A Chronicle of the
Philadelphia PGA and its Members
by Peter C. Trenham
The Leaders and The Legends
1990 to 1999
Robert Michael “Mike” Atkins
Mike Atkins was born in West Virginia in 1947. He began playing golf as a caddy at the Parkersburg Country Club and he began his professional career in golf as an assistant at Parkersburg. His next job in golf was as an assistant to our Tom Smith in the Pittsburgh area. In 1969 he arrived in the Philadelphia Section as an assistant to Howard Kramer at the Host Farm Resort. One year later he became the head professional at the Overlook Golf Club where he stayed six years. He was then the professional at the Indian Springs Country Club before moving to New Mexico. While in New Mexico as a member of the Sun Country PGA Section he served as the Section president for three years and he was the “Golf Professional of the Year” in the Sun Country Section two times. Atkins returned to the Philadelphia Section in 1986 as the pro at the Country Club of Harrisburg. In 1990 he was elected to office in the Philadelphia Section. He held the office of second vice president, treasurer, secretary and president serving in each capacity for two years. He was the Section’s 31st president. His most important contribution to the PGA was in education. Atkins taught at more than 40 PGA Business Schools while serving on the PGA Education Committee. He also won the merchandiser of the year honor in both the Sun Country and Philadelphia Sections, a total of four times. Atkins was the 1993 Philadelphia Section “Golf Professional of the Year”. As a player he qualified for the 1979 U.S. Open.
John P. “Jack” Connelly III
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. He served the Section as an officer for ten years, which was exceeded by only two others. 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.
Elio A. “Leo” DeGisi
Leo DeGisi was born in Italy in 1951 and his family immigrated to the United States in 1958. At the age of twelve he was introduced to golf as a caddy at the Gulph Mills Golf Club. It wasn’t long before he was helping the golf professional Al Keeping in the golf shop. His older brother Tony caddied there also and he became the caddy master. When Tony left to join the army it wasn’t long before Keeping made Leo, who was just 16, the caddy master. After high school he attended Temple University while still holding down the caddy master job at Gulph Mills. At Temple he majored in accounting and the summer before graduating he did an internship as an accountant. That was when he decided that he wanted to be a golf professional and not an accountant. When DeGisi graduated from Temple in 1974 he turned pro and began his club professional career at Gulph Mills under Willie Scholl, who had succeeded Keeping as the professional there. Later that summer he went to work at the Bala Golf Club as an assistant under Henry McQuiston. After five years at Bala, DeGisi moved across the Delaware River to be the professional at the Medford Village Country Club. While still at Bala DeGisi became involved with the Section’s junior golf program and for eleven years he served on the Section’s junior golf committee. For three years he chaired the committee and in 1987 he was the Section’s Junior Golf Leader Award winner. At the Philadelphia Section’s annual meeting in 1987 he was elected to the board as a director. The next year he was elected to Section office as the second vice president and the next year he was elected treasurer. He held that office for two years and then he was elected president of the Section. He served as the Section’s 29th president in 1992 and 1993. With his degree in accounting DeGisi brought a new dimension of expertise to the Section’s board of directors. The time of his arrival on the board was fortunate for the Section as it was going through the 1990s growth spurt in members, apprentices and employees. In 1998 Section President George McNamara formed a new committee called the finance committee, which was created to oversee the Section’s finances. DeGisi was called on to chair that committee, which he did through 2004. He was the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” in 1996. From 2002 to 2004 he served on the PGA of America’s board of directors as the director from District II and in 2004 he took on the duties of general manager at Medford Village along with still serving the club as its head professional. When the Philadelphia Section’s turn came around again in 2011 to have a director on the PGA board DeGisi was chosen to represent the Section for the three-year term a second time. In 2014 he was inducted into the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.
