2007 National Award Winners Announced by the Canadian PGA

2007 National Award Winners Announced by the Canadian PGA

2007 National Award Winners Announced Today by the Canadian PGA

ACTON, ON (February 27, 2008) — The Canadian PGA has announced the 2007 winners of its prestigious National awards for exceptional and dedicated service as Canadian golf professionals.

The 2007 winners are:

• Club Professional of the Year – Patty Howard, Ontario
• Teacher of the Year – Derek Ingram, Manitoba
• Merchandiser of the Year – Eric Thorsteinson, Alberta
• Jack McLaughlin Junior Leader of the Year Award – Ted Stonehouse, Atlantic

Each year, a National Selection committee evaluates nominations from more than 3,500 Canadian PGA Members coast-to-coast and recognizes winners in each of the four categories. The winners will receive their award at the 2008 Club Professional Championship in Port St. Lucie, Florida November 16, 2008.

“Our 2007 National award winners are symbols of the passion and dedication to excellence that Canadian PGA Members bring to their profession in making the game of golf better for Canadian golfers,” said Warren Crosbie, President of the Canadian PGA. “This year’s winners have set standards of excellence that all Canadian golf professionals can aim to achieve. On behalf of the Canadian PGA, the Zones, and the membership, I congratulate them all for receiving this recognition.”

Club Professional of the Year Award – Ms. Patty Howard

Patty Howard, Executive Professional and Director of Golf at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club in London, Ontario, is the 2007 recipient of the Canadian PGA Club Professional of the Year award.

Patty Howard has been a Class “A” Member of the Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association for 26 years and a Head Professional for 23 years. In a male dominated profession, she has excelled, regardless of gender, at a very high level on all fronts. She has managed her own successful Patty Howard Golf School for 11 years, played and won on the Futures Tour, managed the Golf Operation as Director of Golf / Head Professional at two private clubs and above all, has exuded professional character throughout. In 1985 and 1986 Patty Howard became the first female Member to sit on the Ontario P.G.A. Board of Directors and is the second female in Canadian PGA history to win this award.

“I am so shocked that I received this award from the Canadian PGA,” says Howard, also winner of the 2007 Ontario PGA Club Professional of the year award. “It truly is an amazing award to receive. I thought it was incredible to win the provincial award, so to win the National award in addition is very humbling to say the least.”

Howard has been the Director of Golf at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club for the past six years. Her career has come full circle, as she grew up playing golf and was first introduced to the game at Sunningdale when she was young. “It is so nice to be able to say that I have returned to the place where I was first mentored in the game of golf by Fred Kern and Bruce Atkins to name a few,” says Howard, “you don’t work throughout the year at the club thinking that this award is your final goal, so to receive it is such an honour.” Howard’s management style and professionalism is one of thorough detail and focus towards excellence in all areas including staff training, administration, merchandising and service atmosphere.

In her capacity she is responsible for 47 staff including the Head Professional, 11 Front Shop Staff, 10 Starters / Rangers, 25 Back Shop Staff and 1 Membership Coordinator. To manage this large team, Howard employs a balance of structured administration along with an ‘open door’ policy for all staff members to ensure healthy communication. Frequent team meetings ensure continuity in such subjects as day-to-day service, tournaments, merchandising and sales.

Howard’s labour philosophy is that the industry has been slow to adjust to reasonable work expectations. She instituted the sixth day each week for Professionals as a free day from Pro Shop hours and a focus on playing with a different group each week. With that in mind, a focus is always maintained in the areas most important to members.

Howard manages the power cart fleet of 55 and supervises a full time mechanic responsible for the fleet, a shuttle cart, ball picker and 2 beverage carts. Additionally, she is responsible for Sunningdale’s Charity events that require the booking and management of between 40 and 110 rental carts.

Howard’s event protocol can be summarized by “let us do it all and let the members relax”. From advertising the event on the website to handling the prize ceremony, her team will develop the sign up, draw, computerized score cards and score sheets, license plates and even photograph the winners. Along with this, Howard attends all Men’s and Ladies Committee Meetings as well as meetings with the General Manager and Ladies President to address any inquiries.

While her talents and expertise make her as qualified as any as a Head Professional, her love and background of teaching is a wonderful benefit to the members of Sunningdale. Howard was the first female Head Professional at a mixed Private Club when she was awarded the position at West Haven in 1990. In her 30 years teaching the game, she has spent 11 years running her own Patty Howard Golf Schools. Five of those years, she taught 12 months a year. During that time, she taught an average of 12 lessons per day and much of the time was booked up to 1 year in advance. She has taught men and women in equal numbers, all ages and physical abilities.

Howard has initiated many junior recognition programs including providing opportunities for special achievers to apply for improved privileges in more restricted times. She has implemented the Sunningdale Bursary Fund for young golfers which allow any young member up to the age of 25 to apply for an award of $1,000 to be allocated on the basis of $500 in Pro Shop credit and $500 cash towards their game or equipment needs.

