Category: PPGA

Celebrating Our Centennial: 100 Years of the Philadelphia PGA Section

As the Philadelphia PGA Section turns 100, we take a look back at the people and events that helped make the Section what it is today, with the help of Section Historian Pete Trenham, PGA, and his website Trenham Golf History.

1942 PGA Championship: In the last week of May Seaview Country Club and its head professional Bruce Coltart hosted the PGA Championship. Seaview had two very dissimilar nines in architecture. There was the Bay Course with 18-holes designed by Donald Ross and 9-holes in the pines designed by Bill Flynn. It was decided that the back nine of the Bay Course would be played first and then the pros would finish on the Pines nine. In the later rounds the Bay nine was played last to accommodate the gallery. In the previous PGA Championships all the players received mileage money, which was based on how far they lived from the tournament site. In 1942 only those who failed to qualify for the match play were paid the mileage money. Hershey CC professional Ben Hogan, who hit more practice balls than anyone, hurt his wrist practicing the day before the championship started and had to have x-rays taken. Fred Corcoran, the PGA Tournament Manager, told the press that Hogan’s starting time for the next day would be pushed back a few hours from his scheduled time. Because the country was now at war, the pros were qualifying for only 32 places in order to shorten the championship by one day. All the matches were scheduled for 36 holes. PGA of America president Ed Dudley led the 100 starters on the first day of qualifying with a six-under-par 66, which tied the record for the lowest qualifying round in the PGA championship. At the end of qualifying Harry Cooper was the medalist with a 138, while Sam Byrd tied for second at 139. Dudley and Hogan were part of a three-way tie for fifth at 141. Coltart (142), Jug McSpaden (143), Jimmy Thompson (143), Dutch Harrison (144), Sam Snead (144) and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (147) were the other members of the Philadelphia Section who made it into the match play. Kirkwood had to survive a playoff to win one of the last spots. Corporal Elwood Brey, Corporal Ed Oliver, Felix Serafin, Clarence Ehresman and Leo Diegel failed to qualify.  Byrd, Coltart, Thomson and Harrison lost in the first round. In the second round Kirkwood lost to Byron Nelson and McSpaden lost to Jim Turnesa. Three Section members; Snead, Dudley and Hogan made it into the quarter-finals. Hogan then lost to Turnesa one-down and Dudley lost to Snead, who was the Shawnee Inn & CC playing professional, one-down. Dudley lost to Snead when his tee shot on the last hole hit a spectator and bounced into the woods for an unplayable lie. Snead beat Jimmy Demaret 3&2 in one semifinal match and Turnesa defeated Byron Nelson in a match that went 37 holes. Snead went on to defeat Turnesa, who was stationed at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, in the 36-hole finals 2&1. Snead took his first prize of $2,000 in a war bond, which would have been worth $1,500 in cash. The total purse was $7,550. Turnesa was granted leave to compete in the championship with the understanding that any money he won would go to the Army Relief Fund. Turnesa won $750 in cash and wore his army uniform while playing in the tournament. The total purse was $7,550. Two days later Snead was in the U.S. Navy as Seaman First Class Snead. The draft board had given Snead a 10-day extension on his reporting date so he could play in the PGA. Snead’s caddy was a young man named Tony DeSimone who went on to own an automobile dealership and a golf course in South Jersey. DeSimone became one of the Philadelphia Section’s most faithful sponsors. All profits from the tournament were donated to the Army and Navy relief funds. This was the last major golf championship played until the end of the war.

The PGA Championship final was played on Sunday May 31. That evening the PGA of America held a meeting of its executive committee. The Atlantic City Golf Association and Seaview Country Club had issued an invitation for the PGA to hold its championship at Seaview again in 1943. Due to the war the PGA wasn’t sure when it might hold its championship again. The PGA executive committee did vote to hold its championship at Seaview again and publicly stated that when it was played again it would be held at Seaview. There would be no PGA Championship held in 1943 and by 1944 when it was held the commitment to Seaview had apparently been forgotten.

