Carolinas PGA Thank You Speech


I am so humbled to be the recipient of the 2014 Carolinas PGA Junior Player Development Award.   The first thing I want everyone to know is that this is a shared award.  I am honored to be accepting it on behalf of the iGrow team and everyone who has supported us along the way.

We truly believe that to grow the game we need to develop skilled golfers, and the best way to do this is to integrate affordable long-term player development programs at facilities around the world.

Imagine if there was a specialized junior coach with affordable long-term programming at every facility in the nation.  These long-term learning environments not only would create new jobs for golf professionals, but is the best platform to develop skilled junior golfers!

We are very excited that by April 2015, iGrow’s Operation 36 Junior Development Platform will be integrated at 10 facilities across the nation!  This has been our mission since 2009 and as it is beginning to transpire, we cannot thank everyone enough who has helped along the way.

I thank God every day for allowing me to find my passion in life and for surrounding me with an amazing group of people.  The only bummer about winning this award was to learn that I get only 3 minutes to thank everyone at the awards ceremony!  So I decided to write this post to ensure no one was left out.  Please take a minute and see those who have helped us along the way.  Thank again to everyone who has supported us and believes in iGrow’s mission.

My Wife Kelsey

Kelsey, I thank God everyday for you.  You have the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met, and you always put others first.  You are the drive behind everything I do and are also very patient with me :-)  I don’t know how you do it, and I don’t say it enough, but I cannot thank you enough for all your love and support.  I love you so much.

My Northern Family 

Mom and Dad, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles & Cousins – Thank you so much for all your support over the years.  Your kind words keep the drive alive and even though I have moved south, your support makes it feel like I am home.  Thanks for everything you do.

My Southern Family 

Becky and Dave, Will, Cliff, Emily and Reagan and the P-Springs Crew – Thank you so much for allowing a Yankee to marry into such a great family and town!  You are my home away from home and I can’t thank you enough for all your support and love over the past 5 years. Looking forward to the summer and many more years to come.

The iGrow Team 

Ryan & Melissa Dailey

When I started iGrow with Ryan Dailey in 2009 I knew it was going to be one of the best decisions of my life.  It takes a passionate team to push iGrow’s mission forward and I could not be as happy as I am today without your support and mentoring Ryan.  Ryan and his wife Melissa are such a giving family. From letting Kelsey and I stay with them for 6 months while I made the switch to iGrow full time, to our late night junior golf development sessions and trips, it has been quite a ride so far.  I have learned so much from you Ryan, look up to you, and would not have chosen anyone else to share this journey with.  Looking forward to the years to come!


iGrow Coaches and Junior Golf Developers

We have the best group of professionals working with us day in and day out!  Our jobs are so much fun because of the people we work with.  The motivation and ideas that are brought to the table day in and day out are what have formed into the programming, tools, and resources that we have today.  From our Campbell volunteer and interns (Seth Thompson, Paxton Clabaugh, Corey Kinsinger), to our Junior Golf Developers, we truly have the best team pushing junior golf into the future!  Thank you so much to all of you who have contributed over the years and I am very honored to be sharing this award with each and every one of you.


Campbell University Team

We would not have had a chance to develop iGrow if it not for the support and resources of the Campbell University team.  Buies Creek is a very small town, but there are always big things happening!  It is a special place and the iGrow team cannot thank everyone at Campbell and Keith Hills Golf Club for their help, support and feedback.

  •  Ken Jones – I can’t thank you enough for the continued mentorship and opportunities you have given me at Campbell and Keith Hills.  You have provided iGrow with insight from a General Manager’s perspective, which has helped with the development of integrating the long-term programs.   From working as your Head Professional at Keith Hills to supporting my decision to leave and pursue iGrow full time, you have provided me with the resources necessary to succeed and I cannot thank you enough Ken!
  • David Orr – You have taught me more about golf instruction and growing as a coach that anyone I have met.  You have always been an open book and let me watch your golf lessons. I am very grateful for the information I have learned from you and even with as busy as you are you still will take time to support our efforts at iGrow.  It has been very rewarding to see your hard work and efforts paying off and I am honored to share a supporting role in your journey.
  • Martha Sutton – You have always been so supportive of iGrow at Keith Hills, which made our jobs much easier as we developed the long-term programming from scratch.  You have always provided some great insight from a Director of Golf’s perspective on how to make our long-term programming better.  We can’t thank you enough for your ideas and making it so easy to integrate the long-term programming with Keith Hills.
  • Damon Dean – Hands down the best superintendent I have ever worked with!  Ryan and I cannot thank you enough for entertaining some of our ideas and being open to work with us as we developed the programs.  You have always made time to answer any questions we have had and come up with solutions as we tried different activities at the facility.  Thanks for being open to everything and I can’t thank you enough.


