Jan Beljan of Jupiter, a protégé of the Fazio family of golf course architects, is the second woman to become president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, and the second from Palm Beach County.
The late Alice Dye of Gulfstream held the position in 1997. Jan has been a member of the ASGCA since 1990, one of four female members in the society’s 90-plus years.
Beljan grew up in the game thanks to her father, George, and five uncles.
“I would hear their conversations after they played tournaments, discussing why they liked certain holes, and I was fascinated by what they were describing,” she recalled. “My father designed and supervised the construction of the course where I grew up in Pennsylvania. He grew in the course and was the pro-superintendent. When I was only 5 or 6, I was captivated by the massive scrappers, bulldozers and front-end loaders.”
She was further exposed to the game as a teenager, working on weekends and during the summers at Mannitto Haven.
“I mowed greens and raked bunkers in the morning,” she said, “then worked in the golf shop in the afternoons, arranging tee times, selling merchandise, managing the golf carts, coordinating tournaments and computing handicaps by hand,” learning such valuable lessons as, “You have to make the experience enjoyable enough that the golfers will want to come back.”
She studied landscaping architecture at West Virginia University and in 1978 met Tom Fazio during the PGA Championship at Oakmont CC. She was subsequently invited to join the Fazio golf course design firm headed by Tom and his uncle, George.
“Tom provided me the opportunity, a chance to join a successful design firm,” she says. “I knew I had to learn something before I could do something. I am grateful that Tom saw in me a willingness to learn and do.”
Today, Jan Beljan Golf Course Design’s portfolio includes the Jupiter Island Club in Hobe Sound and Boca Lago’s 27 holes in Boca Raton. As an assistant to Tom Fazio, she was involved with the Champions Club at Summerfield in Stuart, Jupiter Hills and the Squire and Haig courses at PGA National. She has been recognized by the USGA in its museum exhibit, “Women and Golf Course Architecture,” and serves on the board for the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.
How will she determine a successful ASGCA presidency?
“I want to carry on the mission of the recent past presidents through leadership, greater recognition for our members, thoughtfulness for our clients so we may continue providing the best product with better economic ways to do things,” she said.
FSGA events: A team representing Wellington National Junior Golf finished second in the Boys 16-18 age group in the Florida Junior Team Championships at PGA National. Led by Cameron Owens’ 74-73--147, Wellington National scored 150-144—294 on the Champion course, three strokes behind North Florida Junior Tour’s 291. The two lowest scores of the three-player team were counted each day.
SFPGA events: Jared Isaacs of Adios GC, Coconut Creek, and Colin Amaral, CC at Mirasol, combined to win the 38th annual Pro-Pro Championship by one stroke. At the Naples Beach Hotel & GC, Isaacs and Amaral edged Rick Sutton, Broken Sound Club-Old Course, and Chris Stanko, Banyan GC, 128-129.
In the 18th annual Senior-Junior at Hunters Run GC-South, Mark Mielke of High Ridge CC and Patrick Rada, McArthur GC, won a playoff on the second extra hole to beat Jerry Tucker, co-founder of the Treasure Coast Senior Tour, and Tim Turpen, the Preserve at Ironhorse. They had tied at 10 under par 62. Neither team made a bogey in the four-ball stroke play format.
The 40th annual Pro-Scratch was played on the Fazio course at Jonathan’s Landing GC at Old Trail. Pro David Guy and Jamison Dicus, representing Cypress Lake CC of Fort Myers, were the winners at eight under 64.
Pano, Harris, in top 10 at Junior PGA: Palm Beach County had top 10 finishers in both divisions of the Junior PGA Championship at Keney Park in Hartford, Conn. Alexa Pano of Lake Worth tied for fourth in the girls division with 271, five shots behind Yuka Saso of the Philippines. Among the boys, Frankie Harris of Boca Raton tied for ninth at 266.
The championships return to Florida in 2020, both at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie. The boys are scheduled July 13-16 followed July 28-31 by the girls.
Mirasol retains designation: The Country Club at Mirasol has retained its designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary through the Audubon International’s program for golf courses.
To reach certification, golf course personal must demonstrate a high degree of environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, and outreach and education. This is the third recertification Mirasol has received since 2012.
“Our membership cherishes the natural beauty and abundant wildlife found throughout our community and preserve areas,” said Matt Lambert, Mirasol’s general manager and chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to have a dedicated staff led by Michael Thomas, our golf course maintenance director, who take enormous pride in being great stewards of the environment.”