George Jerome Fazio: George Fazio was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania in 1912. He had a varied and outstanding career in golf. He worked as a golf professional, leased courses and driving ranges, won golf tournaments and designed golf courses. His career in golf began as a caddy at the Plymouth Country Club. He worked as a professional at six different golf courses in the Philadelphia area including the Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey and he played the PGA Tour on and off during the late 1940s and most of the 1950s. For a number of years Fazio owned a Ford automobile agency in Conshohocken that was set up for him by William Clay Ford. Locally Fazio won the Philadelphia Section Championship in 1941 and from 1949 to 1959 he won five Philadelphia Opens along with finishing second twice. In 1950 while working in the Middle Atlantic Section Fazio won their Section championship. He won twice on the PGA Tour, which included winning the Canadian Open in 1946, and finished second seven times. In 1950 he tied with Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum for the U.S. Open title at Merion Golf Club and lost in an 18-hole playoff. He also finished fifth in the 1952 U.S. Open and tied for fourth in 1953. During his career he played in 14 U.S. Opens, 14 PGA Championships and 7 Masters Tournaments. Fazio also knew golf talent. When Gary Player first ventured to America to try his hand on the PGA Tour he wasn’t very successful. Fazio gave Player some money, which allowed him to stay on the tour. At the time Fazio was leasing Flourtown Golf Club and Langhorne Country Club so to return the favor Player agreed to represent Langhorne on the PGA Tour. In the mid 1950s television was in its infancy and a young Jack Whitaker was doing ten minutes of sports at 11:00 pm on WCAU TV. Whitaker could see that golf was becoming very popular so he invited Fazio to be a guest on his show each Wednesday evening. The Wednesday show with Fazio was a hit as hundreds of viewers sent in postcards and letters with golf questions. Some of the shows featured Fazio demonstrating various golf shots at the Presidential Course, which was what remained of the Philadelphia Country Club’s original course. In 1955 the city of Philadelphia hired Fazio to make changes that would tighten up its Cobbs Creek Golf Club for the PGA Tour’s Daily News Open that the course was hosting that year. That got him started in course design and in 1960 he shifted his career over to building golf courses. Fazio gained more fame as a golf course architect than he had from playing tournaments. He designed 64 courses and redesigned 20 more. Nine of the courses he created were in the Philadelphia Section. Several of his courses quickly made Golf Digest’s list of “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. A number of golf courses that Fazio designed and golf courses that he redesigned hosted national championships and PGA Tour events. The list included the 1972 Masters, six U.S. Open courses and the 1968 U.S. Women’s Open. Fazio was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame in 2008. For more of Trenham Golf History’s Leaders & Legends, visit https://trenhamgolfhistory.org/philadelphia-pga-leaders-legends/leaders-legends-1950-1959/

Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization Announces New Board Roles

Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (January 13, 2021) — The Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization (PAO), an arm of the Philadelphia PGA Section for Assistant Professionals, has announced new roles for its 2021 board, effective immediately:
  • Co-Chairs: Ron Pine, PGA, Aronimink G.C.; and John Rogers, PGA
  • Tournament Chair: Michael Congdon, PGA, Aronimink G.C.
  • Education Chair: Steve Frederick, PGA, Overbrook G.C.
  • Youth Golf / Charity / Finance Chair: Tony Shields, PGA, The ACE Club
  • Communication / Mentorship Chair: Ashley Grier, PGA, Overbrook G.C.
“On behalf of the entire PAO, Section, and our members, we would like to thank outgoing PAO Co-Chair Steve Frederick, PGA, for his service and willingness to continue to serve as the PAO Education Chair,” said current PAO Co-Chair Ron Pine, PGA. “We look forward to getting started with our new board to make the 2021 season as successful as ever.”About the Philadelphia PGA Section
The Philadelphia PGA Section, covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, is one of 41 geographical managing entities of the PGA of America. This Section manages nearly 900 PGA Members and Associates who are employed at over 590 golf facilities in our region. Founded in 1921, the Section celebrates its centennial in 2021.

