programs has become the standard for peers and colleagues to follow. In addition, she enjoys sharing her best practices, such as the importance of marketing and social media, when presenting at seminars and conferences to statewide golf organizations, civic organizations and the golf industry. Barnard’s leadership in driving introductory programs, such as Get Golf Ready, Next Step and GO GO GO (Get Out and Go Golfing) have propelled golfers to continue on their pathway to more advanced programs, such as Nine and Wine, Friday Fun Gals, the Hot Walkers and more. A past member of the National Player Development Committee, Barnard was the 2013 and 2017 Southwest PGA Section Player Development Award Winner, while winning the Section’s Southern Chapter Player Development Award in 2015 and 2016.




Kevin McKinley

Ken Juhn, PGA
Terrace Hill Golf Center - Temple Terrace, Florida

Ken Juhn, a 32-year PGA Member, based in the North Florida PGA Section, and the PGA Head Professional at Terrace Hill Golf Center in Temple Terrace, Florida, is the recipient of the 2018 Patriot Award. This honor bestows special recognition on 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. Golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for many Veterans with disabilities, and Juhn established Terrace Hill Golf Center as the premier facility in the Tampa Bay area for Veterans living with physical/cognitive challenges to experience the game in a welcoming environment. His first Tampa Veterans Adaptive Golf Clinic debuted in 2007, enabling Terrace Hill Golf Center to become a haven for Veterans to enjoy the game. Thanks to a strong partnership with the James A. Haley VA Hospital and the Adaptive Golf Association, Juhn collaborates with programs—such as PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) and SMGA (Salute Military Golf Association)—to further accelerate recovery and community transition processes for countless Veterans and family members. Ken is a three-time recipient of his Section’s Patriot Award (2013, ‘17 and ‘18). Additionally, his selfless acts have earned him community-based awards, including the “Service to Mankind Award,” “Friend of the Team Award” and “Man of the Year Award.”



Same Depe

Monty Elam, PGA
Whiteford Valley Golf Club - Ottawa Lake, Michigan

William “Monty” Elam, a 23-year PGA Member in the Michigan PGA Section, and the PGA Director of Golf at Whiteford Valley Golf Club in Ottawa Lake, Michigan, is the recipient of the 2018 Deacon Palmer Award. The Deacon Palmer Award honors a PGA Professional who personally displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. In 2007, Elam had a routine eye procedure that went terribly wrong and left him completely blind. After six months, a special procedure enabled him to regain limited sight in his left eye, while he remained completely blind in his right eye. The advice from health professionals was to give up his dream and leave the golf business. However, Elam knew that was NOT an option, as he was ready to tackle the new challenges he faced, while determined to continue his lifelong passion as a PGA Member. Elam’s ability to adapt to different situations, combined with his knowledge of club operations and impeccable attention to detail, has allowed him to reassume a leadership role at his club. Elam is an advocate for individuals with special needs, as his facility hosts several programs annually for golfers with disabilities. And, his work with the Northwest Ohio Sight Center is close to his heart, as he enjoys giving lessons to blind golfers. Elam is an inspiration through his actions and commitment to excellence on a daily basis.



Gateway PGA

Colorado PGA Section

The Colorado PGA Section is the recipient of the 2018 Herb Graffis Award, as the PGA of America Section that has showed tireless dedication towards growing the game of golf and furthering player development. Colorado has a remarkable story to tell about collaboration, as it leads the way in teaming up with other state golf organizations. Led by Colorado PGA President Ty Thompson, the Section has implemented dynamic programs geared towards youth, military Veterans and diversity and inclusion. Colorado’s Golf in Schools program, a joint effort with the Colorado Open Golf Foundation, has become a staple in many districts, introducing the game to more than 10,000 kids each year. The Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado – which works with the Colorado Golf Association and the Colorado Women’s Golf Association – serves the junior golf arena by streamlining the process and filling in voids, further building the junior golf ranks and creating excitement with four major championships. PGA Jr. League thrives with more than 132 teams and over 2,000 boys and girls taking part. Veterans are served through seven PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) programs that use golf as a rehabilitation tool and through a partnership with the Military Warriors Support Foundation that has provided four Combat Wounded Veterans keys to mortgage-free homes. The Section partners with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s F.L.A.M.E. (Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere) program to introduce golf to minority college students, creating a culture of inclusiveness, while demonstrating that it is an affordable and accessible game for all abilities, ages and backgrounds.


Michael Strlekar

Nick Muller, PGA
Country Club of Lincoln (Nebraska)

Nick Muller, a PGA Member in the Nebraska Section and PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lincoln (Nebraska), is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award for Private Facilities. Since he joined the Country Club of Lincoln five years ago, the golf shop has enjoyed double-digit growth in sales each year, as well as a 300 percent increase in junior clinic revenue. The growth was also reinforced by a 73 percent increase in ladies’ apparel sales and 110 percent increase in overall tournament revenue, thanks to Muller’s implementation of well-choreographed events, such as turnkey fashion shows. His creative merchandising strategies, combined with his ability to engage customers through newsletters, branded posters and a mobile app used by 80 percent of club members, has been instrumental to his success. A member of the Nebraska PGA Section’s Board of Directors, Muller is also passionate about mentoring through merchandising/service seminars to students in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln PGA Golf Management University and Hospitality Resort & Tourism programs.



Mark Pfingston

Mark Rashell, PGA
The Golf Club at Newcastle (Washington)

Mark Rashell, a PGA Member in the Pacific Northwest Section and the PGA Director of Golf at The Golf Club at Newcastle (Washington), is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award for Public Facilities. Since his arrival in 2011 at The Golf Club at New Castle, Rashell’s golf shop merchandise sales have experienced steady growth thanks to his attention to detail, competitive pricing strategy, focus on superior customer service, commitment to club fitting and merchandising a diverse selection of quality products. Among his best practices, Rashell capitalized on his facility’s close proximity to Seattle, in order to create a successful program that leveraged Seattle Seahawks-licensed merchandise sales in his shop.



Zachary Chapin

Erik Wilson, PGA
Fairmont Grand Golf Club - San Diego

Erik Wilson, a PGA Member in the Southern California PGA Section and PGA Head Golf Professional at The Grand Golf Club in San Diego, is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award for Resort Facilities. As the PGA Head Golf Professional at The Grand Golf Club since 2012, his pioneering philosophy has helped deliver a steady growth in sales. His commitment to fostering personal relationships with golf vendors and customers has been a key to the facility’s success, along with his belief that a knowledgeable, motivated and empowered staff is his most valuable asset. Wilson’s use of a full-time club fitter and weekly fitting experiences through different vendors has led to a 40% increase in custom club sales.  His willingness to take a chance on smaller growth brands has also been fundamental to his shop’s success.