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PGA Junior League Now OPEN

PGA Junior League Golf is a fun, social and inclusive opportunity for boys and girls, ages 13 and under, to learn and enjoy the game of golf from PGA and LPGA Professionals.  Like many other recreational youth sports, participants wear numbered jerseys and play on teams with friends.

Robert Kleckner Awarded Section’s Top Honor; Golf Professional of the Year

Earlier this month the Section’s Special Awards Committee was once again faced with the challenging task of deciding who amongst all deserving nominees would be awarded a Philadelphia PGA special award. When all was said and done the Committee was able to arrive at the 11 individuals who they thought best deserved to be recognized for their accomplishments.

The Philadelphia PGA’s top honor, Golf Professional of the Year, was awarded to first-time award winner Robert Kleckner of Linfield National Golf Club. Kleckner was elected to PGA membership in 1995 and since that time has spent countless hours serving the game of golf. After serving as both an Assistant PGA Professional and Head Professional Kleckner also added golf course owner to his resume when he purchased Linfield National Golf Club in Linfield, Pa.

In addition to fulfilling all of the traditional duties of a PGA Professional, Kleckner has also gone above and beyond to further the game of golf as well as his community at large. Kleckner has made Linfield National available to both high school and collegiate golf teams in addition to hosting an annual Philadelphia Junior Tour event helping to foster the game at the youth level. Kleckner has also facilitated multiple Patriot Golf Days in addition to several local charity events which shows his commitment to service. Finally, Kleckner has mentored many Assistant PGA Professionals showing his dedication to the profession.

“I am truly humbled and honored to accept this award, said Kleckner on his honor. It is humbling because the Philadelphia Section has so many outstanding professionals who inspire me daily and I am honored to be a part of such a distinguished group of professionals. There are many people along my journey who have helped me become the PGA Professional I am today. I love what I do and I believe that equates to success. Throughout all of these years as a PGA Professional, I remind myself of a quote that I once heard, ‘The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.’ – H. Jackson Brown, Jr. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Philadelphia Section for their commitment to ensuring the growth of the game.”

The Philadelphia PGA Teacher of the Year also went to another first time award winner in Rebecca Dengler from Ed Oliver Golf Club in Wilmington, Del. Throughout her career Dengler has continuously sought educational seminars which has allowed her to secure a wealth of knowledge. Dengler has also worked extensively with fellow PGA and LPGA Professionals and teachers allowing her to become well versed in a variety of teaching philosophies. As an instructor, Dengler’s teaching methods have been featured in various publications. Although this is Dengler’s first Philadelphia PGA award she has been awarded top teacher designations by the LPGA, Golf Digest and US Kids.

“I am truly grateful for being selected as the 2016 Philadelphia PGA Teacher of the Year, said Dengler. As a member of the Philadelphia PGA, I am honored to be surrounded by fellow section staff and members who are working diligently to promote the game of golf.  My greatest appreciation goes to all the players that have shared with me their joy, love, and struggles of the game. I believe these challenges make us all better at the game of life. ”

Bryan Kienke of Aronimink Golf Club was awarded the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Professional of the Year. Kienke has taken on leadership roles as an Assistant PGA Professional first as the Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization’s (PAO) tournament chairman and currently as its Co-Chair. During this time Kienke has helped to increase both participation and sponsorship dollars allowing the organization to flourish under his lead. Kienke has also been instrumental in the charity organization Gregg’s Wings Inc., which has raised nearly $340,000 for the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University. While at Aronimink, Kienke has also worked in merchandising and teaching to help round out his industry knowledge helping him to position himself as one of the top Assistant PGA Professionals in the Philadelphia Section.

