Instructor Wins 10K for Hole-In-OneAny day spent on the course is a good day, but once in a great while that good day can become great…when somebody sinks a hole-in-one. Not too long ago Ed Smilow, graduate of the Professional Golfers Career College, and Business Law instructor for PGCC Temecula, experienced that oh-so-rare breed of day.
Smilow recalls, “I was invited to play in a charity tournament at Tustin Ranch Golf Club, to benefit the American Cancer Society Research Program.” Target Specialty Products, manufacturer and distributor of turf grass products, sponsored the event which, in addition to being a fundraiser for a good cause, furnished a unique opportunity for players to win a prize for a hole-in-one.
The prize? A cool $10,000 cash.
The California Golf Course Owners Association was encouraged to participate, and four members of the CGCOA were asked to play in the event. The foursome was comprised of Smilow, CGOA President, George Kelley, Executive Director, Ted Horton, and Secretary, Jay Miller.
As Smilow recalls “Our foursome was having a wonderful time, and we were birdying every hole in the scramble format. When we came upon the 11th tee there was a sign that read “Hole-In-One Wins! $10,000 CASH”. The par 3 hole measured 137 yards over water to a front pin location. Seeing this Jay Miller, jokingly said “Okay boys, what do you say that if anyone makes a hole-in-one we split the prize?” jokingly, we all agreed. “When the foursome ahead cleared the green, I took a look at the shot and, as my usual routine, I said to myself, “Let’s put this in the hole”.
As a part of his mental game, Smilow visualized the shot from start to finish, recalling that “After teeing it up on the right side of the tee, I stood behind the ball holding my 8 iron in hand. With the wind slightly from my right, I saw the ball flying in the air and landing, curving to the left and landing just short of the pin.” Snapping back to reality Smilow took a practice swing to get the feel, stood up to the ball and let it go. Only seconds later three of the foursome were startled to hear Miller yell out “Oh my God, it went in the hole!” After a spotter verified the shot, and two months of waiting, the check finally arrived and, as promised, contributions were made to the Get-A-Grip Foundation, an organization that assists at risk youth through after school programs.
When asked about any other remarkable shots like this one Smilow responds, “I had three prior holes-in-one, and have come to realize that anything is possible if you believe in it.”
Students Volunteer at T.K.E. TournamentKyle Lograsso is part of a very small demographic of people. People who have met Tiger Woods? People who can shoot a round of golf under 70? People who have a charitable foundation named in their honor? He is all of those things and more, but Kyle is also one of fewer than 300 kids in the United States who are diagnosed with retinoblastoma each year. It is challenging to see how a potentially fatal diagnosis can have a silver lining but the Lograsso family has certainly found a way to unearth the potential for doing good.
January 2012 marks 7 years that Kyle has been cancer free and the Professional Golfers Career College is a proud supporter of his cause, and his calling. Kyle’s Lograsso, now 9, has a highly unusual gift; he has a near perfect golf swing. The 9 year old golf prodigy has never had a lesson in his life and because of his natural talent, and love for the game, he has been able to raise awareness of the rare cancer that threatened his life a few short years ago. Though he is a bit of a poster child for cancer awareness, having a rare cancer is not his legacy. The legacy he is building is one of triumph, will, and resolute strength. Certainly some of this strength comes from his parents, Jeff and Regina Lograsso, who started the Through Kyle’s Eyes Foundation in their son’s name.
One of the ways they have begun raising awareness around retinoblastoma is by putting on the annual Through Kyle’s Eyes Championship Golf Tournament. This year marked the 2nd annual tournament, which was projected to raise twice as much as last year’s tournament, totaling over $60,000 for retinoblastoma research.
Volunteering to help with the Through Kyle’s Eyes Foundation is more of a reward than a contribution for the students and the school. Putting on a tournament is no easy feat and since learning of Kyle’s story, and tournament, the Professional Golfers Career College has been committed to helping the foundation. Armed with a ready supply of professional, eager, knowledgeable students who are honored to help Kyle’s cause, the golf college is well represented by the volunteer staff who help keep the tournament running smoothly.
PGCC Alum at Top of His GameIt has been a little over 10 years since Scott Erdmann, Assistant Golf Professional at Lake Oswego Country Club in Lake Oswego, Oregon, graduated from the Professional Golfers Career College, and all these years later he may be the perfect embodiment of what every student who attends the golf college ultimately wants; He’s got a great job on a beautiful golf course, and his nice little side job winning golf tournaments. In 2011 Erdmann beat out over 320 competitors to play at the 93rd Annual PGA Professional National Championship, where he tied for 2nd after playing for 4 days.
“It was really exciting. It was televised; there was a lot of really good energy.” This isn’t his first brush with playing in championship tournaments; Erdmann won the 2009 Pacific Northwest Assistants Championship, the 2005 Oregon Assistants Champion, and he was runner up in the 2010 Pacific Northwest PGA Championship and 2009 Section Assistant Championship. Though he’s very humble, it appears that accomplishments of this sort come very naturally to Scott, “In my early 20’s I had the course record of 63 at Pumpkin Ridge…I still hold the record.” After looking at his list of playing accomplishments there’s no room to argue that he was aptly named the 2009 Section Assistant Professional Player of the Year.
In the 10 years since he graduated from the golf college he has arrived here in part because of one thing he took away from his time at PGCC. “One of the big things I learned was more subconscious. I learned a way of conducting myself and being professional.” Behind Scott’s journey to becoming a professional golfer is a long history playing the game, which is still a top priority in his life. “I got into the golf business because of a love of the game and competition.” He noted, “People move on to other industries because they put other things ahead of their game.”
With a winning record like that, it is clear that Erdmann has his priorities in order, “Truthfully, my goal is not to change, I live a very happy life.” He remarks, “I play a lot of tournaments, as a Head Golf Pro, something’s got to give. I love to teach, I love to play, being a Head Golf Pro doesn’t leave a lot of time for that, and I love teaching.” This simple fact is evidenced clearly by the way he speaks about it. “The essence of golf to me is teaching.” noting also, “Having the ability to teach and play the game is so important. I love working with our members and giving them a great experience.”
It makes sense that his love for teaching runs so deep, golf has been a part of Scott’s life for many, many years. “Like a lot of kids I started pretty young. My best friend’s dad was a golf professional so I was exposed to it around 10 and that’s when my passion for it began. Had that not happened, who knows how my game would have been.”