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Having trained and certified golf teaching professionals for twenty years, as a natural progression the USGTF will now provide for the training and certification of club professionals, club managers and golf resort managers.

The United States Golf Managers Association, a division of the USGTF, will act as the official certifying body in this endeavor. The six-day courses will be held monthly at Club Med Resort in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Club Med is an international resort with onsite accommodations, meeting rooms, banquet venues, a championship course and a great practice facility.

According to USGTF president Geoff Bryant, “We anticipate participants from all over the world will attend these courses. They are unique in that they will provide a much-needed service that presently does not exist. Certainly, there are traditional four- to six-year ‘apprenticeship’ programs and two- to four-year college programs that offer degrees in management, but nothing of the intensity taught by current specialists in the field that we will be providing. Combined with continuing education through up- to-date articles in our membership publication and instructional DVD’s, club professionals and golf resort managers will be able to remain current in all aspects of the industry.”

USGTFMember Greg O’Kane is offering members of the CGTF, USGTF, and any members of the World Golf Teachers Federations an opportunity to make extra money by directing all parties interested in the most memorable golf vacation to Ireland ever to Greg’s new website, www.IrelandIrelandIreland.com.

Greg has called Ireland his home for close to 30 years, and has been teaching hundreds of students the art of swinging a golf club in Ireland since 2000. Over the years, Greg has developed close relationships with hoteliers, golf club operators, and pub owners in Ireland. He has successfully run his own business in Ireland and has worked as a consultant to the hospitality industry there, as well.

No company on earth can put together a better, more enjoyable and more affordable golf package to Ireland than Greg. He has testimonials from many satisfied customers to back that claim up, as well, which can be viewed at the website. For more information, just visit the website.

Greg is offering all golf professionals a commission-based fee for referrals. If a group you referred books through Greg’s website, just have that group mention your name, affiliation, and membership number. When the booking has been confirmed, payment will be sent to you, either by check, or, if you have a PayPal account, it will be lodged directly into that account.

Also, the possibility for you to go to Ireland with all expenses paid exists. Some groups will want an experienced golf professional with extensive knowledge of the country to come along, as well – and to be honest, Greg can’t go on all of them.

If you are interested in that possibility, please e-mail gregokane@hotmail.com.

All WGTF Level III and IV members can now obtain a WGTF certification card, which also will
contain the member’s photograph. These cards are recognized worldwide. To obtain your card, please simply contact the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290 or (772) 335-3216 between 9 am – 5 pm EDT Monday through Friday, or e-mail at info@usgtf.com.

Interested in creation and development of your own sport website? Edge Sports Sites is offering all USGTF members 2 months of free monthly fees. Edge Sports Sites provides low cost, professional websites specifically designed for athletes and instructors. You can view and order your website at www.EdgeSportsSites.com. Then simply email edge@edgesportsites.com and notify them of your new page and that you are a USGTF Member. You may also contact them directly by phone at 480-784-6880. A personal sports website provides an excellent marketing tool to build credibility and enable potential and current clients to learn more about you.

USGTF member Gerald Bouquet is hosting the Cajun Classic at The Wetlands Golf Course in Lafayette, Louisiana, May 18-19, 2009. As part of Louisiana’s Audubon Trail of golf courses, The Wetlands has played host to the LPGA’s Duramed Futures Tour, and hosts qualifying for the Nationwide Tour’s Louisiana Open.

Further information regarding signing up, entry fees, and format will be included in a future USGTF Monthly Newsletter, and also on our member website, www.usgtfmembers.com.

USGTFMaster Teaching Professional Don Cole coached his Keystone College golf team to victory recently in the North Eastern Athletic Conference tournament in Penn Yan, New York. The Giants earned a spot in the NCAA Division III National Championship, which was held in Braselton, Georgia.

Keystone’s victory was its fourth consecutive conference title, but this is the first time that the Giants will play in the Division III championship. With a two-day total of 620, Keystone finished 48 strokes ahead of second-place Penn State-Harrisburg.

