• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

William Buxton "Bill" Kittleman
Class of 1997

           

Bill Kittleman was born in Greenville, Mississippi in 1932. Some Greenville men along with Kittleman’s father Charles, who won the Mississippi state amateur championship four times, had designed and constructed a nine-hole golf course in Greenville. Bill and his three older brothers learned to play golf on that course at the Greenville Country Club. Kittleman attended Andover Prep and then Yale University where he studied architecture, graduating in 1954. In his senior year at Yale he was studying in Yale’s Graduate School of Architecture. After serving two years in the U.S. Navy he turned pro in 1956, working in Greenville, Pensacola and Detroit. He arrived in the Philadelphia Section in 1963 as the playing assistant at the Merion Golf Club. He was an assistant at Merion for seven years and during that time he finished second in the 1967 Section Championship and third in the 1964 Pennsylvania Open. In 1967 he was a member of the first Schmidt’s Challenge Cup Team. During that time Kittleman played the winter PGA Tour each year beginning in the southeast in November, then out to the west coast in January, finishing up on the east coast in March and then back to Merion in April. This was his graduate school in golf as he studied both the players and the golf courses. In 1970 he became Merion Golf Club’s head professional. At Merion he hosted the 1971 and 1981 U.S. Opens along with the 1989 U.S. Amateur. Kittleman was one of the first professionals to see the opportunity to sell merchandise at a major tournament like the U.S. Open. He had merchandise embroidered or embossed with U.S. Open and Merion Golf Club, which he sold from tented locations on the golf course during the seven days of tournament week. As the 1981 U.S. Open had concluded and the television commentators were making their closing remarks Dave Marr looked down from the broadcast booth and said “I think the host professional may have made more money this week than most of the contestants”. Kittleman used his artistic talents to design a new Merion club logo, which incorporated the wicker flagsticks and the Scottish Broom grass that was an integral part of many of Merion’s bunkers. In 1968 Kittleman became a member of the Section’s tournament committee. The next year he co-authored an all-encompassing book on the Section’s tournament regulations. The book was copied by several other PGA Sections and was still being used by the Philadelphia Section many years later. He later served as the tournament chairman for three years and first vice president of the Section for two years (1973-1974). In 1974 he also handled the duties of secretary for the Section as well as the tournament chairmanship. The three years that he was the tournament chairman he put together a Section Championship Program book that helped to enhance the tournament purse through its sale of advertising. In 1977 he designed a Philadelphia Section logo, which featured a Quaker golfer and the Liberty Bell. While the professional at Merion Kittleman did consulting work concerning renovation work on the golf course for more than a dozen clubs located in the Philadelphia Section. In 1996 Kittleman found an opportunity to use his college training when he retired from Merion and began working for golf course architect Gil Hanse. With Hanse’s firm he was a design partner who was responsible for course layout and the design of golf course features. He was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame in 1997.

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