When Polson resident Cameron Milton accepted an award last week, it wasn’t just a milestone in his career.
“I was incredibly proud, but not proud of myself. I was proud of our community,” he said Monday morning.
Milton recieved the 2018 PGA Youth Player Development Award Tuesday, Nov. 6 in Indian Wells, Calif.
“It’s really an award for our community and I’m incredibly fortunate to have my name on it.”
MILTON, 36, began playing golf at 8 years old at a nine-hole public golf course in Roundup, where he “hung out and learned” the game.
While attending the University of Montana, he decided he wanted to incorporate golf into his Organizational Communication degree.
Milton was working at a golf course in California when he and his wife, Brittany, decided they wanted to start a family.
Coming to Polson in 2008, Milton said that a position at the Polson Bay Golf Course was open and he was hired.
THE MISSION Valley has supported Milton in his work to bring golf to area youth, he said.
In 2017, one of those programs, the Mission Valley Junior Golf Association, was granted nonprofit status, making funding a little easier.
He’s also worked to bring golf to valley schools as well as organizing the PGA Junior League.
Support from Polson, the Polson Golf Board, physical education teachers, parents and school districts have donated time and money to the youth programs, Milton said, which makes it possible to offer the sport to area youth.
Polson Middle School and St. Ignatius Middle School each have students that participate in golf through the winter in their gym classes, Milton said.
The Polson program is supported by Polson Rotary, while the Montana State Golf Association suppors Mission.
One of the highlights of the award is that the students become interested in the sport, Milton said, wanting to play with their parents.
RECALLING THE moment he found out he received the prestigious award, Milton said he was “shocked” and “grateful.”
For many people, winning such awards are “career-defining.”
Milton said that he’s still young, and the award was “a recognition of what the entire golf community has been doing for a long time.”
The PGA Youth Player Development Award is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.
The United States is broken into 41 sections by the PGA, Milton explained.
One person from each section is choses from those who apply.
Milton was chosen from the Pacific Northwest region, which includes Western Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
There are then 41 people from across the country, one from each section, who are then put into a pool where a panel of about 8-12 judges select finalists for the award.
Milton said that once a person is chosen as a finalist, various materials must be submitted, such as letters of recommendation.
Once finalists are chosen, one person is selected.
The third time was a charm for Milton, as he said he tried two other times for the award.
His accolades don’t stop there.
Milton’s won other awards, including a Pacific Northwest Youth Development Award in 2014, 2016 and 2017, as well as a Western Montana Youth Development Award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
In 2013, Milton was recognized as Professional Golfer of the Year for the Western Montana Chapter PGA.
IN HIS “offtime,” Milton enjoys being outside, noting he loves to ski.
He also golfs, of course, explaining that while he tries to play once a week, the time of year plays into how much he can squeeze into his schedule.
The game is a family affair.
His eight-year-old son, Maxwell, takes a few swings, as well as wife Brittany.
“We’re a golfing family for sure,” Milton said.