For the past 30 years, the game of golf has consumed Lamar Mills, now the General Manager at Cleveland Country Club. Beginning at an early age, Mills knew that golf would be an important part of his life; he just did not know how important he would be to the game of golf. It is with esteemed pleasure that the Tennessee PGA announces the 2018 Golf Professional of the Year is Lamar Mills, PGA. Established in 1967, the PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award is the highest honor paid to a PGA Golf Professional who has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities, demonstrated a strong moral character, has maintained a substantial record of service to the Association and game of golf, and is well
regarded as a consummate PGA Professional. Upon finding out that he had been chosen by the Tennessee PGA Awards Committee, Lamar stated, “I can’t express how humbled and honored I am to be selected as the Tennessee PGA Golf Professional of the Year by my peers. This is one of the highest honors that you dream of receiving during your career. I am still at a loss for words to describe the feeling I currently have.”
Elected to membership in 1999, Mills has been a proud member of the Professional Golfer’s Association ever since. It all started in May of 1991, when Mills began his career as an apprentice at Brown Acres Golf Club in Chattanooga. Mills pulled on that experience to begin a lifelong learning journey, “I found that the number of hats that a golf professional wears has no limit. I have tried to make sure that I have knowledge in every aspect of our profession. I have put the following traits of honesty, consistency and friendliness first in my career.” Hard work payed off for Mills, as he was named the Head Golf Professional at Brown Acres in 1999 and then the Head Golf Professional at Rolling Hills Golf Club in Cleveland, TN, “I have learned that if you truly care for your members, get involved in all aspects of their membership, and communicate genuinely, you will be successful.”
This servant leadership attitude would follow Mills to Cleveland Country Club in early 2004, when he became the Head Golf Professional, and ultimately General Manager in 2009. This experience and his passion for the PGA of America culminated in 2018 when his peers elected Mills as Secretary of the Tennessee PGA. The quintessence of professionalism, Mills continues to mentor, lead and spearhead a number of initiatives that help grow the game and enrich his community. His work with the Trousdale School for the past 15 years to provide golf for their special need adults has put him in the forefront of player development. As the Director of the Bradley County Junior Golf League, he has taken golf into Cleveland City and Bradley County schools for the past 5 years. The nature and mission of the program is to provide an enjoyable experience and grow the game of golf by teaching our juniors the rules of golf, discipline, and etiquette of golf. As with all Mills does, he goes one step further to ensure the participants are taught the values that they need to help carry them throughout life’s journey.
“I can’t express enough gratitude to my family, staff, and membership of Cleveland Country Club for their continued support. Awards like this aren’t possible without a strong foundation from the individuals mentioned.” He continued, “This award means everything to me. To be mentioned in the same sentence as fellow section and chapter members such as Hunt Gilliland, Danny Tribble Jr., Bruce Etter, and Jeff Craig is truly an honor.” You do not have to search far to see what kind of impact Mills has on his peers. 2017 Tennessee Golf Professional of the Year Jeff Craig was ecstatic to hear the news that Mills had been bestowed the honor. “”Lamar stands out as a great golf professional and a dedicated husband and father. It is my pleasure to know him and watch him grow in the business.” Spend just a few moments with Mills, and you will understand the passion and commitment he has to Cleveland Country Club, the game of golf and his family. It is this passion for development, genuine commitment to his fellow PGA Professionals and his community, and heart felt love for the game that culminated in Lamar Mills being named the 2018 Tennessee PGA Golf Professional of the Year.