Charles Coiner Genter
Charles Genter was born in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1940. He was introduced to golf at the age of six by his father who was a member at the Daytona Beach Country Club. Genter attended junior college for two years and then turned pro in 1961. He worked as an assistant in Florida, Michigan and the Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey before serving two years in the U.S. Army. While in the army he managed the golf course at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. From there he went to Indianapolis and then back to Plainfield as the assistant. In 1969 he qualified for the U.S. Open. Genter came to the Philadelphia Section as the professional at the Tavistock Country Club in 1971 and stayed there until he retired in 2000. As the pro at Tavistock he had girls who hit their first golf shots in his junior clinics go on to win the WGAP championship. Genter became involved in the affairs of the Philadelphia Section as the district director from District 1, which was the New Jersey area south of the 40th parallel. When the opportunity arose in 1985 he agreed to take over the office of secretary. He was then elected secretary three more years. He served one year as the treasurer and two years as the Section’s 28th president. He was the Section’s delegate to the national meeting five times and he was an alternate delegate eight other years. As the secretary of the Section he became deeply involved with membership and membership eligibility. As a result of that he was a member of the national PGA Membership Eligibility and Procedures Committee for eight years. Genter was an instructor at PGA Business Schools I and II. Because of his connections in the PGA at the national level Genter was an important member of the Philadelphia delegation to the national meeting when both Dick Smith, Sr. and Jack Connelly were elected to national office. In 1990 Genter became the Section’s third PGA Master Professional. The subject of his thesis was “12 Stages for Beginners”. Genter was the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” in 1992.
Harry D. Hammond Jr.
Harry Hammond was born in 1939 in Chester, Pennsylvania. He learned to play golf as a caddy at the Kennett Square Golf & Country Club. Hammond attended Penn State University to study engineering but dropped out in 1958 to begin a career in golf as an assistant under Willie Polumbo at Kennett Square. When Polumbo moved to the Green Hill Golf Club in 1961 Hammond went with him. In 1963 he became the head professional at the West Chester Golf & Country Club. After six years at West Chester Hammond moved over to the Whitford Country Club where he stayed until he retired 39 years later. For those 39 years Hammond ran what was first the Whitford Pro-Am and later evolved into a two-day tournament. The two-day tournament, which Hammond and Whitford held for 32 years was a one-day pro-am with two pros and two amateurs teaming up in each group along with 36-holes of stroke play for the pros and a few of the amateurs. Hammond was elected Section secretary three times (1982, 1983, and 1984) and in 1985 he served as the Section’s 25th president. Starting in the late 1970s Hammond played a major role in the Section’s junior golf clinics and golf camps. Through that and his involvement with the junior golfers at Whitford Hammond became interested in junior golf in the Philadelphia Section. In 1991 he became a member of the Section’s junior golf committee. Under Hammond the Section began a “Clubs for Kids” program, which donated used clubs to various junior programs and junior golfers. Hammond and his staff at Whitford were the “Clubs for Kids” program as they cut down and regriped several thousand clubs for junior golfers. He was a member of the Section’s junior golf committee for seventeen years and chairman of the committee for fourteen years. As someone who had a daughter who was a junior golfer Hammond realized what golf could do for young girls as well as boys. His daughter Laura went on to be the Pennsylvania girls junior champion and she won the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Championship seven times. Hammond became more and more involved with junior golf and he began to assist other junior programs. Hammond was influential in the formation of a Philadelphia Junior Golf Association that tied all of the junior programs together, including the “First Tee” program. Over the years Hammond helped raise thousands of dollars for junior golf in the Philadelphia region. In appreciation and acknowledgement of Hammond’s work with junior golfers the Golf Association of Philadelphia named one of its competitions for juniors, the Harry Hammond Award. That was a notable honor as it is the GAP’s only competition that is named after a golf professional. Four times he won the Section’s Junior Golf Leader Award and in 1999 he was the PGA of America’s Junior Golf Leader Award recipient. In 1991 Hammond was the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” and in 1996 he won the Bill Strausbaugh Award for his time spent helping to educate his fellow professionals. He was the merchandiser of the year in the Section for private clubs three times. In 1992 he became a PGA Master Professional with the title of his thesis being “Computers for the Golf Shop”. Over the years Hammond served on numerous Section and PGA of America committees. In 2001 Hammond was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame. After leaving Whitford 1n 2007 he became the managing partner of a group that purchased the Penn Oaks Country Club. In 2012 Hammond was given the Bill Strausbaugh award by the PGA of America for mentoring fellow professionals and service to the community. He was one of only a few PGA professionals to win two national awards.
