FAIRBORN, OH Matt Starr, PGA Head Professional at Meadow Links & Golf Academy, has been named the 2023 Southern Ohio PGA Golf Professional of the Year. The award is given annually to a PGA member for overall performance as a golf professional, leadership, service and promotion of the game of golf.  Starr has engaged his local golf community by developing programming for non-traditional golf demographics – ladies, juniors, veterans, disabled, and retirees. Matt particularly enjoys his work with our Veterans, coordinating the largest PGA HOPE program in the section with roughly 100 annual participants.

Brian Fennen, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at The Golf Club at Yankee Trace, is the 2023 Southern Ohio PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year supported by GOLFTEC. Fennen brought his talents & abilities to Yankee Trace in 2022 and has made an immediate impact on their instructional programing.  Offering both individual and group lessons, Fennen offers something for every age and demographic.  Player Development has become a significant passion of Brian. Today he experiences as much pleasure helping students enjoy the game as playing the game.

Brian Jones, PGA Director of Instruction at Kenwood Country Club, has built his career on mentorship and helping lead others in the industry which is why he has been selected as the 2023 Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient.  Jones is a leader at his club and for the PGA of America as he just wrapped up a term as the District 5 Director, he consistently works to make sure those around him succeed.  As the Director of Instruction, Jones works with staff members at Kenwood Country Club to help increase their skills in teaching and developing programming to become better coaches and build successful programs. 

The Patriot Award recognizes the 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 of America.  Jones has always believed that we owe our veterans and active military  and wants to give back for the sacrifices that they have made. He feels blessed to have the talents in teaching and growing the game and the ability to share it with veterans.  Brian has seen firsthand how much of an impact the PGA HOPE program has.  It not only teaches the game to our veterans, but it saves lives.

The Merchandiser of the Year Award recognizes PGA Professionals who excel in business and merchandising for the promotion of golf. Joe Falardeau, PGA Head Professional at Scioto Country Club is the 2023 SOPGA Private Merchandiser of the Year.  Falardeau and his staff take pride in creating the Scioto Golf Experience.  Which is a unique, service-minded approach that caters to each individual’s expectations.  Scioto’s merchandising philosophy goes hand in hand with the overall golf philosophy.  Falardeau wants to curate a merchandise selection that both meets and then exceeds the expectations of his membership and their guests, while providing extraordinary service. 

Krissy Austin, PGA Head Golf Professional at The Golf Club of Dublin, is the 2023 SOPGA Public Merchandiser of the Year. Keeping the shop merchandise displays fresh and clean on a weekly to bi-weekly basis is a key aspect of Austin’s merchandising philosophy at Golf Club of Dublin.  Her staff works as a team in the shop and this has helped continue to grow their clientele list as well their variety of products within the shop. The customer is always put first and their feedback is key to the success within the shop and to growing sales.

The Player Development Award goes to a PGA Professional who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contribution and achievement in the area of player development. Tom Harris, PGA Director of Player Development at NCR Country Club, does all of that and more which is why he was selected as the 2023 Player Development Award recipient.  Tom’s programs have been instrumental in adding new full golf memberships to the club.  NCR has seen a number of social members elevate their memberships after attending Operation 36 and their Beginning Golf programming.  Harris’ responsibilities have included creating, promoting and delivering all group instruction and junior programming.

Growing the game of golf is at the heart of Ben Chandler, PGA Assistant Professional at Little Miami Golf Center in Cincinnati, OH. It’s because of his efforts that he’s earned both 2023 Youth Player Development Award.  While Chandler earns accolades for his teaching and coaching ability, especially for junior golfers, he is often sought after by local schools to help develop their programs. Ben works with the boys’ and girls’ teams at Anderson and Turpin High Schools. Additionally, Chandler helped create the girls team for Mariemont Middle School and created a middle school team for Miami Valley Christian Academy.

Jim Simminger, PGA, Regional Sales Rep for TrackMan Golf is dedicated to educating and being a resource to fellow professionals and associates alike across Southern Ohio. Because of this, Simminger has been awarded the 2023 Professional Development Award. Simminger finds great value in his PGA Membership, and he is a true believer that the Association helps a golf professional be successful in many ways.  Simminger and the membership committee are providing the entire section membership with opportunities in all areas of the profession.  With a focus on Teaching/Coaching, Management, and Career Development there is something for everyone.

The Assistant Professional of the Year is awarded to a member for growth in their development as a golf professional as well as commitment to a career in the PGA. Benjamin Collie, PGA Assistant Professional at Scioto Country Club is the 2023 recipient of this award.  Collie has a hand in all aspects of Scioto’s golf operation by managing the tournament program, training new staff and everything in between.  Most importantly, during his four years at Scioto he has created and executed a comprehensive internship program. Ben strives to create a memorable and impactful internship experience at Scioto, because he believes a remarkable experience leads to a higher percentage of interns earning their Class A membership.

The Associate of the Year is presented to a PGA Associate for growth in their development as a golf professional as well as commitment to a career in the PGA. Jerome Porter, PGA Associate Professional at Dayton Country Club is the 2023 recipient.  In Porter’s time at Dayton Country Club he has had direct oversight of the Junior and Ladies’ Programming. Both of those programs have reached all time highs in participation with more than 110 junior golfers and 80+ ladies participating. Jerome prides himself on consistently delivering a quality experience to the members and their guests.

The Sales Rep of the Year honors a sales representative (hard or soft goods) serving the Section who has made significant contributions to the game of golf at the Section level and within his/her company and whose overall performance as a sales representative including service to accounts, overall integrity, courtesy, and professionalism is second to none. Tim Botschner, Sales Rep for Mizuno Golf has been selected as the 2023 recipient.  Botschner strives to create successful, meaningful partnerships with his accounts through the highest quality equipment, maximum margins and profitability, tools for sell-through success, constant communication and the best service and fitting experience for all of his partners.

The 2023 Award Recipients will be celebrated later this year during the Special Awards Dinner in the Fall. More information will be shared shortly. All PGA Members and Associates are invited to attend.