In a celebration of excellence, the Pacific Northwest Section PGA proudly announces the recipients of its prestigious 2023 Annual Awards. Recognizing outstanding performance across 13 categories, these winners, acknowledged by their peers, epitomize the pinnacle of achievement among the PNW PGA’s 1,200 dedicated professionals spanning Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, Western Montana, and Alaska.
Golf Professional of the Year
Roger Wallace, PGA, of Polson Bay Golf Course, a three-time previous recipient, is honored as the 2023 Golf Professional of the Year. Roger’s remarkable career spans playing, teaching, and promoting the game, leaving an indelible mark on the golf community. His prowess on the course, marked by 19 consecutive appearances in the Montana Cups and three WMCPGA Match Play Championships over four decades, attests to his enduring playing abilities. As a dignified teacher, Roger imparts the fundamentals, shaping the skills of top amateurs and golf professionals. His unwavering commitment to promoting the game shines through extensive committee work and leadership roles at the chapter, section, and national levels. Even in retirement, Roger’s dedication endures, providing invaluable consultations to fellow PGA Professionals.
Assistant Golf Professional of the Year
Carrie DeGree, PGA, of Royal Oaks Country Club, demonstrates her multifaceted excellence as she is named the 2023 Assistant Golf Professional of the Year, following her previous win in 2021. Carrie embodies the epitome of an Assistant Golf Professional, showcasing exemplary leadership at the prestigious Royal Oaks CC. Her prowess extends across merchandising, instruction, management, and tournament operations. Carrie’s influence is not confined to her facility; she actively elevates the Oregon Chapter and Pacific Northwest Section, inspiring fellow professionals to excel.
Teacher of the Year
Christopher Smith, PGA, of Eugene Country Club, adds another accolade to his name as the 2023 Teacher of the Year, having previously claimed this honor in 2004 and 2003. With a distinguished career spanning local, regional, and international facilities, Christopher has honed his teaching expertise, boasting an impressive roster of students, including PGA and DP World Tour players, Division 1 golfers, and successful local adult and junior players. Christopher’s leadership extends beyond traditional instruction, fostering a holistic approach to human performance. He actively engages with professionals outside the golf realm, including neuroscience, doctors, and trainers. Notably, Christopher is a trailblazer in educating fellow PGA Professionals, sharing his entertaining and enlightening insights that benefit both players and coaches alike.
Professional Development Award
Carrie DeGree, PGA, of Royal Oaks Country Club, receives the Professional Development Award for her exemplary role as a PGA model educator. Carrie’s leadership transcends the Oregon Chapter and Pacific Northwest Section, inspiring fellow professionals to strive for excellence. A community stalwart, she actively promotes governance involvement and continuous education. In her role on the Section board and as Education Committee Chair, Carrie revived the PNWPGA Mentoring Conference, showcasing a commitment to the professional growth of PGA Members and Associates. Her dedication to this program, featuring national speakers and exceptional content, places the PNWPGA on the national stage for mentoring and professional development.
Bill Strausbaugh Award
Chas Holmes, PGA, of Bear Creek Country Club, stands out as an outstanding mentor, securing the Bill Strausbaugh Award. Over the past decade, Chas has exhibited exceptional mentorship, catalyzing the careers of numerous individuals. Notable mentees like Evan Galando, Bryan Tupper, Ben Assink, Josh Petersen, Austin Johnson, Cole Clearman, Harry Danna, Pete Brooks, and Danny Tomson showcase the diverse impact of Chas’s guidance. His commitment extends beyond golf, instilling professional and personal growth. Testimonials from these gentlemen affirm Chas’s transformative influence, emphasizing his pivotal role in shaping successful golf professionals and instilling a sense of camaraderie.
Bill Morach, PGA, of Eugene Country Club, earns the 2023 Patriot Award, emphasizing his dedication to serving members and veterans of the US Armed Forces. Bill’s unwavering commitment has made a monumental impact at Eugene Country Club. Over years of dedicated effort, he has cultivated an event and culture that honors veterans, resulting in significant contributions to programs like Folds of Honor. Under Bill’s leadership, Eugene Country Club has raised an impressive $570,000 for Folds of Honor. Since winning this award previously in 2021, Bill has launched a successful PGA HOPE program at ECC, promising continued growth and support for veterans in the years ahead.
