• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

John P. "Jack" Connelly III
Class of 2000

           

Jack Connelly was born in Maryland in 1947 and grew up in Deptford, New Jersey. He was introduced to golf as a caddy at the Woodbury Country Club. At Deptford High School Connelly played baseball and he was the quarterback on the football team. After high school he took a job working in the clubhouse at the Tall Pines Golf Club so that he could have free golf privileges. The pro at Tall Pines, Bill DeAngelis, introduced Connelly to Harry Obitz in 1965. That year he began his career in golf working for Obitz and Dick Farley on Long Island and in the Bahamas. In 1966 Connelly was drafted into the U.S. Army and served a two-year stint, which included a year in Vietnam. After completing his army duty he went back to work for Obitz and Farley, where he was part of their famous “Swings the Thing” golf school and traveling show. Connelly came to the Philadelphia Section in 1971 as the assistant at the Montgomeryville Golf Club and that year he became a PGA member. With the financial assistance of some Woodbury C.C. members he played on the PGA Tour in 1972. The next year he came back to Philadelphia as the assistant at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club. In 1975 he qualified for the U.S. Open where he made the cut and a year later he followed Ken Stear as the head professional at Huntingdon Valley. For three decades he was one of the leading players in the Philadelphia Section as he won numerous tournaments. In spite of all his success and victories he only won one of the Section’s major events; that being the 1979 Philadelphia Open. Six times he finished second in the Philadelphia Section Championship. He ended up second in the Philadelphia Open twice, the Pennsylvania Open once and the Philadelphia Section Senior Championship once. In a stretch nine years Connelly played in eight PGA Tour Whitemarsh Valley Opens. He qualified for the PGA Club Professional Championship seven times and the PGA Senior Club Professional Championship three times. Connelly was the Section’s “Player of the Year” four times and he won the DeBaufre Trophy three times for having the lowest scoring average in the Section events. In 1975 Connelly got involved with PGA politics when Dick Smith, Sr. appointed him to the tournament committee. Four years later he was elected Philadelphia Section secretary. He served in that capacity for three years before being elected to the office of first vice president and tournament chairman in 1982. He then served as the Section’s 24th president in 1983 and 1984. After being out of PGA politics for three years Connelly ran for the Section’s office of second vice president and was again back in harness. He served as secretary again in 1989 and he was first vice president and tournament chairman in 1990 and 1991. In 1993 Connelly ascended to the office of director in the PGA of America for District II, which was a three-year term. After completing his time on the PGA Board of Directors he decided to run for PGA office. At the PGA of America’s annual meeting in November of 1996 Connelly was elected to the office of secretary, which meant that he was on the way to being the president. He served as secretary for two years and vice president for two years. In November of 2000 he was elected the 32nd president of the PGA of America. While president of the PGA the “9/11” attacks occurred less than three weeks before the Ryder Cup was scheduled to be played in England. Because of all the security concerns involving high profile athletes and events the decision had to be made to postpone the matches until 2002. Along with that came the coordination of all the scheduling for the PGA, PGA Tour, European PGA, television, etc. In 1988 Connelly was the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” and in 1995 he won the Horton Smith Award for his work in educating his fellow golf professionals. His son, J.P. Connelly, apprenticed under him at Huntingdon Valley and went on to be a head professional in the New England PGA Section. Connelly was the first PGA of America sitting president to induct his child into the PGA when he spoke at the Level III graduation commencement in Port St. Lucie, Florida on February 16, 2002. That class was the first to graduate from the PGA’s new Learning Center in Port St. Lucie. In 2002 the Section initiated a tournament in his honor, the Jack Connelly Head Professional Championship. He was inducted into the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame in 2000. Connelly was inducted into the PGA of America’s “PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame” in 2005.
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