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Saturday, November 23, 2013


On October 22 of this year, one of my fellow PGA Professionals, Todd Meyer, came to Ranken Jordan to surprise me with the news that I had been selected as the 2013 Gateway PGA Junior Golf Leader.  Needless to say I was in total shock at this very unexpected honor.  Receiving the news from Todd gave the award extra meaning.  Not only is he one of the best teachers in our Section (and around the country in my opinion) but he is also one of the finest gentlemen you will ever meet.

Before I continue on any further I would like to recognize the other very deserving 2013 Gateway PGA Award Winners:

Joe Dodich PGA Professional of the Year:  Gideon Smith
PGA Assistant Professional of the Year:  Brandon Coffey
PGA Teacher of the Year:  Barbara Blanchar
PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award:  Jeffrey Field
PGA Horton Smith Award:  Craig Liddle
President's Plaque/Growth of the Game:  Jon DePriest
PGA Resort Merchandiser of the Year:  Ryan Manselle
PGA Public Merchandiser of the Year:  Ty Zimmerman
PGA Private Merchandiser of the Year:  Mike Tucker
Hard Goods Sales Rep of the Year:  David Kohlberg
Soft Goods Sales Rep of the Year:  Michael Bechert
PGA Player of the Year & Senior Player of the Year:  Bob Gaus
PGA Super Senior Player of the Year:  Steve Heckel
PGA Assistant Player of the Year:  Shane Blankenship
PGA Women's Player of the Year:  Barbara Blanchar

In preparation for our annual awards dinner in early December all of the awards recipients received a questionnaire that needed to be completed.  Our answers help provide information that will be used throughout the evening.  One of the questions asked who has provided the greatest inspiration in our career.  My answer included four people:  my mother and father, Robert Harper, PGA, and Annette Thompson, LPGA.  Each of these people has contributed more to my career as a PGA Professional and who I am as a person than they will ever know.  There is no way I would be where I am today without the influence and guidance they have provided.

However there is another group of people who provide an incredible  amount of inspiration and influence every week.  This group would be the kids at Ranken Jordan who take part in our weekly golf clinics.  It is without hesitation that I will tell anyone that these amazing kids provide continuous influence and inspiration as I strive to continually improve as a PGA Professional, father, son, and human being.  Far too often you hear the comment that something "has put it all into perspective."  I have a tendency to let that type of comment go in one ear and out the other.  What I see on a weekly basis really puts everything into perspective.

Today in our golf clinic we had 10 kids . . . 5 in wheelchairs and 5 ambulatory.  Watch the interaction between the kids, the attitudes of all of them, and spend just a few minutes talking to them.  Do this and your entire thought of what "puts things into perspective" will be changed forever.  As we move closer to our awards dinner all of this year's recipients will see people who helped get us to where we are and we will have the chance to thank them in person.  I am very fortunate that I get to see one group of people who helped me get to where I am, and continues to push me to grow personally and professionally, on a weekly basis.  To those 1,500+ kids and counting and the staff at Ranken Jordan . . . Thank You.

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