“This will be an experience that these young men will never forget,” stated Cole. “We have a terrific group of kids who are quality golfers and fine individuals. This program has experienced a successful run over the past few years and now these student-athletes will be rewarded for their dedication and commitment.”

From left to right: Kyle Kilmer (freshman), Mike McConkey (senior), Donald Cole, Spencer Lunger (sophomore),
Steve Osterhout (junior) Sean Misstishin (sophmore). Note: Sean scored a hole in one on practice round at nationals.

The Hi 5 Pro Tour will begin its 2009 season January 13 at La Sella Golf Resort in Denia, Spain. There will be 10 events this winter, along with a new cooperation with the Nordic League. With this joint venture, they will be the first pro tours to offer a full tournament season at the developmental level of professional golf in Europe.

These events will be counting towards the 2009 European Challenge Tour ranking system of the Nordic League. For more information, please visit the website www.hi5protour.com.

Charlie Henry, a 13-year USGTF member from Caseville, Michigan, won the first Central Region Championship over Ken Burk of Commerce Township, Michigan. Henry fired a 2-over-par 73 over the 6,175-yard Bay Valley Golf Club layout, while Burk shot a very respectable 74.

Burk, who was paired with Henry, took an early lead with an even-par front nine while Henry was three shots behind.

“Kenny had a few bad breaks on the back side,” said Henry, “and I made a few birdies.” Both players were tied going into the final hole, but Henry holed a 15-foot birdie putt to win the championship.

Burk, who earned his USGTF certification in 2004 at Stonebridge GC in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was in a certification class where Henry served as a USGTF Examiner with Bob Wyatt.

Jim Helmke, also a longtime USGTF member, finished third with an 80. Other participants were Jack Black, Westland, MI; Andrew Carrigan, Saline, MI; Phil Lawrence, Brighton, MI; George Paul, Belleville, MI; Mark Widman, Marine City, MI; and Brian Zipse, Tinley Park, IL.

Next year, a Chicago area event is being planned in hopes of drawing more entries from the vast Central Region, which covers Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota. Anyone interested in playing or helping with the 2009 planning should please contact the Central Region director at clh3@avci.net or the USGTF national office.

The USGTF National Office is usually bustling with activity, and it takes someone with energy and a great attitude to keep up with the goings-on. One such person who fits that bill is Membership Services’ Suzy Johnson.

A self-described “tom girl,” Suzy was born just up the road from the office in Fort Pierce, Florida. When she’s not working, she likes to partake in fishing, camping, off-road vehicles, and NASCAR, where her favorite driver is Matt Kenseth. Most guys would appreciate that shopping is not on that list.

Speaking of guys, she’s still with her high school sweetheart of 22 years, Rick, and they have 20-year-old twin boys, whom they’re currently trying to put through fire fighter school. Prior to coming to work for the USGTF and America’s Favorite Golf Schools (AFGS) in 2000, Suzy worked as a secretary for GBS Lures and also a Florida citrus company. When business at the Florida citrus company slowed down, she started looking for other work and found her way to the USGTF. As to her personal life before her USGTF days, she says she “spent most of my younger years just being a mom with baseball and basketball games, camping and riding on off-road vehicles with my kids and just enjoying life.”

Working for the USGTF for the past 9 years, seems to agree with her. “I could search the entire world over and never find better people to work for or with than the people at the USGTF office,” said Suzy. “I enjoy the friendly faces I see each day, along with my everyday responsibilities.”

A typical day at the office finds Suzy dealing with customer service, answering phones and e-mails, taking reservations, writing up bills, completing contracts with hotels and golf courses, scheduling of golf instructors to teach AFGS classes, record keeping, and general office duties.

Suzy is a very valuable member of the USGTF and AFGS staffs, and she helps to make overall office operation run smoothly and efficiently. Hopefully she’ll be a part of the USGTF family for many years to come.

Golf teachers from Michigan successfully defended the Kelly Cup against their counterparts from Ontario by a score of 16-14. Michigan held a 6-4 advantage going into day two, which was split 10-10, giving Michigan the Cup.

