Chuck Bassler, head professional at Willow Oaks Country Club in Richmond, Va., was honored as the Professional of the Year during the annual awards dinner of the Middle Atlantic Professional Golfers' Association in Richmond last night.
The MAPGA inducted three members into its Hall of Fame, Leo Steinbrecher, head professional at Richmond CC for 34 years; Vinny Giles of Richmond, recognized for his playing ability (U.S. and British Amateur championships, Walker Cup member) and service to professionals (through his business management firm); and the late Wiffy Cox, an outstanding player in the early years of the professional tour, and a distinguished club pro at Kenwood G & CC and Congressional CC. He served as Congressional's head professional for 31 years, a position he held at the time of his death in 1969.
A member of what has to be considered one of the premier golfing families in the section, Bassler was chosen on the basis of leadership, moral character, and service to the game of golf in general and to the section in particular.
During a 14-year professional career, he served as an assistant to his father, Charles Bassler, a member of the MAPGA Hall of Fame, at Indian Spring CC, and was the head professional at Shannon Green in Fredericksburg, Va., and Hobbit's Glen in Columbia, before accepting the Willow Oaks position.
At the chapter and section levels, he held a variety of offices and was chairman of a number of committees. Among these were chapter secretary and vice president, section director and chairman of the Hall of Fame and Public Relations committees.
At the national level, he is a member of the rules committee.
He also has been active with Junior golf and Special Olympics programs. Previous honors include having been selected the section's merchandiser of the year while at Hobbit's Glen.
The other winners were Bruce Lehnhard, Lake of the Woods, Player of the Year; Frank Laber, Longview GC, Bill Strausbaugh Award for employment and club relations; Mark Guttenberg, Prince William GC, Teacher of the Year; Leigh Taylor, East Potomac Park GC, Junior Golf Leader; Mike Ahrnsbrak, Shenandoah Valley GC, Horton Smith Award for contributions to the professionals' education; and Ken Molenda, Kenwood G&CC, Assistant Professional of the Year.
Also, Jennings House, Norfolk (public course), Butch Liebler, Virginia Beach, Va. (private course), and Scott Harrill, Williamsburg, Va. (resort courses), Merchandisers of the Year; Merrell Whittlesey, Kensington, Earle Hellen Memorial Award for golf journalism; and Sandy Berry, senior executive vice president of Signet Bank, Citizen of the Year.
Six teams from the Middle Atlantic Section that had come through a qualifying process, will be in the field for the fifth annual Rums of Puerto Rico National Club Pro-Am to be held Nov. 29-Dec. 1, at the Hyatt Regency Cerromar Beach, Dorado, P.R.