FRISCO, Texas – The PGA of America announced that six PGA Members completed requirements this year to earn the highest educational designation a PGA Member can obtain—PGA Master Professional.
The PGA Master Professional Program was established in 1969 to recognize PGA Members who have made a significant effort to improve as golf professionals and maintain the highest degree of excellence for themselves and their operations. As part of its Member education curriculum, the PGA Master Professional Program was designed to ensure PGA Professionals are prepared to meet the growing demands of the marketplace.
The program is available to any PGA Professional with at least 10 years of PGA Membership who has achieved advanced certification through the PGA Certified Professional Program. The curriculum includes an extensive project based on the specific certification previously acquired by the PGA Professional. PGA Master Professional status is earned upon successful completion of the presentation.
“Attaining PGA Master Professional status is a crowning career accomplishment for PGA Members as they ascend to the highest educational designation bestowed by the PGA of America,” said PGA President Jim Richerson. “It’s rewarding to see such a distinguished group of Members commit to continuing education, which further elevates a program that represents the very best of our Association.”
These PGA Members have joined a group of over 400 Members who have achieved PGA Master Professional status:
Shawn Costello, PGA
Director of Golf, Jonathan’s Landing Golf Club
A second-generation PGA Professional, Costello has completed every current advanced certification in the PGA Certified Professional Program offered and is one of fewer than 20 PGA Master Professionals in Executive Management. He is a past Director on the South Florida PGA Board of Directors, served as the South Florida PGA Southeast Chapter Awards Chairman and Member Outreach Chair, and received the 2020 PGA Professional Development Award for the South Florida PGA Southeast Chapter.
Brian A. Crowell, PGA
General Manager, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point
(Teaching & Coaching)
A PGA of America Member since 1991, Crowell currently serves as the President of the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association. A Past President of the Metropolitan PGA Section, Crowell has been honored as the Metropolitan Section PGA Professional of the Year, as well as winning the Section’s PGA Professional Development Award (formerly the Horton Smith Award). As a broadcaster, Crowell has covered numerous Masters and PGA Championships, as well as both men’s and women’s U.S. Opens, the Ryder Cup, President’s Cup and U.S. Amateur while working for the CBS Sports broadcast team, and currently is a co-host for “On Course,” a weekly show on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
E. Michael Dickson, PGA
Director of Instruction, Little Bennett Golf Course
(Teaching & Coaching)
The 2016 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Teacher of the Year and one of Golf Digest’s “Best Teachers in Maryland for 2022-2023,” among many other awards and accolades, Dickson established the MCG Academy at Little Bennet Golf Course in 2021. He is the Master Instructor and oversees a staff that offers individual instruction, group instruction, coaching programs, clinics and golf camps. Mike has studied under some of the best in the industry and has earned certifications in TPI Junior Coach 2 & 3, US Kids Certified Coach, AimPoint Green Reading, Edel Golf Advisory Staff, Nike Golf 360 Specialist by Gray Institute, BioSwing Dynamics, Certified RGX coach and is Lynn Blake Certified as a Master Instructor.
Barry Friedman, PGA
Director of Golf, Valley of the Eagles Golf Club
A native Ohioan and member of the Northern Ohio PGA, Friendman is the Director of Golf at the only Nicklaus Design daily fee-course in Northern Ohio, which houses two state-of-the-art indoor golf simulators that promote year-round golf participation. Overseeing the golf operation at Valley of the Eagles, which won GOLF Magazine’s2018 Best U.S. Remodel Award, Friedman has instituted the Eagle 5 Loop experience, a low-cost, 5-hole round that allows golfers to enjoy the game in under an hour.
Larry Salsman, PGA
Director of Golf, Osage National Golf Club
Lake Ozark, Mo.
A two-time winner of the Resort Merchandiser of the Year award for the Gateway PGA Section, Salsman has excelled as a merchandiser in the business and promotion of golf. A PGA Professional for over 20 years, in addition to being a Certified Golf Professional in Golf Operations, he is also certified in General Management.
Christopher Smith, PGA
Director of Instruction, Eugene Country Club
(Teaching & Coaching)
Smith is an award-winning PGA Teaching Professional, Adjunct Faculty Member with the PGA of America, and has been featured in articles in GOLF Magazine, Golf DigestandThe Wall Street Journal, as well as on Golf Channel. He was the Lead PGA Instructor at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club for 18 years, a longtime consultant with Nike, Inc. and Nike Golf, and the Guinness World Record Holder in Speedgolf (shooting a 65 in only 44 minutes with just six clubs at the Chicago Speedgolf Open in 2005). Smith authored “I’ve Got 99 Swing Thoughts but ‘Hit the Ball’ Ain’t One” (Crown, 2007), created the neuroscience-based audio CD “Better Golf,” and has been selected as one of Golf Digest’stop instructors in Oregon from 2003-2022.
His list of students includes Tour players, professional athletes, CEO’s, top-ranked juniors and recreational hackers. His coaching blends tools, technology and vast experience, all geared to creating a learning experience that is enjoyable, insightful and performance based