Ted Antonopoulos, Head Golf Professional at Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa, California, has been named the 2017 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.
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 general manager, as well as the most improved event, best new event, best Junior Golf Hub Preview Series tournament, best ACDS Junior All-Star Series tournament, best Invitational and overall tournament of the year. Tournament awards for the 2017 season will be presented on-site at the 2018 tournament.
“I accept this award on behalf of all the other golf professionals that conduct an event with the AJGA,” Antonopoulous said. “I am just humbled that you all would name me as the recipient. I’m thrilled because I loved being a part of it. To be named by an organization that does so much for the game is just an honor that I can’t quite believe.”
Antonopoulos was instrumental in the success of the 2017 Wyndham Cup in the AJGA’s first visit to Mayacama Golf Club since 2014 and first Wyndham Cup in California since 2013. Antonopoulos convinced the club’s Board of Directors to host the event, secured many of the volunteers for the event, oversaw all hospitality for players and staff and even served as a walking referee during the week.
“When I first set foot on the grounds for Wyndham Cup at Old Town Club in North Carolina, I could immediately pick up on the atmosphere,” Antonopoulos said. “There’s a championship vibe in the air, and it was right there when I walked up. Having the opportunity to present that to our ownership was something I was looking forward to. I came back with so much enthusiasm. What better way to celebrate who we are? Everyone here at the Club bought into it.”
Antonopolous made it a point to treat the kids and their families like members for the week to add to the championship atmosphere. The event was so overwhelmingly popular, in fact, that the ownership invited the AJGA back to host the Wyndham Cup again.
“I just wanted to make it a great experience for the players,” Antonopolous said. “That’s what it’s about. These kids are going to be the best players in the world, and we wanted to give them a great experience. When people ask why do you do this kind of thing? Our response was ‘Why not?’ It’s what good clubs do. When they saw their uniforms and how well they played the golf course, it pretty much overwhelmed everybody, including membership, to the point where they said we want this back.”
Mayacama Golf Club was ranked in the 100 Greatest Courses in History by Golf Digest from 2005-14 and 2017. In 2011, Forbes magazine listed Mayacama Golf Club as one of the 12 Best Private Golf Communities in America.
The AJGA will conduct the 29th annual Wyndham Cup July 23-26, 2018 at Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts.