Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (October 11, 2021) — The Philadelphia PGA Section is proud to announce its Class of 2021 Playing Legends, which includes PGA Members John Pillar of the Country Club at Woodloch Springs in Hawley, Pa., Mark Sheftic of Lookaway Golf Club in Buckingham, Pa., and Matthew Kowal, who will be inducted posthumously. The class will be honored at the Section’s Fall Membership Meeting at Green Valley Country Club on October 25.
Established in 1991, the Section’s Playing Legends honorary program recognizes individuals based on criteria set forth by the Philadelphia PGA’s Hall of Fame Committee. One of the main criteria is that individuals must have had success in major events locally or nationally, something that each 2021 inductee has accomplished consistently throughout their careers.
John Pillar is the PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club at Woodloch Springs in Hawley, Pa., and has consistently been one of the Philadelphia PGA Section’s best players for years. Pillar won the 2009 Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship at Concord Country Club, the 2014 Pennsylvania State Open at the Country Club of York, the Philadelphia Senior PGA Professional Championship in 2019 and 2020 at Applebrook Golf Club and Concord Country Club, respectively, and the inaugural Pennsylvania Senior Open at Lehigh Country Club in 2021, in addition to over 20 other Section tournament wins. Pillar also qualified and competed in the 1997 U.S. Open, 2017 U.S. Senior Open, 2021 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, 12 PGA Professional Championships and four Senior PGA Professional Championships. In 2004, he was named the Section’s Most Improved Player of the Year, and has also received several professional honors including being named the 2007 Philadelphia PGA Golf Professional of the Year award, 2020 Philadelphia PGA Patriot Award, four Philadelphia PGA Merchandiser of the Year awards in the Resort Category, and the 2019 Philadelphia PGA Patriot Award. Pillar served as Section President in 2013-2014, and current serves on the PGA of America’s Board of Directors representing District 2.
Mark Sheftic, the PGA Director of Instruction at Lookaway Golf Club in Buckingham, Pa., has also seen sustained success on the golf course throughout his career. In addition to his victory in the 2011 Pennsylvania Open at Moselem Springs Golf Club, Sheftic played on three U.S. PGA Cup teams, in 2009 at The Carrick on Loch Lomond in Scotland, where the U.S. won by nine points; in 2011 at CordeValle Golf Club, again winning by nine; and in 2013 at Slaley Hall in England, where the two teams tied. Furthermore, he has played in three PGA Championships, including in 2009 at Hazeltine National Golf Club, 2020 at Whistling Straits, and 2013 at Oak Hill Country Club. Sheftic also won the 2019 Philadelphia PGA F. Edward Debaufre Trophy, which awards the PGA Professional with the lowest season scoring average for their consistently stellar play. Sheftic was also honored in 2011 and 2013, being named the Philadelphia PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year.
Matthew Kowal, named a Philadelphia PGA Playing Legend posthumously, was elected to PGA Membership in 1937 and had a successful playing career in the eary portion of the Section’s history. Working as a PGA Professional at Philmont Country Club in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Kowal won the 1940 Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship at Llanerch Country Club and the 1946 Philadelphia Open at his home club. He also finished in second place in the 1947 Philadelphia Inquirer Open at Cedarbrook Country Club, a former PGA Tour event. Kowal servedi in World War II with the Fourth Armored Division, but did compete and win Hawaii Service Championship and the third Army Championship. Following the war, Army Special Services sent Kowal, Lloyd Mangrum, Rod Munday and Horton Smith on a tour playing exhibitions for servicemen. In 1940, he was invited to compete in the Masters Tournament, but did not enter. In 1946, Kowal qualified for the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, but again chose not to compete.
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.