Jeff Strong, who has served as the head golf professional and general manager of Mont Belvieu’s Eagle Pointe Golf Club since construction on the course began in 1999, has been named the 2009 Southern Texas PGA Golf Professional of the Year.
The honor has been presented annually for 42 years. The honor is the STPGA’s highest award and the recipient is chosen on the basis of his or her overall performance as a PGA golf professional, level of service to the Southern Texas PGA, leadership, image, ability to inspire fellow professionals and service to the region’s golf community. The first STPGA Golf Professional of the Year award went to the late Hardy Loudermilk, shortly after the STPGA’s creation in 1968.
"To receive this kind of recognition from my peers is incredible," Strong said. "To know you’ve done something for this game that we love so much is just indescribable. It brings me a lot of joy."
Elected to membership in the PGA of America in 1996, Strong has proven to be one of southern Texas’ most willing and able golf professionals. The Michigan native has been a very active participant in the Southern Texas PGA’s Junior Golf Program and it’s member tournament operations. He completed a two-year term on the STPGA’s Board of Directors in 2008, serving as the chairman of the Section’s Tournament Committee throughout that period. Amongst his many accomplishments as chairman of that committee was the creation of a series of pro-ams to help support larger purses at some of the STPGA’s member tournaments.
He also led the charge to re-invigorate the STPGA Senior Series operation, which is geared toward providing a slate of competitive events for golfers ages 50 and above.
He has hosted the Eagle Pointe Pro-Am for the past three years. The tournament is geared toward generating financial support for the Southern Texas PGA Foundation, through which the STPGA provides financial sustenance for its many junior golf and scholarship activities. The 2009 tournament raised $11,000, bringing the three-year total of funds donated to the STPGA Foundation to $34,500.
Strong is as active in the non-golf community as he is in the golf industry. He has donated over 1,000 rounds of golf to local charities while facilitating Eagle Pointe’s support of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the United Way, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and others.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Strong accepted the assignment of Captain of the 2009 Southern Texas PGA Texas Joe Black Cup Matches and led his team to a 13-11 victory over their Northern Texas PGA counterparts. The win tied the Ryder Cup-style series at 14-14-1.
"Being Captain of the STPGA’s Texas Joe Black Cup Matches team was really one of the highlights of my career," said Strong. "I can’t tell you how much fun that was, or how much it meant to me."
A collegiate golfer at the University of Wisconsin, Strong spent the early part of his career working in Florida, where he started out as an assistant professional and quickly worked his way up to general manager status and responsibilities.
His career took on a global flavor in 1993, when he took on golf instructor duties at the International Golf Club Bonn in Germany. Three years later, he was named the head golf professional and general manager at River Oaks Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
He made his move to Texas in 1998, taking the general manager position at Longwood Golf Club in Cypress, and then, in late 1999, was named head golf professional/general manager at Eagle Pointe, which was then under construction.
Strong took his career a step farther in 2001, when he founded Strong Sports Management, Inc., through which he operates Eagle Pointe, and in 2005, earned a maintenance contract with The Battleground at Deer Park.
In addition to his honor at the 2009 STPGA Golf Professional of the Year award, Strong is also the recipient of the 2009 Golf Professional of the Year honor from the Eastern Chapter of the STPGA.
He has previously been honored as the Southern Texas PGA’s 2008 Bill Strausbaugh Award winner and the 2007 and 2008 STPGA Eastern Chapter Golf Professional of the Year awards. His golf shop at Eagle Pointe received the STPGA’s 2009 Merchandiser of the Year Award (for public facilities)— the shop also received 2005 STPGA Eastern Chapter Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities award.
Strong credits his wife, Liz, and their daughters, Sharon (13) and Lauren (8) for providing the support he needs to fulfill the opportunities provided him in his personal and professional lives.
Strong and his fellow 2009 STPGA award winners will be formally presented with their honors during the STPGA’s 42nd Annual President’s Dinner, to be held Feb. 21 at Sweetwater Country Club in Sugar Land.
We'll publish the list of 2009 STPGA award winners tomorrow.