Austin becomes member of PGA


RJ AustinWarren, VT (December 18, 2010) -- RJ Austin, Director of Golf at Sugarbush Resort, has become an official member of the Professional Golfer’s Association of America. Austin joins a membership of 28,000 men and women nationwide who are recognized as the experts in growing, teaching, and managing the game of golf.

The path to becoming a member of the PGA can be as long as eight years, and requires the passing of a series of three exams on three levels as well as a player’s ability test. Austin completed his requirements in just five years. Having the status of an A4 PGA member, Austin is a proven expert in teaching and playing the game of golf, fitting and repairing golf equipment, and running the golf operation. At Sugarbush, that includes overseeing a long-term plan of improvement for the Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed golf course, as well as management of a retail golf shop that sells men’s and women’s apparel and equipment.

The number of PGA members in the state of Vermont is small--less than 100--and the number of PGA members in Vermont who are actual Vermonters is even smaller. Austin was born and raised in Waitsfield, and introduced to golf at the age of thirteen.

“My grandmother taught me how to play on a set of wood-shafted clubs,” Austin remembers fondly.

Austin joined Sugarbush Resort Golf Club as an assistant golf professional in 2004. From 2007 to 2010, Austin trained under the tutelage of 2006 PGA Pro Champion of the Year Ron Philo. With Philo’s departure earlier this year, Austin was primed and ready to move into his new role.

“RJ is a wonderfully personable guy and a uniquely talented instructor. Unlike some pros that try to reinvent your golf game, RJ is able to work with your game, and give you a few pointers that really bring about improvement,” says Win Smith, president and owner of Sugarbush Resort. “RJ’s deep association with this Valley coupled with his PGA training make him an excellent director for our golf operation.”

Austin is 42 years old, and lives in Moretown with his wife Kari, his son Tanner, and his daughter Kylie.