Tag Archives: golf

South Florida PGA honors Osprey Point Golf Course Manager and Teaching Professional

Bo Preston, PGA General Manager at Osprey Point Golf Course and Bridget Ackley, onsite PGA Teaching Professional with Don Law Golf Academy (DLGA), were recognized by the South Florida Professional Golfers’ Association (SFPGA) during an awards presentation held at the golf course on Thursday, December 2.

Bo Preston was honored with the Patriot Award and is only the third recipient to have received it. The Patriot Award recognizes a PGA member who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to all who have served the United States.

“I am humbled and honored to be the recipient of the award,” said Preston. “Giving back to our veterans is my way of saying ‘Thank you’ for all they have done for me. They all deserve my best and that is what I hope I give them.”

For the past 12 years, Preston’s facilities have participated in the annual Patriot Golf Days in addition to hosting Folds of Honor tournaments. A certified instructor of Adaptive Golf and the PGA HOPE program, Preston has been personally changed by these programs and will continue to provide events like these for years to come.

“This certification has had a major impact on me,” said Preston. “It changes you. I have a whole new insight, respect and appreciation for our veterans.”

When Preston arrived at Osprey Point, there were no programs running for veterans. He immediately put PGA HOPE on their calendar and, over these past few years, has worked to grow the program to what it is today. Their first program of the year brought in 16 veterans and generated a segment on local media PGA HOPE. Preston’s programs have already impacted more than 150 veterans and Preston and his team are committed to providing an exceptional experience for these veterans starting at the first moment they step on to the course.
 
Bridget Ackley has been named the South Florida PGA Youth Development Award winner. The award recognizes the PGA Professional who uses her leadership skills to promote and develop junior golf at both the club and community levels. “When I received the phone call that I won the Section’s Youth Player Development Award, I was truly overcome with emotion,” said Ackley. “Winning this award has been a career achievement goal of mine and it means so much that my efforts to grow the game at the junior level have not gone unnoticed by my peers. There are long and sometimes challenging days that I persevere through in order to provide the juniors with the best experience that I possibly can.”

Throughout Ackley’s time working in junior golf she has been able to develop leadership skills that have helped better translate into positive feedback from her students. Being able to create a comfortable environment for juniors has allowed for better communication and understanding of the game. As a Youth Player Development programmer, Ackley has been successful in spreading passion and enthusiasm for the game of golf to the younger generations.

“The main passion of my career has been to advance positive youth development by using golf skills that transition into various life skills to create successful young adults. Juniors deserve the opportunity to simply enjoy being kids, in a creative golfing environment, to promote lasting positive outcomes.”

While working predominantly with ages 2-12, Ackley also coaches high school golf at Saint John Paul II Academy in Boca Raton, where she has the opportunity to help young men and women not only grow in the game of golf but as individuals as well.

“I want to thank my family for fully supporting my dreams to foster youth development, DLGA for providing a space for me to develop my art of junior programming, and my fellow Professionals for acknowledging the work that I offer to the juniors in the community. I am honored to receive this award.”

“Our Department is very fortunate to have two outstanding people working for us who care deeply about growing the game of golf and creating opportunities for everyone to participate,” said Eric Call, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Congratulations to both Bo and Bridget for this significant recognition from the SFPGA.”

Okeeheelee Park Wins Venue of the Year From the Florida Sports Foundation

The Florida Sports Foundation, which is the official sports promotion and development organization for the State of Florida, recognized one of Palm Beach County’s premier parks during the annual Florida Sports Summit. The Florida Sports Foundation presented its annual awards to recognize Florida communities and sports commissions for their efforts to cultivate sports tourism in Florida. The awards were presented at the annual Florida Sports Summit, which was held November 8-10.

Okeeheelee Park, which is a Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation venue, has been named the 2021 “Large Market Venue of the Year” by the Florida Sports Foundation. This award is presented annually to Florida’s small, mid, and large market venues that excel in fostering sports development while creating tourism impacts within the state.

