2016 Bill Strausbaugh Award Goes to Wynstone Golf Club’s Andrew Phelan
By Tim Cronin
Andrew Phelan is part of the new breed, but exhibits old-fashioned values.
In his nomination for the 2016 Bill Strausbaugh Award, he wrote, “Often times, I am not one to self-promote.”
Phelan, in his ninth year at Wynstone Golf Club, is being recognized for the behind-the-scenes work that has made the lives of his fellow professionals better.
“The most rewarding part of being a golf professional is to see former staff succeed and begin the journey for themselves,” Phelan explained. “To even be considered for this award with past winners like Bill Heald, Roger Warren, Tim O’Neal, Bruce Patterson and Don Pieper is a blessing in itself. Throughout my career as a PGA professional I have been fortunate enough to have worked alongside some extremely bright and talented individuals. I feel that as a fellow PGA member it is my duty and obligation to provide leadership, mentoring and act as a role model to the future generation of golf professionals in Illinois and beyond.”
So far, four of his assistants have moved on to run their own shop, either as head professionals or as director of golf.
“Please do not think that for one minute it’s only me,” Phelan wrote in his nomination submission. “These young professionals must work as hard, devote the time and become experts in the game while working at Wynstone.
“While building the image of the game at Wynstone Golf Club, I have been able and fortunate to create a work environment for assistants that helps start them on the path to success. Training, teaching, coaching and providing leadership has allowed me to successfully develop young golf professionals into extremely marketable individuals.”
For Phelan, it comes down to the basics.
“In terms of integrity and recognition as a person of outstanding character I feel that I exude what golf professionals should be and do within their community, section and at the club,” Phelan explained. “Integrity is something that is inherent, not taught. To be a person of integrity means that people trust you, your decision making and eventually can and will respect your position, opinion or decisions. I feel that being elected to an IPGA Board position for the last six years, speaks to the fact that my fellow golf professionals respect me and the way I handle myself and conduct business on behalf of our Section.
“When furthering the values of the PGA of America, I feel that runs deeper than just on property, at the club or in the golf shop. It must translate to your everyday life. As a representative of the younger generation of successful golf professionals I am generally involved with helping to create new ideas, technologies and ways to change the golf business to accommodate the “new” American golfer. I try to be aware of how I represent my facility and family when I am at the club and more importantly when I am not at the club and within the community.”
His contributions to the section include membership on the Tournament Committee in 2008, membership on the IPGA Board since 2009, and chairing the Employment Committee since 2011. He was also on the section’s Ryder Cup committee and co-chairs this year’s IPGA Centennial Committee.
Outside of golf, Phelan finds time for community involvement on several levels, often with his family, including membership on the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce and helping the Make a Wish Foundation and Evans Scholars Foundation.
“Leading by example within your community and association is the most important value that a PGA Professional can possess while holding the ranks of head golf professional or director of golf,” Phelan said.