THIS AWARD BESTOWS SPECIAL RECOGNITION ON AN ASSISTANT PGA PROFESSIONAL FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE TO HIS/HER PEERS AND THE MAPGA AND IN HIS/HER COMMITMENT TO IMPROVING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ASSISTANTS IN THE MAPGA.
Eli Mireles was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa. His family, father Eli Sr., mother Rene, and sister Britney, have always had a passion for sports, and golf has always been a thread in their lives. Their love for the game of golf dates back as early as the 1960s, with his grandfather, James Conklin, once working as an Assistant Golf Professional at Churchill Valley Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pa. Continuing the tradition, his Uncles have worked at prestigious clubs like Oakmont and Nevillewood as locker room managers, others grew up caddying at Laurel Valley, and many more just love to play the sport. His interest for the game was sparked at the age of 13 when his father took him out for his first round of golf at Irwin Country Club in the Spring of 2005.
As his interest in golf developed, he knew he wanted to turn his passion into a career. To make this a reality, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management with a concentration in Professional Golf Management at the California University of Pennsylvania, a public university about 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh. He graduated from the program magna cum laude in 2013. During his time in the program, He was a member of the Men’s Club Golf Team and had a top-five finish during his time on the team. He spent two seasons at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Fox Chapel, PA where he worked as an Associate Assistant Professional. He then relocated to the Middle Atlantic Section and worked as an Assistant Professional at Cattail Creek Country Club in Glenwood, MD for two years. He was elected to the PGA as a Class A Professional in the Fall of 2014 and at the start of the following season, he joined the staff at Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, Md., where he currently works as the Lead Assistant Professional. In the Winter of 2017, to further his teaching skills, he sought after the opportunity to shadow world-renowned teacher, Jim McLean, at the Jim McLean Golf School at Doral. Mireles feels grateful for the collection of these experiences which he believes has shaped him into the professional he is today.
His peers describe him as being a well-rounded and passionate individual who displays an ownership mentality and views each day as an opportunity to make himself a better professional. He tries to make a difference in the lives of those he encounters either by bringing a simile to someone’s face or teaching someone how to swing a golf club. His colleagues will also tell you that he is deeply dedicated to his work and approaches his tasks with humility and confidence – he is not one to follow the crowd and there is no task too large or too small for him to take on. Beyond his traditional work, Mireles enjoys engaging with the local golf community whether it be through the Assistant Professional Association (APA), Section tournaments, or Chapter involvement. In each of these settings, he strives to be a leader by focusing on listening to everyone’s opinions.
Mireles has been a part of the APA since day one of his time in the Middle Atlantic area and has always made himself available to attend as many Section or Chapter meetings and events as possible, including annual meetings, teaching summits, and more. What keeps him coming back is the diverse network of support for young or new Professionals in the Section seeking to grow as Assistants and become successful Golf Professionals. He also appreciates the resources available within the APA that provide a platform for him and his fellow Assistants to brainstorm new ideas that they can implement at their clubs. Over the past few years, he has also been fortunate enough to frequently compete in tournaments and has been proud of his great success, finishing in the top 10 over the last three years. Further dedicating himself to the local community, Mireles accepted the role of A-8 Director for the Central Chapter last year. In this role, he took it upon himself to reach out to all Associate Assistant Golf Professionals within the Central Chapter to offer his help with PGA Bookwork or anything career related. Looking forward to year two as the A-8 Director, he hopes he can continue the traditions of the APA and be someone that Associates or new Assistants in the Section can turn to for advice.
When he’s not out on the golf course or talking shop with those in the community, he enjoys spending time with this wife, Lauren, and their dog, Lexi. He and Lauren are high school sweethearts and have been married since 2016. They enjoy exploring Caribbean islands via cruises, watching movies together – they’ve seen every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and, having both grown up in Pittsburgh, cheering on their beloved Pittsburgh Penguins as often as they can.