Archives for December 2013

Rod Perry wins PGA Professional Player of Year second straight year

By john.holmes

Rod Perry

Getty Images

Rod Perry, who owns two PGA Professional Player of the Year awards, is the only left-hander to win a PGA Professional National Championship and a PGA Professional Player of the Year Award.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Reigning National Champion Rod Perry of Port Orange, Fla., put the finishing touches on a memorable 2013 season Friday evening by capturing his second consecutive PGA Professional Player of the Year award.

Perry, 40, the PGA head professional at Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Orange, secured the honor by finishing tied for third in the final PGA Tournament Series event of the season at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Perry is the lone left-handed player and sole PGA Golf Management University graduate to win a PGA Professional National Championship and a PGA Professional Player of the Year Award.

2013 PGA Professional Player of the Year Final Standings



1. Rod Perry


2. Bob Sowards


3. Jeff Sorenson


4. David Muttitt


5. Kelly Mitchum


6. Mike Small


7. Chip Sullivan


8. Rob Moss


9. Rob Labritz


10. Brian Cairns


Perry won his first National Championship in June in Sunriver, Ore., and then added a seventh North Florida PGA Section Championship and seventh Section Player of the Year title. Over the past two months in the six-event PGA Tournament Series, he collected four top-10 finishes and placed fourth on the money list.

Perry earned 1,191.5 overall points to edge former National Champion Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, a three-time PGA Professional Player of the Year who had 1,107.5 points. Jeff Sorenson of Blaine, Minn., was next at 771.25, followed by David Muttitt of Albuquerque, N.M., with 771, and Kelly Mitchum of Southern Pines, N.C., with 757.5.

Perry is the second North Florida PGA member (following Brett Upper of Clearwater, Fla., in 1990) to garner a PGA Professional Player of the Year, an award which began in 1984. Perry will be honored June 20, 2014, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the 47th PGA Professional National Championship presented by Club Car, Mercedes-Benz USA and OMEGA. The 2013 Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year also will be honored at that time, but the recipient will be determined April 18, 2014, following the conclusion of the postponed Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship.

Perry said the comfort of a support staff during his absence from Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club enabled him to concentrate on the PGA Tournament Series as well as other national events throughout the season.

“Last year, it was all new to me being in position to win this award,” said Perry. “This year, I was a little more knowledgeable about the system. When Bob Sowards came out of the gate this year and won the PGA Stroke and Match Play titles, I knew that it was going to be difficult to repeat. Thankfully, after winning my Section Championship, I had momentum. Bob Sowards is an excellent player, and it is never easy to keep him at bay in any event.

“It is a great situation to be in to have the support of your club’s owners – the Becks Corporation – and that of Director of Business Development Craig Wells along with our members and staff. Their support allowed me the chance to go out and contend for this award. The members take a very wholehearted interest in not only my playing but my whole life.”

The final Player of the Year standings were determined based on a point system involving national and PGA Section competitions from Jan. 1 through Dec. 20, 2013.

Perry garnered 500 points for winning the PGA Professional National Championship, 300 for the North Florida PGA Section Player of the Year, 100 additional points for winning the Section Championship; 149 for making the cut in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and 50 more for competing in the Tampa Bay Championship. He rounded out his season by earning 70 points for finishing fourth on the PGA Tournament Series money list and 22.5 for making the cut in the PGA Stroke Play Championship.

“Finishing runner-up for three straight years is not the way you want to end up, but give Rod the credit for a fantastic year,” said Sowards, the 2004 PGA Professional National Champion and the 2003-05 PGA Professional Player of the Year. “He’s a great guy and we have played a lot together, and were each members of the PGA Cup Team this year. It’s always my goal to win this award.”


Prestwick Village to host Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac

  HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP – Prestwick Village Golf Club’s premier facilities and dedicated, passionate membership will host the 2014 and 2015 Michigan Open Championships, the Michigan Section PGA has announced.

  LaFontaine Cadillac — one of 18 LaFontaine Automotive Group franchises in nine locations across southeast Michigan — will be the presenting sponsor of the 2014 tournament set for June 9-12.

  “We’re excited and proud to be hosting the tournament along with presenting sponsor LaFontaine Cadillac,” said Brent Goulding, the Director of Golf at Prestwick Village. “LaFontaine’s involvement makes it possible for our membership to showcase Prestwick Village, and what better opportunity then to host the biggest golf event for both professionals and amateurs in Michigan outside of some type of tour event.”