The 2016 Horton Smith Award was presented to Jeff Kiddie from Aronimink Golf Club. Kiddie has served both the organization and his fellow Professionals in a variety of leadership roles throughout his career. Currently, Kiddie is a member of the Section’s Executive Committee serving as Secretary. Kiddie is also the co-chair of the Philadelphia PGA Education Committee and a member of the Rules Committee. As co-chair of the Education Committee, Kiddie worked to organize a two-day education summit covering a variety of topics held in November of 2016. In addition to being a member of the Philadelphia PGA Rules Committee, Kiddie is also a member of the PGA of America Rules Committee. As a member of this Committee, Kiddie has served as coordinator for several PGA/USGA Rules of Golf Workshops. Previously, Kiddie has been awarded the Philadelphia PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Private (2007, 2010) and Golf Professional of the Year (2012) as well as the National Merchandiser of the Year – Private (2011).

The Bill Strausbaugh Award for 2016 was presented to Joe Hughes. Hughes serves as the PGA General Manager and Head Professional of the Penn State University Golf Clubs. Since becoming a PGA Professional Hughes has dedicated time in service to both the Philadelphia PGA and Penn State University. Hughes was a member of the Penn State University PGM Alumni Board serving as the organization’s President in 2010-2011. While in that role, Hughes created the Penn State PGA/PGM Mentoring Program which is still flourishing today. Hughes also served the Philadelphia PGA’s Central Counties Chapter from 2007-2011 and currently serves the Section as a whole as District IV Director. Hughes serves the University and future PGA Professionals as an instructor in the PGM Program. Previously Hughes was honored as Philadelphia PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Public (2010).

The Philadelphia PGA Player Development Award was given to another first-time award winner, Steve Wager of Penn State University Golf Club. Wager has worked on a variety of programming aimed at developing golfers of all skill levels. Wager brings to the game to non-traditional events such as community, health and science fairs. These events help to expose the game to individuals who may have not otherwise experienced the game. At the facility itself, Wager has created multiple levels of the Get Golf Ready program allowing individuals to progress nicely from one level to the next. Wager has also worked to create exciting junior programs including the PGA Sports Academy and US Kids Learning Programs. Wager has also worked to foster the growth of PGA Junior League Golf in Centre County culminating in a Regional Championship appearance this past season.

The Philadelphia PGA Youth Player Development Award was presented to Steve Sieracki, Director of Instruction at Indian Spring Golf Course. Despite only receiving his PGA membership in 2015, Sieracki has quickly established himself as one of the top junior instructors. At his facility, Sieracki has implemented a variety of programs that has helped transition junior golfers from beginner to elite level through a dedicated coaching program, Operation 36. This program has resulted in tremendous success for the junior golfers graduating the program. Sieracki also works with new junior golfers by conducting several junior camps and serving as captain for PGA Junior League Golf teams. This dedication has helped Sieracki be recognized as one of the top 40 instructors under 40. This is Sieracki’s first Philadelphia PGA award.

“I am honored to be recognized and acknowledged for something I am so passionate about and love doing, said Sieracki. Promoting the dedication and player development of junior golf is something I will always strive to achieve.”

Rounding out the list of professional award winners Bob Doria, Sara Muldoon, and Tom Gilbert were award the Merchandiser of the Year awards in the Public, Resort, and Private categories respectively. Doria and Muldoon are no strangers to this award. Doria of Makefield Highlands Golf Club was previously honored as the Merchandiser of the Year – Public in both 2007 and 2013 while Muldoon of Hershey Country Club was presented with her first Merchandiser of the Year – Resort in 2015. The award is a first for Gilbert who has worked to create a variety of member events including a Christmas shopping experience each December. During the 2016 season, Gilbert worked to recognize the club’s Centennial Celebration while maintaining the same consistent level of merchandising his members had been accustomed.

The final Philadelphia PGA special award was presented to our Salesperson of the Year, Mark Krahe of TaylorMade. In his brief time in the Philadelphia PGA Krahe has proven his dedication to the Professionals of the Section by conducting TaylorMade specific education events on both a large and small scale. These events help to foster a strong connection between Krahe, the PGA Professional and the TaylorMade brand.

