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STEVE LEONARD ELECTED 26TH PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTHWEST PGA
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - June 7, 2023 - Steve Leonard of Phoenix, was elected the 26th President of the Southwest Professional Golfers' Association of America by PGA members at the Association's 65th Annual Meeting. Leonard is the PGA General Manager/Chief Operating Officer at Putting World in Scottsdale. Prior to being elected Southwest PGA President, Leonard served as Vice President and Secretary of the Section.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be elected as the 26th President of the Southwest Section PGA,” said Leonard. “It's a wonderful opportunity to continue to serve the membership that has trusted me with this responsibility. Most of my best friends, mentors, and people that I admire, and respect, are members and associates of the Southwest Section. I look forward to working with the Section Board, the Southern Chapter, Southern Nevada Chapter, staff, committee members and past Presidents to help shape the future of the Southwest Section PGA and the game we all love and enjoy. We will work hard to always keep the “member first” in everything we do.”
Succeeding Leonard as Vice President is Le Ann Finger, of Phoenix, who was appointed Secretary of the Southwest PGA by the Board of Directors filling the vacated role of former Secretary Bernie Eaton. Finger, PGA, LPGA, is the Director of Golf Operations for the Arizona Golf Association in Scottsdale.
Steven Outlaw, of Surprise, Ariz., was elected to succeed Finger as Secretary. He is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Troon Golf.
Al Sutton, of Scottsdale, who served as the 25th President of the Southwest PGA since 2021, assumes the role of Honorary President.
In addition, three members were elected and sworn into the Board of Directors. Serving three-year terms are: Ben Baldwin, of Mesa, Ariz., the PGA Director of Sales and Business Development at Best Approach Publications; Min Park, of Phoenix, the PGA Director of Golf at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale; and Roy Smith, of Queen Creek, Ariz., the PGA General Manager at Talking Stick Golf Club.
A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Leonard, has spent the majority of his 30-year career in the golf industry in the Southwest PGA. Leonard was a member of the golf team at Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., before transferring to East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications.
Following college, Leonard began his career in golf in 1992 as a PGA associate at Marriott's Griffin Gate Resort & Spa in Lexington, Ky. He transferred to a seasonal position at Marriott’s Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert, Calif., spending one year before relocating to Arizona for the same position at Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale.
Leonard earned his membership in the PGA of America in 1997 and obtained his first PGA Head Golf Professional position at Kierland Golf Club in Scottsdale. Following a four-year stint as the PGA General Manager at Savannah (Ga.) Quarters Country Club, Leonard returned to the valley for PGA General Manager positions at Golf Club of Estrella, Moon Valley Country Club, Tatum Ranch Golf Club and Talking Stick Golf Club, before moving on to his current position at Putting World.
Always active in governance of the Section, Leonard has served on numerous committees over the years. He was elected to the Southwest PGA Board of Directors in 2017. He previously served as chairman of the Southwest PGA Coaching Challenge Committee.
Leonard was honored by the Commonwealth of Kentucky with the title of Kentucky Colonel, which is the highest title of honor bestowed to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation.
Finger, a dual member of the PGA and LPGA, is the Director of Golf Operations for the Arizona Golf Association located in Scottsdale, was born and raised in West Des Moines, Iowa and is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Education and was a four-year letter winner and captain of the women’s golf team. Shortly after graduating from St. Olaf, she took her first job in the industry, serving as an Assistant Golf Professional at nearby Northfield Golf Club. Finger returned to St. Olaf to coach the women’s golf team for seven seasons while coaching the men’s team for four seasons.
Finger earned her membership in the PGA of America in 2006, and among her more than 20 years of industry experience, worked for the PGA of America for six years. In her role with the AGA, Finger conducts more than 50 tournaments and championships, for nearly 95,000 amateur golfers in the state of Arizona.
A member of the Southwest PGA Board of Directors since 2020, she served on numerous committees including as the co-chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Junior Golf Committees, and was a member of the Southwest PGA Executive Director Search Committee. Finger previously served on the PGA of America National Membership Committee, The First Tee National Growing Girls Golf Committee and the LPGA National Hall of Fame Committee.
One of Finger’s greatest accomplishments within golf was when she earned the title of PGA Master Professional in 2019, at the time, becoming only the 10th woman to earn PGA Master Professional status, the highest educational achievement that can be obtained by a PGA Member. She is one of only 210 women nationwide who are both a member of the PGA of America, and an LPGA Class A Professional.
She was honored with the 2019 Southwest PGA Player Development Award, which recognizes a PGA Professional for extraordinary and exemplary contributions and achievements in the area of player development. She earned the same award in 2014 by the Southeast Chapter of the South Florida PGA.
Outlaw, a native of East Chicago, Ind., is the Director of Sales & Marketing for Troon, the largest employer of PGA Professionals. In his role he supports Troon’s facilities and associates in the field with sales and marketing efforts and additional corporate initiatives, such as events, Troon Drives H.O.P.E. and is a member of Troon’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.
He attended Georgetown (Ky.) College, where he was a member of the golf team and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Following college, Outlaw enrolled in the PGA’s Accelerated Program (PGA Post Graduate Diversity Program) and began an internship at Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale.
After earning his membership in the PGA of America in 2012, he embarked on an overseas journey with Troon at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and The Els Club Teluk Datai in Malaysia. After six years abroad, Outlaw returned as the PGA Director of Golf at Wickenburg (Ariz.) Ranch Golf & Social Club in 2017.
In 2020, Outlaw graduated from PGA Lead Cohort IV (2019-2020). PGA Lead was created to identify, mentor and progress PGA Members from diverse backgrounds along a guided path to volunteer leadership roles at the Chapter, Section and National levels of the Association.
He currently serves on Southwest PGA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee as the Co-Chair. Nationally, Outlaw serves on the PGA of America Governance Committee along with the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. He previously served on the Southwest PGA Junior Golf Committee, 106th PGA Annual Meeting Planning Committee and was selected to represent the Section as a member of the Executive Director Search Committee. He was elected to the Southwest PGA Board of Directors in 2021.
Outlaw’s inspiration for pursuing a career in golf originated from his involvement with the First Tee, when he was honored as the inaugural First Tee Scholars class.