Today@Sam Article

SHSU's Rich Ballinger Named Golf Professional Of The Year

Nov. 21, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

Rich Ballinger HeadshotRich Ballinger, director of the PGA Golf Management Program at Sam Houston State University, is the 2019 Golf Professional of the Year according to the Southern Texas PGA. Presented annually for 52 years, the award is based on the recipient’s overall performance as a PGA professional, level of service to the Southern Texas PGA, leadership, image, ability to inspire fellow professionals, and service to the region’s golf community.

Elected to PGA membership in 1996, Ballinger works to model what a PGA professional should look and act like to the students he educates in order to better prepare them for jobs in the golf industry. He does this by focusing on the continuation of education and involvement with the Association.

"I am tasked with running an educational program that produces members for the PGA of America. I do my best to be a positive role model and mentor to these young men and women," Ballinger said. "I continued my education by earning an MBA and Doctor of Education, achieved PGA Master Professional status, and am highly involved in both section and national governance."

Ballinger's passion for education in and about the golf industry is seen through the PGA 2.0 and 3.0 education programs he helped design. He also works to promote the game of golf through the free lesson Friday’s program and the Boys and Girls Club and Scouts at SHSU complimentary clinics.

"I try to lead by being an effective role model and mentor for not only students enrolled in the PGA Golf Management program, but to my peers," Ballinger said. "We must practice what we preach or we lose credibility with those we are attempting to lead."


At SHSU, Ballinger is the director of one of only 19 golf management programs in the country accredited by The PGA of America and the only program in Texas. The PGA Golf Management program includes extensive classroom studies, internship experience and player development providing students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the golf industry. At Sam Houston State, students earn a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a specialization in PGA Golf Management and Ballinger’s program ensures that the PGA of America will elect SHSU students as a “Class A" member upon graduation. 

“What I love about Sam Houston State is that we have our very own golf facility that our students have access to,” Ballinger said. “My favorite part of the job is watching them gain work experience here on campus and preparing them for a job they will love in the golf industry.”

This marks the fifth Southern Texas PGA Section Award for Ballinger, who previously won the section's Horton Smith Award four times in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2017.

Ballinger and his fellow section award winners will be formally presented with their honors during the STPGA 52nd Annual President’s Dinner and Awards Ceremony in February, at The Woodlands Country Club.

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