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2022 Awards Banquet Program Presented by Rolex

 

2022 Awards Banquet

presented by

Golf Professional of the Year - Nathan Charnes

WingHaven CC (O'Fallon, MO)

About Nathan:
Nathan Charnes’ concluded a memorable 2022 when he was awarded the Gateway PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year. The Golf Professional of the Year Award is one of the highest honors the Association can bestow on a working club professional whose total contributions to the game best exemplify the complete PGA Professional. This award embraces a wide range of services executed by the club professional.

The year started on the campaign trail as he ran for Secretary of PGA of America. Over the ensuing months Nathan traveled to multiple super regionals meetings and hosted multiple virtual coffee talks to meet with constituents to listen.

“I don’t have a platform. That’s what I ran my campaign on. I’m going to work on behalf of the members on whatever is most important to them. I think it would be irresponsible for me to say, ‘I’m going to focus on X,’ when in all reality, that might not be what’s important next week.”

While his term as Secretary is just beginning, we know that Nathan is destined to lead the PGA of America as no leader has done before.

Assistant Golf Professional of the Year - Michael Keogh

Bellerive CC (St. Louis, MO)

"This award is very humbling! I appreciate the support from all my friends, family and mentors! I feel extremely fortunate to be a member of such a tight-knit group, The Gateway Section!"

About Michael:
Michael Keogh was born and raised in Lisle, Illinois, a Western suburb of Chicago, before attending the University of Nebraska where he graduated with a degree in PGA Golf Management. Through his process of becoming a PGA Member he held internships at Cog Hill in Chicago, Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln, Nebraska, and served two separate internships at Bellerive Country Club. Once gaining his PGA Membership, he came on the Bellerive staff as a Seasonal Assistant in the Spring/Summers and spent two separate winters working in Naples Florida at Pelican Marsh Golf Club. He then joined the Bellerive Team full time in 2017. Michael’s role has evolved and transformed within the Bellerive golf operation since his first role in 2014. Michael’s greatest passion in this industry continues to be building relationships with members and students, teaching/coaching as well as operating and overseeing all areas of our ever-growing Junior Golf Program.

As a lifelong learner, Michael has enjoyed the opportunities to further his education by traveling to watch some of the best instructors in the business and by annually gaining valuable instructive certifications. But even more so, he feels very fortunate having the opportunities to study under a very talented group of Professionals at Bellerive on a daily basis.

Teacher & Coach of the Year - Rob Sedorcek

Family Golf & Learning Center (St. Louis, MO)

"It's great to be honored for your efforts that you have throughout the year. Rewarded for the work that you do. The time away from your family and your loved ones. I think it's a bigger honor for my wife and my family. To know that the effort that I've put in while being away from family functions has been rewarded."

Professional Development Award - Shawn Barnes

Gateway National Golf Links (Madison, IL)

About Shawn:
Originally from Carterville, Illinois, Shawn has 36 years experience in the golf industry. Before serving in his current position he was the General Manager & Director of Golf at Stonewolf Golf Club (2013-2014) and Jackson Country Club (2006). He was also the Head Golf Professional at Pevely Farms Golf Club (2011-2012), The Country Club of St. Albans (2007-2010) and Gateway National Golf Links (1998-2003), and an Assistant Professional at Norwood Hills CC (2004-2005), Whitmoor CC (1997), Old Warson CC (1991-1996) and Crab Orchard Golf Club (1986-1990).

Shawn has been previously honored as GPGA Assistant of the Year (1994) and this year marks his 5 th selection as a GPGA Merchandiser of the Year (1999, 2003, 2017, 2019). Shawn served 14 years on the Gateway PGA Board of Directors as Metropolitan St. Louis Director (2005-2016) and as the Presidential Appointment (2003-2004). In April 2018 he joined the Quarter Century Club as a PGA Member.

Bill Strausbaugh Award - Michael Tucker

Bellerive CC (St. Louis, MO)

About Michael:
Michael Tucker is in his 28th season at Bellerive Country Club. It is one part of a journey that spans the Gateway PGA Section; a term on the PGA of America Board of Directors and a proud family golf legacy. In August 1992, when Bellerive hosted its first PGA Championship, Tucker was a PGA Head Professional at Green Hills Golf Club in Mount Vernon, Illinois. That week, Tucker served as caddie for his older brother, Jerry, who was Bellerive’s head professional (1987-96), and who as host professional received an exemption into the major.

