Mike Stills, PGA2021 Southern Ohio PGA Patriot Award
Mike Stills, PGA, Head Professional at Rattlesnake Ridge Golf Club, is the 2020 and 2021 recipient of the Southern Ohio PGA Section’s Patriot Award. When the Central Ohio Folds of Honor Chapter was established, Stills played a key role in setting the organization’s foundation to grow. He currently serves as a Director and PGA Representative on the Chapter’s Board of Directors. In 2019, Stills organized the first PGA Patriot Cup Pro-Am at Rattlesnake Ridge and has since recruited his fellow PGA Professionals around the Section to participate in raising funds for the Folds of Honor Chapter. He enjoys using his energetic personality to bring people together with the goal of helping those in need. Throughout his 22-year career, Stills has learned it’s easier to lead when it’s something you believe in, and the Central Ohio Folds of Honor Chapter is an organization he wholeheartedly believes in.
Read below to hear Mike’s thoughts on how PGA Professionals can support the military heroes in their communities.
SOPGA: What inspired your passion to give back to our Nation’s servicemen and women?
MS: One of my good members, Scott Alexander, is very close to the military and the Folds of Honor and asked if I would help start the Central Ohio Folds of Honor Chapter. Once I started to get into it, I picked up a bigger passion for the work they were doing and it kind of stuck to me like glue. I just wanted to keep running with it.
Personally, my dad was in the Navy but other than him there are a lot of people that I know with sons or daughters in the military and obviously a lot of people that I know have lost people in the military as well.
SOPGA: When your member introduced you to the organization, what kept you encouraged to be a part of growing the Central Ohio Chapter?
MS: Once I saw the relationship between Dan Rooney, who started Folds of Honor, and Golf Professionals, I thought it was a very cool niche and it just made me want to get involved more since it was golf related. We could tie golf into all the fundraisers and basically raise money [for the organization] through golf.
SOPGA: How have your members at Rattlesnake Ridge gotten involved and supported your passion for Folds of Honor?
MS: Our members are very active! They know me and know that I’m a “Folds” guy. We’ve gotten more members to come out and support the organization through different events and even members that I didn’t know before but who were aware of the organization have jumped on board.
The golf outing that we do here raised over $125,000 dollars this year, which was a huge spike. We also did a golf marathon where we had six members go out and play 113 holes in one day. The number stuck with us because 13 is the Folds of Honor number. It’s the amount of times the flag is folded when given to the family of a fallen soldier. Other members really supported that as well and made donation pledges for each hole played. The day of the marathon we teed off when the sun came up around 5:30 in the morning and it took all day but was pretty fast paced since we played two balls on some holes. We were done by 7:00 that night. It was a fun day and we raised about $10,000 dollars!
SOPGA: Why is it important for you as a PGA Professional to give back to the community, especially the military?
MS: Well, I think the one thing that we can do as Golf Professionals is use the resources that we have to support the military people coming back from service to reacclimate to life and golf can be a nice relaxer. It’s another source that they can turn to for stability in their lives.
SOPGA: What does it mean to you to receive the Southern Ohio PGA Patriot Award from your colleagues for the second consecutive year?
MS: It’s a very nice gesture from my peers and it reminds me that they’re all paying attention to what we’re doing. A lot of them participate in the events that I’ve run with Golf Professionals involved so I think it just tells me that they like what we’re doing and maybe they’ll get more involved.
About the Award: The Patriot Award is presented to 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 of America.
About Folds of Honor: Folds of Honor, founded in 2007 by PGA Professional and Air Force Reserves F-16 fighter pilot Lt Col Dan Rooney, is a nonprofit organization that provides the families of fallen and disabled service members educational scholarships. Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Chapter.