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.”