William Buxton “Bill” Kitttleman
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.
John Wayne “Jack” “Jack Mac” MacCarty
Jack MacCarty was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1948. He didn’t begin playing golf until he happened to take a part time job at the Centre Hills Country Club while attending Penn State University. The job was with Clarke George, the golf professional at Centre Hills. While working at Centre Hills and still in college MacCarty turned pro in 1968. He continued with his studies at Penn State, graduating in 1970. In 1972 he became the head professional at the Toftrees Resort & Golf Club as a non-PGA member. In 1974 he became a PGA member and after four years at Toftrees he left for a job in the Tri-State PGA Section. While in the Tri-State Section he served on its board of directors, co-chairing the junior golf committee and chairing the apprentice committee. In 1982 MacCarty returned to the Philadelphia Section as the professional at the Lu Lu Country Club where he stayed 20 years. In 1988 MacCarty became a district director, where he co-chaired the club relations committee and served on the membership committee. Two years later MacCarty was elected secretary where he served a two-year term and chaired the membership committee. He then served two years as the treasurer. In late 1993 he became the 30th president of the Philadelphia Section. In 1995 MacCarty was the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year”.
George E. McNamara
George McNamara was born in Philadelphia in 1948. He learned to play golf as a caddy at the Plymouth Country Club under the tutelage of the golf professional, Pete DeAngelis. When McNamara turned pro DeAngelis recommended him to Terry McCoy, the professional at the Chester Valley Golf Club. Thus he began his career in golf there as the assistant pro in 1966. After that he was employed as an assistant at Cedarbrook Hill Country Club, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, Cedarbrook Country Club and Aronimink Golf Club. In 1974 he moved into the head pro position at the Downingtown Inn & Golf Club. While at Downingtown he hosted the first four Philadelphia PGA Junior Golf Academys. After twelve years at Downingtown he moved across the Delaware state line to be the professional at the Brandywine Country Club where he stayed over twenty-five years. In 2015 he left Brandywine to be part owner and managing partner of The Golf Zone driving range and golf learning center. With hard work and a keen interest in cutting edge technology he made the facility a huge success. McNamara’s first involvement in Section affairs came when he was asked to be on the membership committee. He was one of the first golf professionals to make computers an integral part of his golf shop. In 1988 the Section formed a computer committee with McNamara as the chairman. The committee advised the Section officers and members on computer hardware and software. He served as the Section treasurer for two years in the 1980s and then came back in the 1990s to serve as an officer again. First he was the vice president of section affairs for two years and then secretary for two years. The next year, 1997, the Section changed the terminology of the Section’s officers and McNamara became the first to be elected to the office of vice president. He then served two years as the Section’s 32nd president. Over a period of 25 years he served the Section as a member of almost every committee. He represented the Section as a delegate to the national meeting three times. In 1985 McNamara built a driving range and miniature golf course, which he operated for 14 years along with being a head professional at a private golf course at the same time. He hosted numerous Section meetings and tournaments, as he was always willing and ready to support the Section’s activities. Along with assisting the Section he was active in raising funds for various charities through golf. He was the Section’s “Merchandiser of the Year” three times. In 1988 McNamara became just the second Section member to become a “Master Professional”. The subject of his thesis was “How to Build, Own and Operate a Golf Practice Range and Miniature Golf Course”. The next year McNamara was honored as the Philadelphia Section PGA “Professional of the Year. In 2012 he was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame.
