Top awards for NSW/ACT stars

Twenty-five trainee professionals were inducted into full membership of the PGA of Australia at the annual NSW/ACT PGA Trainee Graduation and Awards Ceremony held at The Australian Golf Club.

The night celebrated the graduation of the 2010 trainees in what is a momentous occasion, according to NSW/ACT Executive Officer of the PGA of Australia, Melville Proud.

Andre Stolz Andre Stolz: PGA NSW/ACT Player of the Year

“It was a very significant night for the graduating trainees as it celebrates their hard efforts over the past three years and signifies the beginning of what I hope will be their long and outstanding career as PGA Professionals,” Proud said.

Adding to the significance of the night was Max Garske, CEO of the PGA of Australia presenting the graduates with their certificates.

“Max will this year retire after being at the helm of the PGA for almost three decades. He first started with the PGA NSW/ACT Traineeship program and as such it was fitting that he should present the trainee graduates in his final year,” Proud said.

The night also recognised the achievements of PGA NSW/ACT Members along with clubs and tournament organisers within the state. Australian cricket legend and renowned commentator Richie Benaud was a special guest on the night and assisted with the presentations.

Steven Jeffress was presented with the NSW/ACT PGA Order of Merit Title while Andre Stolz (Player of the Year) and Damon Welsford (Rookie of the Year) also received awards.

“Jeffress has had an outstanding year in 2010 winning five times on the NSW/ACT circuit including once overseas at the Samoa Masters,” Proud said.

“Stolz had a fantastic 2010 which was capped off by a tied third at the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola and a tied fifth at the JBWere Masters.

“It is also very pleasing to see a young New South Welshman doing so well in his rookie year. Welsford placed third in the 2010 NSW PGA Championship and ninth in the NSW Open. Welsford has also started off 2011 in good form finishing fifth at the 2011 Cellabrations Victorian PGA Championship.

“It’s fantastic to see young NSW golfers doing so well and Damon is certainly a talent to watch in the future.”

In the Tournament of the Year categories, the Bega Cheese Pro-Am at Tura Beach was named the Country Tournament of the Year while the Coca Cola Shelly Beach Pro-Am was awarded the title of City Pro-Am of the Year.

Graduate and Kurri Kurri Trainee Professional Matthew Jones was the recipient of the Trainee of the Year award while John Serhan (St Michael’s Golf Club) was announced as the PGA NSW/ACT Teaching Professional of the Year.

Serhan was commended on his coaching of both the elite player and his work with St Michael’s Golf Club developing and fostering junior development.

Serhan also offered some sound advice on the night for the PGA graduates.

“Never stop learning; a great coach learns from their pupils and experiences.”

In the final award of the evening, Avondale Golf Club’s resident professional Mark Paterson was announced as the PGA NSW/ACT Club Professional of the Year after 23 years of service to the club.

Paterson had been instrumental in the development of junior and charity programs within the club and had played a key role in achieving the clubs goals.

The award topped off a memorable night for Paterson who also saw his son Ben graduate to full membership of the association.