By Bruce Berlet

HARTFORD, Conn. – Ian Marshall has held numerous positions in the Connecticut Section PGA and is currently a member of the PGA of America board of directors.

Marshall’s decades of service and a commendable playing record has earned him the Section’s highest honor, the Golf Professional of the Year.

Marshall, 41, was the assistant pro and head pro at Watertown Golf Club for 20 years before founding IAMGOLF in January. He is now the league junior coach and instructor with Northeast Performance Institute in Southington and honorary president of the Section after serving as secretary, vice president and president. Nationally, Marshall represents District 1 that is comprised of the Connecticut, New England and Northeastern New York PGA Sections and has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management at Coastal Carolina University.

“I definitely was a little shocked, and it took a few days for it to settle because you kind of feel it’s an award that culminates a career,” said Marshall, who has won 12 titles and finished second 12 times in 111 Section tournament starts. “Now it has a lot to do with a passion for golf, so while it caught me by surprise, I’m very honored and humbled to receive the award.”

Marshall’s major wins have included the 2012 Stroke Play Championship that qualified him for the Travelers Championship, and the Section Professional Championship and Connecticut PGA Championship in 2007. He qualified for the 2001, 2003 and 2004 PGA of America National Assistants Championship and the National Club Pro Championship but was unable to compete in the latter because it was too busy at Watertown. He also was the 2007 Section Assistant of the Year.

Marshall is now in his first year of a three-year term as District 1 chairman.

“I help facilitate what’s going on at nearly 2,000 clubs,” Marshall said. “It’s a really interesting thing.”

John Nowobilski, who retired in 2018 after 42 years as a head pro, the last 35 at Tallwood Country Club in Hebron, was named recipient of the Patriot Award, presented to the PGA professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf, including teaching veterans with disabilities in the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) Program. He has participated in the program since it began in 2018 and has also been participating in the John R. Suisman Golfers in Motion Program sponsored by Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, attended two PGA HOPE Orientation Teaching & Coaching programs conducted by PGA HOPE instructor Judy Alvarez, raised more than $7,000 for the HOPE program in Connecticut and through the Harry Nowobilski Memorial Golf Tournament that he hosted at Tallwood and promoted Patriots Day and Folds of Honor events for six years at Tallwood.

Nowobilski has also been recognized as one of the top golf teachers in Connecticut by Golf Digest and was inducted into the Connecticut Section PGA Professional Hall of Fame, Manchester Sports Hall of Fame, New Britain Sports Hall of Fame and Central Connecticut State University Athletic Hall of Fame. His previous Section awards include Professional of the Year (1986), Horton Smith Award (1987), Teacher of the Year (1997), Public Merchandiser of the Year (1998), President’s Award (2003-5, 2018) and Bill Strausbaugh Award (2007).

“I’ve been fortunate to have been the recipient of many awards from the PGA, but this one could be the most rewarding,” said Nowobilski, a PGA Life Member Active. “To see our veterans smile while being coached and their positive reactions to learning golf is priceless. Add to that the fact my daughter Mary-Kate was part of the program as a coach and to share time with her in a PGA program was so special.”

Other award winners are Jeff Beale, The Farms CC-Wallingford, Assistant Professional of the Year; Marc Bayram, Timberlin GC-Berlin, Teacher of the Year; Jon Wilson, Golf Center at Lyman Orchards GC-Middlefield, Player Development Award; Brian Phelps, GC of Avon, Youth Player Development Award; Philip Krick Jr., Mohegan Sun GC-Baltic, Bill Strausbaugh Award; Francis Kringle, Life Member, West Springfield, Mass., Professional Development Award; William Street, Whitney Farms GC-Monroe, Public Merchandiser of the Year; Steve Madison, GC of Avon, Private Merchandiser of the Year; and Bill Hermanson, East Lyme, Sales Representative of the Year.

“This is an incredible group of PGA professionals who have excelled in the profession and are truly deserving of our recognition,” Section president Howie Friday said.

Besides the award winners, The Tradition at Oak Lane in Wallingford was named the public golf course of the year and will receive the Walter Lowell Distinguished Service Public Golf Course Award. The Tradition and the award recipients will be honored at a private special awards ceremony on Sunday, October 4, at Tumble Brook Country Club in Bloomfield.