The PGA of America's 2006 National Champion has come on board to lead the staff of the Sugarbush Golf Club. Ron Philo Jr., long recognized as one of the association's premier teaching and playing professionals, will be Sugarbush's new director of golf and head professional.Philo spent seven seasons from 1998 to 2004 teaching and competing around the region. He was the three-time New England PGA Player of the Year, three-time Vermont PGA Champion, and has played in eight major championships including the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
"I am really excited to be a part of the Sugarbush team," said Philo, who also ran the golf program at the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury from 1998 to 2004. "Sugarbush has a wonderful asset in its Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf course and it's my goal to provide direction and assistance to the golf team in shaping it into Vermont's finest golf facility."
Philo and his new staff, including RJ Austin and Jesse Osborne, took the first steps in preparing for the 2007 season when the three visited in January two of country's leading golf resorts-Sea Island Resort in southeast Georgia and the TPC Club at Sawgrass.
"The purpose of that trip was to identify operational standards that can be put into action at Sugarbush," continued Philo. "The facility that offers the best service, the best instruction, the best challenge, the best scenery, the best products, the best food, and the best conditions will become the facility everyone else envies. That's what I want for the club and I know that's what [resort president] Win Smith wants for Sugarbush."
In June of last year, Philo beat out a field of over 300 of the best PGA professionals in the country to win the 39th PGA Professional National Championship at Atunyote Golf Club in Verona, NY. The 40-year-old began the last day of the tournament trailing the leaders by three shots. That quickly changed when he birdied the second hole and aced the par-3 third hole. The hole-in-one was the third of his career and put him in contention for the lead. Philo grabbed the championship three holes into a sudden-death playoff. The victory put him in the company of such legends and past champions as Bob Rosburg and Sam Snead.
The title gives Philo six tour exemptions, allowing him to enter six major tournaments this season. He will use the first of those exemptions this Thursday when he begins playing in the Mayakoba Classic at Riviera Maya, Mexico. The tournament will be aired on the Golf Channel.