Contact: Matt Frey, PGA, Communications Director, Philadelphia PGA Section, mfrey@pgahq.com

Mike Mack and Bob Barnett Jr. Inducted into Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame

Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (November 6, 2020) — The Philadelphia PGA Section and its Hall of Fame Committee has inducted PGA Members Mike Mack and Bob Barnett into its Hall of Fame as the class of 2020. Mack and Barnett are the 44th and 45th members of the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.

Mike Mack, the longtime PGA Head Professional at Burlington Country Club in Westampton, N.J., turned professional in 1977 and was elected to PGA of America Membership in 1981. Prior to joining Burlington, he worked at West Chester (Pa.) Golf & Country Club, Kennett Square (Pa.) Golf & Country Club, and Brookside Country Club in Pottstown, Pa., where he worked for Pete Dever.

“I am honored to be mentioned in the same breath as legendary PGA Members like Dick Smith Sr., Pete Trenham, Jack Connelly, Ed Dougherty, Art Wall, and the like,” said Mack. “I am thankful to the Hall of Fame Committee, our Executive Director Geoffrey Surrette, and to those who nominated me, Bob Hennefer and Curtis Kirkpatrick. I’m very fortunate to be part of the best Section in the nation, the Philadelphia PGA.”

Mack has been Burlington’s PGA Head Professional for over 39 years, an increasingly uncommon feat in today’s world, and while his position includes many managerial responsibilities, he has always remained an impassioned coach and teacher. In an effort to improve his own practice as well as the club’s profile, he built one of the Section’s first indoor teaching studios, which still gets perennial use by his students and Burlington’s members.

Furthermore, Mack’s engagement within the community has improved the lives of many. He has been involved with the PGA HOPE Philadelphia program, the flagship military program of PGA REACH Philadelphia, the charitable foundation of the Philadelphia PGA Section, which introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Mack also works with the Buddy Club, Variety Club, and Golf for Life charities to help support local youth. Impressively, he was also the first to introduce the game of golf to the Special Olympics regionally, and has been honored for his work with Camden’s inner-city youth.

In addition to his duties at Burlington, Mack has been involved with the Section at the highest levels. He was first elected to the Section’s Board of Directors in 1989, and served as a Section officer in multiple roles, including Tournament Chair, 1994-95; Secretary, 1996-97; Vice President, 1998-99; and as the Section’s 33rd President, 2000-01.

Mack has always considered playing the game of golf to be an important aspect of being a PGA Professional, and as a result, created the Burlington Classic golf tournament in 1986, one of the longest-running events on the Section’s tournament calendar. The Burlington Classic has been played annually since its inception (with the exceptions of 2000 and 2005, when the club hosted the Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship, and 2020, when it was cancelled due to the global pandemic) and has become a favorite among many Philadelphia PGA Tournament Players Division members. The tournament awards the low PGA Professional and low pro-am team; Mack won the team event in 2007.

Mentoring is also a passion of Mack’s, as he has helped usher many young PGA Associates to their PGA Membership and also served as a Dick Smith Cup Captain, an event created to celebrate 24 of the Section’s best PGA Assistant Professionals. He was also named the 1999 Philadelphia PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest honor the Section can bestow on its members. Mack was nominated to the Hall of Fame by PGA Members Bob Hennefer and Curtis Kirkpatrick.

The class of 2020’s second inductee, Robert Thompson “Bob” Barnett Jr., has been inducted posthumously. Barrett turned professional in 1914 to work as an assistant professional at Bala Golf Club in Philadelphia prior to serving in France for the U.S. Army in World War I. When he returned to the United States, he earned his PGA Membership in 1917 while working as the PGA Professional at Pocono Manor (Pa.) Golf Club. Barnett became the PGA Professional at the now defunct Tredyffrin Country Club in Paoli, Pa., in 1920, where they hosted the Main Line Open beginning in 1921, a golf tournament that attracted the nation’s top players. Barnett and Tredyffrin also hosted the first-ever Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship.

When the Philadelphia PGA Section was formally established on December 2, 1921, Barnett was unanimously selected by his peers to become the Section’s first president, a role he held for two years. Barnett was just 25 years old at the time.

