PGA of Alberta Hands Out Year-End Awards

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Lauren BrescacinEDMONTON, Alberta (Gord Montgomery/iG) — While only one person walks away with the award as the top performer in their specific category each year at the PGA of Alberta Awards Banquet, that doesn’t mean that dozens — no, hundreds — of others are equally as well qualified to take away the same honour.

Through a lengthy process the nominees for a dozen such awards are chosen and then from there a winner selected. Those were announced during the annual Buying Show, held on October 17-20, 2016, at the Expo Centre in Edmonton.

“It is difficult to select our finalists and it is equally as difficult to select just one individual to accept each award,” said the event’s emcee, Tom Greiner, who is the president of the PGA of Alberta board of directors. “The award nominees, and finalists in each category, are all deserving of receiving these awards.”

He announced the winners starting with the Player of the Year. Not surprisingly, Dustin Risdon from the National Golf Academy at McCall Lake in Calgary took that honour, edging out Kevin Black and Diane Strang.

The next award handed out was the Professional Development Award, which has been handed out now for five years. Of this honour, Greiner said, “This recognizes any member who is involved in all aspects of the association,” ranging from the Buying Show to the Consumer Shows and other functions.

The list of deserving nominees included Adam Bruce, Kyle Boyd, Mike McEvey, Trevor Goplin, and Seann Thompson. This year, the honour was bestowed upon Goose Hummock’s Mike McEvey.

Next up was the Junior Leader of the Year, an award that goes to the professional who heads up a strong program where youngsters are brought into the game and who have their love for the sport grow through the guidance of the PGA of Alberta member in charge. Those up for the honour included Derek Baker, Lauren Brescacin, John Deneer, Chris McKenzie, Kevin Niznik, and Jamie Reimer. The winner in this category for the 2016 season was Lauren Brescacin from the Country Hills GC.

“This year’s winner believes that fun, dedication, and a sense of community are key to engaging and developing juniors,” and act as an inspiration to their young charges, Greiner stated.

The Teacher of the Year honour is given to someone “who constantly works to improve and develop their ability,” to instruct, promote, and be a mentor and “stays on the leading edge of teaching,” the emcee explained.

Up for this award were Ryan Anderson, Tyler Komick, Eric Porter, and Craig Vogel. The final vote saw Ryan Anderson from the Glencoe G&CC named as the 2016 winner.

The next award up was the Coach of the Year, a category where four deserving candidates were up for the honour. Those included John Deneer, Paul Horton, Randy Robb, and Luke Workman.

“The PGA of Alberta’s first Coach of the Year recipient is fortunate to have learned from some of the world’s best instructors. However, he believes in coaching the individual player not a specific methodology. His personal coaching styles and philosophy are consistently influenced by three factors: mental toughness, swing mechanics, and golf innovation,” Greiner explained as he called Paul Horton from Heritage Point GA forward to accept this award.

For the Merchandiser of the Year honour, there are two winners — one from the public sector and the other from the private. On the Public Side of the ballot were four clubs, Blue Devil GC, Jasper Park Lodge GC, Leduc GC, and Redwood Meadows G&CC. The winner there was Jasper Park Lodge GC with head professional Tahlon Sweenie accepting the award.

As for the Private Sector, the nominees were Bearspaw CC, Glencoe G&CC, Silver Springs G&CC, and the Windermere G&CC. The nod of approval here went to Judy Forschner from the Glencoe Golf & Country Club.

Kevin ChowNext up was the award for the Assistant Professional of the Year (CFM category), with the nominees being Nick Becker, Michael Graham, Sam Kirkness, Geoff Sear, and Reagan Wilson. The award for 2016 was bestowed upon Priddis Greens’ Sam Kirkness for “Showing a strong desire to succeed in the industry and association in the short time he has been a golf professional.”

As for the Assistant Professional of the Year (Class A category), the nominees there saw five candidates from southern Alberta clubs and one from the north. From the south, those up for the honour included Glenn Boswell, Gord Newis, Eric Porter, Fred Teno, and Sean Thompson while the lone northerner in the bunch was Kevin Chow. As it turned out, Kevin Chow was the winner this year.

“He has been described as an outstanding team member at his club and a true leader amongst his peers,” said Greiner of the winner. “He believes in showing consistency, appreciation, and positivity on a daily basis in order to foster a positive work environment.”

Murray McCourtThe last award of the evening, for the Club Professional of the Year, turned out to be a popular choice among those on hand for the ceremony. Last year’s winner of this prestigious award, Judy Forschner from the Glencoe Golf & Country Club in Calgary, explained that this year’s winner was chosen from the list of Todd Fiske, Murray McCourt, Greg McGarry, Bill Penny, and Dean Spriddle and came down to his supreme dedication to both job and his staff.

“This year’s Club Professional of the Year is very passionate about promoting and growing the game of golf, and understands the importance of staff morale and says his staff are his first priority,” she explained of this year’s final winner, Murray McCourt.

Gord MontgomeryAbout the Writer
Gord Montgomery is a retired sports editor of two weekly newspapers in the Edmonton area and is a member of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. He is now in his ninth year of writing for Inside Golf. He can be reached at He’s also on Twitter at @gordinsidegolf and Instagram at gordinsidegolf2.

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By Gord Montgomery

Gord Montgomery is a retired sports editor of two weekly newspapers in the Edmonton area and is a member of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. He is now in his ninth year of writing for Inside Golf. He can be reached at He’s also on Twitter at @gordinsidegolf and on Instagram at @gordinsidegolf2.

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