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December 24, 2021

Alabama NW Florida section announces award winners, new Hall of Fame members

alabama NW Florida PGA hall of famersd Johnson and Diamond

With 2021 winding down, the Alabama-NW Florida Section PGA’s Special Awards Committee announced its special awards winners.

David Pilkington, the head golf professional at Pensacola Country Club is the Golf Professional of the Year for 2021.

Other award winners include:

  • Assistant Professional of the Year:  Jordan Debonis, The Ledges
  • Teacher of the Year:  Craig Bocking, The Ledges
  • Professional Development Award:  Paul Whitman, Pine Tree Country Club
  • Bill Strausbaugh Award:  Ed Davis, Frank House GC
  • Player Development Award:  Chris Biggins, The Country Club of Birmingham
  • Youth Player Development Award:  Bradley Ambler, Ol’ Colony GC

Merchandisers of the Year are:

  • Private – Rob Clark, The Ledges
  • Public – Stephen Worthy, Gunter’s Landing Club
  • Resort – David Watson, Kiva Dunes

Winners will be recognized at the Section Award’s Dinner on Feb. 6, 2022, at Wynlakes G&CC in Montgomery.  The section’s annual meeting is Feb. 7.

Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Also at the awards dinner, the section will induct its two newest members into its hall of fame. The newest members are Gene Diamond and Hank Johnson.

Gene Diamond is the section’s only two-time president. Gene served as president from 1998-1999 and then again from 2006-2007.  Gene has been a PGA member for 44 years and spent 27 of those years as the head professional at Huntsville Country Club, followed by six years as the owner and head professional of Twin Lakes GC.

Gene was honored as the Section’s Golf Professional of the Year twice and received the Bill Strausbaugh Award during his career.  He currently lives in Atlanta and is a PGA Life member in the Georgia Section.

Hank Johnson – A PGA member for more than 40 years, Hank served as the director of golf at NorthRiver Yacht Club and Greystone G&CC.  In recent years preceding his death in September 2021, he operated the Hank Johnson School of Golf instructing students at Greystone, Timberline, and Bent Brook.

Golf instruction and education were big in Hank’s career, and he received many awards for excelling in those areas.  The PGA of America selected Hank as the National 2004 Teacher of the Year.  Locally, Hank was selected for many PGA Section awards including the 1984 Golf Professional of the Year, the 1997 Teacher of the Year, and he was a four-time recipient of the Section’s Horton Smith Award for Education.

Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News

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Photo courtesy courtesy of Alabama-NW Florida Section PGA


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