When Jerry retired from Bellerive in 1996, Mike and Joe Schwent were named Co-Head Professionals. In 2005, Mike was named Head Professional and has remained at the club’s helm ever since. In 2017, he was promoted to PGA Director of Golf. Tucker got started playing golf at age 5, also crediting brother, Jerry – who is 15 years older – as his coach and mentor in the game. The Tuckers, who also have a brother, John, were sons of a father who worked for the U.S. Postal Service and was a weekend golfer. Tucker attended Southern Illinois University, playing for the Salukis. He turned professional in 1987, and brother, Jerry gave him his first position as second assistant professional at Bellerive. Tucker credits working alongside PGA Professional Joe Schwent and his brother in guiding his PGA career.

Tucker’s PGA record includes serving as Gateway PGA Section president (2003-04); as District Director (2009-12); and was named Section PGA Professional of the Year (2003, 2011, 2018) and Section Player of the Year (2004). He also was awarded the GPGA Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2010 and is a two-time Merchandiser of the Year.

Player Development Award - Mark Christensen

Christensen Golf Academy (Quincy, IL)

“I am thrilled and very humbled to be awarded the Player Development Award. Not many people have the opportunity to make a living doing the things they love most. To be honored by my peers is the ultimate compliment.”

About Mark:
Mark is the owner of the Christensen Golf Academy in Quincy, Illinois. The CGA is a stand alone driving range and learning center that he founded in 2006. He teaches and coaches students of all ages. The foundations of his programming are his PGA Jr League program and his winter lesson program. He conducts Jr. League programs at Westview Golf Course, and Spring Lake Country Club in Quincy. Hannibal Country Club, in Hannibal, Missouri, River Valley Community Course in Canton, Missouri, Carthage Golf Club in Carthage, Illinois, and Old Orchard Country Club in Pittsfield, Illinois. His All-Star team qualified for the Regional Championship in 2022 and qualified for match play.

Mark’s winter program has been a staple of his instruction since its inception in 1993. The original version was conducted in the back of the Westview Clubhouse. Mark’s “big tent” at the back of the range houses the current version where players receive semi-private instruction, and hit shots from inside to outside from November through March.

Mark’s high school students have populated the rosters of state tournament teams in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. His most accomplished student is Luke Guthrie, who rose as high as number 59 in the World Golf rankings in 2013.

Prior to starting the CGA, Mark served as the Head Golf Professional/Director of Golf at Westview Golf Course in Quincy, Illinois from 1993-2005. His professional career began at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club, in West Des Moines, Iowa, in 1985. He played collegiately at the University of Iowa from 1980-84.

Youth Player Development Award - Michael Cummings

Eldon Golf Club (Eldon, MO)

“Embrace your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Focus on turning weaknesses into strengths.”

About Michael:
As a Golf Professional for 22 years and 20 years at Eldon Golf Club, I’ve spent most of my time
cultivating the game with veterans and junior golfers. Eldon Golf Club has a rich tradition in developing young golfers to continue their playing into the collegiate arena. Most recently, we have two players playing in college. Aidan Wells at Rockhurst University in Kansas City and Kassidy Hull at Lindenwood University.

Located in Central Missouri, most of our kids participate in the Missouri Junior Tour run by the Missouri Golf Association. MJT is comprised of nine divisions based on age and gender. Of the nine divisions, five of those Player of the Year Winners were from Eldon Golf Club. Also, for the second consecutive year, we’ve sent a team to the Regionals for PGA Jr League. With a second place finish in 2021 and a Section title in 2022, we’ve been able to accomplish this task.

We’ve been successful simply because our club embraces the juniors at our club with access to the facility daily. The kids, as well as the parents, feel this is a very safe environment for them. When time permits, I’m able to get outside with the kids and teach them about the game and how it contributes to many life skills they are going to come across as they develop into grown men and women.

Patriot Award - Sam Gilliland

(St. Peters, MO)

Public Merchandiser of the Year - Shawn Barnes

Gateway National Golf Links (Madison, IL)

About Shawn:
Originally from Carterville, Illinois, Shawn has 36 years experience in the golf industry. Before serving in his current position he was the General Manager & Director of Golf at Stonewolf Golf Club (2013-2014) and Jackson Country Club (2006). He was also the Head Golf Professional at Pevely Farms Golf Club (2011-2012), The Country Club of St. Albans (2007-2010) and Gateway National Golf Links (1998-2003), and an Assistant Professional at Norwood Hills CC (2004-2005), Whitmoor CC (1997), Old Warson CC (1991-1996) and Crab Orchard Golf Club (1986-1990).

Shawn has been previously honored as GPGA Assistant of the Year (1994) and this year marks his 5 th selection as a GPGA Merchandiser of the Year (1999, 2003, 2017, 2019). Shawn served 14 years on the Gateway PGA Board of Directors as Metropolitan St. Louis Director (2005-2016) and as the Presidential Appointment (2003-2004). In April 2018 he joined the Quarter Century Club as a PGA Member.