Stu Ingraham Wins PGA of America Quarter Century Championship (64 & Younger)

Editor’s Note: PGA Professionals in order in above photo are Stu Ingraham, Jerry Tucker and Bob Joyce.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Jerry Tucker showed Thursday why he’s considered a short-game guru.

Tucker, who has run a short-game school in Palm City, practiced what he teaches. Leading by one, Tucker’s hopes for a victory took a hit when his approach to the 18th hole on the Wanamaker Course bounced into a pampas bush.

“We thought he was going to take an unplayable,” said Roy Vucinich, one of Tucker’s playing partners who was looking at a 15-foot birdie putt that might enable him to win the PGA’s Quarter Century Championship.

Tucker considered taking an unplayable, then thought about hitting it left-handed. He finally took a stance facing away from the hole and hit a backhand shot that trickled down the hill and within 5 feet. Tucker made the putt for the victory – and a heckuva memory.

“That’s got to be my best up-and-down ever,” Tucker said. “When you do that on the last hole to win a tournament on a shot you probably should have taken an unplayable … I can’t remember a better one.

“I was just hoping for a bogey. I actually teach that shot. I knew if I took an unplayable, the best would be to get into a playoff. I couldn’t try left-handed, because I’m not that ambiguous, as Norm Crosby would say. I knew if I got it out, I had gravity on my side.”

Tucker’s unlikely par save enabled him to win the Quarter Century Championship for the fourth time. He shot a 71 to finish at 9-under 135 in the 65 and older division. Vucinich (68-136) was a shot ahead of Jim Sheerin (71-137).

Stu Ingraham (71) of Broomall, Pa., parred the second hole of a playoff to beat Mike San Filippo (68) and win the 50-to-64 division of the Quarter Century Championship. They finished at 9-under 135 on the Ryder Course.

Ingraham had a three-shot lead with two holes left, but he bogeyed the par-5 17th and San Filippo finished with a pair of birdies.

“I’ve played in 26 national championships and 10 majors, but I’ve never come to the Winter Series,” Ingraham said. “I made the decision to come this year. It turned out to be quite the investment (he made $3,350).”

San Filippo had won two Quarter Century titles, but his hopes for a third ended with a three-putt on the second playoff hole.

“I just hit a bad putt, but what are you going to do?” San Filippo said. “The best news is next year I get to play in the older division.”

Sonny Skinner (68-136) finished alone in third. Kirk Stauffer (69) was fourth.

Bob Joyce of Palm Beach Gardens won the Half Century Championship (must be a PGA member for at least 50 years) with a 2-over 74 on the Wanamaker Course. Joyce won by two shots over Port St. Lucie residents Bob Zimmerman (71-153) and Lynn Rosely (76-153).

Tucker, Ingraham and Joyce walked away with trophies, but everyone was talking about Tucker’s great escape afterward.

“When you see something like that, you applaud him,” Vucinich said. “It was unbelievable the way that came down there, better than a putt.”

The PGA Winter Championships are presented by Golf Advisor.com and PrimeSport.

Click here for Thursday’s final-round results from the PGA Quarter Century Championship (50-64) on the 6,599-yard Ryder Course at PGA Golf Club.

Click here for Thursday’s final-round results from the PGA Quarter Century Championship (65 and older) on the 6,072-yard Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club.

West Chester’s Hammond Recipient of Labron Harris Sr. Award

NORMAN, Okla. – Harry Hammond, Head Men’s Golf Coach at West Chester and a member of the Philadelphia PGA Section, has been named winner of the Labron Harris Sr. Award presented by the Golf Coaches Association of America in cooperation with The PGA of America. The Harris Award is presented to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game of golf and who represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.

“To be selected by my fellow coaches for the Labron Harris Sr. Award is an honor that I hold as one of the most important awards that I have ever received,” said Hammond. “Mr. Harris set some very high standards as a PGA member, university coach and contributor to his community that I continue to strive to achieve in my profession everyday.”

