13 PGA of America National Award winners recognized today at 71st PGA Show; Recipients to be formally honored at 2024 PGA Annual Meeting in November
For bios of all award winners, click here.
For photos of each award recipient, click here.
FRISCO, Texas and ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2024) — PGA of America Golf Professionals Tony Pancake, Joe Hallett and Kelly Williams headline the Class of 2024 PGA of America National Awards honorees.
In all, 13 Award recipients will be recognized at the 71st PGA Show today at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, at 4 p.m. ET on the PGA of America Industry Stage presented by CapTech. All 13 recipients are scheduled to attend the ceremony.
“Our 2024 PGA of America Award recipients have dedicated their lives to helping countless individuals enjoy this game we all love, and they do it exceptionally well,” said PGA of America President John Lindert, PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lansing in Lansing, Michigan. “I have had the opportunity to get to know several of our winners over the years and they truly are a great representation of what our more than 30,000 PGA of America Golf Professionals do on a daily basis. To stand out among their peers is an incredible achievement.”
In addition, the recently announced 2023 PGA of America Professional Players of the Year presented by Rolex award recipients will be celebrated on the Industry Stage, including: Men’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Michael Block of Mission Viejo, California.; Women's PGA Professional Player of the Year Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth of Jacksonville, Florida; and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio.
2024 PGA of America National Award Recipients
- PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year
Tony Pancake, PGA – Crooked Stick Golf Club – Carmel, Indiana
- PGA of America Teacher & Coach of the Year
Joe Hallett, PGA – Vanderbilt Legends Club – Franklin, Tennessee
- PGA of America Golf Executive of the Year
- Kelly Williams, PGA – Greenbrier Golf & Country Club – Lexington, Kentucky
- Bill Strausbaugh Award
Jim Smith Jr., PGA – Philadelphia Cricket Club - Flourtown, Pennsylvania
- PGA of America Professional Development Award
Dean Kandle, PGA – St. Davids Golf Club – Wayne, Pennsylvania
- Deacon Palmer Award
Mark Egly, PGA – Des Moines Driving Range – Des Moines, Iowa
- Patriot Award
Jon DePriest, PGA - Sunset Hills Country Club - Edwardsville, Illinois
- PGA of America Player Development Award
Crystal Morse, PGA – The Legends Golf Club – Franklin, Indiana
- PGA of America Youth Player Development Award
Connie DeMattia, PGA – Cantigny Golf – Wheaton, Illinois
- Herb Graffis Award
Iowa PGA Section
- PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year - Resort Category
Robert Koontz, PGA – French Lick – French Lick, Indiana
- PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year - Private Category
Morgan Jewell – Floridian National Golf Club – Palm City, Florida
- PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year - Public Category
Jason Loomis, PGA – Great River Golf Club – Milford, Connecticut
Tony Pancake, PGA, the Director of Golf at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, is the recipient of the 2024 PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year Award. This is the highest annual honor given to a PGA of America Golf Professional, which is awarded for leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game of golf.
A PGA of America Member for 36 years, Pancake has helped steer Crooked Stick’s efforts on the national and international stage since 2003, as the facility played host to several championship events, highlighted by the 2005 Solheim Cup, 2007 USGA Women’s Amateur, 2009 U.S. Senior Open and the 2012 and 2016 BMW Championships. The Club will host the U.S. Senior Open Championship in 2028.
A native of Seymour, Indiana, Pancake attended the University of Alabama on a golf scholarship and earned an accounting degree. He served for nine years as PGA of America Head Professional at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, which hosted the 1996 PGA Championship. He then worked at Hurstborne Country Club in Louisville, before being named Head Professional at Baltimore (Md.) Country Club in 2002. Pancake just finished his 20th season at Crooked Stick, serving as Head Golf Professional from 2004-2009 and as Director of Golf & Club Operations since 2010.
Pancake has served the PGA of America more than 30 years at both the Section and National levels, including being named to the PGA of America Board of Directors in 2018. Through his career, he has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including the Kentucky PGA Section’s PGA Golf Professional of Year in 1992 and the Indiana PGA Section’s PGA Golf Professional of Year in 2009 and 2019.
