Wisconsin PGA Announces 2017 Special Award Winners

The Wisconsin Section, PGA is pleased to announce our 2017 WPGA Special Award winners. These awards recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of our Wisconsin PGA Professionals on and off the

Award winners will be honored at a reception on Monday, March 6th at Wilderness Resort & Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells, WI. This reception is part of the Wisconsin PGA Spring Meeting and Product Showcase. Below is a list of the winners followed by a detailed write-up about each winner.

WPGA Golf Professional of the Year – Michael O’Reilly, PGA – Whistling Straits
Teacher of the Year – David Roesch, PGA – Storm’s Golf Range
Assistant Golf Professional of the Year – Scott Walecki – Dretzka Park GC
Horton Smith Award – Danny Rainbow, PGA – SentryWorld GC
Youth Player Development Award – Bob Feller, PGA – Reedsburg CC
Player Development Award – Jeff Ellingson, PGA – Edelweiss Chalet CC
Bill Strausbaugh Award – Joel Weitz, PGA – Vitense Golfland
Merchandiser of the Year (Private) – Vince Pulizzano, PGA – Westmoor CC
Merchandiser of the Year (Public) – Andrew Barrett, PGA – Brown Deer GC
Merchandiser of the Year (Resort) – Jim Lombardo, PGA – Erin Hills

Michael O’Reilly, PGA – Golf Professional of the Year
Just when you thought the bar couldn’t get any higher at the Kohler Golf courses, they have upped the ante through another fantastic accolade. This honor is connected to them through the outstanding work of their head golf professional at Whistling Straits. Earning the 2017 Wisconsin Section, PGA Golf Professional of the Year award is Michael O’Reilly. It is his second WPGA special award, as he was also recognized for his player development efforts in 2011.

O’Reilly has been the head golf professional for the past ten years at the facility and was elected a PGA member in 2004. Before ascending to his current position he served as an assistant professional at both Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits. He is a native of Darien, Illinois and holds an undergraduate degree from Augustana College and an M.B.A. from Cardinal Stritch University.

For O’Reilly the year produced great success both on and off the job. Onsite at Whistling Straits he continued to lead the ever successful golf operations, outside food and beverage and also played a key role as a lead instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy. The year also featured the kick off to the planning for the 2020 Ryder Cup. O’Reilly will once again be a significant part of the leadership team for this major event as he will oversee six different operational committees as a member of the Executive Committee. It will mark the fifth major championship that he has been involved with. He held the Executive Vice-Chair of Player Services for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open and the PGA Championships in 2004, 2010 and 2015.

Off the course the Sheboygan resident continued to serve his fellow PGA professionals as a board member of the Wisconsin Section, PGA and the chairperson of the WPGA tournament policy board. He also led the way as a co-campaign manager for Jim Richerson’s successful PGA of America Secretary election. Outside of golf, O’Reilly was actively involved at Lakeshore Technical College, the Wisconsin Coaches versus Cancer Gala, Heartland Classic (American Cancer Society) and the Jimmy Lohr Scholarship.

“It's truly an honor to be recognized among some of the best golf professionals in the state of Wisconsin,” O’Reilly said through a written statement. “I try to work hard and I'm hopeful that what I do at work, at home and in the community will have a positive impact on the people around me and on the game of golf.”

The honor marks back to back years that the Golf Professional of the Year has represented Kohler Co., as Jim Richerson was last year’s recipient.

View full news release here: http://wisconsin.pga.com/popup/article_4489/

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