A 53-year member of the PGA of America, Hammond took the coaching reins at West Chester in 2007. He was recognized as Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2015. Hammond has guided the Golden Rams to five straight NCAA Regional appearances. In 2015, his charges claimed both the PSAC’s conference championship and its top team GPA award. Since 2012 Hammond and West Chester have hosted the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Invitational, honoring the GCAA Hall of Fame Member. Additionally, Penn Oaks Golf Club, where Hammond serves as Director of Golf and part of the facilities ownership group, serves as the home course for West Chester’s men’s and women’s golf teams.

Hammond’s career in golf began in 1953 when he became a caddy at Kennett Square Golf & Country Club. Through caddying he paid for his tuition at Penn State before being hired full-time by the PGA professional at Kennett Square.

In 1963, Hammond accepted his first head golf professional position at West Chester Golf & Country Club, serving for six years. He moved to Whitford Country Club in 1969 where he remained for 38 years until he retired in 2007. In 2005, Hammond became an owner/partner at Penn Oaks Golf Club.

During his tenure at Whitford, the club’s junior program grew to 150 participats. Hammond also initiated a community youth teaching program in the Phoenixville, Pa., area. The program grew to two hundred juniors and due to its size led to the creation of an additional program in Thorndale, Pa.

Hammond has served the Philadelphia Section as an officer, committee chair and member of various section committees. He currently serves as president of the Philadelphia Section Junior Golf Foundation and member of the junior golf committee. Additionally, Hammond served on several PGA of America national committees and currently serves as an advisory board member for PGA Magazine. One of the highlights of his career was being invited to teach in 2011 and ‘12 at the PGA Ryder Cup Junior Golf Academy held in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Elected a PGA Master Professional in 1992, Hammond was selected as PGA of America Junior Golf Leader in 1999 and recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2012. Hammond was elected to the Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame in 2001. He was named the Sections Merchandiser of the Year three times, Golf Professional of the Year in 1991, Junior Golf Leader four times and Bill Strausbaugh Award twice.

As a teacher, Hammond has introduced the game to hundreds of young golfers. Many of these juniors went on to successful college golf careers. Four times he has been named a U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Teacher and was recognized as U.S. Kids Master Teacher in 2012.

Hammond has also used golf to support local charities. While at Whitford Country Club, he initiated a pro-am tournament that benefited The First Tee of Chester County. For the last several years the pro-am has supported the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Chester County. Hammond has also supported the Chester County YMCA, The Arc of Chester County, Chester County Food Bank and United Way of Chester County.

Hammond has been married to his wife Sally for 45 years. His daughter Laura played for Penn State and currently serves as executive director of the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia.

Hammond follows in the footsteps of past Labron Harris Award recipients Jay Hardwick (Virginia Tech/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Devon Brouse (Purdue/Indiana PGA Section), the late Rod Myers (Duke/Carolina PGA Section), Herb Page (Kent State/Northern Ohio PGA Section), Jim Brown (Ohio State/Southern Ohio PGA Section), Pat Owen (U.S. Naval Academy/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Rick Pohle (Williams College/ Northeastern New York PGA Section), John Bermel (Northern Iowa/Iowa PGA Section), Pat Goss (Northwestern/Illinois PGA Section), Mike Small (Illinois/Illinois PGA Section), Mike Mayer (Indiana/Indiana PGA Section) and Puggy Blackmon (South Carolina/Carolinas PGA Section).

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Dustin Roberts
Golf Coaches Association of America
(405) 329-4222

Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016

Former Philadelphia PGA President Tom Carpus Named Chair of the PGA Rules Committee

“I am extremely humbled to be appointed Chairman of the PGA of America Rules Committee. I want to thank PGA President Paul Levy for having the confidence in me and for giving me the opportunity to serve the PGA in this capacity. I served the Philadelphia Section for 15 years and have served on the PGA Rules Committee since 1995…this is the highlight of my service to the Association.” – Tom Carpus, PGA

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Nov. 23, 2016) – Tom Carpus of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, whose leadership in professional education was celebrated both within the Philadelphia PGA Section and at the national level, has been named chair of the PGA Rules Committee.

