Nancy Perkins, Sales & Marketing Director
Diamondhead Country Club & Property Owners Association
7610 Country Club Circle
Diamondhead, MS 39525
228 255-1900 ext. 101

September 7, 2016

Two Diamondhead, MS Golf Pros Awarded Top Honors by the Gulf States PGA

Chris Altese, PGA, Director of Golf and Hoppy Smith, PGA, Director of Training and Player Development have been selected as recipients of the 2016 Gulf States PGA Youth Player Development Award and Teacher of the Year respectively.

Smith has been a PGA member since 1996 and a Diamondhead Country Club staff member for 20 years. He was the Head Golf Professional until December, 2012 when the Golf Academy of Diamondhead opened and he shifted his attention to full time instruction. He works with players of all levels from beginners to tour players using state of the art video including Swing Catalyst and The HMT Foresight Launch Monitors along with cutting edge training aids.

In selecting Hoppy, the Gulf States PGA states “the Teacher of the Year award is designed to give special recognition to a Gulf States PGA professional who has performed outstanding services as a golf instructor. With golf instruction as a cornerstone of the PGA professional, this award is representative of a highly trained, highly skilled individual.” Criteria to be considered for Teacher of the Year are:

  • Overall performance as a golf instructor at his/her facility
  • Level of service to Section and Association
  • Leadership ability
  • Image and the ability to inspire fellow professionals
  • Promotion of golf
  • Use of teaching aids and the ability to illustrate their effectiveness
  • Techniques for teaching small and large groups
  • Articles written for publication in books and magazines
  • Commitment to self-improvement in the area of instruction

Altese has been a PGA member since 1998 and a Diamondhead Country Club staff member for four year years. In a statement from the Gulf States PGA, they state “the Youth Player Development Award “is designed to pay recognition to a Gulf States PGA professional who is a leader in junior golf, reflects the qualities and ideals of those who work with our nation’s youth.

This person provides opportunities and experiences for juniors to learn and play better golf. The guidelines for this award include contributions to junior programs in the Section, involvement in and promotion of developing junior golf at his/her facility and also within the community, support the PGA junior golf programs, and overall integrity as an individual and acceptance by junior golfers.

Chris has taken a relatively small junior program and exploded its reach to encompass over 250 young golfers across the Mississippi Gulf Coast and beyond. From the typical summer junior golf clinics he expanded the Diamondhead junior golf program to being a year round program offering classes on mental and sensory training as well as strength and conditioning. This same group has been encouraged to get on the golf course by joining the Gulf Coast Junior Golf League, a developmental team golf concept founded by Altese in 2013, as well as the US Kids Golf Gulf Coast Local Tour where Chris serves as Assistant Tour Director. He continues to grow the game by introducing as many of our youth to the game through the many junior golf opportunities that exist in our area such as the Drive, Chip, and Putt
Championship and the Gulf Coast Junior Tour. Many of the juniors in our programs are experiencing early success by earning player of the year titles with their consistent performances and winning various junior golf events all over Mississippi and Louisiana. This year Diamondhead Country Club’s junior golf program sent 5 junior golfers to the US Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina, which is quite an accomplishment by itself.”

Diamondhead Country Club and POA President Pat Laird stated “we are extremely fortunate to have both Hoppy Smith and Chris Altese on the staff of Diamondhead Country Club. It is nice to see both of these hard working gentlemen being recognized.”