Atchison Wins Teacher of the Year
Riverside, Iowa – Mark Atchison of Des Moines Golf & Country has been named the 2019 Teacher of the Year by the Iowa PGA. This honor is based on a professional’s entire record of achievements over their career. The award is determined based off the nominee’s overall impact in teaching at the nominee’s facility, unusual, innovative, or special teaching programs initiated or implemented, instructional articles, videos or publications written or produced, list of outstanding golfers whom the nominee has instructed, involvement in junior golf activities and in the community and innovative contributions.
“Having been introduced to golf by my Grandpa Charlie at the age of five,” said Atchison, “I quickly embraced his passion for the game and can’t imagine where I would be today if it were not for that man and the game he loved so much!”
Mark's passion for teaching the game of golf has continued to grow each year he has been in this profession. During his first year as the Director of Instruction at Des Moines Golf & Country Club, he is on track to give over 1,000 hours of instruction, more than doubling that given in 2018. In order to introduce himself to his new clientele, he produced a Winter Video Series for the membership, adding to the more than fifty videos he has on his YouTube channel. In addition to instruction, Mark has administered over 60 club fittings this season and is a self-proclaimed “Equipment Junkie”, knowing that proper club fitting and instruction go hand-in-hand.
“During my journey so far, I have had the opportunity to work under several selfless and dedicated golf professionals,” said Atchison, “including Iowa Section Teaching Professionals Jon Ward and Chris Winkel, and 2011 PGA National Teacher of the Year, Mike Malaska (from 2012-2016) and use what I have learned from them on a daily basis!
Atchison expanded his knowledge base this past season by completing TPI Level 1 and Golf Level 2 over the Winter of 2018-19 and is also a Boditrak Certified Ground Mechanics Instructor, as well as a Certified SuperSpeed Golf Instructor.
"Understanding that I will never know all there is to know about how to swing the club, play the game, even teach it," said Atchison, "I take great enjoyment and pride in trying to!"
Atchison has had a number of outstanding students with great success on many levels of golf, including Jon Olson, the 2014 Iowa Golf Association Player of the Year, 2019 IGA Match Play Champion and a 2019 USGA Mid-Amateur qualifier.
“When I first met Mark at Ames Golf & Country Club over 25 years ago,” said Jon Olson, “I had no idea the positive influence he would have on my personal life and my golf game. Mark is more than just a golf instructor; he is one of my best friends with a passion to help golfers improve is like no other instructor I know.”
Other students include Scott Hart the 2019 Des Moines City Golf Champion, 2019 Ames City Junior Champion Joey Currans, and Jacob Peterson, a high school golfer on the Johnston Boys Golf Team who won't let anything get in the way of his desire to be the best golfer he can be!
“I have had the unique opportunity to be able to work on my game with Mark as well as observe him on the lesson tee with golfers of all ages and skill levels,” said Kirkwood College Golf Coach and PGA Member Micah Destival, “One of his biggest strengths as a teacher is the numerous analogies and drills he has to convey to his student what he wants them to do.
“Having been raised by two career educators, my mom being a preschool teacher and my dad a college professor at Iowa State,” remembered Atchison, “I grew up in a teaching and learning environment. And though I was never pressured to do so, seeing their life-long passion for teaching, learning, and helping others improve was instilled in me from an early age, so it was only natural that I too would become a teacher one day. Therefore, blending my passion for golf with that of teaching seemed like the perfect fit!”
Mark has displayed what it takes to be a successful teacher for golfers of all ages and playing abilities with his dedication to helping them grow with the game being evident in his long resume of students, and the Iowa PGA is proud to announce Mark Atchison the 2019 Iowa PGA Teacher of the Year.
Dingel Wins Youth Player Development Award
Riverside, Iowa – Greg Dingel of the Veenker Memorial Golf Course has been named the 2019 Iowa PGA Youth Player Development honoree. This honor is based on the Professional’s entire record, with emphasis placed on his/her performance and achievements over the past two years. The honoree should also promote junior golf throughout the Section.
Veenker’s Junior Programs have grown under Dingel’s leadership. Dingel has 55 juniors in his junior golf program, 25 PGA Junior League contestants, six in his 72 Task Force program and eighteen in his winter junior golf program.
“No doubt I have a passion for junior golf and enjoy watching these junior players grow their games.” said Dingel, “I have been at Veenker for 6 years and some of my first junior players I worked with are playing high school golf. It is very satisfying to watch a player develop and achieve their goals. It has been nice seeing the success of the Ames community and surrounding communities.”
These juniors have had success lately at the State Tournaments. Ames boys have had back-to-back appearances in the state meet. Two Ames High School girls, Taylor Balsley and Megan Riesselman along with some of the Gilbert Boys team.
“It is an honor to receive an award for working with our junior golfers and growing this great game. It has been one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” said Dingel, “I want to thank all the parents, the Veenker Staff and my family for the support they have given me over the years.”
Veenker also contributes to hosting many junior events including the Veenker Junior Am, Iowa Games Junior, PGA Junior League and the Central Iowa Junior League. Dingel was also the 2016 Merchandiser of the Year Award winner for Public Facilities.
Dingel is always striving to better himself as a teacher and learn new ways to connect with his students. He has seen many of his PGA Jr. League Players play on the All-Star Team and compete in the Regionals at Glen Oaks in 2019.
Working with juniors can be very hectic, but very rewarding. Dingel has shown what it takes to grow the game as well as his students and the Iowa PGA is very excited to name him the 2019 Youth Player Development honoree.
Egly Wins Player Development Award
Riverside, Iowa – Riverside, Iowa – Mark Egly of the Des Moines Driving Range has been named the 2019 Iowa PGA Player Development honoree. The Player Development Award is designed to recognize a PGA Professional for extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development. This award considers the PGA Professional’s growth of the game leadership commitment at the Section and National levels and the impact made at their facility.
This is Egly’s 3rd Iowa PGA Player Development Award having won previously in 2015 and 2017. He was also the 2017 Horton Smith Award winner.
It is Mark’s mission in golf to improve the number of students who start and then continue to play the game of golf, and to make sure they are enjoying playing, which will drive them to want to play more and continue to develop skills no matter what their level of play. Mark has over 4 decades of vast teaching experience and as many of you already know has numerous unique, innovative and special teaching concepts, drills and methods. Any and all PGA Members are welcome to instruct at his facility and he has donated countless hours to high school golf teams and players who are looking to get programs started or improve. The success of Mark’s students is vast. From high school state golf to amateur and professional successes both locally and on the national stage, the list is long.
Egly has won the Teacher of the Year award in 2002, 2006, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016. His free lessons are countless to groups like the Drake Men’s and Women’s programs, Grandview University Men’s and Women’s programs, countless high school team and Mark has facilitated The First Tee of Central Iowa since 1996.
“The public looks upon its PGA Professionals as community leaders. As PGA Golf Professionals, there is no better way for us to do this, especially with our youth, than supporting them through golf.” remarked Egly. “With golf we can provide a safe, healthy experience, that can lead to forming solid relationships and making friends along the way that can last their entire lifetimes!”
His gratitude and desire to give back included facilitating getting 23 sets of complimentary clubs to junior golfers in 2019 who could not afford a quality golf clubs and equipment.
Mark’s passion and dedication to his players is evident in the amount of time and effort he puts into his lessons, clinics and individual lessons. Mark has proven what it takes to be a great teaching professional in this industry and the Iowa PGA is proud to announce him as the 2019 Player Development honoree.