Pasternak, 45, is the PGA general manager and director of golf at Panther Valley Golf and Country Club in Allamuchy. He is the first member of the New Jersey PGA Section to receive the Bill Strausbaugh Award, established in 1979 in tribute to the late Middle Atlantic PGA Master Professional who left an indelible mark in PGA of America history, excelling in both leadership and service to a PGA Section and the Association. Strausbaugh passed away in 1999.
Pasternak will be honored during The PGA of America Awards ceremony Jan. 22, 2014, during the 61st PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center’s Chapin Theater in Orlando, Fla.
“We are blessed with a talented class of national award recipients who have always represented our Association at the highest level,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “They have been natural-born leaders and impact-makers in their respective fields. Whether it is in the golf shop, on the lesson tee or in front of community leaders, we are proud that this award class serves as the gold standard in the industry.”
Born in Middletown, Pasternak attended Rowan University in Glassboro, where he was the Most Valuable Player of the men’s golf team in 1988 before graduating in 1990. He turned professional in 1991, and was elected to PGA membership in 1996. Since 1999, Pasternak has served or has chaired 40 New Jersey PGA Section Committees including Employment, Finance, Tournament, Assistants, Government Relations, Long Range, Public Relations, By-Laws and the New Jersey Golf Foundation. He served as Section president from 2009-10.
Pasternak is a two-time recipient of the Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year (2007, ’11) and a four-time recipient of the Section Bill Strausbaugh Award (2007, ’08, ’09, ’11). In 2007, he was presented with the Special Olympics New Jersey Chairman’s Award for his fundraising efforts for the Higgins Classic, one of the state’s largest fundraisers for Special Olympics. He is a member of the Special Olympics Golf Committee for the 2014 National Special Olympics, to be conducted in Absecon.
“I never met Mr. Strausbaugh, but after I was honored by my Section with the award in his name, I did some research,” said Pasternak. “He had come to play at our club and worked with an accountant at Panther Valley. You look at Mr. Strausbaugh’s record, and to receive this award in his name, makes you feel very humble.”
Pasternak was introduced to golf at age 11 by his cousins, Nick and Kurt Kroeper of Middletown, and “fell in love with the game from the start.” PGA Professionals guiding him in his early career were the late Jack Skochil of Beacon Hill Country Club in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., and Lou Katsos, formerly of Bamm Hollow Country Club in Lincroft, N.J., where Pasternak began working at age 15.
Pasternak served his apprenticeship under PGA Professional Brent Studer at Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle. “He was my most influential mentor,” said Pasternak. “Had I not worked for him, my career would have turned out very different.
“I had never envisioned myself playing professionally in my career. From the beginning, I was most interested in becoming a club professional. I have been very fortunate to have had the guidance that I had in building a career.”
Pasternak is a founding trustee of the New Jersey Golf Foundation, and continues as a fundraiser, chairing the Foundation’s golf marathons. He completed eight golf marathons, raising more than $150,000. Among his charitable endeavors are serving on the New Jersey State Golf Association (NJSGA) advisory board and supporting the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship.
“I felt it was a great honor to be considered a leader and mentor by my peers,” said Pasternak. “I value the relationships that I have made with PGA Professionals over the years, and running mock interviews for The PGA to assist those seeking employment. It is tremendously rewarding when a young professional calls me for assistance with their career.”
Pasternak and his wife, Courtney, live in Morristown with sons Liam and Ryan.