Thee outstanding members of the Metropolitan Section of the PGA will be honored at the PGA of America Awards in January. They are Michael Breed, popular Golf Channel personality and head professional at Sunningdale, who was named PGA Teacher of the Year, Carl Alexander, head pro at The Golf Club of Purchase, who will receive the Horton Smith Award, and John Kennedy, Jr., Director of Golf at Westchester Country Club, who will be honored with the Patriot Award. Here's what the PGA press release said about them:
MICHAEL BREED - PGA Teacher of the Year
Michael Breed of Greenwich, Conn., whose telegenic instruction skills through his signature Golf Channel program, "The Golf Fix," has motivated countless viewers to enjoy the game, has been named the recipient of the 2012 PGA Teacher of the Year Award.
Breed, 50, is in his 12th season as PGA head professional at Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. He follows Michael Hebron (1991) of St. James, N.Y., as the only Metropolitan PGA members to receive The PGA of America's highest honor for a golf instructor.
A native of Greenwich, Conn., Breed began his athletic career in baseball as a shortstop, and was introduced to golf at age 13 by his father.
Breed is a 1985 graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., where he was a standout player for the Yellow Jackets, and was a 2004 inductee into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame. Breed declared professional in 1985, and made a bid in 1991 to earn a berth on the former Ben Hogan (now Web.com Tour). Breed was a PGA assistant professional at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club from 1989 through 1992, before serving as assistant from 1992 to 1995, for former PGA Professional National Champion Darrell Kestner at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, N.Y. In 1994, Breed competed in the Greater Hartford Open on the PGA Tour.
Breed made his venture into golf broadcasting at Golf Channel in 1999, appearing on numerous "Golf Academy Live" programs as both a guest instructor and host. He has served as an on-course reporter for the former Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour events, and as a guest on such Golf Channel programs as "Viewer's Forum" and "Golf Central." Breed also contributed numerous golf tips for CBS, Turner Sports, and Cablevision.
In 2009, Breed was selected to host "The Golf Fix," elevating it into one of golf's most popular instruction programs on cable television. He also serves as host instructor for Golf Channel's "Big Break Academy."
Breed's broadcasting venture, he said, would not have been possible without the support of his home facility, Sunningdale Country Club, where he has been PGA head professional since 2001.
Breed served from 2005 to 2010 on the Metropolitan PGA Board of Directors and is in his second term on the national PGA Instruction Committee. A past chair of the Metropolitan PGA Education Committee, Breed won two Ely Callaway Awards in 2010 and 2011, recognizing individuals earning the most service hour credits for education recertification. He was the 2000 and 2009 Metropolitan PGA Teacher of the Year, and recipient of the Section's 2006 and '07 Horton Smith Award for contributions to PGA education.
For more than a decade, Breed has served as a Titleist Leadership Advisory Staff member and is among Golf Digest's Top 50 instructors in the U.S., and since 2003 has been listed as a top 100 instructor by GOLF Magazine. Breed's worldwide travels include trips to Canada and China to promote PGA education and has appeared before more than 15 PGA Sections nationwide.
Breed has coached 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel, and past Tour winners Chris Smith and Joe Ogilvie. His current students include five-time Web.com Tour winner Darron Stiles, Ron Whitaker and LPGA winner Meghan Francella.
CARL ALEXANDER – Horton Smith Award
Carl Alexander of Bedford, N.Y., whose leadership within the Metropolitan PGA Section resulted in showcasing both model programs and inspiring new audiences to the game, has been named the recipient of the 2012 Horton Smith Award for outstanding and continuing contributions to professional education.
Alexander, 46, is PGA director of golf at The Golf Club of Purchase (N.Y.), and a 16-year member of The PGA of America. He is the fourth member of the Metropolitan PGA Section to receive the Horton Smith Award, which was established in 1965, and named for the late PGA Past President and inaugural Masters Champion.
Born in New York City, Alexander is the son of renowned golf photographer Jules Alexander, and attended Rollins College in Orlando, Fla., before transferring to the University of Arizona. He turned professional in 1992, and joined the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf staff in Orlando, Fla. In 1997, Alexander accepted a teaching and assistant professional position at Pine Hollow Country Club in East Norwich, N.Y. In 1999, he was recruited to join GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y., as PGA head professional to help build the new private golf club.