Teacher of the Year Award – Mr. Derek Ingram

Derek Ingram, Head Teaching Professional at Elmhurst Golf and Country Club in Winnipeg, MB, is the 2007 Canadian PGA Teaching Professional of the Year, his third Canadian PGA National award.
Teaching Professional nominees are judged on a wide array of criteria ranging from innovative teaching techniques to instructional articles, videos or promotions.
Ingram grew up in and Winnipeg and attended the University of Manitoba. He has authored two books “New Mental Skills for Better Golf – Test your Self Talk” and “Play Golf in the Zone” a 2001-2002 best seller. This is the second time that Derek has received the award for Teacher of the Year, the last time he won this prestigious award was in 2003 along with the Jack McLaughlin Junior Leader of the Year award. He is the first and only recipient to ever win both awards. In 2005, Ingram was also named Top 50 Teachers in America by Golf Range Magazine. He is also a four time winner of the Manitoba PGA Teacher of the Year and two time winner of the Manitoba PGA Junior Leader of the Year.

“When I received the call from Steve Carroll I thought he was going to ask me to sit on a teaching or coaching committee,” states Ingram, “but I was shocked when he told me that I was the recipient of the 2007 Teacher of the Year award. I mean it’s great to win a national award once in your life, but to win three is an honour.”

Ingram is the Royal Canadian Golf Association's (RCGA) National Team Assistant Coach and has been on the national coaching staff since 2000. He has coached teams competing in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rico, Canada, and the United States. He has also coached Canada's National Junior Team in the World Championships in Japan since 2000. Ingram is also the co-coach and founder of the University of Manitoba Men's and Ladies Golf Program established in 1999. The University of Manitoba Men's team has consistently finished in the top 5 in the Canadian University Championships since inception in 2002. In 2006, the Men's and Ladies team both had top 3 finished.

Ingram’s 2007 teaching and coaching year was quite hectic. He notched over 700 one hour individual lessons, coached over 300 hours of group coaching sessions and was on the road for over 55 days with the National Junior team, University of Manitoba golf teams and high performance junior programs.

In addition to his duties with the RCGA and the University of Manitoba, Ingram is a coach with Golf Manitoba's Player Development Program and a facilitator for the Canadian PGA's Teaching and Coaching Certification Program. He recently signed on as the Head Teaching Professional at the renowned Donald Ross design Elmhurst Golf and Country Club. One of the top courses in Canada with a great history, Ingram now takes his coaching practice of teaching many of the finest juniors, amateurs and professional to Elmhurst.

Ingram has a unique way of helping players of all abilities improve their skills and achieve their goals. His enthusiasm is contagious and his care, genuine. He develops programs centred on what they want and enjoys developing deep relationships with his students for best results. Ingram has a keen technical eye and specializes in mental skills coaching. His passion is to help people get better in a positive atmosphere while having fun doing it. “You have to demonstrate a passion for the game if you wish to pass it on.”

“I think I am pretty blessed with what I am doing right now, there are so many great coaches and teachers in Manitoba and Canada so to say what separates me from the others is difficult, but I believe that I have an ability to connect with others in a different manner,” says Ingram. “I think my ability to connect stems from my passion for teaching and the drive to grow the game across Canada.”

Merchandiser of the Year Award – Mr. Eric Thorsteinson

Eric Thorsteinson, Head Professional at Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edomonton AB, is this year’s recipient of the 2007 Canadian PGA Merchandiser of the Year award.

“It’s an amazing award to win personally, but no question reflects the efforts of my team. Last year was trying, but very rewarding with the Women’s Open at our facility, so I dedicate this award to my outstanding team and their devotion to have the best shop in the industry.”

Thorsteinson’s professional merchandising philosophy is to develop and deliver the ultimate private club member and guest experience in his shop. He evokes all five senses into his customer’s golf shop experience. Visually, he ensures that the front entrance to the shop has a decompression zone where the customer may gaze over the entire golf shop layout. Thorsteinson has the Golf Channel playing on the 46 inch flat screen TV above the enticing crackling fireplace. One powerful feature that most overlook is the scent of the shop. He lights Yankee candles and displays fresh cut flowers from the local green house on their feature table. The shop is open to having customers pick up and feel the garments as the sense of touch is appealing to the buyers. He also plays soft easy listening music in the background while providing an open house and year end wine and cheese member appreciation sales event.

To create a sense of arrival, Thorsteinson ensures that every customer is greeted by name when applicable. In order to keep the shop fresh they have developed a structured calendar of display changes and sales programs and every few weeks have a different look to the shop. All display fixtures, wall displays and hangers are made of the same wood for consistency creating an organized nostalgic look.

