Super Stars

NEPGA Announces 2018 Award Winners

Written by: Kristen Garrone, New England PGA


- Boylston, MA


The New England PGA announced the newest recipients of its special awards on Tuesday. The 2018 NEPGA Awards Banquet will celebrate all of those winners and will be held in May.


The 2018 Award winners are: Matt Closter, PGA (Woodstock Golf Club) – Merchandiser of the Year-Resort; Stephen Clancy, PGA (Granite Links GC) –Merchandiser of the Year- Public;  John Fields, PGA (Belmont CC)—Merchandiser of the Year- Private; Graham Cunningham, PGA (Framingham CC)—Horton Smith Award; John ‘Jay’ Askew, PGA (The Ridge Club)—Deacon Palmer Award; Brendon Ray, PGA (Carnegie Abbey Club)—Assistant Professional of the Year; Eric Barlow, PGA (Winchester CC)—Teacher of the Year; Vinnie Del Zoppo, PGA —Patriot Award; Peter Doherty, PGA (Atkinson Club)—Player Development Award; David Donnellan, PGA (Hyannis GC)—Youth Player Development Award; Adam Hemeon, PGA (Weston GC)—Bill Strausbaugh Award; and Larry Kelley, PGA (Five Star Golf Cars)—Golf Professional of the Year.


The 2018 class of winners represent 4 of 5 states in the New England Section. Eight winners are from Massachusetts, two are from Vermont, one is from New Hampshire, and one from Rhode Island. Six of the award winners have won awards in the past, and the other six are winners for the first time.


Larry Kelley, PGA was chosen as the PGA Professional of the Year for 2017, one of the highest awards a New England Professional can receive. A longtime friend and NEPGA Board member, Kelley’s contributions and dedication to the New England Section and Vermont Chapters have greatly elevated the experience for all PGA Professionals. He is currently a sales representative for Five Star Golf Cars and Ez-Go for New England.


The NEPGA’s Awards committee along with its Board of Directors is responsible for naming the award winners and adheres to the following process: First, the awards recipients must be nominated by a fellow PGA Professional who recognizes their talents and merits. Second, the nominee must complete and return the application. Finally, the awards committee then reviews applications and makes recommendations to the board of directors for final approval.


For the first time since 2002, the New England PGA has decided to not elect any members to its Hall of Fame. The decision comes as the Awards Committee wanted to put an emphasis on the Special Award winners for 2018. They also decided to not to name any winners of the George S. Wemyss Award.


The 2018 Awards Banquet will also be held in the spring, instead of at its traditional time in the fall to be more accommodating to the golf schedule. The banquet will be held at Kirkbrae Country Club on Saturday, May 19th. Tickets for the event will be on sale in the coming weeks.