Lifetime Learner Ben Welsh Receives Horton Smith Award
Appropriately, the 2018 Horton Smith Award is being presented to Ben Welsh, PGA, Head Professional at Frost Creek Golf Club.
“I am honored to be recognized as a contributor to the educational opportunities for our Colorado PGA Members,” begins Welsh. “Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to continuous learning and to be the recipient of an award that recognizes contributions to develop and improve educational opportunities for our members is very rewarding.”
Born and raised in Fort Collins, Welsh picked the driving range for free golf as a kid. He found that the golf course was the most positive place to spend his free time. He also learned as a young boy that being willing to take advantage of the early hours of the day had its benefits. He and his dad would regularly arrive to the course by 5 a.m. to play nine-holes before school.
“I have fond memories of walking nine-holes with my dad first thing in the morning, stopping for a donut and then going to school,” Welsh recollects. “This father-son time is very memorable to me. I owe everything to my dad for taking me out and introducing me to the game of golf.”
Welsh shared that some of the motivation to pursue a career in golf came by way of failing to make either the high school or the college golf teams. He always figured that if he wasn’t going to make it as a player, he would find a way to make it as a Club Professional, teacher, or coach.
“Receiving the Horton Smith Award allows me to pay tribute to all the professionals who have had an impact on my career,” shares Welsh. “I feel incredibly lucky to have been mentored by so many great PGA Professionals. I have been encouraged to succeed by the professionals whom I’ve worked with and inspired to learn by the wealth of knowledge that is the PGA of America. I also thank my parents for their commitment to higher education and a family culture of curiosity and lifelong learning.”
What does it mean to you to receive the Horton Smith Award?
Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to continuous learning and have been the beneficiary of many of the PGA Educational programs. In fact, I believe that continuing education is one of the pillars of the PGA, ensuring that we, as golf professionals, remain "the experts in the game, people and business of golf.” I am honored to be recognized as a contributor to the educational opportunities for our Colorado PGA Members.
What do you believe are the qualities you possess that support your nomination for this award?
As an active participant in the Educational offerings of the PGA, I have completed the Certified Professional in three disciplines and the Master Professional in General Management. This knowledge and experience has given me the vision to share perspective with our Education Committee in the effort to create meaningful education for our Colorado PGA members. I also hope that by completing the Master Professional, I can lead by example in showing that the designation is attainable and is worth the hard work.
What are some tools you use in your profession that you wish you had known when you were beginning your career?
One tool that I wish I'd learned earlier is the value of varied perspectives that can be received through continuous learning. I have found that I communicate and relate more easily in my position when I incorporate things I have learned from others.
In addition, I have learned to understand that there is no one-right answer to any challenge. As we mature in our education and experience, we begin to more easily see numerous solutions to any situation. It is with this perspective that I hunger for continuous learning and the constant search for new ways to solve old problems.
For me, both pieces of advice are the same. I don’t know who said it but it is, “Never follow a bad shot with a stupid shot.” This applies in the business world, as well as on the golf course!
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Every job is a "right place, right time" opportunity. It is your job to be qualified and prepared when that opportunity presents itself.
What is your proudest moment as a golf professional?
My proudest moment thus far has been my election to our Colorado PGA Section Board of Directors. To have been elected by my peers to serve in a leadership role is an incredible honor.
I am also certified to the highest level with the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI). I enjoy training fellow Snowboard Instructors and clients, sharing the love of sliding sideways in the winter.