Oak Hill Country Club – Rochester, New York

East Amherst, NY – For the third time in the history of the Western New York Section, a local PGA Professional is honored on the national stage.

Jason Ballard, a 16-year PGA Member of the Western New York PGA Section and Head Professional at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award – Private Category. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Ballard oversees the entire golf operation at the famed 36-hole Oak Hill Country Club, which includes a single 1,500-square-foot golf shop located inside the main clubhouse, which most recently served as host to the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Backed by an incredible passion for merchandising, his philosophy centers on hiring great people who care about hospitality. He spends considerable time sourcing, vetting, interviewing and educating, while creating an integrated staff education program called “Oak Hill University” that outlines his expectations for success. Since Ballard arrived in 2014, Oak Hill’s golf shop has enjoyed strong growth thanks to several key initiatives, including a new member logo, member-only inventory, and by creating new catalog inventory. Ballard has built a culture of continuous improvement based upon quality standards, protecting the Oak Hill brand and always exceeding customers’ expectations. Ballard was also recognized with the Western New York PGA Section with the 2019 Merchandiser of the Year – Private Category Award.

Jason joins a list of just two other Western New York Section PGA Professionals who have been honored with a National PGA of America Award.  That list includes both Craig Harmon (Oak Hill CC) and Jim Mrva (Monroe GC) who won the National PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award in 2004 and 2010, respectively.

“This year’s National Awards winners are proven leaders and innovators in the game and business of golf, and the PGA of America salutes their accomplishments and passion for the sport,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “These 2020 recipients represent the best of the Association and inspire our nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals to reach new heights every day, as they strive to grow the game and drive our profession to a new standard of excellence.”

2020 PGA of America National Awards Recipients

  • PGA Golf Professional of the Year: Ronny Glanton, PGA, Sherrill Park Golf Course – Richardson, Texas
  • PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year: Mark Blackburn, PGA, Greystone Golf & Country Club – Birmingham, Ala. 
  • PGA Golf Executive Of The Year: Dana Garmany, PGA, Troon – Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Bill Strausbaugh Award: Larry Dornisch, PGA, Muirfield Village Golf Club – Dublin, Ohio
  • PGA Professional Development Award*: Jim McLean, PGA, Jim McLean Golf School – Coral Gables, Fla.
  • Deacon Palmer Award: J.P. Lunn, PGA, Fountain Head Country Club – Hagerstown, Md.
  • PGA Patriot Award: Christopher Runyan, PGA, GOLFTEC – Spokane, Wash.
  • PGA Player Development Award: Rich Jones, PGA, Pine Ridge Golf Club – Coram, N.Y./Golf Galaxy – Bayshore, N.Y.
  • PGA Youth Player Development Award: Chris Thomson, PGA, Wilderness Ridge Golf Club – Lincoln, Neb.
  • Herb Graffis Award: Nebraska PGA Section
  • PGA Merchandiser of the YearResort Category: Josué Reyes, PGA, Destination Kohler – Whistling Straits/Black Wolf Run – Kohler, Wis.
  • PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Public Category: Jacob Lippold, PGA, Chambers Bay Golf Course – Tacoma, Wash.
  • PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Private Category: Jason Ballard, PGA, Oak Hill Country Club – Rochester, N.Y.

*The Horton Smith Award was renamed the PGA Professional Development Award in 2020.

The awards are currently scheduled to be presented on Tuesday, October 27as part of the 2020 PGA Annual Meeting in Hartford, Connecticut. The 2019 OMEGA PGA Professional Player of the Year Ryan Vermeer, PGA; 2019 OMEGA Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Joanna Coe, PGA; and 2019 OMEGA Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Bob Sowards, PGA will also be honored.

About the PGA of America
The PGA of America is one of the world’s largest sports organizations, composed of nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals who daily work to grow interest and inclusion in the game of golf. For more information about the PGA of America, visit PGA.com and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

About the Western New York Section, PGA of America
The Western New York Section is one of 41 Sections of the PGA of America that covers the geographic regions of Buffalo, Rochester and Northwest, PA.  The Section includes 300 PGA Professionals and Associates and has a mission of  Serving the Member and Growing the Game of Golf. For more information about the Western New York Section, PGA of America, visit wnypga.com.