Okeeheelee Park is one of the largest parks in south Florida, which covers over 1700 acres. Okeeheelee Park is a catch-all for traditional and action sports. One of the most versatile venues in Palm Beach County, Okeeheelee Park includes eight tennis courts, six pickleball courts, five lighted youth baseball diamonds, four lighted softball diamonds, and four lighted multi-purpose fields that are ideal for soccer, lacrosse, football, rugby, and more. Okeeheelee Park not only contains a 27-hole public championship golf course; it is also one of the few venues in the region with an 18-hole course for disc golf. Five expansive water-skiing lakes allow for professional water-skiing competitions. One of the nation’s premier cable wakeboarding facilities, Shark Wave Park, also resides within Okeeheelee Park. The site also features a premier equestrian venue in the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center and the top-ranked BMX track in Florida, Okeeheelee BMX.

Okeeheelee Park was a launching pad for sports tourism recovery in The Palm Beaches. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation partnered to host a diverse collection of sports events at Okeeheelee Park over the past year. The first youth sports tournament to take place in Palm Beach County, during a post-Covid-19 era, happened at Okeeheelee Park through baseball. During the year, a variety of youth baseball events, girls fastpitch softball tournaments, soccer showcases, and tennis contests filled the venue while providing an economic and tourism benefit to The Palm Beaches. Okeeheelee Park was also home to a national BMX event in addition to professional and amateur water ski events. The Jim Brandon Equestrian Center hosted national equestrian showjumping events and provided a stage for the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches, which introduces Palm Beach County’s youth to a variety of sports.

“The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation have an incredible partnership, which sparked a sports tourism recovery in The Palm Beaches,” said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “Okeeheelee Park is one of Florida’s most comprehensive and resourceful venues with a sprawling footprint that is a setting for a multitude of sports. Together, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation utilized Okeeheelee Park to deliver sports tourism products over the past year. We are extremely grateful to the Florida Sports Foundation for recognizing Okeeheelee Park as Florida’s Large Market Venue of the Year.”

“I am very honored that Okeeheelee Park was selected as Sports Venue of the Year by the Florida Sports Foundation,” said Eric Call, Director, Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. “The park was master-planned in the ’70s-’80s as Palm Beach County’s central park and designed to offer recreation and sports opportunities for both amateur and professional athletes. We’re very proud of the relationship we have established with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and look forward to collaborating on many more events at Okeeheelee Park in the future.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Eddie Ott

Edward “Eddie” Ott has been a volunteer for 11 years at John Prince Golf Learning Center. He picks up golf balls on the range and helps keep the fire ants under control by surveying the property in the hunt for anthills, so they can extinguish them before they cause patrons harm. He also helps keep the golf greens, green aprons (collars) and fairways in tiptop shape by fixing ball markers and filling divots, keeping them as some of the best in South Florida.

Fellow staff, volunteers and patrons have always said that he has been a pleasure to talk to due to his wealth of experiences and knowledge.

Eddie has always been a very diligent working volunteer. He is kind, optimistic and very cordial to all and a role model to the whole facility.

The biggest personal benefit he’s received as a volunteer with our department? “I get to play golf and work with Geoff!”

Eddie started playing golf at the age of 42 and moved down to Florida from Ohio when he was 50. His previous occupation was an auto mechanic. What’s most interesting is he is 97 years old, who calls 85 year olds ‘kids’. 

Farm to table experience coming to Osprey Point

A farm to table experience is coming to The Nest Eatery at Osprey Point Golf Course in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park! Palm Beach County and Osprey Point Golf Course have dedicated a portion of land at the golf course to create an organic garden which all will be used at the restaurant. Going a step further, they are creating a composting initiative that all food waste will be composted and used to fertilize the garden for future vegetables.

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Okeeheelee Golf Course

Rick Ward, Arcade Duguay, and Tom Furmer are long-time, dedicated volunteers at Okeeheelee Golf Course. Ward has been a volunteer for three years, Furmer, for three and a half, and Duguay, for nine years.

The men serve as player assistants and assistant starters for the golf course, meaning they monitor the flow of the game, fill sand bottles, assist with water and trash, and provide customer service to visitors.

The “Allstars,” as noted by Assistant Manager Juan Calderon, are “willing to go above and beyond for the facility and its visitors.” The three volunteers each have different answers when it comes to their favorite part of volunteering, though they all appreciate the ability to assist their fellow golfers; for Ward, it’s being with and helping people, for Duguay, it’s meeting people and making friends, and for Furmer, it’s helping everyone and meeting people.

