They are like doctors with a patient, priests with a penitent; the PGA Head professionals devote their lives to golf and golfers far from the cameras, lights, and microphones, but they are the beating heart of the game nonetheless.
Christmas is a little brighter in upstate New York this year as they celebrate the golf world’s rejoinder to the Miracle on 34th Street. PGA Head Professional Steve Nacewicz and family rescued Crestwood Golf Club from the edge of extinction, and the club has surged back to prominence after languishing for nearly two decades. With the club foundering and the golf course on life support, the Nacewicz family swooped in, the proverbial white knights, and purchased the club from its former vampire owners. When the Nacewiczes bought Crestwood there were 11 members and the golf course was a shipwreck. Now the course is approaching the former splendor of its heyday. They had over 180 members as of this July.
“What a great choice for the award,” said Valley View Head Professional Hank Furgol. “They’ve really done a terrific job there. They brought that golf course back.”
Nacewicz has been everywhere at once: taking reservations, garnering members, clearing away brush and scrub, seeding greens, even grilling hot dogs. His family has been in lockstep, helping at every turn. As a result, all of Central New York has responded, the entire community has rallied around the club.
“It was a ghost town, and now it’s a boom town,” said golf design expert Bruce Moulton. “Sometimes he best stories aren’t the ones about famous clubs making big-money moves. Sometimes the best stories are those about the love ordinary golf fans have for their home course. Looking at the way an entire county flocked back to Crestwood when they saw the Nacewiczes lead by example, it’s clear we have an example all golfers can be proud of.”
That’s true – Steve and Crestwood may not be an elite country club getting a multi-millon dollar makeover, but they were golf’s feel good story of the year.
2011 – Laurie Hammer – Delray Dunes (Palm Beach, Fla)
2010 – Hank Furgol – Valley View Golf Course (Utica, NY)
2009 – No Award (Woods Scandal Pre-empted most awards)
2008 – Bernie Herceg – Hiawatha Landing Golf Course
2007 – Ace Rothman – The Biltmore Golf Resort
2006 – Ty Hamer – Pinon Hills Golf Course