In 2005, Alexander joined The Golf Club of Purchase, where he has built successful teaching programs, and managed a first-class golf club with high-end services. Throughout his career, Alexander has hired and trained many assistants, several of whom have gone on to their own head professional positions in the Metropolitan PGA Section.
Alexander was introduced to golf at age 6, encouraged to join his neighborhood friends, and would take his first formal lessons from then-Westchester Country Club assistant professional Jim McLean, who went on to become one of the country's most celebrated instructors and the 1994 PGA Teacher of the Year.
Since 2003, Alexander has served as a member of the Metropolitan PGA Board of Directors; was Section vice president from 2007 to 2011; and has been a member of the Section Education Committee since 2004, and chair of the committee since 2009. He also is co-chair of the Section Communications and Public Relations Committee, serving in those capacities since 2008.
Alexander was the 2006 Metropolitan PGA Teacher of the Year and the 2010 Section Horton Smith Award recipient, and the 2000 Westchester Golf Association Player of the Year.
Among Alexander's endeavors of the past several years include teaming with LPGA Tour player Jane Blalock and other LPGA Tour professionals for a women's executive golf clinic; and developing a junior golf program at The Golf Club of Purchase, which pairs junior golfers for clinics, contests, and on-course competition with professional staff.
In 2009, Alexander met with and recruited Stuart Levine, formerly of Dale Carnegie, and together they developed a leadership and governance program for the Metropolitan PGA Educational Programs and the Board. In 2010, Stuart Levine was one of several keynote speakers at the Met PGA Spring Educational Forum along with Barry Hyde of the USGA and PGA Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka. The PGA of America's Education Department later created four regional educational conferences and teamed with Stuart Levine & Associates to create the Power of Fundamentals Executive Program.
Alexander later served on the committee to develop the Met PGA Head Professional Handbook, which featured more than 400 pages of materials and outlines designed to help professionals in every phase of their operations, business, and personal development. Alexander created the Teaching Center at Purchase, a year-round state-of-the-art facility offered to players of all skill levels.
JOHN KENNEDY JR. – Patriot Award
John Kennedy Jr. of New Canaan, Conn., whose leadership within the Metropolitan PGA Section extended to establishing a foundation for supporting the men and women of the military along with affiliation with the VA to help instruct disabled veterans, has been named the recipient of the 2012 Patriot Award.
First presented in 2008, the Patriot Award honors a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected the United States of America.
The 61-year-old Kennedy is in his 22nd year as PGA head professional at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., and is a 36-year member of The PGA of America. He is the second Metropolitan PGA Section member to receive the Patriot Award, following John Hines of Calverton, N.Y., in 2011.
Kennedy established Golfers in Support of the Troops Foundation in 2008, which has raised more than $90,000 over a four-year period to distribute more than 20,000 articles of clothing to U.S. troops and their families. Clothing was sent to Baghdad, Iraq; Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Fort Drum, N.Y. Kennedy contributed 50 percent of the clothing that he purchased for his own golf shop.
In addition to Westchester Country Club serving as a strong supporter of Patriot Golf Day since the initiative began in 2007, it also has supported Kennedy's efforts to build an alliance between the New York VA Hospital Prosthetics Device Department and 2010 Patriot Award recipient Jim Estes of Olney, Md., founder of the Salute Military Golf Association. Together with 2011 Patriot Award recipient John Hines, the group are working to expand training of PGA Professionals to give golf instruction to disabled veterans.
Born in Fairfield, Conn., Kennedy graduated from Fairfield University in 1972 and turned professional that year. He was elected to PGA membership in 1976, during which time he was an assistant professional at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, N.Y. In 2010, he became the third member of the Metropolitan PGA Section to be named a recipient of the national Horton Smith Award, which recognizes an individual PGA member for outstanding and continuing contributions to professional education.
Kennedy also was the 1997 Metropolitan PGA Golf Professional of the Year; and recipient of the 2005 Section Bill Strausbaugh Award; the 1985, '88 and 2009 Section Horton Smith Award; and the 1983 and '91 Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities.
Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf