Edison golf pro aces PGA national award

EDISON — It’s been a banner year for the New Jersey PGA Section.

Along with receiving the Herb Graffis Award, which is presented annually to a PGA Section that shows exemplary contributions in player development and growth of game programming, one of its local golf pros is also being honored.

Bill Castner, a PGA Master Professional and the PGA Head Professional at the Plainfield West 9 Golf Club in Edison, has been recognized with the 2015 PGA Youth Player Development Award, an honor that recognizes a professional who displays extraordinary contributions and achievements in the area of youth player development in golf.

Castner, a PGA member for more than 30 years, also serves as program director of The First Tee of Plainfield, one of the most diverse and successful programs of its kind in the state, according to NJPGA representatives.

Since the chapter’s inception in 2009 — when Plainfield Country Club became the first private club to establish a First Tee program — the program has grown to more than 650 participants. In addition, Castner has led several First Tee initiatives, including the Path to College Scholarships, which provides college scholarships to graduating high school students.

Castner served as the Junior Golf chairperson for six years on the NJPGA Board of Directors and has been involved extensively with New Jersey Golf Foundation programming.

He earned his PGA Master Professional certification in 2003, while has won five NJPGA Section Youth Player Development awards.

“Becoming a national award recipient truly defines the character and commitment of these honorees, for they exhibit an unmatched dedication to advancing the game of golf,” PGA President Derek Sprague said. “The PGA is proud to honor these PGA professionals and their impact on the sport on both a national level, [and] in their local communities.”

The PGA of America’s 2015 national awards class will be recognized in a ceremony on Nov. 11, in conjunction with the 99th PGA Annual Meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.