Hester, Nevatt, Reasons receive annual LPGA T&CP national awards
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 26, 2009 - The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) membership has selected the following members for national recognition as a result of their achievements in 2009: Kelley Hester, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., Coach of the Year; Linda Nevatt, The ACE Club, Lafayette Hill, Pa., Professional of the Year; and Rita Reasons, Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf, Spring Hill, Tenn., Teacher of the Year. The award winners were selected by the LPGA T&CP membership's Executive Committee from the pool of sectional award winners voted on by the members of the five regional sections: Central, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and Western.
Hester, Coach of the Year
Before being named the head coach of the University of Georgia women's golf team, Kelley Hester was a standout golfer herself for the Lady Bulldogs from 1992-96. Hester was a vital member of the Georgia team that finished fourth at the 1993 NCAA Championships, and captured the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship titles in both 1993 and 1994. Among her accomplishments as a student-athlete, Hester was a three-time All-SEC performer (1993, 1995-96) and a two-time National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) All-Scholar team member (1995-96). Hester competed in the 1996 U.S. Women's Open, and was a three-time qualifier for the U.S. Women's Amateur.
After graduating in 1995 with a degree in public relations, Hester had head coaching stints at Mercer University, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and the University of Arkansas. In 2007, Hester returned to her alma mater in Athens, Ga., and was named the head coach of the University of Georgia women's golf program.
"I'm very honored to be recognized by the LPGA and to receive such a prestigious award," Hester said. "I think it gives a great deal of credence to our profession that the LPGA, which does so much for the game of golf, would choose to honor a coach."
Hester is a LPGA T&CP Class A member in the Southeast Section, and has been a teaching professional for 11 years. From 2008-09, she served on the United States Golf Association (USGA) Intercollegiate Relations Committee, and in 2008, she was the USGA liaison for the U.S. Junior Girls Championship Clinic for area youth in Farmington, Conn. She is a past president and vice president of the NGCA, and currently sits on its Board of Directors.
"I find it very rewarding to work with girls during their formative college years and see them mature, both on and off the course, through the process of playing a college sport."
The LPGA T&CP Coach of the Year award was established in 1980, and is awarded annually to a female golf professional actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level.
Nevatt, Professional of the Year
A LPGA T&CP Class A member in the Northeast Section, Linda Nevatt is the head golf professional at The ACE Club in Lafayette, Pa., and oversees the golf tournaments, merchandising, personnel, public relations and accounting efforts of the facility. She also serves as the Northeast Section's treasurer, and is a member of the LPGA T&CP National Tournament Committee.
"It is still pretty unreal; I didn't expect this at all," Nevatt said. "When I got the call, I was pretty shocked. It is a really nice honor. You know, everybody works so hard at what they do, and to be selected was very nice."
Nevatt is currently working towards her Class A membership in the PGA of America. In her spare time, she enjoys assisting with LPGA junior clinics at various Tour events throughout the year.
At The ACE Club, she manages all of the ordering, receiving and pricing of all the merchandise of the golf shop; is responsible for all the purchase orders and invoicing; assists with club repair; leads public relations efforts with the members and guests on a daily basis; and oversees and administers 25 to 30 outside events each year.
Nevatt's playing highlights include representing Puerto Rico in the World Amateur Championship in 1974 and competing in the 1983 and 1997 U.S. Women's Open Championship. Most recently, she won the Senior Division of the 2009 LPGA Northeast Section Championship.
"You know, I have been in golf for 30-plus years now, and I just enjoy watching other people enjoy the sport as much as I do."
The LPGA T&CP Professional of the Year award was established in 1980, and is awarded annually to a female golf professional involved directly in the entire golf operation.
Reasons, Teacher of the Year
Rita Reasons, co-owner of the Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf, spends the majority of her time teaching, developing and marketing her business - the game of golf. Joining the LPGA T&CP membership in 1995, Reasons is currently a Class A member in the Midwest Section. She has served as the treasurer of the Southeast Section, as well as budget and finance coordinator, and has been on various nominating committees and participated in national seminars. Her teaching and golf business skill-set are what allow her to contribute so much in the areas of junior and senior golf, men's and women's golf, and golfers with disabilities.
"I am really still in awe right now to have been selected," Reasons said. "Many people who I have been influenced by are already on this list. They are my mentors. To be on the same list now is the highlight of my golf career."
Reasons has shown plenty of service and leadership to the LPGA, as she started the first LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Club in the state of Tennessee in 1994, and currently serves as its site director and instructor. Reasons received the 2002 Sara Hunter Junior Achievement Award for her dedication to junior golf. Reasons is also committed to the Tennessee Junior Golf Foundation, where she donates $1 for every copy of her video-book, Staying on Course: Mastering Golf's Most Challenging Shots, which is sold in the state.
"I began playing golf right after college. My first exposure to the LPGA was to volunteer for a tour event held in the Nashville area. As my interest in golf grew, I had the opportunity to join Nancy Quarcelino's Golf School in Nashville. Now, I continually strive to become a better teacher and help to grow the game."
Among the many accolades she has received throughout her career as a teaching professional, Reasons has been honored as a U.S. Kids Top 50 Teacher, Golf for Women magazineTop 50 Teacher, Golf Digest's Tennessee's Best Instructors, and GOLF Magazine's Top Regional Teacher.The LPGA Teacher of the Year award was established in 1958, and is presented to a female teaching professional who best exemplifies her profession during the year.