Geoff Keffer set to receive Colorado PGA Player of Year honor for record 8th time; 2022 national Senior PGA Professional Champ Matt Schalk, Sherry Andonian-Smith, Andy Connell also earn player awards
By Gary Baines – 10/23/2023
When the Colorado PGA holds its annual Awards Gala on Friday night at Cherry Hills Country Club, the members receiving player of the year honors will include several who are no strangers to the awards they’re receiving, and one national champion who is a breakthrough winner.
Among the repeat honorees is Geoff Keffer of Lakewood Country Club, who will set a new standard when he accepts the Dow Finsterwald Rolex Player of the Year Award for the eighth time. (See below for more details.)
The players of the year make up just a few of the people who will be honored at Friday’s Gala. Many of the winners were announced in late summer. For that earlier story on those honorees, CLICK HERE. But the players of the year weren’t finalized until recently. Here’s the rundown on those honorees — based on season-long points standings — starting with the repeat winners:
— Geoff Keffer will set himself apart when he accepts the Dow Finsterwald POY honor. Until now, he had been tied for the most times earning that award with Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Bob Hold, the POY on seven occasions (1966 through ’71 and ’74). As for Keffer, in addition to being named the POY in 2012, ’14 through ’17, ’20-’21 and this year, he was the Associate Player of the Year in 2007, ’10 and ’11.
In 2023, Keffer won or tied for first place in five Section events. He placed fourth in the Colorado PGA Professional Championship and made the cut — and finished 62nd — at the Inspirato Colorado Open. Also, he won the title in the Colorado Assistant PGA Professional Championship.
— Sherry Andonian-Smith of Valley Country Club is the Section’s Women’s Player of the Year. Since the award was first given out in 2018, no one other than Andonian-Smith has earned it. This year, Andonian-Smith finished 38th in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. And she placed second — to Ashley Tait — in Colorado PGA Women’s Championship.
— Andy Connell of the Ridge at Castle Pines North landed the Colorado PGA Associate Player of the Year honor for the third consecutive year. In addition to his Associate victories in 2024, he tied for 10th place in the Colorado Assistant PGA Professional Championship.
Matt Schalk (right) was runner-up in the Inspirato Colorado Senior Open this year.
— Meanwhile, Matt Schalk, the PGA general manager at Colorado National Golf Club, will receive the CPGA’s Senior Player of the Year award after never before earning any Section POY honor. In addition, he ends a five-year streak of Doug Rohrbaugh winning the SPOY honor. Overall, the 2013 Inspirato Colorado Senior Open winner has been the SPOY a record eight times. Schalk, the 2022 national Senior PGA Professional Champion, won the Colorado Senior PGA Professional Championship for the second straight year. He’ll be defending his national senior title Thursday through Sunday in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Here are the winners who will be honored on Friday at the Colorado PGA’s Awards Gala at Cherry Hills Country Club. (An additional award winner will be revealed at the event.):
— Golf Professional of the Year — Bob Doyle of Colorado Springs
— Teacher of the Year — Ed Oldham, The Ranch CC
— Ed Kelbel Award (Professional Development) — Bryan Collins, GOLFTEC Headquarters
— Bill Stausbaugh Award (outstanding integrity, commitment to mentoring PGA professionals and making a significant impact on the careers of PGA professionals) — Jeff Ulvedal, Ptarmigan CC
— Youth Player Development Award — Trent Wearner, Trent Wearner Golf Academy
— Public Course Merchandiser of the Year — Tyler Lowry, Cheyenne Shadows GC at Fort Carson
— Private Club Merchandiser of the Year — Greg Bryan, Roaring Fork Club
— Player Development Award — Randy Meyers, Foothills Parks and Recreation District
— Assistant Professional of the Year — Marcus Gillmor, Fort Collins CC
— Warren Smith Award (special contributions to the game of golf, the Colorado Section, junior golf and their facility) — Alice Plain, Vail GC
— Presidents Award (promoting and enhancing the PGA professional, the Section, and the game of golf and contributing to the betterment of the golf professional vocation) — Stuart Bruening, Southwest Greens
— Noble Chalfant Award (distinguished service to the Section) — Tom Connell and Ralph “Rip” Arnold
— Patriot Award (patriotism through the game of golf and commitment and dedication to the men and women who have served and protected the U.S.) — Bill Hughes, CC of The Rockies
— Salesperson of the Year — Kelly Jo Wykes, Travis Mathew
— Superintendent of the Year — Pamela Smith, Denver Golf
— Dow Finsterwald Rolex Player of the Year — Geoff Keffer, Lakewood CC
— Rolex Senior Player of the Year — Matt Schalk, Colorado National GC
— Women’s Player of the Year — Sherry Andonian-Smith, Valley CC
— Associate Player of the Year — Andy Connell, Ridge at Castle Pines North
(Updated Oct. 28) — Charles “Vic” Kline Award (to Section board of directors member for outstanding service and leadership for the Section) — Theo Gregory
About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com