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Branstad Named Master Kids Teachher, Maize and Herzog Top 50 Kids Teachers by U.S. Kids Golf

January 18, 2017

Michael Herzog, from Golf Etc. Bismarck, and Sheryl Maize, from Crystal Lake G.C, have been named to U.S. Kids Golf’s annual list of Top 50 Kids Teachers. The Award recognizes the world’s most outstanding youth golf instructors, and both are a part of a select group that earned Top 50 accolades among nearly 350 applicants.

Since 2004, U.S. Kids Golf has honored the best youth golf teachers with the Top 50 Kids Teacher Award. Applicants complete an online survey and winners are chosen based on their contributions to youth golf, such as: experience young golfers; time devoted to teaching youth; innovation, creativity and fun in their programs; communication; parental involvement; use of a well-organized instruction program and overall effort to grow the game.

Also, David Branstad of Oak Ridge CC was recognized as one of nine Masters Kids Teachers this year for his outstanding contributions to growing the game amongst kids. Being named a Master Kids Teacher is the highest honor an instructor can receive from U.S. Kids Golf. These individuals have earned the distinction of Master Kids Teacher by winning the Top 50 Kids Teacher Award three or more times.

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The Top 50 Kids Teachers of 2016 includes golf professionals from 26 states, Canada, England and Kenya. Each year, award recipients include teachers who work at public, private, resort and municipal courses.

“These coaches are honored as more than instructors,” explained Dan Van Horn, the President and Founder of U.S. Kids Golf. “They create outstanding opportunities for young golfers to learn in a fun and rewarding environment that instills a love for the game and engages the entire family.  Their ability to connect with students and fully engage them in the learning process sets them apart.”

The Top 50 Kids Teacher Award is administered by the U.S. Kids Golf Coaches Institute, a division of the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation. For more information about the Top 50 Kids Teacher Award, please contact U.S. Kids Golf at coaches@uskidsgolf.com.

Top 50 Kids Teachers – Class of 2016

Roger Adams… Highfields G.&C.C… Grafton, Mass.
Leighann Albaugh… Magnolia Green G.C… Moseley, Va.
Ryan Anderson… The Glencoe G.&C.C… Calgary, Alta.
Peter Bakker… Mike Bender Golf Academy… Lake Mary, Fla.
Matt Barton… The Wyndgate… Rochester Hills, Mich.
Paul Belongie… RiverPines G.C… Johns Creek, Ga.
Kathy Bounds… Dona Lerner Golf Academy… Raleigh, N.C.
Zachary Bowcut… Nibley Park G.C… Salt Lake City, Utah
John Brown… High Point C.C… High Point, N.C.
Allen Burton… Lake Hickory C.C… Hickory, N.C.
Todd Casabella… Barrington G.C… Aurora, Ohio
Eva Chaffin… Santa Maria Golf Course… Baton Rouge, La.
Matthew Clay… Del Mar Golf Center… Del Mar, Calif.
Kelli Corlett… Haggin Oaks Golf Complex… Sacramento, Calif.
Maeve Cromwell… Braelinn G.C… Peachtree City, Ga.
Susan Crowley… Blackhawk C.C… Danville, Calif.
Benjamin Debski… The Springhaven Club… Wallingford, Pa.
Carlton Dove… Wichita C.C… Wichita, Kan.
Alexander Fisher… The Glacier Club… Durango, Colo.
Daniel Gaucher… Lyman Orchards G.C… Middlefield, Conn.
Roman Greer… Cranberry Valley G.C… Harwich, Mass.
Mary Hafeman… Missing Links… Mequon, Wis.
Jim Hardy… Longleaf G.&F.C… Southern Pines, N.C.
Bryan Heim… Columbine C.C… Columbine Valley, Colo.
Michael Herzog… Golf Etc… Bismarck, N.D.
Jeffrey Hirose… Palm Lake G.C… Pomona, Calif.
Michelle Holmes… Cahoon Plantation G.C… Chesapeake, Va.
Blake Jirges… Henry Brunton Golf Academy… Irvine, Calif.
Emanuel Kasio… Golf For Kids… Kiserian, Kenya
Susie Kirk… The Woodlands C.C… The Woodlands, Texas
Mary Beth Kohberger… Newton C.C… Newton, N.J.
Sally Krystyn… Shadow Glen The G.C… Olathe, Kan.
Sheryl Maize… Crystal Lake G.C… Lakeville, Minn.
Wade Martin… The Villages Golf Academy… The Villages, Fla.
Kelli McKandless… Brookhaven C.C… Dallas, Texas
Cindy Miller… The Wehrle Golf Dome… Williamsville, N.Y.
Oliver Oliquiano… Island Pacific Golf Academy… Kapolei, Hawaii
Maria Palozola… Big Bend Golf Center… Valley Park, Mo.
Gene Powell… Four Bridges C.C… Liberty Township, Ohio
Tom Reid… Wentworth Club… Surrey, England
Eddie Roethlisberger… Ponca City C.C… Ponca City, Okla.
Tom Shea… Eagles G.C… Tampa, Fla.
Ryan Smith… Rick Murphy Golf Academy… Greensboro, N.C.
Jim Sykes… The Landings Club… Savannah, Ga.
Tina Tombs… Arizona Biltmore G.C. & Resort… Phoenix, Ariz.
Tim Wagner… Timber Trails G.C… Pocono Pines, Pa.
Matt Walter… Vanderbilt Legends Club… Franklin, Tenn.
Adam Williamson… Rumson C.C… Rumson, N.J.
Tyler Wong… Tualatin C.C… Tualatin, Ore.
Phillip Yudys… Glen Oak C.C… Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Masters Kids Teachers – Class of 2016