In March 1923, Barnett resigned from Tredyffrin after accepting the PGA Professional position at the Chevy Chase (Md.) Club, and thus his position as Section president. Barnett went on to help found the Middle Atlantic PGA Section in 1925, and a year later became its second president. During his near 20-year stint at Chevy Chase, he also served as PGA Head Professional at Indian Creek Country Club in Miami, Fla., where he trained two young PGA Professionals, who ultimately became PGA leaders in their own right: Max Elbin, who served as PGA of America President, 1966-68; and Bill Strausbaugh, who became the namesake of PGA’s mentorship award. Nineteen-forty-seven U.S. Open champion Lew Worsham also worked for Barnett at both Chevy Chase and Indian Creek.

“We take great pride in welcoming Mike and Bob to our Hall of Fame,” said Philadelphia PGA Section Executive Director Geoffrey Surrette, PGA. “Our Section would not be where it is today without Barnett’s early leadership and Mack’s ongoing dedication to the game and fellow PGA Professionals. We proudly inscribe their names into our Section’s rich and storied history.”

About the Philadelphia PGA Section
The Philadelphia PGA Section, covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, is one of 41 geographical managing entities of the PGA of America. This Section manages nearly 900 PGA Members and Associates who are employed at over 590 golf facilities in our region.

Contact: Matt Frey, PGA, Communications Director, mfrey@pgahq.com

PGA REACH Philadelphia’s Inaugural Pro-Am Championship Raises Over $50,000

Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (October 30, 2020) — On Wednesday, October 28, PGA REACH Philadelphia, the Philadelphia PGA Section’s 501(c)(3) foundation, raised over $50,000 from its inaugural Pro-Am Championship at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa., which featured a sold-out field of 144 players.

PGA REACH Philadelphia launched the new annual event to help support our Youth, Military, and Diversity programming, and to spread the word about our mission to positively impact lives though the game of golf.

“We are so thrilled that our first Pro-Am Championship event was such a big success, the support and interest shown by our partners and the players marks an exciting milestone for our foundation and it’s future,” said PGA REACH Philadelphia Director Leila Mackie, PGA. “With 2020 being a challenging year for all, it’s a good feeling to know we are making a real impact in the lives of individuals and families within our community.”

The 2020 PGA REACH Philadelphia Pro-Am Championship’s Premier Partner is the Union League of Philadelphia. Its Presenting Partners are Henkels & McCoy and American Floors Inc., and is supported by Corkcicle, Doc Murphy, Levelwear, Trinity Flavors, and William E. Howe & Co.

“No one has been unaffected by the ongoing global pandemic this year, our foundation included,” said Philadelphia PGA Section Executive Director Geoffrey Surrette, PGA. “To host such a strong event like this will not only help PGA REACH Philadelphia and its mission, but also our Section’s PGA Members as they prepare to offer programming to serve youth golfers, veterans, and diverse populations leading into 2021.”

PGA REACH Philadelphia offers several programs to support local youth, veterans, and diverse golfers, including PGA Jr. LeagueGolf in SchoolsPGA HOPE Philadelphia (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour Diversity Scholarship, and Diversity Scholars Mentor Program.

Even on a brisk, and at times damp, autumn day, Rolling Green G.C.’s incredible William Flynn layout received rave reviews from the players. The host club’s own Assistant Professional Jordan Abel led his team of amateur partners, Mike Sousa, Brian Hulse, and Bernie Sousa, to a five-stroke victory. Dean Kandle, St. Davids G.C., and his team, Mark Rhodes, Robert Aiken, and Ken Jones, finished in second place at 16-under-par in the one best of four net event. Three teams tied for third at 14-under-par. To view the full 2020 PGA REACH Philadelphia Pro-Am Championship leaderboard, click here.

PGA REACH Philadelphia is already planning next year’s pro-am, which will likely be held in the summer (2020’s event was rescheduled as a result of the pandemic).

