METAIRIE, La. – In recognition of his exemplary role as a PGA member, PGA Director of Golf David Marchand of Metairie (La.) Country Club has been chosen as the 2015 Gulf States PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest honor paid to a Gulf States PGA Professional.
“I was quite moved, very proud, very humbled,” said Marchand as he reflected upon hearing the news about his award.
Marchand expressed that he shares this achievement with the dedicated staff at Metairie C.C. who is committed to growing the game at their facility.
“We’ve made an effort to change our club governance to allow us to hold events here that we haven’t had in the past,” explained Marchand. “We have hosted the Section Championship twice, along with meetings. We try to be forward thinking in order for others to have access to a more private club.”
Marchand was honored by the Section for the same award in 2003, and at the chapter level in 2001.
PGA Teaching Professional Tim Yelverton at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. has been selected as the Section’s Teacher of the Year in recognition of his exceptional teaching ability and dedication to teaching the game.
“It is a great honor to be selected as Teacher of the Year,” said Yelverton. “The names of the past winners speak volumes of this award. I only hope I can carry on with the tradition of this award.”
Also named one of the “Best Teachers in State” by Golf Digest, Yelverton said these recognitions validate his hard work.
“I feel like they know my work ethic and the passion I have for helping others achieve their goals,” said Yelverton.
First-time Section award winner Billy Allen, assistant professional at Deerfield Golf Club in Canton, Miss., has displayed exemplary leadership as an assistant professional and continues to serve as an outstanding representation of his class earning him the title of TaylorMade-adidas Golf Assistant Professional of the Year.
JT Crawford, PGA head professional of New Orleans (La.) Country Club, has once again been honored with the Bill Strausbaugh Award in recognition of his leadership and valued involvement with the community, an award he previously won in 2010.
James Leitz, PGA head professional at Tchefuncta Country Club in Covington, La. has been chosen as this year’s Horton Smith Award winner, acknowledging his commitment to furthering the education of fellow professionals. He also earned this award in 2013 and 1990.
Another winner from Old Waverly G.C., PGA Teaching Professional V.J. Trolio will represent the Section as this year’s Player Development Award winner. This award honors his extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development.
Derek Smith, PGA director of golf at Mallard Cove Golf Course in Lake Charles, La., has won his first Section award with the Youth Player Development Award. This award recognizes a PGA Professional’s passion to promote the game by sharing knowledge and skills with today’s youth, benefiting the future of golf in the Section.
The Merchandisers of the Year are selected based on their skills in the promotion of golf including merchandising ability and technique, inventory levels and turn rate, shop display and attention to detail.
PGA Head Professional Brad Pullin at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, La. has been named Merchandiser of the Year in the Private category, an award also bestowed upon him in 2013.
Andres Prieto, PGA head professional at Pelican Point Golf Club in Gonzales, La., has been named Merchandiser of the Year in the Public category for the third year in a row.
PGA Head Professional Sean Racki of Dancing Rabbit Golf Club in Choctaw, Miss. has earned his fourth award from the Gulf States PGA Section, Merchandiser of the Year in the Resort category (2011, 2008, 2007).
Leading the class of 2015 award winners in the Louisiana Chapter is its Golf Professional of the Year Cliff Wagner, PGA head professional at Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette, La.
Louisiana Assistant Professional of the Year has been awarded to Justin Mann, PGA assistant professional at Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette, La.
The Mississippi Chapter has selected Tim Basel, PGA head professional at Reunion Golf & Country Club in Madison, Miss., as its Golf Professional of the Year.
In addition to receive the Assistant Professional of the Year award from the Section, Billy Allen has also earned the same distinction from the Mississippi Chapter for 2015.
Two special Chapter awards are set aside to honor individuals that tirelessly and unselfishly work to support the game of golf.
The Louisiana Chapter has chosen Dan McDonald as the recipient of the Barbato-Thomas Award, which is named for Mike Barbato and Henry Thomas who played a major role in the birth and development of the Gulf States Section. For nine years, McDonald reported on chapter and section golf tournaments as a sports writer for the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. He has received numerous state and national accolades honoring his work, including being inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 2011. He now serves as vice president of McD Media, Inc.
The Mississippi Chapter’s Carpenter-Lindsay Award was named for James Ray Carpenter and Ken Lindsay, both of whom served as PGA of America Presidents and have given so much to the Association. This year’s recipient is Janet Leach, golf and sports program manager for Visit Mississippi, the Mississippi Division of Tourism. Leach has spent the past twenty years ensuring that golfers around the country look to Mississippi as a top golf destination. The Chapter greatly values her work promoting the golf courses of Mississippi through domestic and international golf shows as well as setting up course visits with golf media in hopes of creating both regional and national awareness.
As the Chapter’s first woman to receive the Carpenter-Lindsay Award, Leach said she is very excited to be named this year’s recipient.
“The award is really for Visit Mississippi,” said Leach. “Without their support, I would not be able to market golf for Mississippi. In addition to the support of the governor and the Mississippi Development Authority. I’m very fortunate to have the backing to work with the golf courses and hotels in the area.”
The Players of the Year will be determined after the conclusion of the E-Z-GO/Oliver Counce Six Pro Championship in December and will be honored along with the special award winners during an awards ceremony held after the tournament at Carter Plantation in Springfield, La. on Monday, December 7, 2015.
The Gulf States PGA Awards Committee consists of past award winners.
About the Gulf States PGA Section
The Gulf States Section, Professional Golfers’ Association of America, is an association of golf professionals whose mission is to promote interest, participation, and enjoyment in the game of golf; establish and maintain professional standards of practice; and enhance the well being of golf professionals.