Golf Academy of America Faculty Members Win PGA Section Awards

Nov 27, 2017

GAA Faculty Members Win Awards

Golf Academy of America is pleased to announce that two of its faculty members were honored with 2017 awards from their respective PGA sections. Tim Eberlein, Campus President at Golf Academy of America in Phoenix and a PGA Master Professional, was named the 2017 Horton Smith Award winner for the Southwest PGA Section, while Aaron Bonvillion, Academic Dean at Golf Academy of America in Dallas and a PGA Professional, was named the 2017 Horton Smith Award winner for the Northern Texas PGA Section, Metro Chapter.

The Horton Smith award is presented to a PGA member from each section who has shown outstanding dedication to education in the game of golf. Both Eberlein and Bonvillion have outstanding records in player development and education, both in their careers at Golf Academy of America and within the PGA.

Southwest PGA Horton Smith Award

Eberlein has served as campus president at Golf Academy of America since 1998, and served on the Southwest PGA Board of Directors as the Education Chairperson from 2011 to 2017. During this time, he coordinated 64 educational seminars for his PGA section members.

"Usually, I try to be very diversified in coordinating the education seminars, balancing them between teaching, management, tournaments and other areas that are important to the golf industry," he explains.

In 2013, Henry-Griffitts named him on its 2013 "Master Club Fitter" list. In 2014, he was recognized by KZG as a "World Top 100 Club Fitter."

This is the third time Eberlein has received the Horton Smith award, having won it in 2010 and 2014 as well.

As campus president, Eberlein has the opportunity to interact with every student on the Phoenix campus.

"My main role is to educate, to prepare our students for careers in the golf industry," Eberlein says. "I'm aware of the challenges in the golf industry, so I know how to make sure my graduates are well-prepared for those challenges."

Eberlein will officially receive his award at a ceremony to take place at the end of February.

Eberlein added: “The award is nice, but I think the recognition from my fellow professionals was more rewarding than anything. It helps bring some closure to all the hard work, my dedication to growing the game of golf and trying to make golf better for everybody.”

Northern Texas PGA Horton Smith Award

Bonvillion became a PGA member in 2013 and began working at Golf Academy of America in 2015. As Academic Dean, Bonvillion has revamped the online educational program, allowing students from across the country to participate in classes and increasing online first semester retention rates by more than 30 percent.

“Part of the reason why I love this job is being able to prop young professionals up,” said Bonvillion. “I really tried to paint that in the application. PGA membership means a lot to me, and the work that I’m doing is all about grooming the next professional.”

The 2017 Horton Smith Award is Bonvillion's first award from the PGA, and he is honored that he was chosen.

"It definitely made me feel good as a professional. It made me feel like I do have an impact out there on the game of golf," Bonvillion says. "It does mean a lot to be acknowledged by [the PGA] that I'm doing the right kind of things."

On November 27, at the year-end chapter meeting, Bonvillion received the Chapter honor. He will receive the Section honor at the Annual Awards Banquet and Dinner on February 19.