PGA REACH Philadelphia, the Philadelphia PGA Section, and its PGA Professionals, thank our partners, Boards of Directors, Rolling Green G.C., its membership, management, and staff, as well as our PGA HOPE Philadelphia volunteers, as the event would not have been possible without their support.

To view photos from the inaugural PGA REACH Philadelphia Pro-Am Championship, click here.

About PGA REACH Philadelphia 
PGA REACH Philadelphia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2018 as the charitable arm of the Philadelphia PGA Section, one of the 41 Sections within the PGA of America. PGA REACH Philadelphia is committed to serving our communities and growing the game of golf through our three pillars: Youth, Military, and Diversity.

For more information on PGA REACH Philadelphia and its mission to positively impact lives through golf, visit PGAREACHPhiladelphia.com. To donate to PGA REACH Philadelphia, please click here.

About the Philadelphia PGA Section
The Philadelphia PGA Section, covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, is one of 41 geographical managing entities of the PGA of America. This Section manages nearly 900 PGA Members and Associates who are employed at over 590 golf facilities in our region.

Contact: Matt Frey, PGA, Communications Director, mfrey@pgahq.com

FDS Winter Tour Releases 2020-21 Schedule

ALL EVENTS ARE 10:15 SHOTGUN START

 

Date               Site                              Phone number            Format

 

Nov. 2              Yardley                           215-493-4531                  2 man modified better ball

 

Nov. 9              LuLu                               215-884-5108                  2 man better ball

 

Nov. 16            Odessa National             302-464-1007                Individual

                  

Nov. 23            North Hills                      215-576-9875                 MB 4 Man Wacky Pins

 

Dec. 30            Raven’s Claw                    610-495-4710               2 man DR chapman

 

Dec. 7               Cedarbrook                      215-643-3560               2 man better ball

 

Dec. 14             Talamore                           215-646-8900               2 man scramble

                                    

Dec. 21            North Hills                          215-576-9875                Individual

 

Dec. 28           Bucks Club                          215-343-0350                2 man DR chapman

 

Jan. 4              Paxon Hollow                     610-353-0220               Individual

 

Jan. 11            North Hills                           215-576-9875                 2 man better ball

                                  

Jan. 18            Odessa National                302-464-1007                 Individual

                                    

Jan. 25            Indian Spring                    856-983-0222                2 man scramble

 

Feb. 1              Bucks Club                        215-343-0350                  Individual stableford

                                        

Feb. 8              Kimberton                        610-933-8836                 2 man DR chapman

                                   

Feb. 15            LuLu                                   215-884-5108                  2 man scramble

 

Feb. 22           Bensalem                           215-956-9727                  Individual

 

Mar. 1             Hershey’s Mill                   610-692-6592                2 modified better ball

 

Mar. 8             Indian Spring                   856-983-0222                 Individual

 

Mar. 15             Laurel Creek                    856-778-1342                 4 man/2 better ball of 4

 

Mar. 22             Cedarbrook                      215-643-3560                Championship

 

2020 – 2021 FDS WINTER TOUR

ELIGIBILITY               Both professionals and amateurs are welcome. There is an open and amateur division. The amateur division will compete for net prizes. Amateurs are welcome to participate in both divisions. However they must pay separate entries, but only one walk/ride fee.   Amateurs will receive gift certificates at the HOST club.

SIGNING UP              MANDATORY – You may either email Jamie Shaffer at shaffer004@aol.com or text

EACH WEEK             me at 215-915-3809.

STARTING TIMES     All events will be 10:15 shotgun starts. PLEASE let me know you are playing, SO THE HOST FACILITY CAN BE APPROPRIATELY PREPARED!  ALSO, be ON TIME or WE WILL START WITHOUT YOU.

FEES                          CASH ONLY – no checks will be accepted.

REGISTRATION         $70.00 – must be paid at the first event you play.

ENTRY FEE               OPEN DIVISION $50.00 Individual – $100.00 Team – $5.00 per person of entry will go into a skins pool. In the event there are no skins, the skin money will go into that day’s purse. Walk/ride fee of $20.00 at each event.

AMATEUR DIVISION $50.00 Individual – $100.00 Team – $5.00 per person of entry will go into an optional skins pool. Walk/ride fee of $20.00 at each event.