Private Merchandiser of the Year - Jeffrey Field

Westborough CC (St. Louis, MO)

"I'm very appreciative of the award and recognition. But this is not about me. This is about the staff and membership at Westborough Country Club. The staff works the hours in the Pro Shop to make this happen and the membership supports our product assortment. This is their award!"

Resort Merchandiser of the Year - Larry Salsman

Osage National Golf Club (Lake Ozark, MO)

"I am always proud of any award the PGA bestowed upon me, but this Merchandiser of the Year award means much more. The past few years have taught me patience and I have set new goals to achieve a better balance in my career and life. My main hope is to achieve this balance while maintaining high standards and without losing product quality. Being able to obtain my Master Professional designation and now the Merchandiser of the year has checked two boxes on my list of professional goals I set forth in 2022. Reinforcing that I am on the right path."

Soft Goods Sales Representative - Brad Wuhs

johnnie-O, Winston Collection, American Needle

"To be honored by my fellow PGA Golf Professionals means more to me than I can probably express. It's very meaningful to be acknowledged for the hard work, time spent away from home, and attention to my customer's needs. Thank you all so much for this award!"

About Brad:
Born and raised in Iowa, Brad has been in the golf business since the mid-90's. After several years working from entry-level Assistant up to PGA Head Golf Professional, he jumped to the other side of the counter and started selling golf balls in Iowa and Nebraska in 2005. Now an independent rep, Brad represents johnnie-O and Winston Collection for the upper Midwest. Brad resides outside Des Moines with his wife, Bri and 2 daughters, Briar and Brennyn.

Hard Goods Sales Representative - David Kohlberg

Callaway Golf

Player of the Year - Brett Moomey

Algonquin GC (St. Louis, MO)

"I am extremely honored to add my name to the great players to win Gateway Section Player of the Year. I've always valued playing golf during my career and was encouraged to do so by my mentors. I love competing against my peers and earning this award against our talented group of professionals is something I will always cherish."

About Brett
As a St. Charles native with a 20-year career in the Gateway Section, it is and always will be my home Section. After graduating from Central Missouri State University and playing on the Mules Golf Team, he was given a great opportunity to begin his career at Bellerive Country in 2003. He worked with a great team led by Mike Tucker and Joe Schwent while having opportunities to help with championship golf events in St. Louis. With the goal of Head Golf Professional Brett earned his Class A PGA Membership in 2009 and continued pursuing that goal. In 2014 he took the Head Golf Professional position at Old Hickory Golf Club where he stayed for eight seasons. In April of 2022 Brett chose to advance to his current role at Algonquin Golf Club as Director of Golf.

Along his journey he has served the Section starting with chairing the Assistants and Tournament Committees which eventually lead to 2017 when he ran for Secretary on the Board of Directors. His six year stint on the Board sunsets as he leaves the office of President tomorrow, December 7th.

In 2005 and 2006 Brett was Assistant Player of the Year. Additionally he was voted as 2009 and 2012 Assistant Golf Professional of the Year while also winning the 2010 Professional Development Award before receiving the Section’s highest honor in 2017, the Joe Dodich Golf Professional of the Year.

Ladies Player of the Year - Ali Wells

Gateway PGA Section (Chesterfield, MO)


About Ali:
Ali Wells, born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota, Executive Director of the Gateway PGA and the PGA REACH Gateway Foundation, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing & Professional Golf Management from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) in 2009. Since then Ali has gained 12 years of experience as a Class A PGA Professional and has worked for the Gateway PGA in different capacities since 2012. Ali is a passionate, driven and resourceful executive with significant experience in association and non-profit operations. She has a substantiated ability to lead diverse groups of stakeholders with a proven record of fostering organizational growth through increasing operational efficiency and gross revenue. Her work has led to numerous achievements including helping the Gateway PGA to its first national award, the 2017 Herb Graffis Award and being inducted into the UCCS PGA Golf Management Hall of Fame. When she is not on the golf course Ali enjoys volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters and her church, hiking, playing softball and camogie, and cooking.

Senior & Super Senior Player of the Year - Bob Gaus

Family Golf & Learning Center (St. Louis, MO)

“When I first broke into the Section I had to prove myself. After all these years, it's almost 30 years now, and at my age to still compete, play and win is pretty nice. I don't grind a whole bunch and don't get after it like I used to but to be able to still sneak in there and win now that means it means the world to me so hopefully I can keep it going.”

Assistant Player of the Year - Matt Swanson

Forest Hills CC (Chesterfield, MO)

"There have been a lot of bad breaks the past few years, but this is a good one."

Matt played golf at the University of South Dakota and is currently working through his level 2 PGA bookwork. He started at Forest Hills Country Club and is currently in his 4th year there. His current focus at Forest Hills is continuing to develop the Junior Golf Program and offering multiple programs and clinics for all ages.