Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Houston's Altemus Heads STPGA Award Winners

The Southern Texas PGA has announced its award winners for 2007, with David Altemus - director of golf at Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston - being named Golf Professional of the Year.

What follows is the news release from the STPGA. It's rather lengthy, but everyone gets their due ...

David Altemus, the director of golf at Houston’s Royal Oaks Country Club, has been named the Southern Texas PGA’s 2007 Golf Professional of the Year. Altemus is the 40th winner of the STPGA’s highest honor.

The first STPGA Golf Professional of the Year award went to the late Hardy Loudermilk, shortly after the STPGA’s creation in 1968. The winner of the award is chosen on the basis of his or her overall performance as a golf professional, level of service to the STPGA and to the Association, leadership, image and ability to inspire fellow professionals and other criteria.

“Obviously, this is one of the best honors you, as a Southern Texas PGA golf professional, can receive,” said Altemus, 37 years old and one of the youngest winners in the history of the award. “Just being nominated was a surprise, but to win the award is a real honor.”

Altemus, who has also been named the STPGA’s 2007 Eastern Chapter Merchandiser of the Year, has been a member of the PGA of America since 1996. He achieved that status when he was an assistant professional in Pennsylvania. He began his career in the northeast in 1993 and relocated to Texas to take an assistant professional position at the Golf Club at Cinco Ranch in Katy in 1997. Altemus became the head golf professional at Royal Oaks, then under construction, in 1999 and became the club’s director of golf in 2004.

Altemus was promoted to his current position when Paul Levy, the vice-president of club operations for Sunrise Colony Company, left Royal Oaks to relocate to the management company’s Toscana Country Club, where he serves as general manager and chief executive officer. Levy served as the STPGA’s president in 1999 and 2000 and was its Golf Professional of the Year in 2000

“I owe a lot to Paul Levy. He’s the one who brought me to Texas and Cinco Ranch, and he got me involved in the Southern Texas PGA’s leadership,” said Altemus, who was elected to the Section’s Board of Directors three years ago. Altemus is currently serving as president of the STPGA’s Eastern Chapter.

“My involvement in the Southern Texas PGA is, I’m sure, why I received this year’s Golf Professional of the Year award,” Altemus said. “I’ve tried to dedicate myself to helping the STPGA get better and to helping our professionals improve themselves. My passion really is helping make the game of golf better . . . I love what I do and I thank God every day that I do what I do for a living.”

Altemus has previously been recognized as the STPGA Merchandiser of the Year (in 2004) and was four times honored as the Section’s Eastern Chapter Merchandiser of the Year. (prior to 2007). He was the Eastern Chapter Golf Professional of the Year for 2006.

Altemus and his fellow 2007 STPGA award winners will be formally presented with their honors during the STPGA’s 2008 President’s Dinner, to be held Feb. 17 at San Antonio Country Club.

The bi-annual Dick Forester Quarter Century Award is presented to a professional who, in addition to having been a PGA member for 25 years, has “has promoted golf, inspired fellow professionals, provided leadership and service to the Section and the Association.” The winner of the award for 2007 is Bob Putt. The general manager and chief operating officer at Columbia Lakes Resort and a Life Member of the PGA, Putt was the 1993-94 president of the Southern Texas PGA and was twice honored, in 1979 and 1993, as the Section’s Golf Professional of the Year. He was the PGA’s National Merchandiser of the Year (Resort Facilities) in 1980. Putt was the first PGA Professional in Texas to earn “Master Professional”— he achieved that status in 1988.

Marty Fleckman, the director of instruction at Blackhorse Golf Club, is the STPGA’s 2007 Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year. A PGA member since 1976, Fleckman was honored as the STPGA’s Eastern Chapter 2006 Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year, is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame. Fleckman played on three University of Houston national champion golf teams and was the 1965 NCAA individual national champion.

The 2007 STPGA Junior Golf Leader, present to a member who focuses his or her efforts on support of junior golf throughout the region, is Kevin Kirk, the director of instruction at the Cypresswood School of Golf in Spring.

