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Dean Zahn Named 2016 Youth Development Leader Award Recipient

November 3, 2016

The 2016 Youth Development Leader Award is given to Dean Zahn of Moccasin Creek Country Club in Aberdeen, South Dakota. This award is bestowed upon an individual of great character who demonstrates involvement in the promotion and development of junior golf, support of National junior golf programs and shows interest, concern and ability to provide opportunities and experiences for juniors to learn and play golf.

Zahn received the award based on the following criterion: contributions to junior programs and events in the Section (including service as a member of the Junior Golf Committee), involvement in the promotion and development of junior golf at his or her facility and in the community, support of PGA Junior Golf Programs, and overall image, service and leadership in the junior golf sector.


Serving as the leader of junior golf development at Moccasin Creek, Dean preaches a consistent team effort and embraces learning along the way. The program continues to evolve and grow as the offerings expand to the entire Aberdeen community and region. In an effort to accomplish this, he established a non-profit organization, Junior Golf Aberdeen, to head up all of the junior golf initiatives.

Underneath the Junior Golf Aberdeen umbrella, he runs programs and initiatives such as First Tee of South Dakota, PGA Junior League in conjunction with the Section, the Aberdeen Junior Golf Championships, Family Fun Night for juniors and families who regularly participate in junior programs, and free family golf clinics.

There is a very rewarding feeling for Zahn being associated with these types of programs.

“With these programs, there’s always a kid who may be heading down the wrong path in life and joins the program. His parents are thinking that this can be a glorified babysitter for them,” Zahn said. “All of the sudden it clicks for that kid. He starts teaching the other kids; he tells them to fix their ball marks and divots. He’s the one who takes his hat off when shaking hands, and that is when you know you are doing the right thing.”

It doesn’t stop there for him; he offers two scholarships, called the Dean Shortridge Scholarship, worth $500 yearly to juniors in the area in honor of the longtime Aberdeen PGA Professional, SDGA Hall of Famer and junior golf advocate. The scholarship program has awarded over $30,000 to deserving junior golfers through contributions from the Moccasin Creek members and affiliates.

Moccasin Creek supports its local high school golf teams by allowing them to play and practice at the facility free of charge. Additionally, PGA Professionals often help and instruct the players during practice also at no cost. The course and staff developed a policies and procedures document that outlines behavioral expectations and etiquette on the golf course for these players.

The facility has a very supportive and engaged membership that makes fundraising manageable. All funds raised go toward equipment, supplies, programming and scholarship for those who cannot afford fees at the various events hosted at Moccasin Creek.

Beyond his facility, Dean has served on the SDGA Board of Directors as well as on the Board of Directors with the South Dakota Junior Golf Foundation, Minnesota Section, Dakota Chapter and Dakota Tour in various, meaningful positions.

“I think youth golf is exploding,” emphasized Zahn. “Junior Golf is really taking off. A lot of our professionals have gotten serious about it and have taken their programs to the next level. That bodes well for the future of the game.”

Dean has done a tremendous amount for the Aberdeen community and Moccasin Creek Country Club, specifically.

Congratulations and thank you for your services to the Section, Dean.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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