2014 Western Montana Chapter Award Winners

Greg MorrisGOLF PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR – Greg Morris: Iron Horse Golf Club, Whitefish MT
Greg was selected for outstanding contributions in Chapter and Section PGA governance, for a highly decorated and innovative merchandising program and for his initiatives in integrating his high end private club into the community of Whitefish. The committee also recognizes his efforts in education along with Greg’s commitment to playing the game at both the Chapter and Section level.

ASSISTANT PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR – Rick Spurgeon: Larchmont Golf Course, Missoula MT
Rick was selected for outstanding contributions to his Head Professional and facility, specifically in the areas of Junior Golf, Instruction, Tournament Operations, and personnel management. Rick participates in growth of the game initiatives including; Free Lesson Month, Patriot Golf Day and Get Golf Ready as well as the WMCPGA Birdies for Charity program. Additionally Rick is solely responsible for promotion and recruitment for the Larchmont junior golf program which serves up to 175 juniors annually.

BILL STRAUSBAUGH AWARD – Ed Bezanson: Canyon River Golf Club, Missoula, MT
Ed was selected for his long history of mentoring his assistant professionals, employees at every level of facilities he has managed and kids he has coached in high school golf programs. The committee was also impressed with Ed’s involvement in community and charitable activities and Ed’s commitment to his employers in taking on and exceling in all aspects of their integrated golf/real estate projects.

Cameron MiltonJUNIOR GOLF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AWARD – Cameron Milton, Polson Bay Golf Course, Polson MT
Cameron was selected for his continued success in a variety of programs promoting junior golf. These programs include; Polson Junior Golf Camp, Advanced Junior Camp and private junior instruction all of which touching close to 200 juniors annually. The committee was particularly impressed with new initiatives to get kids from the junior programs to the golf course and securing grant funding for his junior program.

TEACHER OF THE YEAR – Chad Carlson: Bill Roberts Golf Course, Helena MT
Chad was selected for a 2014 Teaching Program that saw his title change from 1st Assistant to Teaching Professional. In his first year Chad conducted 450 individual lessons at Bill Roberts GC. In addition he operated several junior programs as well as programs offered through Helena Parks and Rec and Special Olympic athletes. Chad stays committed to teaching while being a salaried employee only, receiving no additional compensation for lesson activity.

Josh-Walsh-2011MERCHANDISER OF THE YEAR PRIVATE – Josh Walsh: Butte Country Club, Butte MT
Josh was selected for impressive strides in his first year of managing the merchandising program at Butte CC. Josh increased golf shop sales 26% in 2014. He accomplished that through innovative promotions, increasing tournament participation and aggressive use of vendors’ demo days. The committee was also impressed with Josh’s commitment to customer service and establishing trust with those same customers.

Roper-Jess-webMERCHANDISER OF THE YEAR PUBLIC – Jess Roper: Village Greens Golf Course, Kalispell MT
Jess was selected for his efforts in “cleaning up” a long neglected merchandising program at Village Greens GC. The committee was impressed with Jess’ margins and ability to control CGS as well as increasing sales 12% in 2014 and initiating an open to buy program that has reduced ending inventory during a 2-year period by 77%.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AWARD – Ann Loughlin: University Golf Course, Missoula MT
Ann was selected for a long history of innovative and diverse programs promoting golf. Included in Ann’s 2014 offering were; Play Golf America, PGA Free Lesson Month, Co-Ed group classes, Women’s classes, Girl Scouts of America instruction, LPGA Girls Golf and University of Montana Staff Social/Golf. The committee was also impressed with Ann’s use of web based and social media resources to promote her programs.

Cameron MiltonPATRIOT AWARD – Cameron Milton: Polson Bay Golf Course, Polson MT
Cameron was selected for his overall in promotion and execution of a 100-hole golf marathon on Patriot Golf Day (Labor Day) benefiting the Folds of Honor Foundation. Cameron’s promotes his event electronically through web based and social media channels as well as facility signage and personal face to face promotion. His event raised $1,700 for Folds of Honor through pledges, rounding up green fees and on-course donations the day of the event.