The PGA Head Professional at Kennett Square (Pennsylvania) Country Club, Carpus is a 55-year-old native of Lackawanna, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. He moved to the Philadelphia area at age 10, when he began to foster his love of golf.

As PGA Rules chair, Carpus will serve a two-year term. He will head 38 PGA Members on a Rules Committee that oversees and implements the Rules of Golf at the Association’s premier spectator championships – the PGA Championship, KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup – along with all PGA Member and Junior Championships.

In addition, the PGA of America sends its committee members to help officiate at numerous other championships, including the Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, The Players Championship, the U.S. Women’s Open, GCSAA Championship and the U.S. Senior Open.

A 1983 graduate of Drexel University, Carpus competed on the school’s golf team and turned professional in 1985. He was elected to PGA Membership in 1988, and became a PGA Master Professional in 2004. He served from 1985-91 as a PGA Assistant Professional at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pennsylvania. Carpus was a member of the Philadelphia PGA Section staff (1991-92) as Tournament Director, supervising more than 100 Section competitions.

From 1993-98, he was the PGA Head Professional at Greate Bay Country Club in Somers Point, New Jersey, where he hosted the LPGA ShopRite Classic. In 1998, Carpus became PGA Head Professional at Kennett Square Country Club.

Since 1996, Carpus has been an instructor/coordinator at more than 30 PGA/USGA Rules Workshops and has presented education programs throughout the country. Since 1993, he has served the Philadelphia PGA Section in various positions including a two-year term as president (2004-2005).

Carpus was named the 2002 Philadelphia PGA Golf Professional of the Year; is a two-time recipient (2000-01) of the Section’s Horton Smith Award; the 2011 Section Bill Strausbaugh Award; and the 2007 national Horton Smith Award. In 2007, he inducted into the Drexel University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Carpus, who succeeds Ron Hickman of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, as Rules chair, was appointed to the PGA Rules Committee in 1995. He has worked 21 PGA Championships, four Ryder Cups, seven Masters, two Open Championships; four KitchenAid Senior PGA Championships; one Players Championship and multiple national PGA Member championships.

As PGA Rules chair, Carpus is responsible for representing the PGA at various golf championships as well as managing and attending many of its own championships. The PGA Rules Committee also is responsible for helping jointly conduct the annual USGA/PGA Rules Workshops.

For more information about the PGA of America, visit PGAMediaCenter.com, follow @PGAofAmerica on Twitter and find us on Facebook.

Contact: Bob Denney, PGA of America, bdenney@pgahq.com, 561/624-8582

Paul Levy Elected 40th President of the PGA of America

Via PGA of America

NEW YORK –  Paul Levy, of Indian Wells, California, was elected the 40th President of the PGA of America today at the Association’s 100th Annual Meeting. Levy is President of Club Operations and Development for Sunrise Company, and also is the CEO and General Manager at Toscana Country Club. Prior to being elected PGA President, Levy served as PGA Vice President and PGA Secretary.

Now a member of the Southern California PGA Section, he is the fourth person from the Section to ascend to PGA President, following Joe Novak (1949-1951), Pat Reilly (1989-1990) and Tom Addis III (1995-1996). Levy previously was president of the Southern Texas PGA Section from 1998-2000, and earned the 2000 Southern Texas PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award. He is a three-time Southern Texas Section PGA Junior Golf Leader recipient; the 1999 Section Bill Strausbaugh Award winner; and the 1997 Section Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities.

Succeeding Levy as Vice President is Suzy Whaley of Cromwell, Connecticut, who served the past two years as Secretary. Whaley is the first woman ever to be elected as an Officer of the Association.

