The PGA Teacher of the Year Conference is an official PGA of America event. It is a gathering of the 41 PGA Section and National PGA Teacher of the Year Award winners, along with the PGA headquarters and PGA Magazine executives. The conferences allows for the exchange of ideas between these teachers and then to report the findings to the entire PGA membership through a PGA Teacher of the Year Conference Report.
This year’s conference was held on December 3-6, at the historic Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, NC. Henry Stetina, of the NMSU PGA Golf Management Program was one of the PGA Teacher of the Year Award winners who was in attendance. “The conference was outstanding,” Henry said. “Being able to listen and share with some of the top instructors in the country was certainly educational.”
Henry then went on to explain, “The most important piece of information that I took away from the conference was that golf instruction is the essential skill for PGA Professionals–not tournament operations, not merchandising, not business operations, but golf instruction. Golf instruction is the one skill that distinguishes PGA professionals. Golf course owners can hire clerical workers to operate tournament software, tee time reservation software, and manage the inventory in the shop. Teaching golf is the one skill that is unique to the PGA Professional. Together there were hundreds of years of experience among the attendees. Universal among them was that improving golf instruction was the most critical factor in preserving and growing the game. Having teaching skills was a central criteria for them when hiring PGA members.”
The PGA Teacher of the Year Conference is an annual event hosted by PGA Magazine and the PGA of America. There were four PGA National Teacher of the Year Award winners in attendance – Mike Bender (2009), Mike Malaska (2011), Lou Guzzi (2013), and Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen (2014).