Carmel Country Club Team

In 2013 the iGrow Team partnered with the most professional team we have seen within the golf industry.  Jeff Nichols, Jason Sutton, Maggie Simons, Josh Spraggins, Luke Donah, Alex van der Linden, Adam Ohsburg, and all who were involved in taking a chance on integrating iGrow’s Operation 36 Platform at Carmel we cannot thank you enough!

  • Jeff Nichols and Jason Sutton, we can’t thank you enough for the kind words you have shared with others, and just being open to the idea transpiring at Carmel.  You were the first team to give iGrow a shot, believe in our mission, and we will never forget that.  I wanted to thank you in advance for your continued to support and mentoring in phase 2 of our journey.
  • Maggie Simons, we could not have found a more passionate junior coach to join our team of Junior Golf Developers and we cannot thank you for all your hard work to make it a success.  We learned so much from you, but it would have never worked without your spirit and belief in getting it to Carmel.  Ryan and I are so lucky to have found you and are looking forward to making the programming better year after year!

Carolinas PGA

Thank you so much to the Carolinas PGA for putting on a wonderful dinner and show.  I am so honored to call myself a member of the Carolinas Section and am looking forward to sharing and growing junior golf in the Carolinas.

My Families & Junior Golfers

To all the families and junior golfers that have been a part of iGrow, we cannot thank you enough for your support and belief in our mission.  None of this would have been possible without your support.  I cannot thank the parents who believe in me and have let me be a part of their juniors development.  It is truly an honor to be a part of your lives, and I can’t thank you enough for letting me do what I love to do day in and day out.

Coaches, Professionals, and Mentors

Finally I wanted to recognize all other coaches, mentors, and professionals who have contributed to my life and helped shape where I am today.  I don’t take for granted every step I have taken along the way and those who have been a part of my life.  From your lessons you have taught me, to sharing our vision for growing long-term junior development programming, I thank you all for everything you have done.

  • Ryan Dailey
  • David Orr
  • Ken Jones
  • Steve Thompson
  • Martha Sutton
  • Damon Dean
  • Jeff Nichols
  • Jason Sutton
  • Maggie Simons
  • Josh Spraggins
  • Joellyn Crooks
  • Drew Smith
  • Jacob Wine
  • Jon Hockaday
  • Steve Edwards
  • Marty Nowicki
  • Miles Blundell
  • Robert Todd
  • Andy Meyers
  • TJ Yeaton
  • Andrew Kiger
  • Brad Pluth
  • Rod Lidenburg
  • Chris Ames
  • Matt Tuttle
  • Greg Rose
  • Dave Philips
  • Mike Bennet
  • Andy Plummer






Matt announced as 2014 Carolinas PGA Youth Player Development Award Winner

Matt announced as 2014 Carolinas PGA Youth Player Development Award Winner


Carolinas PGA Section Announces 2014 Award Winners and Honors

– PGA Professionals Recognized for Commitments and Contributions to the Game of Golf –

 Browns Summit, N.C. (December 2014) – The Carolinas PGA (CPGA) is thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s Section Awards and Honors, distributed annually by the Carolinas PGA Section, as selected by the Special Awards Committee, to the top 10 deserving Carolinas PGA Professionals. The mission of the Carolinas PGA Special Awards Committee is to ascertain the most eligible winners in each of the annually awarded categories, which is accomplished by an enthusiastic commitment from each committee member afforded the responsibility of identifying and recognizing his or her peers as exceptional.

