Jacob Lippold & Chris Thomson headshots

Two KemperSports Staffers Receive National Awards from the PGA of America

Two KemperSports Staffers Receive National Awards from the PGA of America

Jacob Lippold from Chambers Bay Awarded PGA Merchandiser of the Year; Chris Thomson from Wilderness Ridge Golf Club Receives PGA Youth Player Development Award

NORTHBROOK, Illinois, Aug. 4, 2020KemperSports is proud to announce that two of its staffers have received national recognition in the 2020 PGA of America Awards. Jacob Lippold, head golf professional at Chambers Bay – an 18-hole municipally-owned facility located in University Place, Washington, and host of the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open Championship – has been awarded the 2020 PGA Merchandiser of the Year honors (Public Category). This national recognition is awarded annually to PGA Professionals who have excelled in business and merchandising in the promotion of golf. Additionally, Chris Thomson, a 28-year PGA Professional in the Nebraska Section and Director of Golf at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club, in Lincoln, Nebraska, is the recipient of the 2020 PGA Youth Player Development Award for his extraordinary achievements in youth player development.

An eight-year industry veteran, Lippold leads Chambers Bay’s golf shop operations, including hiring, training and managing professional staff, as well as developing and implementing the facility’s merchandising strategy. His philosophy of flexibility has created new merchandising strategies that have contributed to Chambers Bay’s success. Lippold’s consistency and work ethic is highlighted through his merchandising prowess and his efforts to grow the game, help those in need and support his fellow PGA members. Under Lippold’s direction, Chambers Bay received the KemperSports Retailer of the Year award for 2019 for its exceptional annual golf shop performance.

“We are extremely proud of Jacob for earning such a prestigious award from the PGA of America,” said KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. “This honor speaks to his dedication and commitment to the Chambers Bay team and his creativity in merchandising. He sets a high standard for all to follow at Chambers Bay and throughout KemperSports.”

In addition to his merchandising role, Lippold spends time teaching local area youth as an instructor of The First Tee of South Puget Sound and a PGA Jr. League coach. He also provides instruction to military veterans in his community through the Salute Military Golf Association, Wounded Warrior Project and PGA HOPE Golf Clinics. Lippold is an active member of the local Western Washington PGA Chapter. He received the Chapter’s 2018 Assistant Golf Professional of the Year award and serves as a leader in the section’s Community Outreach and Charity Committee.

The PGA Merchandiser of the Year award is selected by a panel of judges comprised of the past three award winners, four industry experts and four current board/past board members from the pool of 14 finalists (section award winners).

Lippold received the 2020 Western Washington PGA Chapter Merchandiser of the Year (Public) award and the 2020 Pacific Northwest PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year (Public) award, which led to this national recognition.

Chris Thomson leads daily golf operations and instruction as the director of golf at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club, which has been managed by KemperSports since 2013. He serves as a leader on the KemperSports Player Development Committee and is widely known for his extraordinary contributions to growing the game. Thomson’s player development programs are revered in the Lincoln community as Wilderness Ridge is widely considered the best place to go to introduce kids to the game. Thomson has a passion for growing the game across all skill levels and ages and he oversees programs such as Get Golf Ready, junior camps and youth leagues, in addition to serving as a certified U.S. Kids Golf Coach.

“Chris is a widely known as a leader in player development. His creative programming and junior strategies have helped shaped our company-wide player development initiatives,” said Steve Skinner. “He is very deserving of this award and we are proud to see that his dedication to growing the game is recognized by his peers at the PGA of America.”

Thomson boasts an impressive track record of growing the game and has received a host of awards throughout his career for his efforts. He has served on the PGA of America National board and has been recognized by the Nebraska PGA Section with several awards, including the 2006 and 2008 Golf Professional of the Year; 2011 and 2018 Youth Player Development Award; 2013 and 2017 Player Development Award; 2017 Bill Strausbaugh Award; 2019 Patriot Award; 2000 and 2009 Merchandiser of the Year Award; and 2002 and 2003 Horton Smith Award.* He was also recognized as a Golf Digest Best Teacher in Nebraska, and was awarded the NCGOA (National Golf Course Owners Association) National Player Development Award.

*The Horton Smith Award was renamed the PGA Professional Development Award in 2020.

For the full list of award winners, visit https://www.pga.com/story/pga-of-america-announces-2020-national-award-recipients.

For more information on KemperSports, visit www.kempersports.com.


About KemperSports

Northbrook, Ill.-based KemperSports builds, owns, and manages golf courses, resorts, athletic clubs, and lodging venues across the U.S. and Caribbean. The company manages an award-winning portfolio including nationally-ranked courses, private clubs, municipal courses and tournament venues such as Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, named the No. 1 Golf Resort in North America by Golf Digest and GOLF MagazineStreamsong ResortThe Glen ClubDesert Willow Golf Resort; and Chambers Bay, host of the 2015 U.S. Open. For more information about KemperSports, please visit http://www.kempersports.com.

Join the KemperSports social media conversation at FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn

Media contact:

Megan Godfrey


(312) 888-2119


Leave a Comment

KS-Main Logo with clear bug_RGB

We own, lease, operate and develop facilities. Contact us to learn more about our service solutions.