Elected to membership in December of 1993, Jeff Houston has proven over the years that he is a pillar of Fairfield Glade, to his chapter, and to the Tennessee Section. Houston has spent the majority of his career at Fairfield Glade, first as an Assistant Professional for seven years, then as a Head Professional for 16 years before becoming Director of Golf. Since becoming Director of Golf in 2015, Houston has been instrumental in numerous renovation projects at Fairfield Glade. As a result Fairfield Glade saw an incredible amount of rounds played over the five courses this past year recording over 148,000 rounds and served over 181,00 players in 2021. Houston is known to inspire fellow golf professionals through his work ethic, commitment to serving the community, and genuine support to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to succeed.
“It is a tremendous honor to be named the Golf Professional of the Year for the Tennessee Section,” says Houston. “I have so much respect for every golf professional in the state. We all share the same goal of making the game of golf special to our players, and it’s our duty to remember who made it special for us and to pass that forward to the next generation of players.”
Across Fairfield Glade, Houston annually conducts over 36 events, including the Ladies Invitational of over 215 players from 15 states, and the Member-Member tournament of 360 players. Sectional events hosted by Houston include the Tennessee PGA Senior State Open, the Tennessee Golf Association Tennessee Women’s Open, the Parent Child, Women’s Four Ball, and Drive, Chip & Putt. Through these events Jeff takes the most pride in helping his local community through fundraising efforts. One charity Houston has consistently supported is Folds of Honor donating over $30,000 in 2020.
“I would like to congratulate Jeff on being selected Golf Professional of the Year,” said Lt Col Dan Rooney, founder and CEO of Folds of Honor, a foundation that provides academic scholarships to military dependents. “Jeff’s hard work and commitment to our families has helped provide a life-changing education to individuals who need and deserve the help. Jeff has been instrumental in allowing students to succeed and we’re very grateful.”
Through recognizing a need in his community, this past year Houston started an annual golf tournament fundraiser to benefit the local high school bands and elementary school music programs.
“When Jeff brought the idea of a tournament to myself and Glen Belcher, I was surprised that someone who is grounded in sports recognized that there was a funding issue and decided to take this initiative to improve this aspect of education for our school system,” said Founder & President of Southern Stars Symphonic Brass, Dwight Wages.
The tournament was a rousing success, with over 44 teams registering for the event. Even though it was ultimately rained out, $14,000 was still raised for the music programs of Cumberland County. The second annual golf tournament to benefit bands is scheduled for Mar 26, 2022.
“With Jeff’s enthusiasm, organizational skills and his ability to motivate others to get on board and work with him on a project I am confident that this year’s tournament will raise even more money than the first one last year for our band programs,” says STARTS (SupportTheARTS) Director, Glen Belcher. “Every community needs more people like Jeff who sees a need, plans the solution and then sees the project through from beginning to end.”
Over the years, Houston has served both the Knoxville Tennessee Chapter and the Tennessee Section including being a past member of the scholarship committee and the Knoxville representative on the awards committee. The recipient of the Tennessee Section 2018 Bill Strausbaugh Award and Knoxville 2012 Merchandiser of the Year: Public/Resort, Houston is no stranger to being recognized for his commitment to excellence.
Spend only a little bit of time with Jeff Houston, and you will understand the passion and commitment he has to the game of golf. It is this passion for development, unwavering commitment to his fellow PGA Professionals and his community, and genuine love for the game that culminated in Jeff Houston being named the 2021 Tennessee PGA Golf Professional of the Year.
We would also like to recognize the other four individuals who won their chapter Golf Professional of the Year Award. Chattanooga: Henrik Simonsen, PGA, of The Honors Course – Middle Tennessee: Oliver Peacock, PGA, of Belle Meade CC – Tri-Cities: Rusty Jones, PGA, of Cattails at Meadowview – West TN: R. Kedric Perkins Jr., PGA, Jackson CC. This award is the highest annual honor a Chapter can bestow upon a professional whose total contributions to the game best exemplify the complete PGA Professional. All of these individuals are continuing to do amazing things in their respective areas of the state.