PGA Members Jeff O’Malley, Kevin McKinley & Brian Cairns Lead 2022 Michigan Section PGA Special Awards Class
13 Award Winners Unveiled at the Michigan PGA Spring Meeting
EAST LANSING, MI–Michigan Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year Jeff O’Malley, Golf Executive of the Year Kevin McKinley, and Teacher & Coach of the Year Brian Cairns headline the Michigan PGA’s Special Awards for 2022. The 13 winners were unveiled during the 2022 Michigan PGA Spring Meeting today at Eagle Eye Golf Course.
2022 Michigan Section PGA Special Awards Recipients
Golf Professional of the Year
Jeff O’Malley, PGA
PGA Life Member, Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club
Golf Executive of the Year
Kevin McKinley, PGA
Teacher & Coach of the Year
Brian Cairns, PGA
Fox Hills Learning Center
Assistant Golf Professional of the Year
Lauren Strong, PGA
Forest Dunes Golf Club
Bill Strausbaugh Award
Doug Kreis, PGA
Battle Creek Country Club
Merchandiser of the Year-Private
Kyle Horton, PGA
Kalamazoo Country Club
Merchandiser of the Year-Public
Ian Ziska, PGA
American Dunes Golf Club
Merchandiser of the Year-Resort
Gary Lewandowski, PGA
Tullymore Golf Club
Doug Bell, PGA
American Dunes Golf Club
Kelly Kuhlman, PGA
Twin Lakes Golf and Swim Club
Red Run Golf Club
John Lindert, PGA
PGA of America Vice President
Country Club of Lansing
Youth Player Development
Rolla Frisinger, PGA
Foundation Golf Center
Distinguished Service Award
Jeff O’Malley, PGA, a 38-year PGA Life Member who retired as the General Manager of Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club in December 2021, has captured the 2022 Michigan Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year award. This prestigious honor is awarded to the professional that has demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership and strong moral character. The individual must also maintain a substantial record of service to the Association and game of golf and be well-regarded as a model PGA Golf Professional.
O’Malley was chosen by his peers for the award based on his overall performance as a Golf Professional. He is also being recognized for his service to the Section and the Association, leadership ability, image and ability to inspire others and his promotion and growth of the game. During his career, O’Malley was instrumental in the construction, development, and operations of launching three golf courses—in Florida, South Carolina, and Michigan. He and his staff ensured that every golfer received professional service in a friendly atmosphere while receiving a quality experience for the price. O’Malley’s proudest accomplishment is that his Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club staff was awarded the #1 Friendliest Golf Course by Golf Advisor in 2018.
Jeff O’Malley said, “A PGA Professional is an ambassador to the game of golf; as such I am highly aware that my words, actions, and work ethic all have a profound impact on not only those I work with, but also with guests I serve, each day. I am humbled by any opportunity in which I can teach, encourage, and lead others. It is an incredible blessing, and an honored responsibility, to carry not only this title, but also this mantle for almost 40 years.”
Kevin McKinley, PGA, Assistant General Manager of Treetops Resorts has captured the Golf Executive of the Year award. The honor bestows special recognition on a PGA Golf Professional who has performed outstanding services for a multiple facility/course management/ownership operation, allied association, or golf industry executive management position. As one of the highest honors the PGA can bestow, candidates must possess outstanding qualities of leadership, vision, courage, strong moral character, and a substantial record of service to the Association and the game of golf.
During his 17 years of employment at Treetops Resorts, McKinley has worked his way from Head Professional to Director of Golf to his current position as Assistant General Manager. He oversees all aspects of the operation including 81 holes at two distinct facilities. McKinley has served concurrently for the past 16 years at all levels including all officer chairs of the Northern Chapter of the Michigan PGA, an at large board position, committee positions, Secretary, Vice President and President of the Michigan Section PGA and he has sat on the Inclusion and Special Awards Committees for the PGA of America. McKinley has previously been awarded the 2017 PGA of America Patriot Award, Michigan Section PGA Patriot Award (2013, 2015, 2016), 2017 Golf Professional of the Year, 2018 Bill Strausbaugh Award and the 2019 Horton Smith (Professional Development Award.)
Brian Cairns, PGA, a 2016 Michigan PGA Hall of Fame Inductee, and Teaching Professional at Fox Hills Learning Center and Edgewood Country Club, has been named the Teacher & Coach of the Year. Cairns will be honored for his overall impact on teaching and coaching along with his innovative and special teaching programs he implemented. Students who have utilized Cairn’s coaching include James Piot, the 2021 US Amateur Champion, Ben Cook, the 103rd PGA Championship low PGA Club Professional, and numerous golfers who have earned collegiate scholarships.
