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Carson Highlights List of 2012 Illinois PGA Award Winners

GLENVIEW, Ill. – Bruce Carson, PGA head golf professional at historic Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Ill., has been mentoring PGA Professionals for over 30 years. Carson’s dedication and service to his fellow Professionals and the Illinois PGA has earned him the Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award, the highest annual honor bestowed by the Illinois PGA on a PGA Professional.

 “I’m extremely honored to be named the 58th Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year,” said Carson. “It’s very rewarding to be recognized by your peers, especially for mentoring PGA Professionals. I’m most satisfied that the 18 assistants that have worked for me are now PGA head golf professionals and each one of them is still in the job they had after leaving here going back 32 years. They all got good jobs and they’ve made them better.”

Carson will be honored at the Illinois PGA Special Awards Reception on Thursday, November 15 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. The awards program begins at 8:00 p.m., preceded by a 7:00 p.m. dinner reception. The evening’s program will feature all 2012 Illinois PGA Award winners:

· Scott Baines of Des Plaines, Ill. – Assistant Golf Professional of the Year
· Pat Goss of Evanston, Ill. – Teacher of the Year
· Michael Carbray of Glen Ellyn, Ill. – Junior Golf Leader
· Jim Sobb of Barrington, Ill. – Bill Strausbaugh Award
· Nick Papadakes of Wadsworth, Ill. – Horton Smith Award
· Jeff Siegmund of Plainfield, Ill. – The Player Development Award
· Wade Gurysh of Libertyville, Ill. – PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private Facilities)
· Robert Falkiner of Prospect Heights, Ill. – PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Public Facilities)
· Pat Kenny of Landrum, S.C. – Bill Heald Career Achievement Award

Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year – Bruce Carson, 63, born and raised in Westerly, R.I., picked up the game at a young age, tagging along with his father and acting as his caddy, pulling his cart until he was big enough to carry the bag. Instantly, the golf course became a second home for him. In high school, he worked at Winnapaug Country Club in his home town of Westerly, where he mowed greens, watered the course at night, and eventually worked his way into a position in the golf shop. There he worked for Chet Irwin, an old Scottish golf professional who owned the facility.

Carson admitted his work ethic and passion for the golf industry started when he worked for Irwin. His family had a membership at Winnapaug where he also caddied, worked in the restaurant, and played countless rounds of golf.

He excelled in many sports and won state championships in football and basketball in high school. Golf wasn’t offered as a high school sport at the time, but he played as much as possible in the summer and earned a scholarship to the University of Rhode Island, where he competed for four seasons.

He graduated from University of Rhode Island in 1978 with a degree in business education and business management, but knew exactly what he wanted to do post-graduation: work in the golf business.

Carson’s first job out of college was as caddie master at the course where his college team played, a role he served for a year before turning professional. He was then hired to work for a Professional in Darien, Conn., where he learned a great deal about playing tournament golf.

While working in Connecticut, Carson continued honing his game, resulting in a few wins as an assistant. However, he knew he wasn’t going to make it playing professionally, so he chose a different route in the golf business.

In his third year out of school, he got hired at Point Judith Country Club in Narragansett, R.I., as the PGA head golf professional. After his time at Point Judith Country Club, he took a job at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla., where he worked for two years.

Another facility, The Windsor Club, was being built adjacent to Orchid Island and Carson got a job there a week later. He served as the PGA head golf professional at Windsor for eight years.

While at Windsor, he received a letter in January of 1995 notifying him about an opening at Onwenstia Club for a PGA head golf professional position. He expressed interest in the job as he was being pulled away from his core duties as a PGA Professional at Windsor.

After a few impressive interviews, Carson was offered the job and accepted it with much excitement and anticipation.

Most notably, Carson holds his assistants to an incredibly high standard, knowing those who excel at Onwentsia will be quite successful in their future positions.

Carson gives credit to the members at the club in being instrumental in helping his assistants move on to bigger and better things. “The membership here will go to bat for these kids,” he said.

It all starts at the top with Carson, though. His assistants see that most days he’s the first one at the course and the last to leave. There are days he arrives at 7 a.m. and leaves at 8:30 p.m. He doesn’t let the title of head golf professional get to his head, as he performs daily tasks that other staff members are usually responsible for.

Carson says that he definitely has a few more years left in the business, but isn’t sure exactly how long a period of time that entails.

At the age of 63, Carson admits that he’s unsure of what retirement would be like but hopes to continue in the golf business, even when he packs up his bags at Onwentsia.

Carson and his wife, Laura, live in Lake Bluff, Ill., and are the parents of daughters Kellie and Katherine.

Illinois PGA Assistant Golf Professional of the Year – Scott Baines, the PGA assistant golf professional at Bryn Mawr Country Club in Lincolnwood, Ill., has been named the recipient of the 2012 Illinois PGA Assistant Golf Professional of the Year Award.

Born and raised in Burbank, Calif., Baines, 40, was always an athletic and active kid, but it didn’t come without complication at a young age. When he was four years old, Baines developed Legg Perthes, which is a degenerative hip condition, requiring surgery.  Baines wore a brace for a full year until the condition finally healed.

It didn’t take long for him to get back on the playing field, though. Baines played all the traditional sports: baseball, basketball, and soccer. It wasn’t until his grandfather handed him a 5-iron and some plastic golf balls, that every other sport took a backseat. He would hit golf balls for hours and teach himself different shots around trees and other obstacles in the yard.

When he was eight years old, his grandmother would take him to a local par 3 course and basically let him learn the game on his own. Aside from the standard “keep your eye on the ball” tip, she let him play every hole and gave him a maximum stroke count of six.  If he couldn’t make six on a hole, they would move on to the next.

By age 17, Baines was capable of shooting even par and began focusing solely on golf. He admits that his family played a major role in getting his golf career underway.

In 1993, he attended the San Diego Golf Academy with aspirations to become a PGA golf professional. His first job was at Del Mar Country Club in San Diego, Calif., where he worked as a PGA apprentice.

In 1997, Baines left the West Coast and headed toward Chicago, where he has lived ever since. He worked at Lake Bluff (Ill.) Golf Club, Winnetka (Ill.) Golf Club and Mission Hills Country Club in Northbrook, Ill.

Baines was elected to PGA membership in February 2003, and began working at Bryn Mawr Country Club the same year, where he remains today.

Aside from his work as an assistant golf professional, Baines competed in the 2006 Western Open and has made multiple appearances in both the Radix and Royal Cups.

He is currently the chair of the Illinois PGA public relations/communication committee, serves on the tournament committee, and has served on the finance committee in the past.

Baines and his wife, Melissa, live in Des Plaines, Ill., and are the parents of a son, Nathaniel.

Illinois PGA Teacher of the Year – Pat Goss, the men’s head coach and director of golf at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., has been named the 27th recipient of the Illinois PGA Teacher of the Year Award. Since 1986, the Illinois PGA Teacher of the Year Award has honored outstanding teachers of golf among the PGA of America membership.

Goss, 42, who earned his PGA membership in 1997, has been the head coach of the Wildcats for the past 17 seasons and serves as the swing coach for PGA Tour Professional Luke Donald, who played under Goss at Northwestern from 1997-2001.

Goss picked up the game of golf when he was seven years old. He would hit his father’s 7-iron in the family’s yard for hours on end. The next summer, his parents signed him up for a junior golf program at Twin Towns Golf Course in Crystal Lake, Ill. His parents would drop him off at the course where juniors were allowed to play nine holes for one dollar – a deal Goss took full advantage of.

Had it not been for a kidney defect, however, Goss may have never gotten into golf as seriously as he did. He was prohibited from playing contact sports at the age of 12 due to kidney surgery, which turned his focus to golf. From the age of 12, Goss admitted he was a “24/7 golfer.” He said he still keeps with him today a paper that he wrote in 8th grade explaining he wanted to be a golf teacher.

As he got older, he began playing golf at Crystal Woods Golf Course in Woodstock, Ill. He noted that the Craig family, who owned the course, was very generous in letting him and other juniors utilize their facility.

Goss attended Crystal Lake Central High School and competed on the golf team for four years, while taking lessons from and working for Jay Anderson, who was the PGA head golf professional at Crystal Lake (Ill.) Country Club. Anderson, who played collegiate golf at Marshall University, was very influential in helping Goss choose Marshall for college as well.

The summer following his freshman year at Marshall, Goss started taking lessons from Dr. Jim Suttie at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. With the help of Suttie, Goss’ game saw gradual improvement, allowing him to seek out other playing opportunities at a school more fit for his liking.

Goss completed his college career at Northwestern in 1992 and graduated with a degree in economics. He played for two seasons under head coach Jeff Mory, who Goss listed as one of his biggest influences within the game. Mory did not have an assistant, but was able to get enough funding to hire an assistant coach. He approached Goss in the fall after he graduated and he’s been there ever since.

In 1996, Mory left his position to become the head golf professional at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill., so Goss stepped in as the interim head coach after serving as an assistant for five seasons.

Goss knew that Donald was a huge get for the program, so much so that he gave him a spot in the team’s first event before he ever set foot on the Evanston campus.

Donald achieved instant success and had a record-breaking career at Northwestern in his four years there. With Goss at the helm, Donald became a 4-time All-American, including three first-team All-American selections. He won the NCAA Championship in his sophomore year in 1999 and was named National Player of the Year. Goss still serves as Donald’s swing coach to this day and admits it has been an experience that has benefited both parties.

Goss couldn’t pinpoint his greatest accomplishment to date, but said that seeing his players make progress and utilize the strategies he’s instilled in them is rewarding enough.

Goss and his wife, Lindy, live in Evanston, Ill., and are the parents of daughters Allison, Claire and Madeline.

Junior Golf Leader Award – Despite being located in the Midwest, Mike Carbray finds a way to work with junior golfers all year round. He has been named the recipient of the 2012 Illinois PGA Junior Golf Leader Award.

The award was established in 1988, recognizing the PGA Professional who is a leader in junior golf and who reflects the ideals of those who work with youth.

Carbray, 36, is the PGA director of instruction at Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook, Ill., and director of Instruction at the Golf Fitness Human Performance Studio in Westmont, Ill. A PGA member since 2001, Carbray is a certified instructor for U.S. Kids Golf, where he was recognized as one of the U.S. Kids Top 50 Instructors in 2011.

Born and raised in Hamden, Conn., Carbray was introduced to the game of golf in fourth grade when he started playing at a public golf course, which his grandfather leased. After playing throughout his high school career, he accepted a scholarship to Elon University, where he played golf and studied psychology.

After college, he immediately jumped into the golf industry, accepting a position at Chicago Golf Club as a teaching professional. After four years at Chicago Golf Club, Carbray headed back east to work under Golf Magazine Top 100 teacher Eden Foster.

For a combined six years, Carbray worked at The Maidstone Club in East Hampton, N.Y. and Calusa Pines Golf Club in Naples, Fla. Carbray served as the head golf professional at Kinlock Golf Club in Richmond, Va., for two seasons before accepting the director of instruction position at Butterfield and returning to the Midwest.

Upon arriving at Butterfield Country Club, Carbray changed the junior program to involve more games and stations that use fundamental sports movements to help the kids learn proper golf moves.  The program has evolved over the last three years and now encompasses a blend of golf specific stations, short game stations and fundamental movement stations.  The main theme of all the instructors is fun, safety and then golf instruction. His goal for all juniors is to make them better people first and better golfers second.  He feels it is very important to explain to the juniors solid core values and how golf can help foster those ideals.

Carbray and his fiancé, Meagen, live in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Bill Strausbaugh Award – Jim Sobb, PGA head golf professional at the Ivanhoe Club in Mundelein, Ill., has been named the recipient of the 2012 Illinois PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award. The Bill Strausbaugh award is presented to PGA members for distinguished efforts in mentoring other PGA Professionals and supporting them in both employment and community service.

Sobb, 56, has been at Ivanhoe for the past 24 years and has always taken a very active approach in regards to his assistant professionals who have worked under his mentorship. He takes great pride in their progress toward becoming a head professional by “constantly teaching, advising, and mentoring them in a manner in which he refers to as ‘the PGA professional culture and persona.’”

Born and raised in Palatine, Ill., Sobb was a three-sport athlete at Palatine High School. He excelled in football, basketball and golf, and in 2008, was inducted into the Palatine High School Sports Hall of Fame. After high school he accepted a golf scholarship to Western Illinois University and was recognized as a two-time Division II All-American.

Elected to PGA membership in 1984, Sobb has been actively involved with the Illinois PGA since his induction, serving on the board of directors and as chairman of the tournament and senior committees, where he continues to serve. By constantly staying involved in the Illinois PGA, Sobb continues to lead by example for assistant golf professionals.

Sobb amassed an impressive playing career as a PGA Professional, including several notable awards over the years. In 1995 and 2000, he was named the Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year, an award in which he’s been nominated for six times. In 1997, he was honored as the Illinois PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities. In 2001 he was a finalist for the PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year and has also been named the Illinois PGA Senior Player of the Year four times.

One of his most notable accomplishments came in 2011 when he captured both the Illinois PGA and Senior Match Play titles in the same season, marking the first and only time an Illinois PGA Professional has accomplished that feat.

His constant professionalism both on and off the course and determination to make himself and others better makes Sobb a vital member of the Illinois PGA.

Sobb and his wife, Christina, live in Barrington, Ill., and are the parents of a daughter, Abby, and a son, Ryan.

Horton Smith Award – Nick Papadakes, PGA head golf professional at Old Elm Club in Lake Forest, Ill., has been named the recipient of the 2012 Illinois PGA Horton Smith Award for outstanding and continuing contributions to developing and improving educational opportunities for fellow golf professionals.

Papadakes, 40, elected to PGA membership in 2003, has played a vital role within the Illinois PGA, having served on the board of directors since 2010 and currently serves as the chairman of the education committee. He was a member of the Illinois PGA Ryder Cup committee, serving as the captain of both the United States and Europe practice ranges.

Papadakes, born in Emmetsburg, Iowa, started in the golf business as a cart boy at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Through hard work, he earned the assistant golf professional title in 1997. It was as an assistant that Papadakes learned the importance of continuing education and what it meant to be a PGA Professional.

After seven seasons at Sawgrass, Papadakes returned to the Midwest for an assistant position at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill., where he implemented several of the service programs he learned in Florida – many of which are still used today. Papadakes remained at Conway Farms Golf Club for six seasons before accepting his current position at Old Elm.

The education of his members, his staff and his fellow PGA Professionals are a priority for Papadakes. He continues to create innovative and exciting programs that highlight the importance of continuing education.

Papadakes and his wife, Jennifer, live in Wadsworth, Ill., and are the parents of a son, Niko, and a daughter, Morgan.

Player Development Award – Jeff Siegmund, PGA head golf professional at Sugar Creek Golf Course in Villa Park, Ill., has been named the recipient of the 2012 Illinois PGA Player Development Award.

Siegmund, 39, has been in the golf business for 20 years. His first job was at Oak Brook (Ill.) Golf Course, serving under head golf professional Trey VanDyke. He remained there for 11 years before heading to White Mountain Golf Course in Tinley Park, Ill., where he worked for two seasons.

Elected to PGA membership in 2005, Siegmund currently calls Sugar Creek Golf Course home, where he has worked for the past seven seasons. Sugar Creek has been ranked in the Top 100 performers the last two years by Play Golf America, and was ranked as high as No. 4 in 2011.

Siegmund has played a vital role in building a renowned junior golf program. In the past three years, they’ve hosted over 300 junior participants at their facility. Because of the increasing number and impressive turnout, Sugar Creek’s junior program was featured on WGN-TV’s “Instant Replay” in 2011. The several programs he has created has helped golfers of various ages and abilities develop a passion for the game of golf.

He currently offers four initiatives for juniors, with a six-week junior summer camp highlighting the program. Adding to his impressive line of work with junior golfers, Siegmund and his staff have introduced a parent/child lesson program, which includes over 100 participants and is ever-growing.

Siegmund and his wife, Nikki, live in Plainfield, Ill., and are parents of a son, Justin, and a daughter, Jordan.

PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private Facilities) – Wade Gurysh, PGA head golf professional at the Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, Ill., has been named the recipient of the 2012 Illinois PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award for Private Facilities.

Gurysh, 38, did his fair share of traveling around the country before settling in his current position at Knollwood, where he has worked since February of 2005.

Gurysh was born and grew up playing golf in Sunbury, Pa. Intrigued by the game throughout his youth, he was accepted to the Professional Golf Management (PGM) program at Pennsylvania State University, where he completed the program and graduated in 1997.

Just two years later, he earned PGA membership in January of 1999. In 2011, Gurysh was bestowed the Penn State PGM “Pride of Lions” Golf Professional of the Year award.
After assistant professional positions in West Virginia and Florida, Gurysh returned home to Pennsylvania to accept the PGA assistant golf professional position at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Penn. He worked at Saucon Valley for seven years before packing his bags for Illinois.

