Today@Sam Article

Rich Ballinger Wins PGA of America National Award

April 7, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

Rich BallingerRich Ballinger, director of Sam Houston State University’s PGA Golf Management Program, has earned the 2021 PGA Professional Development Award. This honor recognizes a PGA Member who displays commendable contributions to the education of PGA Professionals. A graduate of the Ferris State University PGA Golf Management University Program, Ballinger has served as the Director of the Sam Houston State PGA Golf Management University Program since its inception in 2005.

Ballinger, PGA Master Professional and a PGA Member since 1996, also serves as the director of golf operations for Sam Houston State University’s Bearkat Course. A four-time recipient of the Southern Texas PGA Professional Development Award (2008, 2012, 2014, 2017), Ballinger was honored as the Southern Texas PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2019. Ballinger is passionate about service and helping his fellow PGA Members reach their desired career goals, evident by his involvement on many National and Section committees. He currently serves as Secretary for the Southern Texas PGA Section.

The 13 PGA National Award winners were recently unveiled during the 2022 PGA Show’s Opening Ceremony at the Orange County Convention Center.   

“I am extremely honored to win the 2021 PGA Professional Development Award,” Ballinger said. “I am very passionate about PGA education and the golf industry and am beyond thrilled to be recognized by the PGA of America at the national level.” 

“This year’s outstanding class of National Awards recipients are inspiring those involved with the game of golf and the advancement of PGA Professionals throughout our industry,” said PGA President Jim Richerson. “The PGA of America is proud to recognize their accomplishments, as they reflect the incredible expertise and talent throughout our Association. From nearly 28,000 PGA Professionals, these 13 recipients are at the forefront, reflecting a standard of success for all of us to emulate and admire.”

Ballinger with Students

Ballinger spends his days mentoring and raising the next generation of PGA Professionals at Sam Houston State. During this time, more than 130 students have graduated from the program and became PGA Professionals. His mentorship with his students lasts long beyond their time spent at SHSU as he continues to offer guidance throughout their career. One of his proudest accomplishments was starting a mentor program in the Southern Texas to help retain new PGA Professionals within the industry.

Ballinger is one of 14 PGA Master Professionals in Texas and the only PGA Master Professional in General Management in the state. Rich has also completed a Master of Business Administration degree and Doctor of Education degree.

Ballinger is the director of one of only 17 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. 

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