The STPGA presents a pair of annual awards that are dedicated to the internal support of PGA member activities and operations within the Southern Texas PGA Section. The STPGA Horton Smith Award is given to recognize outstanding and continuing contributions to improving educational opportunities for PGA members— Alan Wooley, a member of the PGA of America Board of Directors and a past president of the Southern Texas PGA, is the recipient of that award for 2007. Wooley is the director of golf at The Club at Waterford in Austin.

Steve Termeer, the director of golf at The University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, is the 2007 STPGA Bill Strausbaugh Award winner. The award honors members who devote special effort toward club relations and building the image of the game of golf and the golf professional.

Merchandising plays an increasingly vital role in the careers of successful PGA professionals, and the STPGA honors three golf professionals annually for their efforts in that arena. The 2007 STPGA Merchandisers of the Year are: Susie Womack, director of golf at Hyatt Hill Country Golf Club in San Antonio (Resort Facility); Steve Termeer, director of golf at The University of Texas Golf Club in Austin (Private Facility); and Russell Roten, head golf professional at Blackhorse Golf Club in Cypress (Public Facility).

Aaron Chilek, an assistant professional at Austin Country Club, is the 2007 STPGA Assistant Professional of the Year. Chilek has been in the golf business since 1997 and was elected to PGA of America membership in May 2007. He was recognized as one of the “Top 25 Assistant Golf Professionals in the Nation” in Golf Digest’s “Golf Shop 2006 Yearbook.”

The STPGA President’s Plaque Award is given to a member who has provided significant leadership contributions through mentoring and sharing with other PGA Professionals about “Play Golf America” and growing the game of golf, and who is a member of the PGA President’s Council on Growing the Game. Will Borowski, director of instruction at The Club at Cimarron in Mission, is the 2007 honoree in that category.

In addition to the STPGA member awards described above, the Section also presents a number of awards for significant contributions in areas related to the STPGA’s work and functions.

Houston’s Gill Barnett, who represents five companies (Calvin Klein, Club Glove, Bushnell, US Kids and Heritage Creations) in southern Texas, is the STPGA Golf Sales Representative of the Year for 2007. The award is presented to a golf industry salesperson who is actively engaged in the promotion of golf and the support of STPGA golf professionals.

The 2007 STPGA Amateur of the Year is Stacy Lewis of The Woodlands. The annual honor recognizes amateurs whose conduct exemplifies professional ethics at the amateur level.

The STPGA recognizes two junior golfers each year for their strong character, sportsmanship and regard for the ideals upon which golf is based. The 2007 STPGA Junior Golfer of the Year honorees are Caitlin Bliss of Katy and Brenden Redfern of Austin.

The STPGA Media/Public Relations Award recognizes members of the media for their exemplary support and promotion of the game and the PGA professional. Austin’s Ed Clements, is broadcaster with KLBJ-AM, receives that honor for 2007.

Southern Texas PGA Special Service Awards are presented periodically to “friends of the STPGA whose exceptional efforts and donations to golf have not gone unnoticed.” Mary Carriker, director of The First Tee of San Antonio since 2002, is the recipient of a 2007 STPGA Special Service Award.

Each of the Southern Texas PGA’s three Chapters selects its own slate of award winners annually. For 2007, the recipients of those award winners are as follows.

Eastern Chapter: Golf Professional of the Year and Merchandiser of the Year, Jeff Strong, head golf professional at Eagle Pointe Golf Club in Mont Belvieu; Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year, Chris Rowe, head golf professional at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity; Junior Golf Leader, Jennifer Burdette, teaching professional at Blackhorse Golf Club in Cypress; and Merchandiser of the Year, David Altemus, director of golf at Houston’s Royal Oaks Country Club.

Southern Chapter: Golf Professional of the Year, Bruce Haddad, head golf professional at the Kings Crossing Country Club in Corpus Christi; Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year and Junior Golf Leader, Will Borowski, director of instruction at The Club at Cimarron in Mission; and Merchandiser of the Year, Doug DeSive, head golf professional at Corpus Christi Country Club.

Western Chapter: Golf Professional of the Year, Chip Gist, director of golf at The Golf Club at Circle C in Austin; Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year, Tim Hobby, director of instruction at The Club at Sonterra in San Antonio; Junior Golf Leader, Wes Skaggs, head golf professional at Leander’s Crystal Falls Golf Club; and, Merchandiser of the Year, Garry Rippy, the owner of Golf . . . Austin Style.

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