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February 18th, 2013

Michael O'Keefe Michael O'Keefe
The 2013 golf season kicked off with the Callaway Indiana PGA Spring Business Meeting held February 11-12, at The Ritz Charles in Carmel. With guests ranging from PGA of America leadership to Caddyshack’s Danny Noonan, and also recognizing the top professionals of the Indiana PGA Section, the agenda included something for everyone.

Over 280 Indiana PGA Members and Apprentices attended the two day program. Monday’s highlights included a panel of the four most influential people associated with the PGA of America. PGA President Ted Bishop, Director of Golf at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, newly hired CEO Pete Bevacqua, COO Darrell Crall, and the Senior Director of Championship events Kerry Haigh, spent much of Tuesday afternoon updating the attendees on key topics affecting the PGA of America.

The main focus of the panel discussion was on Player Development which will continue to be the priority of the PGA of America in 2013 and beyond. Crall stated the new plan for the PGA moving forward is that there is no new plan. His point was that the PGA of America will stay the course by continuing to promote Get Golf Ready and other player development programs. The PGA-developed Get Golf Ready program, offers an affordable introduction to those interested in learning how to play the game of golf. Prices for GGR which includes a series of five lessons begin at just $99.00.

Bevacqua said his first 90 days with the PGA have been fantastic. He said the focus of the National office will continue to be on services for the 27,000 PGA members nationwide. Bevacqua, a native of New York, has Indiana ties as a 1993 graduate of Notre Dame.

Bevacqua began a lifetime relationship with golf as a 10-year-old caddie at Bedford Golf & Tennis Club. He continued working there through his college years as a caddie master and eventually golf shop manager under PGA Professional Walt Ronan. With his undergraduate degree complete, Bevacqua went on to earn a law degree from Georgetown University.

Bevacqua believes the PGA can be broken down into three different areas; member services, Championship events, and player development. While that might be a little too simplistic, the majority of the PGA’s efforts will focus on one of these three areas.

Monday’s agenda concluded with the recognition of the 2013 Indiana PGA Special Award winners, with PGA Professional of the Year honors going to Tom Thome, the general manager of Elcona Country Club.

Player of the Year Awards
PGA Player of the Year: John DalCorobbo, Prairie View Golf Club
PGA Senior Player of the Year: Bill Schumaker, Crooked Lake Golf Course
PGA Assistant Player of the Year: Blair Shadday, Purgatory Golf Club

Special Awards
Golf Professional of the Year: Tom Thome, Elcona Country Club
Teacher of the Year: Tony Day, Golf Club of Indiana
Junior Leader Award Recipient: Bill Van Valer, Stony Creek Golf Club
Bill Strausbaugh Award Recipient: Mike Reynolds, Evansville Country Club
Horton Smith Award Recipient: Chad Cockerham, Otter Creek Golf Club
Merchandiser of the Year, Private: David Von Hoffmann, Victoria National Golf Club
Merchandiser of the Year, Public: Scott Heger, Wood Wind Golf Club
Merchandiser of the Year, Resort: Andy Fortner, French Lick Springs Resort
Assistant Golf Professional of the Year: Kyle Cramer, Fort Wayne Country Club

Todd Gongwer, author of “Lead….for God’s Sake!” addressed the attendees on Tuesday morning. An Indiana native, Gongwer has spent over 20 years developing his expertise in the areas of leadership and team dynamics through a wide range of experiences spanning the world of business and athletics. He has held executive level positions in companies ranging from entrepreneurial start-up to public entity. In addition, Todd served as an assistant college basketball coach for one of the most successful programs in the country during the 1990’s. Since writing, “Lead…for God’s Sake!” Todd has become a sought after speaker, teacher, and coach on the subject of leadership throughout the nation. Below you’ll find a link to Todd’s website, which highlights his leadership journey.

The two day Spring Meeting concluded with an appearance by actor Michael O’ Keefe. O’ Keefe is best known for his role as Danny Noonan in the film “Caddyshack”. He received an Academy Award nomination for this role. He also received a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his role as the oldest son of a Marine aviator in “The Great Santini”, starring Robert Duvall.

During his presentation, O’Keefe discussed his role as Noonan, with a lighthearted presentation featuring stories about the other actors, including Billy Murray, Chevy Chase, and the infamous gopher. O’Keefe also discussed his adopted practice of Zen Buddhism and how it can be a beneficial mindset for the game of golf, citing author Dr. Joe Parent.

Link to Todd Gongwer’s Website: