GLENVIEW, Ill. – December 1, 2017 – The Illinois PGA Section has announced its Central Illinois PGA Chapter Special Award winners for 2017. The roster includes eight PGA Professionals who have been recognized for their outstanding service to the Chapter and game, and is highlighted by two professionals from the same club – Mt. Hawley Country Club in Peoria – who won three awards.
Following are the 2017 Central Illinois PGA Chapter Special Award winners:
- Steve Orrick, Jr., Country Club of Decatur – Professional of the Year
- Richard Phillips, Mt. Hawley Country Club – Assistant Professional of the Year
- Bill Abrams, Golf Solutions Academy/Balmoral Woods Country Club – Teacher of the Year
- Lance Olson, Champaign Country Club – Youth Player Development Award
- Paul Betteridge, Pekin Country Club – Bill Strausbaugh Award
- Richard Phillips, Mt. Hawley Country Club – Horton Smith Award
- David Lundy, Mt. Hawley Country Club – Merchandiser of the Year
- Tim Buscombe, PGA – Richie Hammel Award
- Casey Pyne, Crestwicke Country Club – Player of the Year
“The Central Illinois Chapter is an important extension of the Illinois Section and includes some outstanding PGA Professionals who are deeply involved in both Chapter and Section activities as these award winners exemplify,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA Section. “PGA Professionals are the experts in the business and game of golf and these winners are taking that responsibility very seriously.”
Steve Orrick, Jr., 40, is the Chapter’s winner of the Professional of the Year Award. Orrick is in his 11th year as Head PGA Professional at Country Club of Decatur in Decatur, Ill. He has served several Chapter roles including Education Chair, Assistant’s Chair and Chapter President, and is the Immediate Past President. He has also served at the Section level on the Opens Committee and currently is on the Finance Committee as well as serving as Tournament Committee Chair.
Steve embodies the values of honesty and integrity in all that he does. He participates in many Chapter and Section tournament events throughout the season and has competed in eight PGA Professional Championships.
Richard Phillips, 40, is the Chapter’s Assistant Professional of the Year and Horton Smith Award winner. Phillips is the First Assistant at Mt. Hawley Country Club in Peoria, Ill. He has been in the golf industry for nearly 20 years and was elected to PGA of America membership in May 2016. He manages the club’s Outside Service Staff and Golf Shop staff as well as the ladies and men’s leagues and junior golf program. He also taught more than 200 lessons this past season.
The Horton Smith Award recognizes individual golf professionals for their outstanding and continuing contributions to developing and improving educational opportunities for the PGA golf professional, and Phillips is certainly deserving of this award as well. He is Director of Education for the Chapter and is committed to developing the best educational opportunities for his fellow professionals as possible.
According to Head Golf Professional, David Lundy, “the customer service that Richard provides on a daily basis is second to none,” and “although he already has an incredible skill-set, he is constantly striving to improve.”
Bill Abrams, 51, is the Chapter’s Teacher of the Year. He won Teacher of the Year in 2004 and has also won several other Chapter and Section awards including Section Professional of the Year in 2015. Abrams has established an impressive 20-year career through his own Golf Solutions Academy and teaching out of Balmoral Woods Country Club. His mantra, “you won’t get worse before you get better” has guided him when teaching and coaching all levels of golfers. He has been a featured speaker at numerous events as well as having authored many magazine articles and produced more than 200 instructional videos. He is a regular guest on golf radio and TV programs as well. He has coached several players with outstanding playing records who have won at the amateur level and gone on to play in college.
In addition to his teaching and coaching record, Abrams has produced many programs and events geared to growing the game – “it is what I strive to do every time I’m on the lesson tee, practice green and course.”
Lance Olson, 46, is the Chapter’s Youth Development Award winner. He is the Head PGA Professional at Champaign Country Club in Champaign, Ill. and is very active in managing junior golf programs at the club as well as in the community. During the summer, the junior program runs five days a week and includes a tots group (5 and under) and features 3, 6, 9 and 18 hole groups. The program also includes a year-end Junior Championship which allows youth golfers to participate in a competitive environment and leave a legacy at the club by having their name engraved on the trophy.
Lance has also partnered with other programs to grow the game such as Youth on Course and the LPGA Girls Golf program. Juniors from the club’s programs typically competed on the local girls and boys high school teams and some move on to collegiate playing careers. His players also participate in Illinois Junior Golf Association, American Junior Golf Association and Mid-American Junior Golf Tour events.
Paul Betteridge, 61, is the Chapter’s Bill Strausbaugh Award winner. He has been the Head PGA Professional at Pekin Country Club in Pekin, Ill. for 11 years. The Strausbaugh Award is presented to the PGA Professional who by their day-to-day efforts have distinguished themselves by mentoring their fellow PGA Professionals in improving their employment situations and through service to the community. Paul has built a fine record of mentorship during his 20 years as a PGA Professional guiding many assistants through various levels of PGA course work and promoting the work of the PGA at the club and within the community.
From the club’s Ladies’ Invitational to PGA Jr. League captainship to serving on the CIPGA Chapter Board in many capacities, Paul has demonstrated his dedication to the Chapter, Section and game.
David Lundy, 32, is the Chapter’s Merchandiser of the Year. He is the Head PGA Professional at Mt. Hawley Country Club in Peoria, Ill. He runs the 1,000 sq. ft. golf shop at the club and develops a merchandise plan that complements all other facets of the club. He provides full services to the members including apparel and equipment and values quality customer service. Promoting sales around holidays, club events and national and international sports events is important to keeping things fresh and appealing for members.
Tim Buscombe, 57, PGA Professional, is the Chapter’s Richie Hammel Award winner for a career of distinguished service to the Chapter, Section and its members. This individual demonstrates integrity and character reflecting positively upon the profession and is highly regarded as a role model professional within the industry.
Tim served as the Head PGA Professional at Lincolnshire Fields Country Club for 25 years and has received several Section and Chapter Awards during his career including the Illinois PGA Professional of the Year in 2006, Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2014 and he was a three-time Chapter Golf Professional of the Year (2000, 2003, 2006). He also served as interim General Manager at the club for more than a year while still performing his golf professional duties. Tim has been instrumental in developing a middle school instructional program and served in various Board roles at both the Section and Chapter level.
Casey Pyne, 29, is the Chapter’s Player of the Year. He is the Assistant PGA Professional at Crestwicke Country Club in Bloomington, Ill. Pyne had an impressive season playing in 14 tournaments, earning 322 points and posting three wins including the Chapter Championship and Chapter Assistant Championship. He also took first at CIPGA Stroke Plays #1 and #2 and finished T2 in the Section’s Assistant Championship and T1 in Stroke Play #4.
The awards will be presented at the Chapter’s Fall Meeting on Monday, December 4 at Pekin Country Club. The Central Illinois Chapter is a geographic subset of the Illinois PGA made up of facilities and professionals south of the Chicagoland area to the southernmost point of the Section in Springfield.
About the Illinois PGA/Illinois PGA Foundation
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 840 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is one of the 41 regional Sections that comprise the PGA of America. The Illinois PGA Foundation focuses its community efforts on promoting the goodwill and growth of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth. Foundation initiatives include: GolfWorks Illinois, Youth-based Scholarship Funds and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. For more information about the Illinois PGA and the Illinois PGA Foundation, please visit www.www.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.