JAGA honors 2023 award winners


The Jacksonville Area Golf Association announced its 2023 JAGA Award winners at the organization’s end-of-year annual meeting Dec. 12 at Marsh Landing Country Club.

The honorees are:

  • Club Executive of the Year – Mike Miles/The Yards
  • Community Service Award – City of Jacksonville Beach
  • Earl & Eleanor Kelly Long-Term Service Award – Boots Farley/Northern Florida PGA Chapter
  • JAGA Director of the Year – Joe Grippi/Deerwood Country Club
  • Professional of the Year – Wes Tucker/St. Johns Golf Club
  • Superintendent of the Year – Nate Maurer/Jacksonville Golf and Country Club


Mike Miles

The Yards, general manager

 A native Californian who attended Cal State — Long Beach on a golf scholarship and played professionally, including on the PGA TOUR, Miles came to the Jacksonville area in 2016 to help Yards owner Dave Miller create and carry out The Yards’ unique vision and experience. Miles and staff transformed the Ponte Vedra property into a fun social hub and one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment venue for members and nonmembers alike.

An alternative to the prototypical 18-hole golf facility, The Yards is home to the only 12-hole course in Northeast Florida and features its Par 3 “Back Yard” course (aka the “Beer Loop”). In addition to golf, The Yards has fine dining, a patio pavilion, tennis and pickleball courts.


City of Jacksonville Beach

 Jax Beach Golf Club has been a fixture on the Jacksonville-area golf scene since 1961, providing a quality golf experience for the city’s many public golfers. But wear and tear over the decades took its toll, and the city knew it had come to a crossroads.

Luckily for golfers, City of Jacksonville Beach leaders made the decision to invest for the long haul and raise the standards and the city’s commitment to the facility. With the funds made available and the hiring of three well-respected local golf leaders — Bruce Mohler (manager), Trevor Hughes (superintendent) and Harrison Minchew (architect) — to spearhead the project, work began in January of 2018 and was completed the following fall, with a new and highly respected Jax Beach Golf Club the finished product.

A key was electing to use paspalum Bermuda grass, which is known to thrive in salty air near the ocean. From the first day it reopened, names have filled the tee sheet from sunup to sundown and turned what was a negative cash flow into a highly profitable entity for Jacksonville Beach.

Nearly 70,000 rounds of golf will have been played there in 2023. The vision and support the city and golf staff have put forth is a model for public golf everywhere. With affordable rates, it welcomes and has programs for golfers of all stripes, from juniors to seniors, men and women, amateurs and professionals, diverse backgrounds, and adaptive golfers, alike.

The JAGA Amateur Championship was played at the course in 2020 and the JAGA Family Championship and its Kid-Am are held there annually, as are high school, charity and college tournaments. With lights recently added, the driving range is the busiest in town.


Boots Farley

PGA of America, Northern Chapter of the North Florida PGA Section

As well-known and well-respected as any PGA professional in the Northern Chapter, Boots Farley has worn many hats during his 45-year career in the golf business in Jacksonville. His resume includes club professional and instructor roles at Deerwood, Hidden Hills, The Ravines and Jax Beach Golf Club (23 years), director of the North Florida Junior Golf Foundation (two stints) and executive director of the First Tee of North Florida.

Currently, Farley runs Boots Farley Golf Instruction, with The Yards his home base. The Wolfson grad has won numerous PGA of America chapter and section awards, and in 2013, he was inducted into the North Florida PGA Section Hall of Fame. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, either. Farley’s son, Hayes, is a popular instructor on the San Jose Country Club golf staff and his daughter, Kacy, is the assistant coach for the Providence girls’ golf team.


Joe Grippi

Deerwood Country Club, JAGA Director

A JAGA director since 2018, Joe Grippi has made many significant contributions in a short amount of time. And when he says he’s going to do something, you can rest assured he will and go over and above what’s been asked of him.

A native of the Bronx, New York, and a retired financial adviser who worked for Prudential Finance for 32 years and Raymond James for another 10, he has been in Jacksonville since 1986. Grippi was a valued JAGA tournament volunteer in his first few years before being approached about launching JAGA’s first New Director Orientation program, which he quickly turned into a meaningful one that made for a smooth introduction and transition to JAGA for new directors.

He was recruited by the JAGA Scholarship Trust in 2022 to come on board as a trustee. He didn’t hesitate when asked to assume the Scholarship Committee chair role that his fellow Deerwood member and friend Ken Hicks was about to vacate, adding many enhancements to the scholarship evaluation process and the Annual Scholarship Banquet at which the scholars are honored in his first year.


Wes Tucker

St. Johns Golf Club, Director of Golf

Wes Tucker’s footprint has touched many areas of golf in Northeast Florida. His career began in 1983-85 at the former Oak Bridge Club at Sawgrass before he moved to the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club as an assistant in 1985-88. In 1988, he was recruited by St. Johns Golf Club in Elkton to help open the new facility. By 1991 he was the head professional and in 2001 was promoted to director of golf, a position he remains in today.

Along the way, Tucker has contributed to his club, St. Johns County and the Jacksonville-area golf community having been a First Tee board member from 2000 to 2018, co-founder of the highly successful St. Augustine Amateur, which awards World Amateur Golf Ranking points, in 2004. Additionally, he served as Northern Chapter PGA secretary (2018-20), vice president (2020-22), and is currently president of the chapter (2022-24) and a board member of Florida’s First Coast of Golf (2022-24).

His work has been recognized by many, including the North Florida Section, which honored him with three awards in 2021 – Professional of the Year, Patriot Award and Merchandiser of the Year – Public. Tucker’s most recent project was a thorough and very successful renovation of the golf course and clubhouse at St. Johns Golf Course, which reopened in November of 2022.


Nate Maurer

Jacksonville Golf and Country Club, Director of Agronomy

Nate Maurer’s first two assistant superintendent jobs were at The Landings Club in Savannah and The Virginian Golf Club in Bristol, Virginia, between 2001 and 2005. In 2005, he received a certificate in turfgrass management from the University of Georgia. His first head superintendent position came in early 2006 when he moved to the Jacksonville area and was hired at The Plantation at Ponte Vedra (2006-2011).

After five years there, he assumed the superintendent role at St. Johns Golf and Country Club (2011-16). Jacksonville Golf and Country Club came calling in December 2016, and Maurer has been a popular fixture there ever since. His biggest challenge came in the summer of 2019 when the Clyde Johnston/Fuzzy Zoeller design shut down to rebuild the club’s greens and bunkers. This past year, Jacksonville Golf and Country Club underwent a complete renovation of its practice facility. Maurer and the club continue to push forward making enhancements for the betterment of the club and its members.

He is a past president of the North Florida Superintendents Chapter (2015-16) and continues to serve as a director for the North Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association for which he has held many positions over the past decade.

Jacksonville Golf and Country Club will host the 63rd JAGA Jacksonville Amateur in July 2024.