Idle Hour Club’s Ray Cutright (Golf Professional of the Year) and Merion Golf Club’s Scott Nye (Merchandiser of the Year, Private Facilities) will be among those honored in November at the PGA Annual Meeting.
PGA Master Professional Ray Cutright, in his 21st season at Idle Hour Club in Macon, Ga., has been named the 2014 PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest annual honor bestowed upon a PGA of America Professional.
Cutright heads the 2014 PGA of America’s national awards class that will be honored in a ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 20, in conjunction with the 98th PGA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.
Cutright is the 60th recipient of the PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award, and the third member of the Georgia PGA Section to receive the honor, following John Gerring (1981) and Ed Hoard (1999).
Cutright is only the fourth PGA Head Professional in the 102-year history of Idle Hour Club. During his career at Idle Hour, he has designed an innovative youth development program and overseen a staff that operates the Blum Learning Center, a training home to nine college programs and many scholarship student-athletes.
Cutright was introduced to golf by his father, and later mentored by PGA Professional Butch Hansen at Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth, Ga. Following his apprenticeship, Cutright was named PGA Head Professional at Toccoa (Ga.) Country Club. Other steps in his career before moving to Idle Hour Club included PGA General Manager at Riverside Country Club in Macon, Ga.; PGA Head Professional at St. Simons Island (Ga.) Club; and PGA Director of Golf at Sea Island (Ga.) Golf Club.
In January 2015, Cutright will be inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.
Other recipients of 2014 PGA of America Awards include:
• Scott Nye, PGA Head Professional, Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa., as PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private Facilities)—In his 14th season as Merion’s head pro, Nye manages a 950-sq. ft. golf shop of distinction at one of America’s renowned golf facilities and oversees a 30-member staff in both inside and outside operations.
Driving the popularity of the Merion golf experience, according to Nye, is achieved through a blend of treating all customers as if they were guests in your home; maintaining proper inventory levels; and marketing a classic club emblem designed by Merion Golf Professional Emeritus, Bill Kittleman, a member of the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.
Jerry Schreck, Executive Chef at Merion and a Contributing Editor to C&RB, notes that “the recognition is well-deserved for Scott and his team, who work extremely hard year-round researching brands, keeping things fresh and putting up huge sales numbers in what is a small shop footprint.”
• George Ancuta, PGA Head Professional, Knoll Country Club West, Parsippany, N.J., as PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Public Facilities)—In his seventh season as his club’s PGA head professional, Ancuta oversees a 20-member staff that he directs through a philosophy and approach of “make a friend, not a sale.”
• Ron Leporati, PGA Director of Golf, Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa, Bedford, Pa., as PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Resort Facilities)— Since the resort reopened in 2007 (“The Reawakening of Bedford Springs Resort,” C&RB, December 2007), merchandise sales have increased nearly $100 per square foot under Leporati’s direction of his eight-person staff, largely by following the philosophy that there are “endless opportunities to retail merchandise, as long as you partner with brands that reflect well upon your facility.”
• Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen, PGA Director of Instruction, Indian Canyon Golf Course, Spokane, Wash., as PGA Teacher of the Year—Gildersleeve-Jensen is the first woman professional to earn Teacher of the Year honors.
• Tom Morton, PGA Director of Player Development at Morton Golf, Sacramento, Calif., as recipient of the 2014 PGA Youth Player Development Award—In his position, Morton oversees junior golf operations for three faciiities: Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, Bing Maloney and William Land Park. Morton also oversees all programming for The First Tee of Greater Sacramento at seven locations, reaching 6,500 youth golfers each year, and serves as President of the Morton Golf Foundation, which has donated more than $500,000 to youth-oriented golf programs that improve the lives of young people. In winning the 2014 Player Development award he follows in the footsteps of his father, five-time National PGA Award recipient Ken Morton Sr., the only other Northern California PGA member to receive the award (then known as the PGA Junior Golf Leader Award, in 2002).
• Roger Wallace, PGA Director of Golf at Polson Bay Golf Course in Poison, Mont., as the PGA’s 2014 Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, which recognizes PGA members who have distinguished themselves by mentoring fellow PGA Professionals in improving their employment situation and through service to the community. As the face of golf for 27 years in a town of 5,000 on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Wallace has provided guidance on golf operations and employment to a wide range of PGA Professionals, as well as numerous counties and municipalities throughout the Inland Northwest.
• Ralph Landrum, a PGA Master Professional and the PGA General Manager at the World of Golf, in Florence, Ky., as the recipient of the 2014 PGA Player Development Award for extraordinary and exemplary contributions in growing the game. The numerous player development programs implemented by Landrum include: Get Golf Ready; Welcome to Golf; Rally for a Cure golf outing; Hook-A-Kid on Golf; Kentucky Boys & Girls Club; YMCA; Northern Kentucky Boy Scouts; Bring Your Daughter to the Course; PGA Junior League Golf; and the Pee Wee junior golf program.
• Jim Dickerson, PGA Teaching Professional at the University of Iowa Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City and Director of Instruction for the GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) Foundation at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa, as the recipient of the 2014 Patriot Award. Since 2008, Dickerson has been the lead instructor for the GIVE Foundation, a national golf rehabilitation model known for its success in using the game of golf to aid in a veteran’s recovery from both physical injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) issues.
• The Southern California PGA Section (SCPGA) as the recipient (for a record 12th time) of the Herb Graffis Award for extraordinary and exemplary contributions by a Section to grow the game of golf. Led by Section President Jeff Johnson and PGA Past President Tom Addis III, who serves as Section Executive Director and CEO, the Southern California PGA Section has hosted one of the largest and most successful youth golf programs in the country for six decades. The Section reaches more than 2,500 participants and conducts nearly 300 tournaments annually for players of various ability levels.
In addition, The Section’s “Neighborhood Golf” program brings the game to more than one million people annually across Southern California, including diverse populations that may not otherwise have been exposed to golf. The new “Golf in Schools” initiative, which reached six schools during its first year, will bring the game to 50 schools this fall, impacting nearly 1,000 students.
To foster player development, the Section conducts numerous other growth-of-the-game programs year-round that include: Get Golf Ready; PGA Junior League Golf; Drive, Chip & Putt Championship; Play Golf America Days; girls clinics; Adopt-a-Junior; Youth-on-Course; and the SCPGA Junior Tour.
• Pat Gavin, Department Head of Marketing and Director of the PGA Golf Management University Program at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M., as the 2014 Horton Smith Award recipient, for serving as a model educator of PGA Professionals.