Player Development Award
Ryan Young, PGA, of Chambers Bay, claims the 2023 Player Development Award, adding to his previous awards in 2020 and 2016. Ryan’s outstanding contributions to player development set him apart, with over 35 programs and nearly 3,000 participants in 2023 alone. From Junior to Adult categories, Ryan’s commitment to golfers of all ages and skill levels shines through. Since founding the Chambers Bay Academy in 2016, he has achieved remarkable revenue growth, totaling $2 million, with a 2023 projection of $400,000. Ryan’s dedication extends beyond numbers, boasting a stellar 9.8/10 satisfaction rating and actively sharing expertise with fellow PGA members.
Youth Player Development Award
Sara Griffin, PGA, of Griffin Golf, is bestowed with the 2023 Youth Player Development Award. Sara’s commitment to nurturing a holistic growth of the game for youth at all levels is truly commendable. Through PGA-inspired programs and her own initiatives, she has dedicated her career to imparting not only golf skills but also essential life skills. Sara’s genuine care for her students is evident in her personality, fostering a love for golf that extends to families. From beginners to collegiate players, including a 7-year tenure coaching the Women’s Pacific Lutheran University Team, Sara’s impact on youth player development is profound. Her work with the PGA Family Cup and family group lessons underscores her dedication to growing the game for entire families.
Merchandiser of the Year – Public
Sean Arey, PGA, of Trysting Tree GC, was honored as the 2023 PNW PGA Merchandiser of the Year in the Public category. As one of the few pros who owns his golf shop, Sean’s commitment to excellence shines through in every aspect of his merchandising operation at Trysting Tree. Demonstrating exceptional sales, margins, and efficiency, Sean’s retail success stands out prominently. Despite limited space, Trysting Tree leads in retail sales per square foot, boasting an impressive $580 in 2022. Sean’s strategic buying practices, particularly emphasizing college sports near Oregon State University, showcase his innovative approach to merchandising.
Merchandiser of the Year – Private
Trevor Fox, PGA, of the Golf Club at Black Rock, takes the spotlight as the 2023 PNW PGA Merchandiser of the Year in the Private category. Trevor’s exceptional leadership has propelled the team to achieve robust revenues and impressive margins with a small group of club members. His adept utilization of limited space, coupled with a keen understanding of member preferences, has elevated the club’s retail success. Trevor’s dedication to research, engaging vendors, and expanding offerings beyond traditional golf merchandise, including jewelry, showcases his innovative approach. His creative prowess and commitment to personalized service have contributed significantly to the club’s sustained success.
Merchandiser of the Year – Resort
Nick McCaslin, PGA, of Kalispel G&CC earns the title of 2023 PNW PGA Merchandiser of the Year in the Resort category. This marks Nick’s third consecutive win, building on his remarkable achievements in 2021 and 2020. At Kalispel Golf & Country Club, Nick’s leadership is evident in the continuous growth of merchandise sales year over year. Fueled by a team motto that prioritizes making visitors feel special, he instills core values of inclusivity, pride, and excellence. Nick dedicates a quarter of his time to meticulous visual merchandising, ensuring displays reflect current trends. His outstanding sales, margins, and operational efficiency underscore his undeniable success in retail at Kalispel G&CC.
Deacon Palmer Award
Ryan Cutter, PGA, of Green Meadow Country Club is bestowed the 2023 Deacon Palmer Award, recognizing resilience in the face of personal challenges. Born with leg deformities due to amniotic band syndrome, Ryan’s journey to self-discovery through golf has been nothing short of inspirational. As a dedicated PGA Professional, he passionately imparts life skills to juniors and adults alike, fostering integrity, sportsmanship, and resilience. Through extensive junior programs and clinics such as Wine & Wedges, Ryan exemplifies inclusivity and determination. Since winning this award in 2021, Ryan Cutter has created the All Abilities Golf Academy, a non-profit, and initiated a PGA HOPE program at his facility.
Perry Williams Award
Mike Miller, PGA, of Kent, WA, takes home the 2023 Perry Williams Award, a testament to his unwavering dedication to the rules of golf. Having previously secured this honor in 2005, 2007, and 2009, Miller’s impressive 15-year tenure as the PNW PGA Rules Chairman and his commitment to ongoing education at more than six USGA/PGA Rules Seminars further exemplify his lasting impact on the PNW PGA Rules Committee since 1993.
Join us in extending heartfelt congratulations to these exceptional professionals for their remarkable contributions throughout the year. The PNW PGA Special Awards Ceremony, where their achievements will be celebrated, is scheduled for March 17, 2024, at Tacoma Country & Golf Club.