   Prestwick Village Golf Club is located just north of Milford in Highland Township on 426 acres of natural, rolling terrain amid a family-focused community. Award-winning and internationally renowned architect Ron Garl designed the championship course. The club’s stellar and expansive 26-acre practice facility was selected as a 2012 Golf Range Association of America Top 50 Range in the Private Category by PGA Magazine.

  “We have a slogan that you don’t have to live here to belong here,” Goulding said. “What everybody shares here is a great passion for the game, and part of that is being a host to several great Michigan golf tournaments. The members here have established a tradition of excellence for playing the game and making the game better.”

  Tradition fits the Michigan Open, which will be played for the 97th time in 2014. One of the state’s longest-running sports events, it was first played in 1916 and won by Leo Diegel, who also played in the inaugural Ryder Cup matches and The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.

   “The Michigan PGA is pleased to announce this agreement with Prestwick Village to host the Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac,” said Kevin Helm, Michigan PGA Executive Director.  “We are excited about the championship atmosphere Prestwick Village will provide and know that the golf course will be a great test for Michigan’s best professional and amateur golfers.”

    Presenting sponsor LaFontaine Cadillac, located at 4000 West Highland Road in Highland Township, features the famous “LaFontaine Family Deal,” which offers its customers more than the best price on a new or pre-owned vehicle. It also offers the attitude and approach to business developed and nurtured by the LaFontaine family since the company founding in 1980.

  “LaFontaine Cadillac is proud to support our neighbor and partner Prestwick Village Golf Club in hosting the Michigan Open Championship,” said Kelley LaFontaine, Owner/Marketing Manager. “We look forward to being part of the excitement generated by a championship featuring the best golfers in Michigan.”

      History was made in the 2013 Michigan Open at The Orchards in Washington Township. Tom Werkmeister of Kentwood, 45, became the first amateur to win the championship in 26 years. He is certain to come to Prestwick to defend his title and compete with the likes of six-time champion Scott Hebert of Grand Traverse Resort and 2012 champion and Kalamazoo mini-tour player Barrett Kelpin.

 Goulding, a top playing PGA professional in the state in addition to his duties at Prestwick, is certain to be among the contenders. He said the course favors a strong ball-striker who hits a lot of greens and then putts well.

  The greens are extremely big and we are proud that they are pure and very fast,” Goulding said. “Prestwick has a kind of links style on the front nine, but holes 13 through 18 are back in the woods to give the golfer the best of both worlds. There is a high enjoyment factor in playing the course.”

PGA donates $75,000 to Boys & Girls Club, First Tee of Benton Harbor to kick off 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid

By tj.auclair

Alfred S. Bourne Trophy at Harbor Shores Golf Club

Photo: Courtesy The PGA of America

The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid has been a great fit at Harbor Shores Golf Club.

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — The PGA of America announced today that it is donating $75,000 to the Boys & Girls Club and First Tee of Benton Harbor. The donation is part of an overall four-year commitment, totaling $300,000, in conjunction with the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. To date, the PGA of America donated $225,000 to the Benton Harbor community to fund the construction of new facilities for the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor and its golf program partner, The First Tee of Benton Harbor.

“The goal of the PGA Foundation is to leave a lasting legacy in the communities where we conduct our Championships,” said Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America. “Our ongoing relationship with the Benton Harbor community, the Boys & Girls Club and First Tee of Benton Harbor is one of the best examples of how the PGA of America works to create sustainable, impactful youth programs long after a major championship. We have a unique opportunity with the Benton Harbor community and KitchenAid, the presenting sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship, to build on this legacy for years to come when we return to Harbor Shores in 2014, 2016 and 2018.”

Click here for complete coverage of the 2014 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid

The PGA of America maintains a national partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of America and works with the organization to introduce youth nationwide to the game of golf. The PGA’s donation will continue to be used to support youth development programming at the newly constructed Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor and The First Tee building located at Harbor Shores, host site of the 2014 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.

“The PGA of America has demonstrated its long-term commitment to the youth of Benton Harbor year after year in extremely generous ways,” said Brian Saxton, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor. “Through the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, the PGA has become rooted in our community and has been instrumental in furthering our mission of creating opportunities for our young people. Thanks to this partnership, we continue to expand our programming and reach more youth.”

The PGA of America returns to Benton Harbor in 2014 for the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, May 22-25, with additional visits to Harbor Shores in 2016 and 2018. Through its PGA REACH initiatives, a community-wide PGA initiative to improve the lives through the game of golf, the PGA will continue to expand its footprint in the Benton Harbor community with an emphasis on area youth.

“As a community, we are very fortunate to work with the PGA to host a major championship and introduce our youth to the game of golf,” said Ebon Sanders, executive director of The First Tee of Benton Harbor. “With the addition of The First Tee Academy at Harbor Shores, our young people have a unique opportunity to learn the game of golf at world-class facilities with the tremendous support from the PGA and KitchenAid.”

The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid is the most historic and prestigious senior major and features some of the game’s greatest players. Daily grounds tickets to 2014 Senior PGA Championship range from $15–$35. For more information about the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, and to purchase tickets, please visit


Golf Channel to air two PGA of America specials


Bob Beach

Photo: Courtesy The PGA of America

PGA Professional Bob Beach, the 2013 Patriot Award recipient, will be featured in the “Reaching Up, Reaching Out” special.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – “Reaching Up, Reaching Out,” a chronicle of PGA Professionals making an impact on the course and in their local communities, fill the script for the 2013 PGA of America Year in Review, as part of an hour-long feature debuting Monday, Dec. 9, at 10 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

The program’s second half-hour features “Ryder Cup – One Year to Go,” a documentary that follows U.S. Captain Tom Watson and European Captain Paul McGinley’s journey last September to Gleneagles, Scotland, site of the 40th Ryder Cup. The program will be re-aired Dec. 9, from 2:00-3:00 a.m., and Dec. 10, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Golf Channel has a viewership of 84 million domestic households.
The PGA of America is composed of 27,000 men and women professionals who serve as ambassadors to the 26 million Americans who play the game of golf. “Reaching Up, Reaching Out” features PGA Professionals Bob Beach, the 2013 Patriot Award recipient and PGA head professional at Braintree (Mass.) Municipal Golf Course; and Brad Parker of Mount Pleasant, S.C., the PGA general manager at Patriots Point Links. Beach was cited for exemplary support of active-duty and disabled veterans; while Parker’s year-round commitment to Special Olympics includes a weekly clinic series and annual fundraiser and tournament.

PGA Professionals excellence on the course in 2013 includes Mark Mielke of East Norwich, N.Y., and Jeff Coston of Blaine, Wash., who shared Low PGA Club Professional honors in the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid at Bellerive Country Club near St. Louis. Rod Perry of Port Orange, Fla., the 2012 PGA Professional Player of the Year, captured the 2013 PGA Professional National Championship in June in Sunriver, Ore., and recounts his experiences in the showcase event for PGA Professionals. Perry later reminisces with PGA Honorary President and U.S. Captain Allen Wronowksi on America’s retaining the PGA Cup last September near Hexham, England.

The “PGA of America Year in Review” also features Frank Bensel of Purchase, N.Y., the National Car Rental PGA Assistant Champion; and focuses on The PGA’s effort to leave a legacy in host communities beyond its Championship visits. In St. Louis, youth benefit from the support of baseball icon Ozzie Smith and the Gateway PGA Foundation. In Rochester, N.Y., a collaborative effort between the PGA of America Spouses, the PGA Tour Wives Association and Habitat for Humanity, culminated in a young family securing a new home.

Perhaps few previews whet a Ryder Cup fan’s appetite quite like “One Year to Go,” as Captains Watson and McGinley board a steam train from Edinburgh to Gleneagles, join schoolchildren on the PGA Centenary Course; hold a “fireside chat” at Perth Concert Hall; launch the Ryder Cup Educational Resource and conduct a joint news conference. For more information about The PGA of America, visit


2013 Scholarship Recipients

Each year the HB Foundation awards over $200,000 in higher education scholarships! These five Michigan PGA Junior Tour Alumni encompass all the qualities and characteristics in which Powerbilt Golf and the HB Foundation look to reward. We would like to thank Powerbilt Golf and the HB Foundation for its support of the Michigan PGA Junior Tour for the third consecutive year, and a special thank you to Ross Kvinge, President PowerBilt Golf.

Good luck in the future, and congratulations to all of our 2013 HB Scholarship recipients!

Jane Fineis-University of Notre Dame

Peter Parski-Lake Superior State University

Sarah Thompson-University if Detroit Mercy

Hunter Mires-Northern Michigan University

Tyler Newell-Marygrove College