Cairns has made a lasting impression on his fellow teachers through his passion for the game and his unwavering commitment to improving golfers at every level. He helps his fellow professionals by sharing his knowledge and experience acquired over twenty-five years of teaching golf.
Lauren Strong, PGA, First Assistant Golf Professional/Teaching Professional at Forest Dunes Golf Club, has been named the Assistant Golf Professional of the Year. Strong’s strengths as a player, teacher, merchandiser, tournament administrator and overall golf professional all contributed to her success at her facility and the game of golf.
Doug Kreis, PGA, Head Golf Professional at Battle Creek Country Club, has been selected as the recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award. Kreis was honored for his outstanding integrity, character, and leadership through a commitment to mentoring and making significant impacts on the careers of PGA Professionals.
Established in 1979, the Bill Strausbaugh Award is presented to a PGA Professional who by their day-to-day efforts, have distinguished themselves by mentoring their fellow PGA Professionals in improving their employment situations and through service to the community. The award reflects the characteristics and qualities of Strausbaugh, a Middle Atlantic PGA Master Professional who died in 1999.
John Lindert, PGA, Vice President of the PGA of America and Director of Golf at Country Club of Lansing, has been selected by the Michigan Section PGA as the recipient of the Professional Development Award. The Professional Development Award is awarded annually to a PGA Member for their outstanding contributions to professional education, leadership, networking ability and contributions made by the candidate to grow and strengthen the image of a PGA Professional.
Kyle Horton, PGA, Head Golf Professional at Kalamazoo Country Club, has been named the Merchandiser of the Year for Private Golf Facilities, Ian Ziska, PGA, Head Golf Professional at American Dunes Golf Club, has been named the Merchandiser of the Year for Public Golf Facilities, and Gary Lewandowski, PGA, Director of Golf at Tullymore Golf Club, has been named the Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Golf Facilities by the Michigan Section PGA. This award recognizes excellence in business and merchandising at public golf facilities as well as innovation in displays, merchandising techniques, staff training and overall success and growth.
Doug Bell, PGA, General Manager at American Dunes Golf Club has been selected by the Michigan Section PGA as the 2021 recipient of the Patriot Award. Bell was honored for personifying patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrating unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected the United States of America. The Patriot Award originated in 2008 following the inspiration of Patriot Day founder Lt. Col. Dan Rooney, a PGA Professional from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Kelly Kuhlman, PGA, Director of Instruction at Twin Lakes Golf & Swim Club and a Teaching Professional at Red Run Golf Club has been selected by the Michigan Section PGA as the Player Development Award Winner. This award recognizes a PGA Golf Professional, who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contribution and achievement in the area of player development. It also considers the PGA Professional’s growth of the game leadership, commitment at the Section and National levels in the player development arena, and the meaningful impact made at the facility. Kuhlman is a proud supporter of PGA Jr. League, Drive, Chip & Putt, Women’s Get Golf Ready clinics, and has served on the Michigan Section PGA’s Growth of the Game Committee for five years.
Rolla Frisinger, PGA, PGA Professional and Owner at Foundation Golf Center, has been selected by the Michigan Section PGA as the Youth Player Development Award Winner. This award bestows special recognition on a PGA Golf Professional, who has displayed extraordinary and exemplary contribution and achievement in the area of youth player development. The award considers the PGA Professional’s focus on youth through their growth of the game leadership, commitment at the Section and National levels in the youth player development arena, and the meaningful impact made upon youth through the introduction and participation in the game.
Doug Dingwall of Holly, MI, has been named by the Michigan PGA as the 2022 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. This award honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship, and enthusiasm for the game of golf. Dingwall, a Member at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, has been involved with the Michigan PGA since the 1980’s and has sponsored the Senior PGA Championship since 2013. He has also competed in the Michigan PGA State Pro Am for 25 years, the Michigan PGA Senior Pro Senior Am for 20 years, various Pro-Member events, Pro Ams, and fundraisers.
Doug Dingwall said, “My wife and I have enjoyed long term friendships with PGA Members and over many years have come to respect the various disciplines required to be successful in the golf industry. PGA Members make the game and business of golf easier to navigate and much more enjoyable. It is a very challenging occupation, compounded by club member interference and budget nuances. I have total respect for any Professional that gets the luxury of a comfortable retirement.”
The Michigan Section PGA will award and honor its 2022 Special Award Winners at the President’s Dinner to be held this fall. The President’s Dinner celebrates PGA Members who have excelled in their profession as well as those who have volunteered and given of themselves to serve the Section.