Samuel Daniel “Sam” Penecale
Sam Penecale was born in Abington, Pennsylvania in 1923. He learned to play golf as a caddy at the North Hills Country Club. Penecale served in the U.S. Army as a medic during World War II and then spent ten years in the business world. He was one of the leading amateurs in the Philadelphia area before turning pro at the age of 31. After one year of playing tournament golf as an unattached pro he took a job in golf as the assistant at the Bala Golf Club in 1955. Three years later he left Bala to become the head professional at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club where he served for 27 years before retiring in 1984. After turning pro he was one of the leading playing professionals in the Philadelphia Section for thirty years. Beginning with his first year as a pro in 1954 he qualified for the U.S. Open eight straight times and he finished tied for 26th in 1957. He wasn’t eligible for the PGA Championship until 1960 but once he became a PGA member he qualified for the PGA Championship five of the next six years. He never won the Philadelphia Open, Pennsylvania Open or the Philadelphia Section Championship but he had a total of eight second-place showings in those tournaments. As the professional at Whitemarsh Valley he hosted the PGA Tour’s tournament, which was played under several different names, eighteen times. His passion was junior golf and he ran an outstanding junior program at Whitemarsh Valley each year, free of charge to all. He had the enviable distinction of never having charged a junior for a golf lesson. As an assistant at Bala he gave Jay Sigel his first golf lessons and he continued to counsel him on his game for many years. Penecale was inducted into the Philadelphia Section’s Hall of Fame in 1998.
John E. Poole, Jr.
John Poole was born in Philadelphia in 1943 and learned to play golf as a caddy at the Old York Road Country Club when it was still located in Jenkintown. He attended Penn State University before beginning his golf career as an assistant in 1965 at the Foxcroft Country Club, which had been the Old York Road course two years before. Old York Road had moved to a new location and a different group of people were operating the course as Fox Croft C.C. Poole then worked in Pittsburgh as an assistant for three years before returning to Philadelphia as the head pro at Foxcroft. He later served as the head professional at the West Chester Golf & Country Club (2 years), Kennett Square Golf & Country Club (10 years) and Chester Valley Golf Club (19 years). When the Section’s first Club Relations committee was formed in 1978 Poole was asked to be a member by the chairman Tim Foran. The Club Relations Committee was created to assist golf facilities in hiring a head professional. Don Perne, who had been involved with club relations in the Northern Ohio PGA Section, assisted the committee and brought them up to speed. That is when Poole found his calling in the PGA. In late 1982 Poole was elected first vice president of the Section and he became the chairman of the Club Relations Committee. He was the chairman of the committee for more than fifteen years and a member of the committee for twenty-nine years. During that time Poole and his committee met with more than 150 golf facilities and had telephone conversations with more than 150 other clubs to advise them on the hiring of new head professionals. As a result of Poole’s efforts numerous head professional positions in the Philadelphia Section were upgraded. He was a member of the national club relations committee for over ten years. Poole was a six-time winner of the Bill Strausbaugh Award at the Section level and in 1993 he was the PGA of America’s recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award. He won the Section’s Horton Smith award for educating the Section members on employment and club relations. As a player he had a third and a fourth place finish in the Philadelphia Open and he qualified for the PGA Club Professional Championship two times, making the cut in 1977. He hosted the PGA Senior Tour’s Bell Atlantic Senior Golf Classic at Chester Valley ten years. Poole was the Section’s 2nd vice president for three years and in 2000 he was the Section’s “Club Professional of the Year”. In 2007 Poole was inducted into the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.
Douglas R. “Doug” Ritter
Doug Ritter was born in 1949 at Quakertown, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Coopersburg and learned to play golf as a caddy at the Locust Valley Country Club. After two-years at the Lehigh County Community College Ritter turned pro in 1968 and went to work as an assistant at the Brookside Country Club near Allentown for two-years. He then served a six-month stint in the U.S. Army Reserve program before signing on as an assistant at the Wilmington Country Club in 1971. After two years under Joe Cannon at Wilmington he moved to the Meadia Heights Golf Club as the head professional where he stayed for 35-years. Ritter became involved in the Section’s affairs when he was elected District Director from District I in 1979. That year he began a two-year stint as the Section’s junior golf chairman. Soon after that he was appointed to the Section’s Club Relations committee. That was the beginning of a 17-year involvement with club relations. In 1990 he followed John Poole as the chairman of the committee. He was the club relations chairman through 1997, a term of eight years. Ritter spent many hours counseling club officials who were hiring a new head golf professional. During that time Ritter was selected as the Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award winner seven times, which culminated with his being chosen as the national winner of the award in 1997. In 2002 Ritter created a product called Ghost Tape, which he began marketing to the golf industry. The transparent tape is used to cover a golf club when a customer is trying out a new metalwood. The club is then protected from any damage that might otherwise happen to the golf club.