The following Carolinas PGA Professionals display excellence in their profession, assume an ongoing commitment and devotion to progressing the game of golf and to preserving the integrity of the industry:


Golf Professional of the Year: Jeff Nichols (Carmel Country Club – Charlotte, NC)
Jeff Nichols, Director of Golf at Carmel Country Club and 26 year PGA member, receives the highest honor awarded to a PGA Professional for his ongoing accomplishments and ability to grow the game of golf beyond expectation. This honor is awarded to the individual who demonstrates exceptional performance as a Golf Professional at his or her facility, a high level of service to the Section, strong leadership, image, ability to inspire fellow professionals and promote the game of golf. As a PGA Professional, Nichols receives this award for notable achievements, including developing programs that allow for growth in the game among all areas (seniors, ladies, new members, juniors/young professionals), desire to provide a level of service that is mutually inspiring and vital to the success of his facility, and demonstrating a professional work ethic that inspires his team to grow personally and professionally. Nichols also serves on the Carolinas PGA Board of Directors as the At-Large Director for North Carolina.


Assistant Golf Professional of the Year: Matt Bova (Haig Point Club – Hilton Head Island, SC)

Matt Bova, Assistant Golf Professional at Haig Point Club, receives the Assistant Professional of the Year Award for demonstrating a high level of excellence at his facility and service to the Section while promoting the game of golf and assuming the image of a Golf Professional. In his current role, Bova directs the instructional program, assists with the tournament program, checks in merchandise and helps with the organizational needs of the golf shop. In addition to these roles, Bova is an avid volunteer with the Hilton Head Island PGA Chapter’s Education Committee and, in the past, provided assistance to Haig Point Club’s involvement in the Deep Well Project.


Bill Strausbaugh Award: Reid Hill (Wilson Country Club – Wilson, NC)

Reid Hill, 29 year PGA Head Golf Professional at Wilson Country Club, receives the Bill Strausbaugh Award for making significant contributions through his ongoing mentoring of PGA Professionals and impacts made to their careers. Hill furthers the values that are representative of the Association and the golf profession through leading by example, mentoring numerous young men who have gone on to become exemplary PGA professionals and setting professional goals throughout his career as a Carolinas Section Member. Hill has also served on the ethics committee, tournament committee, and awards and honors committee and frequently encourages his staff to get involved in Section activities and volunteer opportunities such as the Tee it Forward and Golf 2.0 initiatives at Wilson Country Club.


Horton Smith Award: Paige Cribb (Coastal Carolina University Professional Golf Management Program – Conway, SC)

Paige Cribb receives the Horton Smith Award in her role as Golf Administrator and Director of Student Support for Coastal Carolina University’s Professional Golf Management Program and her outstanding contributions to developing and improving educational opportunities for the PGA Golf Professional. Cribb provides instruction and delivery of the PGA Education courses that directly influence and affect students and also serves as chairman of The Education Committee, The Apprentice Education Committee, and The Junior Golf Exchange (a local non-profit organization designed to provide golf clubs to juniors 14 and under at no cost). In addition to these roles, Cribb was elected Secretary of the Carolinas PGA Section in February 2014.


Youth Player Development Award: Matt Reagan (iGrow Golf – Buies Creek, NC)

Matt Reagan, General Manager and co-creator of iGrow Golf, is recognized as a leader in junior golf who reflects the qualities and ideals of those who work with our nation’s youth, and provides opportunities for juniors to learn and play the sport. Reagan receives this award for improving junior golf in the Carolinas and at a national level with the development of the first long-term junior golf development academy at Keith Hills Golf Club in Buies Creek, NC. The program offers a curriculum designed to guide and motivate a junior golfer from the age of six to shooting par or better by the time they graduate high school. Reagan also dedicates his time to teaching golf in PE classes, private coaching, tournament preparation, and summer learning experiences.


Teacher of the Year: Tim Cooke (Golf Learning Center at Sea Pines Resort – Hilton Head Island, SC)

Tim Cooke, Director of Instruction at the Golf Learning Center at Sea Pines Resort, receives the Palmer Maples Teacher of the Year Award for his outstanding service as a golf instructor. Cooke has made an impact on teaching and golf instruction in the Section, in addition to making innovative contributions to golf instruction through the implementation of programs that increase the customer base of the Golf Learning Center. Cooke has also written and produced a series of instructional articles, videos and publications, as well as regularly attending national seminars to support and improve his efforts to grow and maintain interest in the game.

