TRAVERSE CITY — Bay Meadows Family Golf Course professional Scott Wilson had to keep one heck of a secret for the better part of three weeks.

Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America president Suzy Whaley called Wilson to inform him he had been named the recipient of the 2019 PGA Youth Player Development Award.

Except, he could tell no one.

“It was really hard to keep it secret,” Wilson said. “(Whaley) told me, ‘You’re the winner of the award, but you can’t tell anybody until we release it nationally.’”

Tuesday was finally the day the news went nationwide.

“It is a big deal,” Wilson said. “I’m humbled by it.”

The process to determine the award winner was long and arduous, advancing through local, state and national levels. Wilson had to interview and give a presentation in Lansing and submit an application to the national board after securing the Michigan section award.

“The buzz around our community and the support from the Traverse City golf community is what motivates me,” Wilson said. “More kids are coming out for our programs. Growing our game is the No. 1 priority for me and always has been. The support from the Traverse City golf families has been tremendous.”

Wilson has worked in golf nearly his entire life. The 45-year-old Saugatuck native said he has only had one job outside of golf and that was for two winters selling shoes at JC Penney. That’s where he met his wife, Emily.

Wilson’s relationship with his hometown golf course helped inspire his passion for the game and teaching kids he sees akin to his younger self.

“I was like so many of my kids,” Wilson said. “I was riding my bike to the course to get to the junior clinic and spend the day at the golf course. Myself and my buddies were welcome on the golf course all day. Our parents didn’t worry about us because they knew we were learning life skills and were safe.

“I did this for our community, all of northern Michigan and put us all on the map. I love the people and families. I can’t thank them enough.”

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