Robert B. “Bob” Thatcher
Bob Thatcher was born in 1939 at Long Island, New York. He learned to play golf in Maryland at the Bethesda Country Club where he was introduced to the game as a caddy. In Thatcher’s second year as a caddy at Bethesda the president on the club instituted a program that allowed some of the young caddies to be members also during the summer months for $3.12 a month. He took advantage of that program for nine years. Thatcher attended the University of Maryland, graduating in 1962. While still in college he turned pro in 1960. He began his career in golf as an assistant at the Burning Tree Golf Club under Max Elbin, a future president of the PGA of America. In 1966 Thatcher arrived in the Philadelphia Section as the head professional at the Williamsport Country Club. After two years at Williamsport he moved to the Aronimink Golf Club, following Joe Capello who had been the professional there since the club relocated to Newtown Square in 1928. Eight years later Thatcher left Aronimink to open a driving range and nine-hole executive course, which he designed, just a few miles away. He operated the golf complex that he named Olde Masters Golf Club for more than thirty years. During that time Thatcher, who was a born entrepreneur, was involved with numerous facilities and projects. For twelve years he and Joe Dahl owned two-thirds of the Reading Country Club, which they operated very successfully. He leased the Paxon Hollow Golf Club for four years, along with leasing the Downingtown Inn and Country Club for three years with George McNamara. For ten years he leased a driving range from the Camden County Park Commission. He designed and did consulting work for several entities that were building driving ranges and learning centers. After fifteen years of planning and hard work the Olde Masters Golf Center, his dream golf-learning complex that he had completely designed, opened near Atlantic City in 2001. That year the facility was voted best new golf range in the United States by Golf Range Magazine. In 1971 Thatcher was the Section’s first vice president and tournament chairman. The next year he was elected to the office of secretary. Thatcher taught at more than thirty PGA business schools along with writing articles for golf publications on golf instruction and the golf business. He was a member of the PGA of America’s education committee. In 1981 he was the Section’s Horton Smith Award winner for the many hours he spent on the education of his fellow golf professionals. Thatcher was known as one of the leading golf instructors in the Section as well as the country, with bunker play being his specialty. He was the Section’s “Teacher of the Year” in 1987. As a player he qualified for the PGA Club Professional Championship four times and the PGA Senior Club Professional Championship five times. At the Senior Club Pro he made the cut all five times with his best showing being a tie for seventh in 1995. All five of those years Thatcher played well enough in the Senior Club Pro to qualify for the PGA Seniors’ Championship. ” He won the 1991 Section’s Senior Championship and he was the Section’s “Senior Player of the Year” in 1991 and 1992. In the fall of 1992 Thatcher qualified for the PGA Senior Tour as he tied for 15th, winning a conditional exempt status. That conditional status put him in what was a stand-by situation, which often came at the last minute, but he did get into 19 tournaments in 1993. He also qualified for the U.S. Senior Open that year. Thatcher played in a total of 41 tournaments on the PGA Senior Tour during the 1990s. Thatcher also competed on the European Senior Tour and the Japan Senior Tour. He played in five British Senior Opens and the British Senior PGA Championship five times, making the cut in all but one of those ten tournaments. For two years he had a number of high finishes on the European Senior Tour and played well enough to stay exempt. In 2016 Thatcher was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame.
Emlyn Davis Aubrey
Emlyn Aubrey was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1964 and grew up playing golf at the Hawk Valley Golf Course. He went to college at Louisiana State University where he played on the golf team, winning the Southeastern Conference championship in 1984. Aubrey won the Pennsylvania Public Links Championship in 1984 and 1985. He played in the U.S. Amateur twice and finished third at the 1986 NCAA Championship. Aubrey graduated from LSU in 1986 and turned pro that year. While attempting to get on the PGA Tour he played various professional golf tours. One of those tours was the Asian Tour where he won the 1989 Philippine Open, which gave him an exemption into the British Open that year. Late that year he qualified for the PGA Tour when he finished fifth at the PGA Tour’s qualifying school. From 1990 to 2003 he either played on the PGA Tour or the PGA Tour’s second tour. Eight of those years were on the PGA Tour and the other six were on the second tour, which went by several different names. Aubrey made it through Q-School another time in 1991 and he qualified for the PGA Tour again by finishing tenth on the PGA’s second tour in 1994. Earlier that year Aubrey had won the Indian Open Golf Championship on the Asian Tour. His best showing on the PGA Tour was a second place finish at the 1996 Greater Vancouver Open. Aubrey had two wins on the PGA’s second tour and he qualified for the U.S. Open four times.