Pancake is one of Golf Digest’s top 10 Teachers in Indiana. He is also an accomplished player, having qualified for four Section Challenge Cup teams, was a quarterfinalist in the Section Match Play Championship, qualified for a PGA Professional Championship and was the winner of the 2015 Indiana Senior Open Championship.
PGA Master Professional Joe Hallett, a Tennessee PGA Section Member and Director of Instruction at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tennessee, is the 2024 PGA of America Teacher & Coach of the Year for his outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.
A PGA of America Golf Professional for 28 years, Hallett is regularly recognized as a GOLF Magazine Top 100 instructor and a Golf Digest Top 50 instructor, including holding the top spot in Golf Digest’s “Best Teacher in Every State” in Tennessee for seven consecutive years. He has coached some of the top LPGA players in the world, including seven-time Major Champion and LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and two-time Rolex World No. 1 and 2023 US Solheim Cup Captain Stacy Lewis. Hallett was also named to the Team USA coaching staff for the 2023 Solheim Cup.
A longtime presenter at PGA Section, PGA of America and Allied Association education events and seminars, Hallett frequently educates, assists and offers guidance to his peers, colleagues and aspiring members. He has been instrumental in the development and delivery of PGA of America Education programs for Members, Associates and PGA Golf Management University Students. With a commitment to continuing his own education, Hallett earned PGA Master Professional status through Teaching & Coaching in 2023, the highest educational designation a PGA of America Member can obtain.
Already a national award winner, Hallett was the recipient of the 2018 Horton Smith Award (now the PGA Professional Development Award), honored for his commendable additions to the education of PGA of America Professionals. A multiple award winner at the Section level, Hallett was the recipient of the Tennessee PGA Section Professional Development Award (2012, ‘14, ‘21), and three times the Section’s PGA Teacher of the Year (2013, ‘18, ‘21).
Kelly Williams, PGA, a Kentucky PGA Section Member and the General Manager of Greenbrier Golf & Country Club in Lexington, Kentucky, is the 2024 PGA of America Golf Executive of the Year. The honor recognizes outstanding services in an executive management position, as well as leadership, vision, courage, moral character and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game.
A PGA of America Member since 2007, Williams is a collaborative leader whose commitment to serving his fellow PGA of America Members is evident through his role in Association governance at the Section and National levels. He served as an Officer for the Kentucky PGA Section, including a two-year stint as President (2014-2015), District 10 Director (2016-2019) on the PGA National Board of Directors and has served on many Section and National Committees.
Williams started at Greenbrier Golf & Country Club as an Assistant Professional in 2002, working his way up to the General Manager position in 2007. What once was a facility only known for its golf and used by its members six months out of the year, has transformed into a thriving, family-centered club with year-round amenities and programming. Under Williams’ leadership, over $10 million of assessment-free improvements have been incorporated at the facility.
A multi-award winner at the Section level, Williams was the recipient of the Horton Smith Award, now named the PGA Professional Development Award (2009, 2011), Golf Professional of the Year (2013), Professional Development Award (2023) and Golf Executive of The year (2023) for the Kentucky PGA Section.
Frequently recognized by his peers for his passion, energy and leadership, Williams is a firm believer in continuing education and mentorship. As Kentucky PGA Education Chair, he often leads roundtable discussions with panels of industry experts to discuss new trends and share best practices. To complement this, he serves on the Eastern Kentucky University Professional Golf Management University Program Advisory Board, also serving as a mentor to help shape the future of students pursuing their dream of becoming a PGA of America Member.
Williams’ commitment to philanthropy includes founding PGA Golf Day to fundraise for the Kentucky PGA Growth of the Game Foundation, and supporting a breadth of PGA REACH initiatives.
For full bios of all 13 PGA of America National Awards recipients for 2024, click here.
The formal National Awards ceremony is scheduled for this November during the 108th PGA of America Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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