“When it comes to the pro shop set up, I have been mentored by some great golf professionals and have read up on the latest trends in both the golf industry and general retail,” says Thorsteinson. “I try to look at other industry trends and follow their lead, although in most cases they have access to more dollars, it is still great to use their guidance.”

To provide an easy shopping experience, Thorstein likes to cluster items of interest together so that it creates a “shop” within the shop itself. All putters are together, woods, irons etc. all have their place. All golf equipment is inventoried for demo use, therefore everything on the golf shop floor is allowed to go out on the course. He believes in the mentality that less is more in the shop and that the key is to keep everything pristine and neat. Thorsteinson’s comprehensive sales program is what makes him such a successful merchandiser. Their customer loyalty program rewards the top 100 patrons each year, thanking them with a $25 gift card to use with their next purchase.

Thorsteinson also ensures a great rapport with his members by hosting a ladies day fashion show and acknowledging each member’s birthday by distributing a gift certificate for $25. It is with small touches like personalized thank you notes to members that spend over $100 at the shop and discount pricing for repeat buyers that he has seen success. Thorsteinson’s shop is a 1350 square foot golfer’s paradise. The shop received a “Prestige Award” for being in the top 25 golf shops recognized in Pro Shop Magazine for the most outstanding golf shops in Canada. The Royal Mayfair hosted the 2007 CN Canadian Women’s Open and received numerous accolades for its tremendous success doubling and even tripling the sales of previous events. Thorsteinson has managed the golf shop at Royal Mayfair since 2002, and has seen over $500,000 increase in his yearly sales since he began.

Jack McLaughlin Junior Leader of the Year Award – Mr. Ted Stonehouse

Ted Stonehouse, Head Professional and General Manager at the Bell Bay Golf Club in Baddeck, NS, is back in the winner’s circle as the Canadian PGA Jack McLaughlin Junior Leader of the Year.

Stonehouse is no stranger to Canadian PGA National honours - he was named the 2002 Canadian PGA Club Professional of the Year and 2003 Merchandiser of the Year.

“I am a little embarrassed to tell you the truth,” says Stonehouse, “it is pretty unbelievable to think that I have received a Canadian PGA National award three times, so I am actually a little embarrassed, but am truly honoured!”

Based from the RCGA/Canadian PGA Future Links Porgram, the Bell Bay Junior program has flourished on the island of Cape Breton. Traditionally Stonehouse has approximately 130 juniors enrolled in the program, but in 2007 there were 160 applicants and a waiting list. Part of the success of the program is the commitment that Stonehouse himself dedicates to it. He ensures that each class has no more than 15 juniors and that he has three Canadian PGA professionals instructing each cluster. The program runs for 10 weeks and consists of seven weeks of instruction, the eighth week is comprised of the RCGA Future Links skill competition conducted by Bell Bay professional staff, the ninth week is an on course session with the Bell Bay members mentoring the 160 juniors on course over two days and the tenth week is the junior banquet. In fact, his junior program banquet has become such a success that Bell Bay is no longer able to host the event due to its size.

Stonehouse’s Bell Bay junior program is comprised of children aged three to 18 years. The program has grown tremendously over the past nine years since he has been at the club. Stonehouse believes that his performance has inspired fellow golf professionals in the area of junior golf and development. He is one of the most recognized Canadian PGA Members in the Atlantic zone and continues to introduce juniors to grow the game of golf.

“I am so proud of our associates and assistants for all of their work on the junior program. I could not be where I am right now if it wasn’t for their hard work,” says Stonehouse. “This award is a testament to the tireless effort that they have put into our junior program here at Bell Bay.”

Bell Bay is known for its loyalty to junior development, hosting the 2000 and 2001 Future Links Atlantic Championships and the 2000 Nova Scotia Junior Championship. Annually, Bell Bay Golf Club hosts its Gatorade Junior Invitational that Ted chairs each year.

Growing up in Ontario, Stonehouse took up the game at 11 years of age and worked under several top professionals like Tom Aird (Maples of Ballantrae), Bob Kennedy (Sleepy Hollow), and Leon Decaire (Spring Lakes) before signing on to a golf scholarship at Southern Wesleyan University in central South Carolina.
Stonehouse joined the Canadian PGA in 1994 and worked at Granite Springs and Ashburn Golf Clubs in Nova Scotia before joining Bell Bay in 1999. Under his leadership, Bell Bay has hosted numerous high profile tournaments, like the Wayne Gretzky and Friends event, and has prospered through key community partnerships established by Stonehouse.

About the CPGA:

Established in 1911, the Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association is a non-profit association comprised of approximately 3,500 golf professionals across the country with a mandate to promote and advance the game of golf, serving the needs of both its membership and the golf public through professional and junior golf development programs and high-calibre competitive events. The National Office is located in Acton, Ontario with nine Zone Offices across the country. For more information, visit www.cpga.com

For More Information:

Erica Bury
Communications Coordinator
Canadian PGA
519.853.5450 x234