Michael “Miguel” L. Biamon
Miguel Biamon was born in 1962 at Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. When he was five years old he took his first golf lessons from Harlan Will at the Overbrook Country Club where his parents were members. Not long after that his family moved to Bethlehem and joined the Saucon Valley Country Club. At Saucon Valley Biamon had the good fortune to receive instruction from one of the Section’s most respected teachers, Morrie Holland. He attended East Stroudsburg State University where he graduated in 1984. After graduation Biamon turned pro and played some minitour events in Florida that year. In 1985 he worked as an assistant at the Brookside Country Club near Allentown. The next year he moved to the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club where he stayed for five years and then he was the teaching pro at the Waynesborough Country Club for five years. Biamon was president of the Philadelphia Assistants Organization in 1987 and before that he was the treasurer. For ten years he was one of the Section’s leading players. The highlight of his playing career in Philadelphia was winning the Section championship in 1988 and 1991. Biamon qualified for the PGA Club Professional Championship six times and made the cut three times, finishing tied for 31st in 1993. That qualified him for the 1994 PGA Championship. He qualified for the 1992 Ben Hogan Tour when he made it into the final stage of qualifying for the PGA Tour. In 1996 Biamon left professional golf for the business world.
James Daniel “Jimmy” “Truck” Booros
Jimmy Booros was born in 1951 at Reading, Pennsylvania. In his early teens he was introduced to golf by an uncle. Booros played on the high school golf team but at that time basketball was his game. He attended Edinboro State College on a basketball scholarship for one year and Lehigh Community College for two years. In late 1972 Booros was laid off from work and he then took up golf in earnest. For four months he played golf and practiced ten to twelve hours each day. Booros was blessed with power and finesse so after seldom being able to break 80 he was now a “scratch” golfer. In 1973 he won the Pennsylvania Public Links Championship. That fall he turned pro and entered the PGA Tour’s qualifying school where he soon found out he wasn’t ready for major league golf. He then began competing on the minitours and three times he failed at the PGA Tour’s qualifying school before breaking through in late 1976. That meant he was now eligible to play in the 1977 PGA Tour’s Monday qualifying events, which preceded each tournament for the players who were not exempt. A stipulation for retaining the “player’s card” was that a player had to earn at least $5,000 during that calendar year. Booros failed to earn enough to keep his card and he failed to requalify at Q-School. That meant he was relegated to finding other golf tournaments to compete in. He then competed on the Asian Tour where he finished 30th in their Order of Merit. In the spring of 1979 he came home to be the assistant at Allentown Municipal Golf Club. One month after starting work, the head pro Tom Lynch left for Linwood Country Club and Booros was elevated to the head professional position. In late1980 he qualified for the PGA Tour again as he shot a 65 in the last round to tie for fifth at Q-School. He was now a much more experienced player and more prepared for the PGA Tour. The next three years he played well enough to stay on the PGA Tour. In 1983 the PGA Tour implemented what was known as the “all exempt tour”. The top 125 money winners were now exempt rather than the top 60 as it had been for many years and Monday qualifying only offered four places in the starting field. In 1984 the “all exempt tour” rule put Booros off the PGA Tour and back at Q-School, as he had finished 158th on the money list. At Q-School he failed to requalify but he was still the head professional at Allentown Municipal. Except for a few events he was off the PGA Tour for the next three years. While he was the professional at Allentown Municipal, Booros brought in players for charity exhibitions that he knew from the PGA Tour, like Fred Couples and J.C. Snead. In late 1987 Booros left Allentown Municipal after nine years and decided to take another shot at the PGA Tour. He qualified for the PGA Tour again as he finished 3rd at Q-School but he didn’t win enough money in 1988 to retain the exemption. Late in the year Booros was able to make it through Q-School for a fourth time, which put him back on the PGA Tour for 1989. He broke through with a win at the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which made him exempt for 1990. He played well enough to keep his exemption for the next year, but in 1991 he slipped below the magic 125th place on the money list. After failing to requalify for the PGA Tour at Q-School and only being able to get into six tournaments in 1992 he returned to Allentown for the life of a club professional. During his career he played in four U.S. Opens, the 1982 PGA Championship, six PGA Club Professional Championships and four PGA Senior Club Professional Championships. He quailed for the PGA Tour four times out of fourteen attempts. Booros played in 249 tournaments on the PGA Tour and finished in the top ten 10 times. At the local level he won the 1990 Philadelphia Section PGA Championship, the 1996 Philadelphia Open, the 1987 Pennsylvania PGA Championship and the Philadelphia Section Match Play in 1995. He is a member of the Lehigh Valley Golf Hall of Fame. Booros’s friends on the PGA Tour nicknamed him “Truck” because he was larger than average and he was from Allentown where the Mack trucks came from.