Player Development Award: Jay King (Hendersonville Country Club – Hendersonville, NC)

Jay King, Head Golf Professional at Hendersonville Country Club, receives the Player Development Award for his extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of Player Development, including growth of the game leadership commitment at the Section and National levels, plus the impact made on his own facility. King was invited to join the National Player Development Task Force to share Player Development ideas with PGA Professionals at the national level and mentor PGA Professionals within his area and Section. As a member of the Carolinas PGA Board of Directors and Area 1 Director, King also stresses the importance of Youth Player Development and Adult Player Development programs at yearly area meetings, such as those he’s instated at his own facility (Family Golf, Free Beginner Ladies Clinics, PGA Junior Golf League, Tee it Forward Program). King also assumes many years of service with his PGA Section through his involvement in various committees and as a Junior Golf Contributor of the Mountains Chapter.


Merchandisers of the Year (Private, Public, Resort)

This award recognizes PGA Professionals who demonstrate superior skills as merchandisers in the promotion of golf. This honor is awarded in three categories (Private, Public and Resort). PGA members considered are those with outstanding results as far as merchandising techniques, shop operations, philosophies, innovations and performance (profit, margin, turn rate, cost of goods, sales).


Private: Jeff Dotson (The Country Club of North Carolina – Pinehurst, NC)
Jeff Dotson, Director of Golf at The Country Club of North Carolina, carries a broad selection of styles and price points in his boutique shop, and through changing displays and receiving new merchandise regularly, keeps members excited about the game. Since 2011, total shop sales have increased exponentially and are consistent with national trends.


Public: Marc Guertin (The Caledonia Golf & Fish Club – Pawley’s Island, SC)

Marc Guertin, Head Golf Professional at The Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, works to involve all staff in the merchandising operation. Staff members take “ownership” of an area and help drive sales for that area and are heavily involved in the promotion of the game and engaging with guests to continually provide an enjoyable atmosphere for shoppers.


Resort: Bart Romano (True Blue Plantation – Myrtle Beach, SC)

Bart Romano, Head Golf Professional at True Blue Golf Club, introduces new products every season that aren’t typically found in pro shops in an effort to meet diverse client needs. True Blue staff are highly engaged in the selling process and offer a continuation of the overall customer experience. Through this strategy, Romano saw sales increase over 20% in the most recent fiscal term.

Each award winning PGA Professional will be recognized at the 22nd Annual Special Awards and Honors Ceremony onFebruary 22, 2015 at The Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in Greensboro, NC. For more information, please visit

About Carolinas PGA Section

Established in 1923, the Carolinas PGA Section of the Professional Golfers’ Association has grown to be the largest of the PGA forty-one sections with almost 2,000 professional members. The Carolinas PGA Section embraces North and South Carolina as well as a small portion of southern Virginia, representing Grover Bullin, PGA is Carolinas PGA Section’s 43rd Hall of Fame Inductee more than 800 golf facilities. The Carolinas PGA is dedicated to nurturing and improving the quality of the game for the thousands of golfers using its member facilities. PGA professionals are responsible for conducting a variety of golf-related functions, which include human resource management, golf shop merchandising, golf instruction, tournament operations, junior golf programs, growth of the game initiatives, golf club repair, administering the rules, public relations and much more.  For more information, please visit

Learn how to design your juniors ‘Training Session’

Learn how to design your juniors ‘Training Session’


When working with my junior golfers I find it incredibly important for them to understand the 3 types of training and how to use each to improve the fastest.  These 3 areas are Blocked, Random, and Performance training.  A good training session is going to incorporate all 3 areas for specific amount of times.  A description of each are below, as well as some examples training sessions for your reference.

