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South Florida PGA Celebrates Three National Award Winners

July 24th, 2019

Author: Jackie Hobson
SFPGA members win Patriot Award, Merchandiser of the Year and Herb Graffis Award
ATLANTIS, FL – The South Florida PGA is proud to announce three of the PGA of America’s national award winners reign from the South Florida PGA Section.

Judy Alvarez, PGA Director of Instruction at Monarch Country Club (Palm City) has been awarded the Patriot Award, Scott Kirkwood, PGA Director of Golf at Ocean Reef Golf Club (Key Largo) has been named Merchandiser of the Year (Private) and the South Florida PGA Section has won the Herb Graffis Award.

The Patriot Award annually recognizes a PGA member who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to all who have served the United States. Alvarez has been teaching golf to people with disabilities and veterans since 1990 and has been involved in Folds of Honor, PGA HOPE and Salute Military Golf Association.

Alvarez has helped to establish six PGA HOPE programs in South Florida, impacting more than 500 veterans in the region. Additionally, Alvarez hosts a free golf clinic for veterans once a week, provides year-round adaptive golf programs and has been an advocate for golf and the impact the game can have on veterans. Throughout her career, Alvarez has taught more than 10,000 veterans and students with disabilities the game.

“I’ve always felt compelled to share with local organizations what I do and how the game of golf can help to benefit our veterans,” said Alvarez. “My goal is to provide a safe environment for a veteran to let their guard down, relax, feel safe and enjoy the experience. Ultimately it is about their accomplishments.”

The Merchandiser of the Year, private category is presented to the PGA member who has demonstrated superior skills as merchandiser in the promotion of golf. Kirkwood of Ocean Reef Club and Vice President of the South Florida PGA has dedicated his time to creating a shopping experience for each customer that comes through the golf shop, prioritizing relationships between customer and associate as well as uniquely offering products that branch beyond golf.

“I am honored to be recognized as the Merchandiser of the Year for the private sector,” said Kirkwood. “At Ocean Reef, we make it a priority to offer nothing but the best, most positive experience for our members and guests when they visit the golf shop.”

The Herb Graffis Award is designed to recognize a PGA of America Section for extraordinary contributions in the area of player development. By prioritizing youth, diversity and the military, the South Florida PGA aims to impact more lives in south Florida through the game of golf.

In junior golf, the SFPGA offers year-round programs for all ages, impacting more than 9,300 youth golfers over the past 12 years. In 2007, seven events were conducted for 250 participants and in 2018 over 150 events were administered for over 1,700 participants, an increase of 700 percent. In addition to extensive junior golf programming, the SFPGA Foundation has impacted more than 12,000 lives through junior golf, charitable gifting and scholarships.

“This award is a testament to the tireless effort of South Florida PGA members who strive to grow participation and enjoyment in the game of golf every day at their facilities throughout the section,” said Geoff Lofstead, Executive Director of the South Florida PGA. “It is also a testament to our Section and Foundation board of directors for providing the direction and resources that have made growing the game a primary initiative of section staff. It is an incredible honor to be recognized on a national level, amongst the great work being done by the 41 PGA sections around the country.”

The PGA of America annually recognizes 11 PGA Professionals and one PGA Section. Alvarez and the South Florida PGA will accept the Patriot and Herb Graffis Award during the 2019 Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach this November and Kirkwood will be recognized as Merchandiser of the Year during the 2020 PGA Magazine Merchandiser of the Year Conference prior to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando this January.

To view the full list of award recipients, click here. For more information on the South Florida PGA, click here.

 About the South Florida PGA
The South Florida Section of the PGA of America is an association of golf professionals whose mission is to promote interest, participation and enjoyment in the game of golf; establish and maintain professional standards or practice; and enhance the well-being of golf professionals.
Approximately 1,830 members and apprentices are employed at over 475 facilities in the South Florida region, currently ranking South Florida Section the second largest Section of PGA Professionals amongst all 41 PGA Sections in the United States.
Back in 1979, the growth and golf population boom in the state of Florida caused what was once known as just the Florida Section to divide geographically into two Sections, now known as the North Florida and the South Florida PGA Sections. Geographically, the South Florida PGA extends as far North as Vero Beach on the east coast, to Punta Gorda on the west coast, south through the Florida Keys, in addition to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The South Florida Section PGA is further divided into four distinct Chapters, including the Southern, Southeast, Southwest and Island Chapters.