Christy Longfield… Spanish Oaks G.C… Bee Cave, Texas
Michael Dickson… Congressional C.C… Bethesda, M.D.
Maggie Simons… Carmel CC… Charlotte, N.C.
Mark Krizic… Ridge C. C… Chicago, Ill.
Linda Gaudi… Country Club of Fairfax… Fairfax, Va.
David Branstad… Oak Ridge C.C. … Hopkins, Minn.
Andy Miller… Ledge Rock G.C… Mohnton, Pa.
Fred Bond… Stonebridge G.C… Monroe, S.C.
Johnathon Mielke… Oak Hills C.C… Omaha, Neb.

About U.S. Kids Golf

The U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, a Georgia non-profit recognized as a 501(c)(3) charity, was created in 2001 and provides services that include competition and instruction. The Foundation organizes over 800 tournaments each year for more than 10,000 players, ages 5-18. These tournaments include Local Tours in more than 50 cities, eight Regional Championships, the European Championship, and the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship and Teen World Championship, which are held each year in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

The vision of the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation is to provide kids and their families the opportunity participate in the game of golf through instruction and competition. With the belief that family interaction is critical in the development of young golfers, parents are encouraged to serve as caddies for their kids during tournaments and to develop positive coaching techniques.

U.S. Kids Golf, LLC is based in Atlanta and manufactures equipment and related golf products designed for kids. It was created in 1997 when Founder/CEO Dan Van Horn found that his children were losing their interest in golf due to not having the proper equipment. In addition to more than 4,000 golf shops and retail locations in the United States, the company’s products also are available in more than 75 countries worldwide.

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2017-2018 Drive, Chip & Putt Schedule Announced

January 11, 2017

The 2017-2018 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship schedule has been released by the USGA, The Masters and PGA of America. The schedule includes dates and locations for participants to play in local qualifiers across the country with the opportunity to advance and earn an invitation to next year’s National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club. The qualifying schedule is available here on the event’s website. Online registration will also be available at drivechipandputt.com, starting Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

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For the full press release, click here.

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.

Building off of a Strong Season, Sorenson Pleased with PGA Tournament Series Showing

December 20, 2016

2016 Player of the Year Jeff Sorenson continued his great play when he traveled to Port St. Lucie, FL for the PGA Tournament Series at the PGA Golf Club this winter. Sorenson played in all six Tournament Series Events and had multiple top-3 finishes including a T-2 finish in Event No. 1. Not only that, he only had one finish over par in which he had his worst finish of the Series in a tie for 16th. He shot a combined 19-under in the six events.