Blocked Training

  • Percentage of Training Session: 20% 
  • Mental Focus: Internal Mechanics / Technical Skills

When we think of golf instruction a majority of golfers believe that changing mechanics is going to magically lower their scores.  In reality changing mechanics takes a lot of time, and if it is the sole focus of your practice session, it can inhibit your performance.  I like my players to focus on the custom mechanics we are changing as well as the fundamentals like alignment, for around 20% of their practice time.  This generally starts with their alignment stations being built before focusing on the changes we are making to mechanics that we covered in previous lessons.  The player should be aware of what target they are aligned (external focus), but primarily focused on the changes we are making to mechanics (internal focus).

Random Training 

  • Percentage of Training Session: 40% 
  • Mental Focus: External Targets / Process / Tempo

Random Practice is where real golf skills are developed!  This phase of development is when you begin to apply your mechanics to execute a specific task.  Touch, Feel, and that beautiful feeling of Intuition are developed in this phase of training.  It is proven through research that using the same club over and over, or hitting to the same target over and over does not accelerate skill development.  So if you were training for an event where you knew you were going to hit shots to a 15 yard target, the research shows it would be more advantageous for you to vary your practice and hit shots 10, 15, 20, yards to train for the event.  During this phase of training players should vary each executed shot.  This could be changing targets, types of shots (draw, fade, high, low), or golf clubs to the same target.  This phase is what develops “creative golfers”.  I have found the most creative golfers accelerate in their development much faster then mechanical golfers who try to be perfect and do not want to fail.  During this phase I like my golfers to venture outside their comfort zone and not fear making mistakes.

Performance Training

  • Percentage of Training Session: 40% 
  • Mental Focus: External Targets / Process / Tempo

To complete your training session you should always do Performance Training.  This begins to simulate the game of golf.  The ultimate performance facility is the golf course.  When playing golf we have a specific task; to progress the ball into the hole in the fewest amount of strokes possible.  There is a task or goal, and we can measure the results. For this final phase of training you can break up the game of golf into different areas and to keep it simple just play a game.  Your key here is there needs to be a task, there needs to be a measurement system, and there needs to be a way the game ends.  A very basic performance training drill is to drop a ball from 3 foot from the hole and see how many you can make in a row.  Once you get your performance record, your task is to repeat until you beat that record by 1.  Because of this performance training is very engaging.  It takes full mental process to execute a task in a situation where there are consequences.


Example Training Session

Training Session: 4:00 – 5:00 PM 

Area of Game: Chip Shots

Mechanics Focus (for blocked practice): 1. Focus on Weakening Grip      2. Align shoulders slightly left of target

4:00 – 4:10 – BLOCKED – Setup alignment rods at hole 15 feet away. Focus on Mechanics (above)

4:10-4:35 – RANDOM – Hit Low, Medium, High chip shot to 3 different targets focusing on landing spots

4:35 – 5:00 – PERFORMANCE

  • Task: Hit chip shot as close to hole as possible from varied locations (at least 20 feet in length)
  • Measurement System:
    • Shot within 1 club length = 1 Point
    • Shot within 2 club lengths = 0 Point
    • Shot outside of 2 club lengths = -1 Point
  • Goal: Game ends when you get to 10 points.


I hope this helps you have a better understanding of how you can help your junior structure their practice.  Enjoy and contact me if you have any questions!



Book Review – “Bounce” by Matthew Syed

Book Review – “Bounce” by Matthew Syed


This book was an eye opener for me and really lit a fire in learning more about why and how people become elite performers.  My largest taking point was that people are not born talented, they are surrounded with the proper resources and are challenged appropriately to develop the skills necessary to succeed at a sport.  Matthew Syed has done research on top performers such as Mozart, Tiger Woods, and David Beckham and more.

On the other side of the spectrum I do believe that there are genetic differences between juniors that can lead to some being more accelerated for athletic development.  But I do believe that the most important variable to developing at a  fine motor skill sport such as golf, is to surround the junior with a learning environment where they have the opportunity to improve.  Matthew Syed does a great job of laying this out, and a lot of the underlying principles are why we are so passionate about growing the iGrow Platform around the world.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in helping other become top performers.  This book is a must for parents!

Click here to go to Amazon to learn more

Has anyone else read Bounce?  What points in the book did you like the most?