(Franklin, TN) – The Tennessee Section PGA is proud to announce Ken Crowder, PGA and Mike Green, PGA as its 2023 Distinguished Career Award Honorees. The Distinguished Career Award recognizes current or former Tennessee PGA Section members who have had outstanding careers as PGA Professionals based on service to their club, course or employer, service and leadership to the Association, community service, professional playing record, and teaching ability. The Distinguished Career Award acknowledges these Tennessee PGA Professionals as vital and significant contributors to the game of golf.
When looking at Ken Crowder’s history with the Tennessee Section, Crowder has been a pillar having served over 28 years, 27 of those years being represented at Lonesome Pine Country Club in the Tri-Cities. Crowder entered the business in 1991 as an Apprentice Head Professional at Lonesome Pine Country Club in the Tri-Cities chapter. Crowder attained his Class A Membership in 1998 and continued to serve Lonesome Pine Country Club as their Head Professional before going on to serve as the General Manager from 2005 to 2018. Crowder currently serves as the General Manager of Indian Hills Country Club in the Kentucky Section.
Throughout his career Crowder has made an impact not only in the golf industry, but in the lives of professionals who work in it. He built his career as a mentor and role model to numerous PGA Professionals in the Tri-Cities Chapter and Tennessee Section. Early in his career Crowder never hesitated to call upon mentors and area PGA leaders for guidance, advice, and support. True to the theory of the ‘Circle of Life,’ Ken has spent many years returning the gesture, always ready to guide and teach those who seek him out for help.
With a passion for helping other PGA Professionals throughout the section, Crowder was an integral part in the creation of the Section Employment & Club Relations Committee. As the chair of the committee, Crowder was an influential hand in getting PGA Professionals employed at non-PGA facilities across the section. In addition, Crowder helped aspiring professionals by playing a role in the creation of an Apprentice Scholarship Project. This scholarship was designed to help ease the expenses of the PGM program for top-quality apprentices on their way to becoming PGA Professionals.
Through various leadership roles Crowder has shown his dedication to serving the Tennessee Section. In 2002 Crowder started his journey as the Secretary of the Tri-Cities chapter through 2004. From 2004 to 2006 Crowder served the Tri-Cities chapter as Vice President until he became the President of the Tri-Cities from 2006 to 2008. At the Section level Crowder became Secretary for the Tennessee Section PGA in 2010. In addition, he served as the Employment & Club Relations Committee Chair from 2010-2012. After his term as Secretary he would then serve two years as Vice President of the Section from 2012 to 2014 before becoming the 24th president of the Tennessee PGA Section from 2014 to 2015. From 2015 to 2017 Crowder served his final two years on the TN PGA Board as the Honorary President.
Throughout his PGA Professional career in Tennessee, Crowder has been named to numerous awards. Crowder is a three-time Tennessee PGA Section Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient and a three-time Tennessee Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year recipient. A longtime member of the Tri-Cities Tennessee chapter, he is also a eleven-time winner of the Tri-Cities TN Chapter Bill Strausbaugh Award from 2004-2014, six-time Golf Professional of the Year winner and was given the 2002 Junior Golf Award for the chapter.
“When I received the news, I was stunned and humbled,” says Crowder. Like most, I never got into this business for notoriety, awards, or plaudits. I always wanted to position myself as part of a team charged with a goal. To be singled out for the efforts I believe we achieved as a group is somewhat awkward for me to grasp. I spent 29 glorious years in the Tennessee PGA, which afforded me the opportunity to forge lifelong friendships I will cherish my entire life. I cannot adequately articulate my gratitude to the DCA committee for this honor. To become a part of a group that includes friends and mentors is overwhelming. I can make a bigger argument for why I don’t belong than I can for why I do belong with the legends of the Tennessee PGA.”
Fellow PGA Professional Mike Green’s nomination came as no surprise when considering his contributions to the game of golf across the state of Tennessee. Green spent the first 11 years of PGA Professional career at Richland Country Club, starting in March of 1980 right before the U.S. Women’s Open was held at Richland to April 1987 as the Assistant Golf Professional and from May 1987 to September 1991 as the Head Professional. In his years as Head Professional Green was responsible for moving the club from West Nashville to its current location in October 1988.
In 1992 Green became the Director of Golf at Legends Club of Tennessee. In the role Green was responsible for the development of the club and establishing membership through 1994.
In 1995 Green made tremendous progress as the General Manager of Old Natchez Country Club and Country Club of Franklin. Also having formed Greenlinks Construction and as President/Managing Partner of Greenlinks Management, Green was responsible for the total renovation of both clubs. In his time at Old Natchez Country Club membership grew from 160 members to over 500 and from 130 members to over 450 at the Country Club of Franklin. Green then transitioned to Owner/President of Tennessee Golf Cars Inc. in 2002 where they served as a Club Car dealership that included sales, rental, repairs, and warranty work through 2022.
Most recently since 2012, Green serves as the Project General Manager of The Grove, an 1100 acre real estate golf development with a Greg Norman designed golf course in College Grove, TN. Green has overseen the construction of the golf course and all amenities including three restaurants, spa, general store and fitness center. Currently Green is responsible for club operations, design review board, and the property owners association at The Grove.
In his playing career Green competed in numerous Pro-Ams across the Section and also competed on four Tennessee Challenge Cup Match teams. In those four appearances Green carried an undefeated record in singles matches and lost only one point over those years.
Throughout his career Green served on numerous charity committees and boards outside of golf, including the March of Dimes, the Heimerdinger Foundation, and One Generation Food Bank.
Green served the Section by being on multiple committees throughout his career. Green was a representative on the National Education Committee for two years, and served as the Tennessee PGA Section Education Committee Chairman for four years. In addition, he served the Middle Tennessee Chapter as Chapter Vice President for two terms.
Throughout his PGA Career Green has been recognized as one of the best Golf Professional’s in the section through the awards he’s won. For his outstanding contributions to developing and improving education opportunities for the PGA Professional, Green won four consecutive Tennessee PGA Section PGA Professional Development Awards, formerly known as the Horton Smith Award, from 1984 to 1987. In addition, Green was named the Tennessee Golf Foundation’s Lew Frank Award recipient in 2013 for his supportive spirit of the TGF and Golf House Tennessee.
“When I received the call last week about the award I was both surprised and excited,” said DCA recipiente Mike Green. “I took a quick look at the past recipients and realized I was in a group that included many of the individuals who played a huge role in my career, such as Willie Gibbons, Harold and Mike Eller, and several more. I also saw the names of some of the best players in history who had become dear friends over the years; Lou Graham, Mason Rudolph, Cary Middlecoff and Bobby Nichols. All of these professionals certainly had distinguished careers and I am truly honored and grateful to be included in the group.”
Congratulations to Ken Crowder, PGA and Mike Green, PGA on becoming the 44th and 45th members to be recognized with the most prestigious honor the Tennessee PGA can bestow upon its members. Both Crowder and Green will be honored at a later date in front of their fellow Tennessee PGA Professionals and special guests.