“It was a busy stretch of tournaments, but overall I played well. I had a lot of good second rounds; some of my first rounds were OK but not real low which is what you needed in some of those events,” said Sorenson.

Twice, Sorenson missed out an opportunity to play extra holes falling short by two shots in the first event and one shot in the third event,

“I got in contention in a couple of them but missed the playoffs by one shot and two shots in two of the events. It was a good stretch of playing, but I need to get off to a hotter start in some of these tournaments.”

He has his sights set on the Winter Championships, beginning in the middle of January, to capture a couple of victories that eluded him in the Tournament Series. Sorenson will be competing in the Senior-Junior Team Championship on Jan.16-19, Four-ball Stableford Championship on Jan. 30-Feb. 2 and Stroke Play Championship on Feb. 6-9.

“I’m really looking forward to the Winter Championships. I would like to win at least one, if not two, or why not all three,” said Sorenson. “My overall goal is to get multiple wins before returning to Minnesota [in early April].”

It’s great to see Sorenson healthy and playing well again, “my back feels great,” he added.

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.

George Waters Spotlight: First Tee Twin Cities

December 1, 2016

Along with First Tee of South Dakota, the First Tee Twin Cities program based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul was also selected as a recipient of a George Waters Memorial Grant.

Similar to most First Tee programs, The First Tee of the Twin Cites carries out a character education program that is taught through the game of golf.

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“The kids are learning golf, but not only that, they are applying the character skills we teach to their everyday lives,” said First Tee of Twin Cities Executive Director, Brian Simpson. Integrity, honesty and respect are just a few of the nine core values taught through the First Tee program.”

First Tee St. Paul began in 2005 before eventually merging with First Tee Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation to form The First Tee of the Twin Cities. Since then, the program has 14 golf course locations across the Minneapolis and St. Paul area to date. In addition to the numerous golf courses hosting, the program has made its way into local schools. As a part of the National School Program, the First Tee Twin Cities loans resources to schools in the area as well as part of Wisconsin.

“We give schools and their Physical Education instructors what we call our SNAG (Starting New At Golf) equipment and each teacher will introduce the kids to golf and incorporate the core values in their lesson plan,” Simpson explained.

“We have 15 schools with about 500 kids per school that are introduced to the game of golf on a yearly basis,” he added.

And that is in addition to the 14 courses that host children and kids on a weekly basis.

Kids of many different abilities, backgrounds and ethnicities, primarily ages 4-12, participate in the program. The program, as a whole, acts as a mentorship education as many of the past participants continue to stay involved once they reach their early teens but more so in a leadership role.

Another unique aspect of the First Tee is that they are able to help grant person(s) scholarships, full and partial, on a yearly basis dependent upon their academic success, involvement in First Tee and golf career thus far.

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“Five years ago, when we were the First Tee St. Paul, a young girl in the program received a full scholarship to New York University,” Simpson said. “That was a really cool moment in the program.”

Each class begins with a 5-10 minute warm-up usually consisting of some sort of meet and greet with the kids or an ice breaker to erase any anxiousness. After that they go into an introduction of a specific golf skill whether it be grip, posture, set-up, etc. They use the golf exercise to teach the game while incorporating the core value or life skill for the day which takes up most of the session. At the end of the class, they review the core value and discuss how they can use it for the rest of the day and beyond.

“The money from this year’s grant went to fund the special needs outreach program that wouldn’t be possible without it,” he said. “The grant gives kids with special needs that normally wouldn’t have an opportunity to play, the chance to. It gives us extra staffing and the ability to let them play free of charge, too.”

Simpson also expressed gratitude toward his peers in the Section, “it also wouldn’t be possible without the help of the twenty-some Minnesota PGA Professionals involved with the program or administer lessons through First Tee.”

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.

2016 November Publication

November 23, 2016

Here is the 2016 November Publication for the Minnesota Section PGA.

