Gulf States PGA selects 2020 class of Section and Chapter award winners

METAIRIE, LA: In recognition of his exemplary role as a PGA member, Head Professional Robbie Gueringer of OakWing Golf Club in Alexandria, LA has been chosen as the 2020 Gulf States PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest honor paid to a Gulf States PGA Professional.

In response to being notified of his award, Robbie said, “I am truly thankful to the Awards Committee and everyone who was involved in choosing me as 2020 Golf Professional of the Year. It is an honor that my family and I will cherish the rest of our lives. I would also like to thank my General Manager and dear friend Craig Campo for encouraging and helping me be the golf professional I am today. Some truly great men are on this list and I am so thankful to be one of them. I am grateful to be part of the best PGA Section in the United States-GSPGA!”

Matt Williamson, PGA Head Professional of TPC of Louisiana in Avondale, was named the recipient of The Patriot Award. This award is presented to a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected the United States of America.

Blake Thomas, PGA Director of Instruction at University Club of Baton Rouge, LA, has earned his first Gulf States PGA Teacher of the Year Award. This award recognizes the recipient’s exceptional teaching ability and dedication to teaching the game.

In recognition of his continued efforts to grow the game of golf at the youth level, Director of Instruction at Darby Golf (at Annandale Golf Club) in Madison, MS, Chad Darby, PGA has been awarded the 2020 Youth Player Development Award.  This award acknowledges the recipient’s passion to promote the game by sharing knowledge and skills with today’s youth, benefiting the future of golf in the Section.

Adam Scott, PGA Program Director at Mississippi State University PGA Golf Management, has been chosen as this year’s PGA Professional Development Award winner, acknowledging his commitment to furthering the education of fellow professionals.

Matt Williamson, PGA Head Professional of TPC of Louisiana in Avondale, has also been selected as the Bill Strausbaugh Award winner in recognition of his leadership and valued involvement with the community. This marks Matt’s second Gulf States PGA award this year.

Marie Gateley, PGA Assistant Professional at Baton Rouge Country Club, LA, has displayed exemplary leadership as an Assistant Professional and continues to serve as an outstanding representation of her class earning her the title of Assistant Professional of the Year. Gateley also received this award in 2018.

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.

Alex Abbruzza, PGA Head Professional at Bayou Oaks at City Park in New Orleans, LA, has been named Merchandiser of the Year in the Public category.

In the Private category, PGA Head Professional Bobby Jacks of Baton Rouge Country Club, LA, has earned the distinction of Merchandiser of the Year, an award he last received in 2016.

PGA Head Professional Blake Hatfield of Fallen Oak in Saucier, MS, has earned his award from the Gulf States PGA, Merchandiser of the Year in the Resort category.

Accepting his second Gulf States PGA award this year is Blake Thomas, PGA Director of Instruction at University Club of Baton Rouge, LA, who has also been named the Section’s Player Development Award winner. This award honors his extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development.

Leading the class of 2020 award winners in the Louisiana Chapter is Golf Professional of the Year Reg Adams, PGA Head Professional at Huntington Park Golf Course in Shreveport. “First and foremost, I must thank the Committee for selecting me as this year’s recipient for this award. There are so many other professionals in Louisiana that could have been selected this year. I truly understand that we all have been faced with many, many challenges such as COVID 19, hurricanes, etc. I am so thankful and grateful to be a small part of such a wonderful organization that is the PGA of America. God has gifted us all with different talents and each day I try and use my gifts/talents to make this time on earth more enjoyable for all those I come in contact with. I am blessed to be able to connect with all kinds of people through this great game of golf.”

Louisiana Assistant Professional of the Year has been awarded to Will Heirtzler, PGA Assistant Professional at Bayou Oaks at City Park in New Orleans.

Rory Nelson, PGA Head Professional at Windance Country Club in Gulfport, has been awarded the Mississippi Chapter’s Golf Professional of the Year. Rory remarked, “It is a true honor to receive this award. In a year filled with so much uncertainty, it was truly a surprise to find out I won our Chapter Professional of the Year. Mississippi is full of many great and hard-working golf professionals and it is an honor to receive this award that was voted on by my peers.”

Representing the Mississippi Chapter in the Assistant Professional of the Year category is this year’s award winner, Gentry Barton, Assistant Professional at Laurel Country Club.

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 Peoples, Sales Representative for Antigua Performance Apparel and Lorente Golf, as the recipient of the Barbato-Thomas Award. This award is named after Mike Barbato and Henry Thomas who both played a major role in the birth and development of the Gulf States Section. The award is presented to individuals in recognition of those who have unselfishly served and supported the game of golf and the PGA Professional.

Dan said, “It is a tremendous honor to be selected to receive the Barbato-Thomas award. This is one more great thing that has evolved out of a wonderful 20-year relationship with the GSPGA. This special award is truly appreciated and a sincere thanks is extended to all involved. Kitty & I feel especially blessed for the support and friendship of so many in the GSPGA.”

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 Dr. Bob Abney, who retired from the University of Mississippi Medical Center – Children’s Hospital.

“I am very grateful that the Gulf States Section of the PGA would bestow this significant and prestigious award to me.” Dr. Abney goes on to say, “As tournament chairman of our Children’s Hospital Pro-Am Golf Tournament for the past 25 years, I’ve gotten to know many of the area golf professionals who have helped us by playing in the event as well as the administrative staff of the Section who helped recruit the PGA professionals. I have the highest respect for all involved. No doubt they helped the tournament be successful in generating more than $100,000 each year for the Child Life program at Children’s in Jackson, MS. Thank you again for this recognition as it is a big step in making my life meaningful and complete.”

This year’s honorees will be celebrated at the Gulf States PGA Special Awards Ceremony to be held on December 6th at Metairie Country Club in Metairie, LA.

The Gulf States PGA Awards Committee consists of past award winners and Chapter officers.

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.