Golf Professional of the Year

Golf Professional of the Year

Established 1955

The Golf Professional of the Year Award is the highest honor paid to a PGA Professional within the Indiana Section PGA. The following guidelines are used to determine nominees for this prestigious award: overall performance as a golf professional at his/her facility, level of service to his/her Section and to the Association, leadership ability, image and ability to inspire fellow professionals and promotion of golf. While this honor should be based on a professional's entire record, emphasis should be placed on his/her performance and achievements over the last five years.

2013 Winner

Tom Thome - Elcona CC

Our 2013 Indiana Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year began his professional career in 1977 under the mentorship of Lynn Janson, the head golf professional at Green Ridge Country Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Throughout his apprenticeship program under Janson, Thome learned the importance of hard work, attention to detail and the importance on a high level of customer service and relationship building. Those values have stuck with Thome throughout his 35 year career in the golf industry.

Thome has been the Director of Operations at Elcona Country Club for the past three years, and is going on his twentieth year as a Head Professional at Elcona.  To consistently become better at what he does, he continues to attend educational seminars provided by the Indiana Section, reads books about customer service and equipment, and also looks for educational opportunities outside of the golf industry.

In his 20 years of being a Head Professional at Elcona, Thome has guided nine Assistant Professionals into Head Professional roles at various clubs, which he considers to be his biggest achievement thus far. That accomplishment helped earn Thome the 2012 Indiana Section PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award.

His dedication to and involvement with the Indiana Section has come in the form of service in various capacities as well as hosing Championship events. Thome served on the Indiana PGA Board of Directors in 2001 and 2002 and was chairman of the Education Committee in 2002. He  has hosted three Northern Opens, two Club Professional Championships, and the Indiana Open Championship. In 2016, Elcona will host the State Amateur Championship, making it the 8th facility in Indiana to host both the Am and the Open.

In Thome’s application he stated: “Leading by example is the best way to inspire other golf professionals.  A willingness to work long hours, showing them that paying attention to detail creates credibility within our membership, and going the extra mile sets our operation apart from the rest of our competition.  I create an atmosphere within the golf operation that we win as a team or lose as a team.  We definitely have had more wins than loses.”

Past Winners

Year Name
1955 Wayne Timberman, Sr.
1956 John Watson
1957 Herman Uebele, Sr.
1958 Wayne Hensley
1959 Don Fischesser
1960 Jimmy Scott
1961 Don Padgett
1962 William Heinlein
1963 Tommy Vaughn
1964 Noel Epperson
1965 James Guinnup
1966 Mal McMullen
1967 John Suveges
1968 William Heinlein
1969 George Thomas
1970 Bill Kratzert, Jr.
1971 Ray Jones
1972 Mickey Powell
1973 James Gallagher, Sr.
1974 Don Essig, III
1975 Don Street
1976 Richard Walker
1977 John Raidy
1978 James Gallagher, Sr.
1979 Glade Montgomery
1980 Robert Kruse
1981 Jim Romar
1982 Ed Knych
1983 John Dunham
1984 Jim Ferriell, Jr.
1985 Tony Clecak
1986 Pat Welch
1987 Doug Booth
1988 Larry Bianco
1989 Gary Gant
1990 Ron Fueger
1991 Eric Schneider
1992 Dick Walker
1993 Don Dicken
1994 Jim Ferriell, Jr.
1995 Paul Bessler
1996 Jack Barber
1997 Dave Schumaker
1998 Sam Carmichael
1999 Sam Carmichael
2000 Todd Smith
2001 Eric Noble
2002 Jack Sudac
2003 Jim Ferriell
2004 Lon Kinney
2005 Greg Havill
2006 Tom Harris
Jan Tellstrom



Denny Dennis

Tony Pancake

Denny Ford

Chip Essig