A willingness to innovate and an ongoing commitment to providing the best possible service saw four PGA Professionals recognised as Vocational award winners for NSW/ ACT at Member Luncheon at The Lakes Golf Club this afternoon.
Each winner selected from a strong field of nominees, Senior State Manager David Barker was thrilled to celebrate the winners and indeed the contributions of PGA Professionals right throughout NSW and the ACT.
“Our PGA Professionals offer the game of golf so much every day,” he explained. “The winners in each category today have led the charge with their outstanding work, but I want to thank and congratulate all of our Professionals for the outstanding work that they do.”
In a particularly strong field of candidates, Toby McGeachie (The Links Shell Cove) stood out to be named Coach of the Year – Game Development.
Taking his coaching offering to the next level in 2022, McGeachie has emerged as one of the leading online golf coaches, with a large following both at home and abroad. Such is his dedication, McGeachie is ranked the #1 online golf coach through the Skillest App, where he has delivered over 3,000 lessons since 2020. To that end, McGeachie is proud to use the platform to offer his services to those in remote communities of Australia who otherwise wouldn’t have access to golf coaching, as well as golfers in more than 30 different countries.
In addition, McGeachie has launched his own podcast, The Golf Coach, which is highly rated in Australia and is designed to give golfers another avenue to learn about the game and to give them the tools to develop their own.
A worthy winner, McGeachie also presented at the recent Golf Business Forum/ PGA Expo; an indication of the esteem in which he is held in the golfing community and the depth of his knowledge, he does wonderful work to share the game with more players every day.
Similarly, a commitment to growing the game in every way possible saw Brent Dale (Liverpool Golf Club), awarded Club Professional of the Year. Having worked at Liverpool Golf Club for 13 years, one thing has underpinned every decision he has made.
“I always try to implement a world-class service for my members and their guests at Liverpool Golf Club,” he said.
A service he offers with aplomb, Dale and his team run in excess of ten junior classes and four different women’s clinics per week, in addition to regular golf coaching, club fitting, competitions every day and up to two demo-days per month.
“Ultimately, because we run these programs and my staff and I are able to develop a friendship with the members,” said Dale. “They have 100% trust in what we do.”
Additionally, Dale’s efforts have seen significant growth in participation at the club, with over 40 women introduced to a golfing pathway and significant increases in the junior program over the last couple of years.
Outstanding contribution, Dale’s philosophy remains simple.
“Whatever we are doing, I want to deliver a product that makes our customers feel special.”
In his role as General Manager at the Harden Country Club, Christopher Longbottom has excelled. Named Management Professional of the Year, he works tirelessly to grow every aspect of the club, helping it to thrive in a small community.
“My goal and indeed the goal of the board of the Harden Country Club has always been to create a sustainable, viable and dynamic business,” explained Longbottom. “Our ultimate ambition is to become the venue of choice for the locals.”
A vision that is coming to life thanks to Longbottom’s open, honest and compassionate leadership style, the club membership has grown from 253 in 2019, to a stunning 1121 in 2022. Moreover, Longbottom has overseen significant total turnover increase, which has ensured the club’s continued financial sustainability.
Endlessly humble, Longbottom is quick to attribute the success to the club as a whole.
“These increases cannot be attributed to one action, or indeed the actions of one individual. Instead, they are the result of a team working together towards a clear goal.”
Additionally, Longbottom is currently completing an Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management with the PGA Institute, as he continues to elevate his management offering.
John Serhan (St Michael’s Golf Club) enjoyed another successful year as a coach, rewarded with the title of Coach of the Year – High Performance. Having worked with LPGA Tour player Sarah Kemp for nine years now, Serhan helped her through setbacks at the start of the year, to earn two top-ten finishes and a place back inside the top 100 on Tour.
Additionally, Serhan continues to coach an elite stock of amateurs who have thrived throughout 2022. Notably, Harrison Crowe won the recent Asia-Pacific Amateur, becoming just the third Australian to do so and earning an exemption to the Masters and The Open in the process.
Similarly, Serhan coaches Kelsey Bennett and John Lyras, both of whom enjoyed breakthrough seasons and are future stars of Australian golf.
Moreover, Serhan contributes to the ongoing success of golf in NSW through his role as coach of the NSW state team, where he promotes a continued culture of success.
All award winners will now be eligible to win in their respective categories at the PGA Awards night to be held next Tuesday, 22 November.