Lucky Palm Beach County Golfer Makes Two Holes-In-One

Palm Beach County Golfer Ted Moore makes two holes-in-one at Park Ridge Golf Course

According to GOLF Magazine/golf.com, the odds of making an ace is roughly 1 in 12,500 and the chances of making two aces in one round of golf skyrockets to about 1 in 156 million. Against these odds, Palm Beach County golfer Ted Moore accomplished this amazing feat at Park Ridge Golf Course, in Lake Worth. While playing a weekly skins game at Park Ridge on October 22, Moore made an ace on the par 3-9th hole and then backed it up with another ace on the par 3-16th hole.

After the round, Ted shared, “Yesterday while waiting in the doctor’s office, I picked up GOLF Magazine and one of the things that I happened to read were the odds of making a hole-in-one during a round of golf.” How’s that for some foreshadowing?

Due to course construction the 9th hole was playing from a temporary tee box and the hole measured 125 yards from the blue tees. The 16th hole played 140 yards straight up the hill. It should be noted that Park Ridge is a bit different than most golf courses as it features six par threes, six par fours and six par fives, while most traditional golf courses will feature no more than four par threes. This means Ted chances were slightly higher, but, the occurrence is still extremely unlikely.

Volunteer Spotlight: BARRY DRUCKER

Barry Drucker has been a dedicated volunteer for one year now at John Prince Golf Learning Center (JPGLC). Staff at JPGLC can always depend on Barry to help out whenever they need him and he always stays busy with light duties such as trash and debris, filling divots with sand, etc. In addition to those light duties, Barry does the range picking and maintains the mat and rope line.

What is his favorite part about volunteering here? “John Prince Park is a nice place to be at; it’s a great natural habitat to observe.”

What stands out most about Barry is his dependability and work ethic.

Palm Beach County Golf Shines in Audubon International’s Annual BioBlitz Competition

red fox sitting on grass
The award for Best Photograph went to Southwinds Golf Course, for their photograph of a Red Fox on the course.

In Audubon International’s BioBlitz, Southwinds Golf Course received the Community Engagement Award with a total of 271 participants. The key to their success was both a Lady’s Night Out and a Junior BioBlitz session that included crafting both animal masks and birdhouses along with the hunt for wildlife. The Southwinds clubhouse joined in by featuring a wildlife-themed drink menu throughout the week of the event. Park Ridge Golf Course came in second place for Community Engagement.

The award for Best Photograph went to Southwinds Golf Course, for their photograph of a Red Fox on the course. Sharon Painter, Southwinds’ General Manager, says, “We make it a priority to educate our golfers of all ages about the habitat our golf course provides to the diversity of species that call Southwinds Golf Course home.”

Now in its fifth year, this annual event, sponsored by the United States Golf Association (USGA), provides a unique opportunity for golf courses to engage their community members in activities designed to showcase and record the abundance of wildlife found on their course landscapes. Participating courses went above and beyond in their outreach and environmental stewardship efforts. Participants also competed for awards in Community Engagement, Biodiversity, and Best Photograph.

All five Palm Beach County golf courses are certified Audubon International courses, a distinction that is given to golf courses that employ environmental-friendly practices in maintaining their facilities.

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Audubon International is a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to creating sustainable environments in all the places people live, work and play. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, services, and a set of award-winning environmental education and certification programs for individuals, organizations, individual properties, recreation sites, and entire communities.

Southwinds Golf Course and Park Ridge Golf Course are operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. For more information on county-operated golf courses, visit www.pbcgolf.com.

Power of Parks: Kelly Shanahan

Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation.

Episode 5 features guest Kelly Shanahan. Shanahan is a Junior Golfer who plays at Osprey Point Golf Course inside Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in West Boca. In 2018, she was awarded the “Challenge Tour Player of the Year” Honors and won four of eight competitive events, finishing top 5 in all but one tournament. She’s on the golf team at her school, and aspires to play the game of golf in a collegiate setting – listen to Episode 5 of Power of Parks to hear about the ways in which golf continues to inspire and benefit her, physically and mentally.
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About Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department:
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, recognized nationally for excellence in park and recreation management, operates more than 110 parks and recreational facilities and provides organized recreational programs and services for people of all ages and abilities. Visit www.pbcparks.com​ for more information.