Day two was a roller-coaster ride for both sides. Team Ontario got out of the gate quickly and won the first three morning matches in individual match play, taking an early lead. Michigan rallied in the middle matches, but then lost three matches. Going into the back nine in the stableford matches, it was all square, but Michigan won six out of the next seven matches to secure the victory.

Without electronic scoring and national media coverage, the players in the last few groups only knew the totals were close. Under that assumption, the players in the final group on the final hole witnessed a “Bagger Vance” moment, when Michigan’s Jack Black called a penalty on himself when his ball moved after addressing it. (And, unlike in the movie, he correctly replaced the ball before continuing, but then again in the 1920’s you didn’t have to replace the ball.)

His opponent, Ontario’s Pete Willems, who had previously found his tee shot barely out of bounds, proceeded to knock his fourth shot near the green on the par-5 finishing hole, chipped within five feet, made the putt for a Stableford point, and won the match…and possibly the Kelly Cup. Kudos to Pete for hanging in there and kudos to Jack for honorably playing this game built on honor.

Top point-getters for the Kelly Cup were Ken Burk and Tom Chiles, four points; Dave Belling, Carl Abel, and George Paul, three points. Black won only one point against Ontario’s best players, but in the end he won the biggest point of all.

The Michigan team included captain Mark Widman, Dennis Niemiec, Jim Helmke, Charlie Henry, Jack Deming, Rob Ruley, Burk, Chiles, and Black. Team Ontario was captained by Ron Christner. Other Ontario team members were Belling, Willems, Abel, Dennis Babcock, Paul Kelly, Daryl Sinden, Gilles Charbonneau, Jim Jenkinson, and Kristian Kasemetes.

Barbara Kelly, Thomas Kelly’s widow, and her sons Thomas Jr. and Edward hosted a dinner at her home on Sunday following the first round. At the dinner, Barbara presented a $500 check from the Thomas Kelly Memorial Golf Fund to Niemiec, who runs the “Gateway To Golf” golf program for area  juniors. The memorial fund consists of monies collected from Michigan/Ontario Golf Teachers Tour member donations. Replica cups will be awarded each year to the most deserving boy and girl in the junior program from the memorial fund and anonymous member donations.

Barbara, along with other Kelly family members, presented the Kelly Cup to captain Widman after the final matches were completed and tabulated.

The 2009 Kelly Cup will again be held in mid-September at Gateway GC, the home course of the Kellys. The teams will be captained by Michigan’s Paul and Ontario’s Willems. The squads can be up to 20 players per side. Contestants must play in at least one regular season Michigan/Ontario Golf Teachers Tour event held during the year. The tour, in its 10th season, draws teaching professionals from the upper Midwest and Canada. For more information, please contact Charlie Henry, Michigan tour director, by e-mail at clh3@avci.net.

Recent participants at the USGTF Level IV Master Teaching Professional certification courses.


From left to right: Joseph Lee, Craig Benjamin, Kenny Choi, Greg Strathe, Ken Nilrat, Jim Demetrios, Gary Fain, Todd Surdez, Dave Shaver, Bob Wilson, Don Reynolds, Hakgyu Kim, Dave Feffiera, Marc Johnson, Darran Stanners, Greg Wood & David Vaught


From left to right: Bob Wyatt, Jr., Christopher Adams, Alfredo Arevalo, Roberto Vallarino, Barney Beard, Daniel Hong, Walter Leskiff, Carlos DeBarros, Mark Parker & Steve Williams

JUNE 26 & 27, 2009

• TOURNAMENT ENTRY: $195 per person includes 18 Holes Sat. & Sun. w/Cart
• Daily Format and Overall Winners
• Closest to the Pin Prizes both days
• Networking Dinner on Sat. Night
• Special Tournament Gift

Register as a Team or Individual

For more information please contact Craig Wolfe at (856) 769-8333 or (877) TC-Links, or email cwolfe@tcgolflinks.com.

Town & Country Golf Links is a 4- Star rated golf course and is a regular site for USGTF Certification Classes.

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