Two Pleasanton golf professionals win NorCal PGA awards

Jones earns Horton Smith Award; Faulkner is Private Merchandiser of the Year

Two Pleasanton golf professionals were singled out with top recognition among their peers earlier this month, taking home honors during the Northern California PGA's annual section awards.

Eric Jones, PGA director of instruction at the Eric Jones Golf Academy in Pleasanton, received the 2016 Horton Smith Award. And Brett Faulkner, PGA head professional of Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton, was named the 2016 Private Merchandiser of the Year.

The Horton Smith Award recognized Jones for his outstanding service and contributions in developing and improving educational opportunities for PGA professionals, according to NCPGA officials.

"Eric is committed in making a difference in the way we as golf professionals share the game of golf," John Snopkowski, a fellow golf instructor and colleague, said of Jones.

"I have witnessed his uncanny ability to take teaching concepts and turn them into a language for all to understand. His influence has extended past his students to my own students the hallmark of an innovator and teacher of teachers," Snopkowski added.

Faulkner, recognized for the success of Castlewood's golf shop operations, was one of three Merchandisers of the Year with awards also in public and resort categories.

"The three winners and their merchandising teams have excelled in golf shop operations," NCPGA officials said. "Golf shops are an excellent way for the general public to get individualized attention and expertise from trained staff that is familiar with the array of golf products because they use them every day."

Jones and Faulkner joined 19 recipients from across Northern California and Nevada honored during the NCPGA's Special Awards and President's Dinner on Dec. 4 at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City.

Two other winners came from the Tri-Valley: Shane Balfour, golf administrator and executive director of the Junior Golf Association of Northern California in Danville, received the Youth Player Development Award, and the Assistant Apprentice Player of the Year honor went to PGA teaching professional Steve Watanabe Jr. of The Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon.

The evening's top award, Golf Professional of the Year, went to Stuart Smith, PGA director of golf at Somersett Golf & Country Club in Reno, Nevada.

Some of the other awards included Player of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Club Fitter of the Year and Sales Representative of the Year.

Other California winners hailed from golf clubs or organizations in communities such as Napa, San Francisco, San Martin, Valley Springs, Graeagle, Newcastle, Vacaville, Los Altos, Monterey and Auburn. All Nevada winners work in Reno.

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