Frank J. Dobbs
Frank Dobbs was born in 1962 at Norristown, Pennsylvania and he was introduced to golf by his father. When he was fifteen they joined the Spring Ford Country Club where he honed his game under the guidance of his father and the professional, Tony DeGisi. Dobbs attended Temple University for a brief time before turning pro. In 1980 he began his career in golf as an assistant at Spring Ford. It didn’t take long for Dobbs to show that he was going to be a force in the Philadelphia Section. In 1984 he won the Philadelphia Open and finished second in the Pennsylvania Open. Except for two years as an assistant at the Oak Terrace Country Club and a portion of 1993 on the PGA’s Nike Tour, Dobbs spent most of his professional years in the Philadelphia Section at the Spring Ford Country Club. In 1994, which was his last year in the Section before moving to Florida, he was the teaching pro at the Blue Bell Country Club. 1991 was Dobbs’ most successful year in the Section as he won thirteen tournaments. That included winning the Philadelphia Open along with second place finishes in the Section Championship and the Pennsylvania Open. That year he was the Section’s “Player of the Year” and he won the DeBaufre Trophy for the lowest scoring average per round. During Dobbs’ thirteen years in the Philadelphia Section he won the Philadelphia PGA Championship, the Philadelphia Open three times, the Pennsylvania Open and the Philadelphia PGA Match Play Championship. Dobbs also won the Pennsylvania PGA Championship twice. He qualified for the U.S. Open twice and the PGA Championship once. In 1992 Dobbs reached the final stage at the PGA Tour’s qualifying school. Even though he didn’t qualify for an exemption on the PGA Tour he did qualify for the 1993 Nike Tour because he made the cut at the final stage of qualifying. That year he played in ten tournaments on the Nike Tour before returning to the Philadelphia Section. Dobbs was the Section’s “Player of the Year” three times and he won the DeBaufre Trophy twice. After leaving the Philadelphia Section in late 1994 for a job in Florida, Dobbs won the 2001 national PGA Assistant Pro Championship.
Eugene J. “Gene” Fieger
Gene Fieger was born in Philadelphia in 1960. At the age of 15 he played his first golf as a caddy at The Springhaven Club. It wasn’t long before he was working in the bag room for the golf professional, Ted Bickel III. Fieger learned to play by caddying for the better players at Springhaven, which included Mike Nilon who went on to win the Philadelphia Section Championship in 1978. When Nilon turned pro Fieger caddied for him in the professional tournaments, and continued to learn by observing the good players. After high school he attended Miami Dade Junior College and Delaware Community College. In 1980 he turned pro and played some on the minitours. The next year he began his career as a club professional at Springhaven under Bickel. Another person who had an influence on Fieger was Ed Dougherty who worked at the Edgmont Country Club when he wasn’t playing the PGA Tour. In 1985 Fieger worked as an assistant at Edgmont and Dougherty was off the tour that year. That provided an opportunity for Fieger to be associated with a successful touring pro. Fieger worked at several clubs as an assistant before settling in as the playing professional at the Overbrook Golf Club in 1988. Fieger was at Overbrook for the next eleven years except for a short time at the Downingtown Inn & Country Club in 1990. Fieger won the Philadelphia PGA Championship twice, the Philadelphia Open twice, the Pennsylvania Open three times and the Section Match Play Championship once. In those four Section major events Fieger finished second eleven times. While in the Section he played in four PGA Championships and two U.S. Opens. Fieger qualified for the PGA Club Professional Championship eleven times, with his best finish being second place in 1991. That finish along with a tie for seventh in 1998 earned him a place on the PGA Cup Team in 1992 and 1998. Fieger won the 1992 Bermuda Open, which qualified him for the 1994 Sarazen World Open. In 1995 he won the PGA Winter Tournament Program’s Match Play Championship. Fieger was the “Player of the Year” in the Philadelphia Section five times and he won the DeBaufre Trophy for the lowest scoring average six times. In late 1998 Fieger left the Section for a head professional position in Florida.
