Western N.Y. PGA executive director/CEO Steven Bartkowski hired to take the helm at Colorado PGA

By Gary Baines – 3/9/2022

After one false start along the way in the search process, the Colorado PGA has hired a new executive director/CEO.

The Section announced Wednesday on its website and through a release that its new staff leader will be Steven Bartkowski, who since 2017 has been executive director/CEO of the Western New York PGA.

“I am honored to start the next chapter of my career at such a prestigious PGA of America Section, (the) Colorado PGA,” Bartkowski posted Wednesday on LinkedIn. “I look forward to working with the all-star staff and board of directors later this month to support the 850 PGA Members in that region.”

The hire comes roughly three weeks after the Colorado PGA previously announced filling the position with another Section executive director, Ali Wells from the Gateway PGA, who was quoted how excited she was to join the Colorado PGA. Wells would have been the CPGA’s first female E.D. But less than a week later, after a Colorado PGA board member said Wells had signed a letter of intent to take the job, she declined the CPGA’s offer that would have finalized the deal.

Steven Bartkowski

Now, a couple of weeks after that, Bartkowski has been announced as the successor to Eddie Ainsworth, who departed his leadership role at the Colorado PGA in December after nearly 14 years in the position.

Bartkowski will become the Section’s sixth executive director, following in the footsteps of Jerry King, Myran Craig, Scott Wellington, Darrell Bock and Ainsworth. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to join the Colorado PGA team and lead such a remarkable PGA of America Section,” Bartkowski said in Wednesday’s release. “Like many, I share a passion for the game of golf that has given so much back to me in both my personal and professional life. The opportunity to serve the PGA Professionals and work with the many partners of the Section to give back and continue to enhance our sport is humbling, to say the least.”

Bartkowski has spent all of his 14-year career in golf administration in the New York and New Jersey area, with the SUNY Cortland graduate beginning as a USGA P.J. Boatwright Intern with the Buffalo District Golf Association. He also served as tournament director of the Western New York PGA, helping launch the local PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program. He then worked as director of tournaments and championships at the New Jersey PGA before returning to the Western New York Section as its executive director. In his new position, the Section’s tournament purses have increased 24 percent and its event participation by 13 percent.

The WNYPGA includes about 300 PGA members and serves Buffalo, Rochester and northwest Pennsylvania.

“Over the last 12 years of my career I have been entrusted with serving PGA Professionals in different capacities in both the New Jersey and Western New York Sections of the PGA of America,” Bartkowski said. “I cherish the times I had in these regions building lifelong relationships. I look forward to bringing the same passion and experience that I have learned throughout my career to continue to build on the successes of the Colorado PGA well into the future.”

Indeed, the Section is hoping the man who has a very similar name to a longtime NFL quarterback can guide the CPGA to much success in the future.

During Ainsworth’s tenure, individual Colorado PGA members combined with the Section itself won 10 national PGA of America awards/honors, most recently with Hiwan Golf Club’s Kyle Heyen being inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame.

(About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was voted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2021. Email: ColoradoGolfJournal@mac.com)