HANDICAPS               Amateurs will play with their USGA COURSE HANDICAPS – MAX HCP OF 16

If you do not have a handicap, one will be assigned to you.

BIRDIE RACE              OPEN DIVISION PLAYERS ONLY The birdie race will pay a minimum of three places for the total number of birdies made for the year. Players will get credit for their own birdies in individual and better ball events. Players are responsible for notifying scorers of their birdie total at each event.   No card – No birdies.  Eagles and aces count as two birdies.

CONDUCT                  Clubs hosting the FDS Winter Tour have been very generous and hospitable to host us. It is in our collective best interest to return this consideration with respect to the club, the golf course, and the members and staff. Your sportsmanlike behavior will ensure our continued welcome at these clubs.

CHAMPIONSHIP       To be eligible for the championship, you MUST have PAID entries in over 50% of the events that are played.  You may prepay an entry (and not play) on or before the date of that particular event, and it will count toward your total for the championship.

RULES OF PLAY       “Winter Rules” – lift, clean and place within one club length, no closer to the hole, everywhere.  The ball must remain in the same condition – i.e. rough stays in rough, fairway stays in fairway, ball in the water stays in the water (you can go no closer to the hole in more shallow water, but it must stay in the water)        

INFORMATION          Call or text Jamie Shaffer at 215-915-3809 or email at shaffer004@aol.com, if you have any questions. The first person to email me the correct answer to the following question will receive a free entry. As a junior golfer, when something unfortunate happened on the golf course, FDS legend Dave Roberts had a predilection to a certain curse word. What was that word he delivered with a pubescent whine?

                                   You get one guess only.

 

Philadelphia PGA Member John Pillar Sworn in as PGA of America District 2 Director

Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (October 29, 2020) — Philadelphia PGA Member John Pillar was sworn in as the PGA of America’s District 2 Director today during the Association’s Annual Meeting, which was held virtually for the first time ever due to the ongoing global pandemic.

Pillar, the PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Woodloch Springs in Hawley, Pa., was nominated to the PGA’s Board of Directors by the Philadelphia PGA Section, which along with the Metropolitan and New Jersey Sections, comprise the Association’s District 2. Pillar will serve a three-year term on the national board.

“Being elected by my PGA Member peers not just here from the Philadelphia PGA Section, but from the Metropolitan and New Jersey Sections too is a humbling accomplishment,” said Pillar. “Representing these three great Sections is an immense task, but I am confident I will be able to continue the unique unity we have built amongst each other over the past 10 years.”

In addition to his full-time duties at the C.C. of Woodloch Springs, Pillar also served the Philadelphia PGA Section in multiple roles, chief among them President (2014-2015) following his stints as Vice President (2012-2013), Secretary (2010-2011), and Director of Tournaments (2007-2009).

“My goal for my term is to ensure the voices of our three Sections are relayed at the national level,” continued Pillar. “I am very proud and humbled to represent my fellow PGA Professionals.”

Through his work in Hawley, volunteer work with the Section, and his work with veterans, Pillar has also been recognized by his peers, being named the Philadelphia PGA’s Golf Professional of Year in 2007, the highest honor the Section can bestow on one of its PGA Members; and Merchandiser of the Year – Resort Category in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2014; in addition to winning the Section’s Patriot Award in 2019.

While Pillar has excelled on the business side of the golf industry, he has also competed at the highest levels, winning the 2009 Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship, the 2019 and 2020 Philadelphia Senior PGA Professional Championships and the 2014 Pennsylvania Open. He has also competed in a U.S. Open and two U.S. Senior Open Championships.

The Philadelphia PGA Section, its board, and PGA Professionals wish John the best in his new role.

About the Philadelphia PGA Section
The Philadelphia PGA Section, covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, is one of 41 geographical managing entities of the PGA of America. This Section manages nearly 900 PGA Members and Associates who are employed at over 590 golf facilities in our region.

Contact: Matt Frey, PGA, Communications Director, mfrey@pgahq.com