The second person to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of America, Joe Steranka, received one of the most coveted PGAs of Europe Awards at the 2013 Annual Gala Awards Dinner, as he became the latest recipient of the Christer Lindberg Bowl.
Steranka (pictured centre) received his award at the Gala Awards Dinner supported by Rolex and hosted at Hotel Vila Galé Lagos, in Portugal’s Algarve region. The Gala Awards capped off the week long Annual Congress that was supported by Glenmuir and the Associação Turismo do Algarve, and ran alongside the International Team Championship at Onyria Palmares.
The Christer Lindberg Bowl is one of the Association’s most prized awards and recognises the outstanding contribution of an individual to the world of golf in the name of the first Chairman of the PGAs of Europe, Christer Lindberg.
“To think that there are [previous winners] like Ken Schofield, Annika Sorenstam, the Solheim family, George O’Grady and Peter Dawson – people that I know and that I call friends – makes me very proud to receive it and it’s humbling to get an award like this,” explained Steranka during his acceptance speech.
“You don’t set out in your career to win awards – you do it to because you love what you do and I’ve been the luckiest man in the world because I’ve never worked a day in my life. I was fortunate as an avid sportsman to get paid to go work in sports and I’ve never looked back.”
“Each of the past winners that have been honoured has contributed something to golf because we love the game and we consider it the greatest game of all, and we do it selflessly.”
Receiving his award from the Chairman of the PGAs of Europe, Sandy Jones (picture above right), alongside PGAs of Europe Chief Executive, Ian Randell (picutred above left), Steranka was able to reminisce about his effect on golf during his time at the helm of the largest PGA in the world that spans further than just the United States:
“Golf is global and as we work in our respected positions taking care of the members that we serve etc., we’re often at times focused locally. But there are a few times where we get a chance to have some slight influence on the game overseas, which is part of the tradition of PGAs. But as you’re working then you don’t expect to see recognition come and it has a special meaning when you’re recognised by bodies outside the country that you’re primarily focused on.”
Steranka began his journey to the top of golf at West Virginia University in the United States where he studied Journalism. A passion for the communications side of sport placed him within his first marketing position at NBA Team, the Washington Bullets, where he sold season tickets and group outings. It wasn’t long before he moved up a gear to Director of Public Relations at the Cleveland Cavaliers at just 23 years old.
Two years with the Cavaliers led him to ProServ, one of the world’s largest sports management and marketing agencies, where he resided as Vice-President for Public Relations working with stars such as Michael Jordan and Jimmy Connors.
But in 1988 Steranka made the move to the PGA of America where he joined as Director of Communications and soon moved up to Senior Director of Communications and Marketing until 2005. During this time he led the creation and expansion of the PGA of America’s broadcast properties, merchandising, and licensing, amongst other things, helping to make the Associtaion the media giant that it is today.
“To think that as I graduated University and went to work for some of the pro basketball teams and the later on for ProServ, to somehow have the responsibility of first communicating the PGA of America’s message and the message about golf, and then eventually leading the administration as Chief Executive – it was a dream come true.”
With his promotion in 2005 he became only the second Chief Executive Officer in the Association’s history. Here he had a great effect on the leadership of the 27,000 PGA Professional members within the PGA of America, and helped to further expand the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup amongst many other activities. He was also a major influence in the development of the PGA World Alliance, an entity that represents over 55,000 PGA Professionals in all corners of the globe.
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The 2013 Annual Congress & ITC are supported by Glenmuir, the Associação Turismo do Algarve, Hotel Vila Galé Lagos, Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort, and the European Ryder Cup Development Trust. For more information on our partners, visit http://eur.pe/1aaFFgx.