Jim Richerson, of Kohler, Wisconsin, was elected to succeed Whaley as PGA Secretary. A former member of the PGA Board of Directors, Richerson is General Manager & Group Director of Golf at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. Also, Derek Sprague, of Jersey City, New Jersey, who served as the 39th PGA President, assumes the role of PGA Honorary President. He succeeds Allen Wronowski, who completed his second two-year term.

In addition, six new members of the PGA Board of Directors and one Independent Director were sworn in: Noel Gebauer, of Schenectady, New York; Tom Henderson, of Greenwich, Connecticut; John Lindert, of Lansing, Michigan; Kelly Williams, of Lexington, Kentucky; Patrick Richardson, of Savannah, Georgia; Don Rea, Jr. of Mesa, Arizona; and Independent Director Christopher Liedel, President of Smithsonian Enterprises in Washington, D.C.

PGA President Paul Levy earned PGA membership in 1986, and has served in a leadership capacity at both the Section and National levels for nearly 25 years. From 2007-2012, Levy was elected as an Independent Director on the Southern California PGA Board of Directors. From 1999-2004, he served as General Manager and PGA Director of Golf at Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston, and was Senior Vice President of Club Operations for Sunrise Company, the developer of Royal Oaks Country Club. In 2004, Levy moved to Southern California to oversee the development of Toscana. Four years later, he became president of Club Operations and Development for Sunrise. In 1992, he founded PKL Golf Group Company, a golf management and development company, and served as its president and CEO. Levy still operates that entity today. Levy is a 1983 graduate of LSU, where he was a member of the golf team.

For a complete bio of Paul Levy, please click here.

PGA Vice President Suzy Whaley is the PGA Director of Instruction at Suzy Whaley Golf in Cromwell. Having served as PGA Secretary from 2014-2016, Whaley was also a member of the PGA Board of Directors from 2011-13. She has also served on the Connecticut PGA Section Board of Directors and as Section Vice President at Large. A dual PGA and LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Member, Whaley was also an LPGA Tour member in 1990 and 1993. She famously competed in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA Tour event.

For a complete bio on Suzy Whaley, please click here.

PGA Secretary Jim Richerson is responsible for managing all aspects of the day-to-day golf businesses for Kohler Co. While on the PGA Board of Directors, Richerson served on the PGA Budget Committee, Investment Committee and as Chair of the Golf Properties Committee. The 2013 and 2016 Wisconsin PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year, Richerson also previously won the Section’s Horton Smith and Bill Strausbaugh Awards. His career has taken him to a variety of facilities—daily-fee, semiprivate, private, and full-service resorts—and given him an opportunity to work alongside PGA Professionals in nine PGA Sections.

The PGA Board of Directors is composed of the Association’s President, Vice President, Secretary, Honorary President and 17 Directors. The Directors include representatives from each of the PGA’s 14 districts, two Independent Directors and a member of the PGA Tour. New District Directors are elected by their representative PGA Sections.

Annual Fall Meeting Closes the Door on the 2016 Philadelphia PGA Season

Malvern, Pa. – The 2016 Philadelphia PGA Fall Meeting was held on Monday, October 31 at White Manor Country. Attended by more than 200 Philadelphia PGA Professional the meeting was highlighted by the presentation of the year-end award winners as well as the announcement of the newest members of the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame. Additionally, the Philadelphia PGA presented the inaugural Ben Witter Courage Award posthumously to Ben Witter whose family was on hand to accept the award. The final highlight of the meeting was the keynote speaker and President of the PGA of America, Derek Sprague.

With presentations from each of the Section’s Executive Committee the members in attendance were brought up to date on all aspects of Philadelphia PGA operations. However, the meeting also served as the perfect opportunity to recognize the individuals who performed at the highest level throughout the tournament season.

