Brian Tolnar, PGA Director of Golf at Mill Creek Golf Course in Boardman, Ohio, has been named the 2019 Golf Professional of the Year by the American Junior Golf Association. This award honors a golf professional who displays unwavering support of the AJGA and junior golf by creating a memorable tournament experience for players, families, staff and volunteers.
“It means a great deal to me personally to have been selected for this prestigious award by the American Junior Golf Association,” Tolnar said. “Although my name is on the award, it’s been a group effort from our MetroParks staff, golf course staff, tournament sponsors, area community leaders and the countless number of volunteers who have assisted in our success over the past five years.”
Each year, the AJGA presents awards to the tournaments with the best individual hospitality, Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament, charitable giving and volunteer base. Awards are also given to the events with engaged media and social media participation. Finally, the AJGA recognizes the year’s most outstanding golf professional, superintendent and golf course executive, as well as the most game changing event, best new event, best AJGA Preview Series tournament, best AJGA Junior All-Star Series tournament, best Invitational and overall tournament of the year. Tournament awards for the 2019 season will be presented on-site at the 2020 tournament.
Tolnar first got involved in 2010 when the AJGA was looking to host a tournament near Rochester, New York. Blue Heron Hills Golf Club, where Tolnar worked at the time, was selected as the venue and he has been helping the AJGA since. After a move to Ohio in 2015, Tolnar used his connections to start an AJGA event in 2016, the Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation Junior All-Star.
“The American Junior Golf Association is the epitome of what competitive junior golf is all about,” Tolnar said. “Our partnership with them is a way for us to share the opportunities I had as a kid through the game of golf. Junior golf truly shaped me to who I am as an adult and was the main catalyst for obtaining a career in golf industry – two things I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.”
As tournament chairman for the Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation Junior All-Star, Tolnar has been instrumental in its success. Brian and the Mill Creek team helped secure $100,000 for the title sponsorship of the event and signed a four-year golf course commitment to host the AJGA. In addition, Tolnar organized local media to cover the event and is an active reference for the AJGA for other new events.
“Brian is the model host Golf Professional for an AJGA event,” said AJGA Midwest Regional Director Ryan Flanagan. “He puts a tremendous amount of time and energy into his event and it’s evident in their success. Brian is an advocate for junior golf, the AJGA, the MetroParks and the Mahoning Valley community.”
The AJGA will return to Mill Creek Golf Course in 2020 for the event’s fifth year.