At Knollwood, Gurysh prides himself on embracing the existing infrastructure, as well as developing comfortable environments around the entire club. The golf shop focuses on old-fashioned fixtures and excellent display techniques to enhance its image, which fits in well to the campus style arrangement of buildings at Knollwood. He implemented an array of techniques and policies that maximize the merchandising operation including marketing and promotion, training of staff, fixtures and displays, and analyzing the environment and history of the facility.

Gurysh and his wife, LeeAnn, live in Libertyville, Ill., and are the parents of sons Myles and Rory.

PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Public Facilities) – Robert Falkiner, PGA head golf professional at Chevy Chase Golf Course & Country Club in Wheeling, Ill., has been named the recipient of the 2012 Illinois PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award for Public Facilities.

Falkiner, 50, of Prospect Heights, Ill., was elected to PGA membership in 1997 and has devoted a majority of his life to the golf industry. He is in his 30th year at Chevy Chase, serving the last 10 as the head golf professional. Falkiner started in the golf business in 1975, working as a ball shagger at Old Orchard Country Club in Mount Prospect, Ill., where his uncle, Lou Sabo, was the PGA Professional.

After a few years, he worked his way up to a cart attendant and a starter on the first hole. As his time at the golf course increased, so did his interest within the game. He began working on the maintenance side of course operations and developed a serious interest in agronomy – scientific agriculture. With his newfound passion within the game of golf, he pursued a degree which he could utilize throughout his career. Falkiner went on to graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a B.S. in Medical Technology.

Falkiner’s ability to listen to what his guests are looking for and what they are willing to pay has created a private country club atmosphere at Chevy Chase. His merchandising philosophy is to present a great product with an even greater value by putting together a buying plan that incorporates the brand name appeal and recognition to help market those goods.

Falkiner and his wife, Dawn, live in Prospect Heights, Ill., and are the parents and are the parents of a daughter, Karli Anne.

Bill Heald Career Achievement Award – It was never Pat Kenny’s style to simply stay in one place while working in the golf industry. Kenny’s love for golf and passion to assist others within the game has provided him with opportunities all over the world. Kenny has been named the recipient of the 2012 Illinois Bill Heald Career Achievement Award, presented annually for a career of service to employers, mentoring, community service, playing ability, teaching, junior golf, education and going above and beyond the duties of a PGA Professional who has not been previously honored as the Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year.

Kenny, 73, served in the United States Army from 1961-1962 and was stationed in Seoul, South Korea. Unable to get away from the game, Kenny assisted in developing a 9-hole golf course while overseas. He also represented the 4th and 8th Army in two different all-Army golf tournaments.

After earning his PGA membership in 1969, Kenny would go on to work at nine different country clubs scattered across Illinois, Ohio, and Florida. His first position was as an assistant golf professional at Seneca Golf Course in Breaksville, Ohio in 1963.

His first PGA head golf professional position was at Thorngate Country Club (now Ivanhoe Club) in Mundelein, Ill., where he worked for two seasons before moving on to serve in the same capacity at Mission Hills Country Club in Northbrook, Ill., where he remained for 16 years.

After a short stint teaching at the Jimmy Ballard Golf School at Doral Country Club in Miami, Fla., Kenny came back to Illinois and accepted a position as the head golf professional at Crystal Tree Country Club in Orland Park, Ill., where he worked for five years.

As a player, 1990 turned out to be a special year in Kenny’s career as he won the Illinois Senior PGA Championship and qualified for the U.S. Senior Open Championship at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J. In 1995, he qualified for the British Senior Open Championship at Royal Port Rush in Northern Ireland. From 1995-2005, he developed and co-managed Ballybunion Golf and Learning Practice Range in Long Grove, Ill.

From 2005-2010, a semi-retirement period as Kenny classified it, he played golf and continued to teach juniors for Hook A Kid On Golf and The First Tee.

No matter where Kenny is, he continues to use his expertise in helping others learn the game. He assists with teaching golf as part of the girls junior golf program at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and currently coaches a 17-year-old girl who is ranked nationally in the AJGA and finished 4th in the Illinois State High School Tournament in 2011.

Kenny retired in 2011 and moved to The Cliffs at Glassy Mountain in S.C., where he plays golf as often as possible at the seven golf courses owned by The Cliffs Communities.

The Illinois PGA:
The Illinois Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving the men and women golf professionals in northern and central Illinois who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The Illinois PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, educational opportunities, support programs and growth of the game initiatives. With over 872 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is the 12th largest of the 41 regional entities or “Sections” that comprise the PGA of America.

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