Dennis Wells, PGA

2021 Southern Ohio PGA Player Development Award

Dennis Wells, PGA, General Manager at Little Miami Golf Center, is the 2021 recipient of Southern Ohio PGA Section’s Player Development Award. Since the start of his 27-year career, Wells has been committed to developing golfers at every skill level. Through continuing education, he is constantly creating instructional programs for every golfer from junior golfers to a “Golf 101” adult beginner program, in addition to giving daily individual lessons.  While it’s difficult to count the number of golfers who have crossed paths with Wells throughout his career, more than 10,000 students visit Little Miami Golf Center annually to participate in at least one of Wells’ programs. Wells’ dedication to developing the game includes his participation on the PGA Junior League Rules Committee and serving as a Rules Official at the Regional and National Championships. He has also served the Southern Ohio PGA Section as an Officer, on various committees and by hosting SOPGA Jr. Tour, Drive, Chip and Putt, and PGA HOPE events. Wells was named Southern Ohio PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2011; received the SOPGA Youth Player Development Award in 2005, 2007 and 2014; received the SOPGA Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2018. This is his second SOPGA Player Development Award, expanding on his first in 2010. 

Read below to hear Dennis’s thoughts on developing lifelong golfers.


SOPGA: What does player development mean to you? 

DW: It means bringing new golfers into the game, but also trying to ensure that you keep them in the game. For us here at Little Miami Golf Center we have a lot of beginner classes where we introduce new golfers to the game and teach them all aspects of it, but then we always provide some kind of organized way for them to play on the golf course too. Keeping them involved and experiencing some type of success helps them turn into a golfer for life. 

SOPGA: In your experience, what has the largest impact when it comes to introducing a new player to the game and keeping them interested?  

DW: A lot of people drop out of the game because it’s too difficult. So giving them instruction and helping them experience success is important while also providing them with a place to play in a welcoming environment. 


SOPGA: What does it mean to you to be the 2021 recipient of the Southern Ohio PGA Player Development Award? 

DW: Winning the Player Development Award confirms that my peers recognize what I’m doing to grow the game and bring new golfers into the game, which is probably the most important thing we can do as golf professionals. If we don’t have golfers, then we don’t we don’t have jobs. So it’s nice to be recognized by your peers for doing a good job.


SOPGA: Are there any final thoughts you would like to share about developing new players?  

DW: I think, like in any business, getting new clients is the lifeblood of our industry. People drop out of the game every year for various reasons, so you’ve got to constantly be bringing new golfers into the game or else we’re not going to have jobs. Out of all the jobs we do as golf professionals, that’s probably the most important – bringing new golfers into the game and keeping them playing by giving them some instruction and letting them experience the success and enjoyment of the game we love.

About the Award: This award recognizes a SOPGA member who has made extraordinary contributions and achievements in conducting and/or supporting growth of the game initiatives.