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BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

Ferris State PGA Golf Management alum Scott Barla named Indiana PGA section's 'Teacher of the Year'

Scott Barla has traveled many rewarding paths as a golf professional and the 1994 graduate of Ferris State University’s Professional Golf Management program claimed his latest honor from the PGA Indiana section receiving its Teacher of the Year award.

Barla has nearly 30 years in professional roles, serving as a Class A golf instructor in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, an equipment company representative and a stint as a merchandising professional for the PGA championship and Ryder Cup events. Barla now is the successful owner and director of instruction of Barla Golf Academy in Noblesville, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis.

“One of my early and very rewarding teaching experiences was helping establish the Midnight Golf Program in Detroit, working with founder Renee Fluker,” Barla said. “This great program introduces inner-city youngsters to golf, as an inspiration to follow personal and academic pursuits. I have given individual lessons throughout my career, so my wife and I decided the academy would be a way to apply top-flight instruction and technology, to benefit players of all ages through our indoor facility.” 

Beyond efforts in youth instruction, which has included high school coaching, support of First Tee, a program mixing golf lessons with social skills learning and his current role as a PGA Junior League host at his academy, Barla is proud to be involved with PGA HOPE, for Help Our Patriots Everywhere. 

The program has a six-to-eight-week curriculum, with 90-minute sessions where veterans and active military personnel learn the game, but also gain a greater sense of well-being. The sessions are offered without cost and begin in April.  

Receiving the Teacher of the Year Award from the Indiana PGA section caps a fulfilling five-year stretch for Scott.  The award was presented in late February in a ceremony in Muncie. 

“I received the Indiana PGA Player Development Award in 2019 and I was honored to have the Ferris PGM Alumni Association select me for the Bill Strausbaugh Excellence in Teaching Award in 2022,” Barla said. “I believe the regional prestige of Ferris’ Professional Golf Management program was influential in my receiving the Indiana PGA’s #GameChanger Award last year, and the recent Teacher of the Year Award.” 

Finally, teaching young people and others the game has brought Scott rewards beyond trophies and business success. 

”Junior golfers and high schoolers in my area have expressed interest in a career as a golf professional,” Barla said. “As a University Alumni board member, I am proud my current intern from Noblesville High School has chosen to pursue his dream at my alma mater, after I took him and his father on a tour of the Ferris campus. 

It is gratifying to encourage competitive golfers, along with those looking to focus their talents on a lifelong association with the game. I am committed in my role with golf’s resurgence and my facility and staff are dedicated to offering our energies and expertise every day.”  

Barla was one of ten 2024 Indiana PGA award winners and the field included 1984 Ferris Professional Golf Management alumnus Roger Lundy, who received the section’s Youth Player Development Award for the third time in his career. 

“I considered Roger a great friend, as we collaborated on PGA HOPE at the Highland Golf and Country Club for several years,” Barla said. “Though we were on opposite sides of the Indianapolis metro area, I knew of Lundy’s service as a coach at Manchester University and Franklin College. As a tribute to Roger’s service, as he died suddenly in late October, our section’s Junior Leader Award will now be known as the Roger Lundy Youth Player Development Award.”


*Image provided by Scott Barla.