The PGA of BC announced their Regional Recipients of the 2020 PGA of BC Awards program on Sept. 10 and among the winners were Cindy Soukoroff, Head Professional at the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino and Simon Jones, Head Professional at the Kimberley Golf Club.
Soukoroff received the Davie Black Professional Development Award, while Jones won an Alvie Thompson Teacher of the Year Award.
“I think any time you win something like this is great because it’s nominated by your peers so, it means that you must be doing some of the right things for them to see some of the results,” Jones told the Bulletin. “I think it’s nice that your fellow golf professionals can see that which is awesome.”
Beyond the recognition from his fellow professional golfers, Jones said he’s just happy to be able to do something he enjoys for a living, witnessing and assisting people progress at the game of golf, whether it be beginners or advanced players.
“Just last week I had two people who had never played golf before in a lesson in the morning and then somebody in the afternoon who’s won quite a few amateur trophies. So it doesn’t matter what skill level, you still get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I think it’s just great that you can be honoured to do something that you actually enjoy doing.”
This is Jones’ fifth season at the Kimberley Golf Club. He does one-on-one lessons as well as group lessons and over the past few years the course has offered instruction to all the elementary students in the area.
“That’s been great, I think that’s given us some exposure as well,” he said.
And although their season had a slow start in May and June due to the pandemic, Jones said the Kimberley Golf Club’s numbers over the summer have been higher than they’ve perhaps ever seen.
“Myself and some pros were talking about it recently and this is probably the biggest jump we’ve seen in golf since Tiger Woods in the ’90s,” Jones said. “It’s really gone up, I mean we’re sold out here three days in a row. We could probably sell tee times for Friday and Saturday twice over.”
He said the club has seen a huge increase in new people this year — lots of locals, but a lot of new faces they’ve never seen on the course before and Jones suspects this is due to golf’s ability to allow for the protocols of social distancing necessitated by COVID-19.
“I think that people have seen it as something safe to do, you’re outside, you’re in the fresh air, so I think that makes people feel better generally, especially if it’s sunny, the endorphins and everything — feeling good.”
The Club generally runs their season through until Canadian Thanksgiving, Jones said, so long as the weather cooperates.
“We’d certainly like go a little bit longer this year and try and give people some time that we lost in May, that would be great if we could, it’s all going to be slightly weather dependent. But Thanksgiving for sure and then hopefully a little bit longer if we can.”
The Regional Award recipients like Jones and Soukoroff were selected following an open nomination period and extensive deliberations by regional nomination committees, according to the PGA of BC press release.
Each recipient is now a provincial finalist for 2020’s PGA of BC Awards, the the winners to be announced in October. From there, eligible Provincial Award recipients will be put forward as the PGA of BC’s nominee for corresponding PGA of Canada national awards, where applicable.
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