Steve Carney & Kyle Benish (pictured left) of Holiday Valley Resort Headline 2020 Award Recipients
East Amherst, NY – The Western New York Section, PGA of America (WNYPGA) and its Awards Committee are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Special Awards. These awards are distributed by the Section each year, and the winners are nominated by their peers and chosen by the Section Awards Committee. For the first time in the history of the Awards, both the Professional of the Year and Assistant Professional of the Year winners are employed by the same facility.
All Section Award winners will be celebrated in the Spring of 2021 at a reception at the WNYPGA Homesite at Glen Oak Golf Club due to the COVID-19 gathering restrictions in 2020 this fall.
GOLF PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR – Steve Carney, PGA MP
Steve is a Master PGA Professional and is finishing up his 15th season as the Director of Golf at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY. Steve has previously won this honor in 2015 and has been involved with all Section activities and has served on the Board of Directors as the Education Chairman for many years. This is the highest honor given out by the Section each year and is given to the working club professional whose total contributions to the game best exemplify the complete PGA Golf Professional.
ASSISTANT GOLF PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR – Kyle Benish, PGA
Kyle has been a PGA Member since 2010 and has been the Assistant Professional at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY since 2005 and is a three time winner of this award. Kyle also serves on the Section Board of Directors as the Junior Golf/Growth of the Game Chairman. The award is given to the Assistant Professional who has gone beyond the call of duty to promote the game of golf, his/her place of employment, and the WNYPGA.
BILL STRAUSBAUGH AWARD – Chris Kulinski, PGA
Chris is in his second year as PGA Career Consultant after serving as head professional at Orchard Park Country Club. This award is given to a PGA Professional who works to help improve employment of PGA Professionals and is highly involved in the community.
PGA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AWARD – Steve Carney, PGA, MP
Steve is a Master PGA Professional and is finishing up his 15th season as the Director of Golf at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY. This is the fourth time Steve has received this honor which is handed to a PGA Professional for outstanding and continuing contributions to professional education.
TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Marc Rosa, PGA
Marc is the PGA Head Professional at Wanakah Country Club in Hamburg, NY where he spends numerous hours giving lessons to improve the membership. This is Marc’s first year winning this honor which is based on the professional’s overall performance in teaching; unusual, innovative and special teaching programs the professional has initiated or played a key role in implementing.
YOUTH PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AWARD – Lauren Tallman, PGA
Lauren turned professional in 2013 and has been the PGA Director of Instruction at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor, NY. She conducts outstanding teaching programs for all abilities. Work by the PGA Professional that earns this award includes involvement in the promotion and development of junior golf at club level and support for national golf programs.
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AWARD – Brian Jacobs, PGA
Brian is a 15 year Class A PGA Member working as the Director of Instruction at Mill Creek Golf Club in Churchville, NY. Brian also is associated with the Golf Channel Academy as a lead instructor. This is Brian’s first year winning this honor that recognizes the WNYPGA Professional who has a significant achievement with Player Development and Growth of the Game initiatives.
PATRIOT AWARD – Rob Krajewski, PGA
Rob is finishing up his third season as the Director of Instruction at Glen Oak Golf Club in East Amherst, NY. The NEW Patriot 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.
MERCHANDISER OF THE YEAR (PRIVATE CLUB) – Mike Kiel, PGA
Mike has served the membership at Midvale Country Club in Penfield, NY since 2001 and became the Head Professional in 2007. Mike currently serves as a member of the WNYPGA Board of Directors. This honor is given to a WNYPGA professional who has excelled as a businessman/merchandiser in the promotion of golf in the private country club setting.
MERCHANDISER OF THE YEAR (PUBLIC FACILITY) – Bob King, PGA
Bob has been the Head Professional at Lakeside Country Club in Penn Yan, NY since 2005. This is his second time winning this prestigious award. Bob serves on the Section Board of Directors. The honor is given to a WNYPGA professional who has excelled as a businessman/merchandiser in the promotion of golf at a public facility.
MERCHANDISER OF THE YEAR (RESORT CATEGORY) – Steve Carney, PGA, MP
Steve is a Master PGA Professional and is finishing up his 15th season as the Director of Golf at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY. Steve has won this award an impressive eight times now. The honor is given to a WNYPGA professional who has excelled as a businessman/merchandiser in the promotion of golf in the resort category.
SALESPERSON OF THE YEAR – Jeff Beaver, PGA
Jeff is the Territory Manager for Titleist in the WNYPGA Section and a PGA Member since 1990 . This is Jeff’s fifth time winning this award. The honor is for a sales representative who partners with the Professionals of the Western New York Section in order to enhance the golf professional’s business.
MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YEAR – Kevin Sylvester
Kevin is most known for his work on the Tee2Green Radio Show and PGA Tour Radio where he constantly promotes the game of golf and the Club Professionals in WNY. This is Kevin’s third time receiving this honor – winning back in 2011. The Media Representative of the Year Award was established in 1998 to honor a media representative who promotes the PGA and by doing so helps to elevate the organization to a new level of respect and prestige throughout the Western New York area.
BILL DIMAS SPECTATOR OF THE YEAR – Teena Stauffer
Established under the name of the late WNYPGA Executive Director, Bill Dimas, this award is given to the individual who supports the playing efforts of WNYPGA Professionals. Teena is the wife of Kirk Stauffer who won both the Player and Senior Player of the Year in 2020.
For photos of the 2020 winners and archives of the awards, CLICK HERE.
About the Western New York PGA: The WNYPGA is one of the 41 geographic sections under the umbrella of the PGA of America. The Section was established in 1925 and represents 275 PGA Professionals and Apprentices and over 100 golf facilities across Rochester, Buffalo and Erie, PA. The Mission of the WNYPGA is to Grow the Game of Golf today, tomorrow, and into the future.
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For Immediate Release October 10, 2020