Content includes:

  • New Members & Employment Changes
  • Minnesota Golf License Plate
  • Minnesota PGA Fall Scramble
  • Minnesota PGA Season Long 4-Ball Match Play Championship
  • Minnesota PGA Luther Tour Championship
  • Minnesota PGA Facility Team Championship
  • Minnesota PGA Fall Meeting Notes
  • Minnesota Section PGA Award Winners
  • Minnesota Section PGA Players of the Year

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.

Don Berry Finishes T-4 at Senior PGA Professional Championship, Claims Senior Player of the Year Honors

November 22, 2016

Don Berry of Edinburgh USA was one of seven Minnesota Section qualifiers that traveled to Port St. Lucie, FL for the 28th Senior PGA Professional Championship this past weekend.

As he usually does, Berry made it count by finishing T-4 at 9-under and qualifying for his fifth straight Senior PGA Championship; not to mention every year he has been eligible, he has qualified. The 2017 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid will be played at Trump National Golf Club, Washington D.C., in Potomac Falls, Virginia on May 25-28, 2017.

28th Senior PGA Professional Championship Presented by GolfAdvisor & Mercedes-Benz

Don Berry hits his tee shot on the ninth hole during the final round of Senior PGA Professional Championship (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)

Berry was fantastic all weekend. He never posted an over-par round in the four days, and his tournament was highlighted by a 5-under 67 on day two that put him in the hunt at 8-under—two shots back of the leader.

“I really hit the ball well,” said Berry, who was named 2016 Senior Player of the Year following this past weekend’s performance. “I hit 16 greens the first three days and 15 greens the last day. I was very consistently in good shape putting for birdies which limited my changes for bogey.”

Although he couldn’t best his finish from the 2013 Senior PGA Professional National Championship in which he finished second, he embraces the competition at the top of the leaderboard with the nation’s best Senior PGA Professionals.

“It’s very stressful off the course, don’t really get great sleep, think about it too much,” stressed Berry, who finds himself in this position time and time again. “When playing, it’s just a round of golf and I don’t feel as anxious. Fun though.”

This marks the fifth straight Senior Player of the Year title. Five straight seems to be a reoccurring theme for Berry this season as he continues to flourish in the Senior division. Berry finished 140.50 points ahead of Dale Jones of Mendakota Country Club.

Berry is chomping at the bit to get to Washington D.C. to compete against the best in the world.

“This will be my fifth in a row, really looking forward to it already,” he emphasized. “The venue is going to be fun; Trump National in Washington D.C. while he is the President! I’ll bet there will be a lot of energy.”

“I have made the cut in 3 of the 4 years I’ve played in it, so I know I can compete out there,” he added.

What will it take for Berry to have a chance come that final Sunday you ask,

“I just really need to putt better than I normally do. A good putting week, and I feel like I can contend or at least be part of the conversation.”

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.

George Waters Spotlight: First Tee of South Dakota “Golf in the Schools”

November 21, 2016

First Tee of South Dakota was also chosen as one of the six recipients of a George Waters Memorial Grant for their “Golf in the Schools” program.

The mission of the program is to develop and engage youth in the game of golf as well as provide educational opportunities in the form of golf such as teaching healthy habits and core values.

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“This program includes a wide demographic of participants ages 4 to 17,” said Coralee Jorgensen, Golf Administrator at First Tee of South Dakota. “Whether that be kids with special needs or scholarship needs. All youth are welcome.”

With the participants being beginners through and through, each class started in a different direction than most golf teaching sessions. They warm up and learn a core value word of the day; for example, on day the word would be respect.

“We ask them questions, involving the word of the day, along the lines of how can you respect yourself?” emphasized Jorgensen. “This teaches them about the word and then it translates to golf in how they can respect parts of this great game.”

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At the conclusion of the class, the coach will bring the kids and go over what they learned today. They will revisit what the core value means and how they can use that word for the rest of the day through discussion.

“The program finished its ninth year now,” Jorgensen said. “We started with 227 kids and now we have well over 1,200 participants. The grant was such a gift, we used the money to pay for three golf professionals to teach and to use different schools for locations where PE teachers teach the curriculum.”

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.