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• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

Harry "Jake" Obitz, Jr.
Class of 2014


Harry Obitz was born in California in 1913. He held head pro positions in California and was a vice president of the PGA before moving to the Philadelphia Section in 1940. Obitz came to the Section as the assistant to Joe Kirkwood, Sr. at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club. He spent the war years in the navy and soon after that he became the pro at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club in the Poconos. One rainy day in 1945 at Shawnee there were about 250 guests in the hotel with nothing to do. To keep them entertained Obitz gathered them into the lounge and demonstrated golf shots off the carpet by hitting celluloid balls. The clinic was so well received that they decided to make it a regular show. The clinic was staged on the driving range as a regular 90 minute show on Sundays and took on the name “The Swing is the Thing”. Obitz soon began receiving requests to take the show to other sites. He quite often donated his fee to charity. In 1955 Obitz was selected as the Philadelphia Section’s first “Professional Golfer of the Year”. He was selected for ten years of service developing Swing Clubs at veteran’s hospitals throughout the country. Obitz hosted the Section Championship at Shawnee for seven straight years. In 1977 he and his associate professional, Dick Farley, wrote an instruction book called “Six Days to Better Golf”. For 36 years he was an instruction editor for Golf Digest magazine. He spent the winters in his wife’s home state, Nebraska, and helped design a number of golf courses there. He could be called the father of the “shotgun start”. At Shawnee he devised a way to start players off several tees and within 40 minutes he had 144 players on the golf course. A number of assistants who worked under Obitz became successful head professionals in the Philadelphia Section. In 2014 Obitz was inducted into the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.
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