The annual PGA of America, Southwest Section, Southern Nevada Chapter awards dinner Jan. 14 at TPC Summerlin took on a feel of the Academy Awards. There were heartfelt speeches from the club professional honorees, thanking spouses, family, friends and mentors. Tears were shed by several.
It was apparent these keepers of the game care deeply about their craft and try to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.
“The first thing that came to my mind when I won the award was the people that helped me to get to where I am in my career,” said Coyote Springs pro Karl Larcom, winner of the Bill Strausbaugh Award given to a pro who displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership through a commitment to mentoring and making significant impacts on the careers of PGA professionals.
“From bosses that were head professionals, directors of golf, general managers, vice presidents, to the people who worked for and with me and made my life easier, an award like this is meant to be shared with everyone that has impacted my life and also my family.”
Larcom was one of 14 honored in the event sponsored by E-Z Go golf carts. His category, along with professional, assistant professional and teacher of the year, were voted on by the entire membership, while the other awards were selected by a committee or earned through tournament play.
Three UNLV Professional Golf Management alums were honored, led by Kendall Murphy, PGM’s assistant director and program coordinator. Murphy was the top professional for the second year in a row. Andrew Elliott was named the year’s top assistant professional and Matt Henderson was named teacher of the year. Both work at TPC Las Vegas, a PGA Tour facility.
Chris Cain, UNLV PGM director, won the chapter’s Horton Smith Award and will also receive the overall section award at Paradise Valley Country Club in Arizona on Feb. 20.
Anthem’s Troy Helseth won his fifth straight player of the year award and Las Vegas Paiute’s Tom Fischer won the senior player of the year award for the seventh time.
“It never gets old to win. I continue to work at it and spend a lot of time on my game,” Fischer said. “I always think each year will be my last, but it keeps happening. The relationships I have built over the years are what is most important. Winning awards is the icing on the cake.”
Landon Nelson, outgoing chapter coordinator, was recognized at the beginning of the evening for his work over the last six years.
Other award winners were: Jane Schafer, Las Vegas Golf Club, player development; Mike Davis, DragonRidge, junior golf leader; Pete Simon, Southern Highlands, merchandiser-private; and Darren Stanek, Wolf Creek, merchandiser-resort.
Nonprofessional award winners were Rob Stofflet, salesperson of the year, and Southern Nevada Golf Association President Kenny Ebalo, golf industry citizen of the year.
Locals can play 27 holes with lunch at Coyote Springs for $59 weekdays and $69 on weekends through Feb. 15. The promo code is 27andlunchLV.
The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @LVGolfInsider.
Saturday, Sunday: Recruit Look Boulder Creek Classic, Boulder Creek
Jan. 29-31: Golf Channel Tour Duel in the Desert, Paiute
Feb. 3: SNGA tournament of Champions, DragonRidge
Feb. 3, 4: UNLV men, Sea Best Intercollegiate, Florida
Feb. 8, 9 SNGA Henderson Amateur, Revere
Feb. 10, 11: UNLV women, Battle at Boulder Creek, Boulder Creek
Feb. 16, 17: SNJGA Palm Valley Amateur (IMG World Qualifier), Palm Valley
Feb. 17, 18: UNLV women, The Rebel Beach, Spanish Trail
Feb. 19: USGA 4-Ball Women’s Qualifier, Mountain Falls
Feb. 20: USGA 4- Ball Men’s Qualifier, Mountain Falls
Feb. 20-22: UNLV men, John Burns Intercollegiate, Hawaii
Feb. 23, 24: UNLV women, Westbrook Invitational, Arizona
Feb. 25: SNGA Tour, Royal Links
Feb. 24-26: Vegas World Amateur, Revere and Chimera
March 1-3: UNLV men, Southern Highlands Collegiate, Southern Highlands