Finishing atop the Omega Player of the Year points list was first time winner Michael Little (Lookaway Golf Club). Little notched two wins in 2016 (Delaware Valley Open, Shawnee) as well as numerous top-five finishes. Based on his performances in the Philadelphia PGA Championships, Little also qualified for both the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship and the PGA Professional Championship. Finishing in second place on the Omega Player of the Year leaderboard was 2016 Haverford Philadelphia PGA champion Dave McNabb (Applebrook Golf Club). Rounding out the top three was George Forster (Radnor Valley Country Club).

In the Omega Robert “Skee” Riegel Senior Player of the Year race, Stu Ingraham (M Golf Range) ran away with the title en route to his seventh consecutive crown. Ingraham had senior victories at the 31st Burlington Classic, the Jack Jolly / Golf Pride Championship, the William Hyndman Memorial Classic, and the Philadelphia Senior PGA Championship. Ingraham’s 2,686.50 points were 1,000 points ahead of second place finisher. However, rounding out the top three was a pair of individuals who also claimed prizes in other divisions. George Forster and Dave McNabb finished second and third respectively. McNabb would also take home the DeBaufre Scoring Average title with season-long average of 70.90.

The Section’s Howard “Ike” Turner Most Improved Player was awarded to Jordan Gibbs (Gulph Mills Golf Club). In 2016, Gibbs lowered his scoring average by one full shot as well as improved his position on the Omega Player of the Year leaderboard by more than 40 spots. Gibbs was won the 95th Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship, his first Philadelphia PGA title.

The meeting was highlighted by keynote speaker and President of the PGA of America Derek Sprague. A few weeks short of the PGA of America annual meeting and the centennial celebration of the PGA of America, Sprague touched on several topics that affected all PGA Professionals. Sprague highlighted the impact the Ryder Cup had to the Association as well as what the potential for global expansion for the PGA brand would have. Sprague also noted that the success of the PGA of America would always be the PGA Professionals and the direct impact they have with golfers. As a note, Sprague also conducted a small “fire-side” chat the evening prior to the formal Fall Meeting.

The Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame also gained two new members as Ted Sheftic and Bob Thatcher became the 39th and 40th Hall of Fame inductees respectively. With both having careers spanning decades in the Philadelphia Section each have left their mark on future PGA Professionals. After his receiving his award, Sheftic was on hand to thank his mentors and acknowledge the PGA Professionals who helped him along the way. Accepting the award for Thatcher were his daughters Tina and Tracy who were able to read the prepared speech sent by their father. For a complete biography of Ted Sheftic or Bob Thatcher visit the Hall of Fame page on philadelphia.pga.com.

The final award presented was also the Section’s newest award. The Ben Witter Courage Award named in honor of the PGA Professional of the same name will be given to an individual who in spite of difficult circumstances always managed to give back the game and the people around him. Witter, a PGA Professional himself, entertained endless crowds with his trick shots and overall golf abilities despite multiple battles with his health. The award will serve as a reminder of his perseverance through any and all obstacles. Witter’s family was on hand to receive the award and spoke to the PGA Professionals in attendance on what the award meant to the family.

The Fall Meeting puts a bookend to the 2016 Philadelphia PGA season. As the Section heads to the off-season it will focus on providing education opportunities to the membership through multi-day seminars as well as district roundtables. For a complete list of education opportunities and to stay up-to-date on Section’s event be sure to visit philadelphia.pga.com.

25th Dick Smith Cup Matches

The 25th installment of the Dick Smith Cup Matches are underway at historic Atlantic City Country Club. The matches, named in honor of the Past PGA of America and Philadelphia PGA President of the same name, brings together 24 Philadelphia Assistant PGA Professionals in a Ryder Cup style format.

Players will compete as a team in Four Ball and Foursome as well as Singles matches over the course of two days trying to earn their share of the 24 available points. As defending champions the Gold Team only needs to earn 12 points to retain the cupp while the Blue Team will need to earn at least 12.5 points to win the title.

Dick Smith Cup Leaderboard