Richard Lyman “Dick” Hendrickson
Dick Hendrickson was born in 1935 at St. Louis, Missouri and he grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. Baseball was his game when he was young. During his high school career he pitched nine no-hit games. Hendrickson thought that he was on the way to the major leagues but the best offer he received was a Class D contract. At the age of 18 Hendrickson bought a driver, a five-iron, two-dozen used golf balls and a pack of tees even though he had never played golf. He then went to a public park where he had played baseball and began to try and learn the game of golf. At the park he met a man who played golf, but not well. The man showed Hendrickson a few fundamentals and he practiced in the park. After six months of practice, his tutor took him to one of Baltimore’s public courses, Mt. Pleasant Golf Course. Even though Hendrickson had never hit a putt or a chip shot he proceeded to shoot an 86 in his first round of golf. After three-years of practicing and playing at Mt. Pleasant, while working some jobs that would not interfere with his golf, he turned pro. Hendrickson worked as an assistant pro at Mt. Pleasant for two-years before coming to the Philadelphia Section in 1958 as an assistant to Skee Riegel at the Radnor Valley Country Club. He spent two-years at Radnor Valley and two-years at the Country Club of Scranton before becoming the head pro at the Golf Farm Golf Club in 1962. The next year he moved next-door as the professional at the newly opened Laurel Oak Country Club and five-years later he moved to another new club, the Little Mill Country Club. While working at those clubs his golf game was rapidly improving so he began playing some tournaments on the PGA Tour during the winter months. In 1972, at the age of 37, he left Little Mill for a shot at the PGA Tour, which he played for two years. The only way a nonexempt player could get into a tournament was through Monday qualifying and if he did qualify for a tournament and made the cut he could then play the next week. Hendrickson struggled with a bad back for several years. With his six-foot seven-inch body travel wasn’t easy, but during those two years he managed to get into 31 events and make 27 cuts, which was an accomplishment. At the same time he came back to the Section to play in some of the more lucrative events. He won the Philadelphia PGA Championship in 1972 along with the 1972 and 1973 Philadelphia Opens. In 1974 Hendrickson was off the PGA Tour most of the year and survived by playing in local tournaments. One of those tournaments was the 72-hole Schmidt Golf Festival, which offered the largest purse of the year. The tournament was first held in 1967 and Hendrickson won that one along with the ones played in 1972 and 1973. Of the eight Schmidt Golf Festivals that were held Hendrickson finished third or better in seven of them. In 1975 Hendrickson and Dick Smith, Sr. put together a partnership that leased the Wedgwood Country Club for four years. After 1978 they dissolved that agreement and Hendrickson became the professional at the Loch Nairn Golf Club where he stayed three years before moving to Radley Run as the professional where he stayed for six years. In late 1987 Hendrickson left Radley Run for a shot at the PGA Senior Tour. He played in the 1987 PGA Senior Tour’s qualifying school and when he didn’t earn an exemption for the next year it meant that he had to once again play in the Monday qualifying events in order to compete in that week’s tournament. This was even more difficult than the PGA Tour had been as there were usually only four spots to qualify for each week. In spite of that burden Hendrickson made it into twelve tournaments, finishing second twice. In one of those he led going into the last round after opening with 64-65. He finished 38th on the money list, which was remarkable since most of the leading players had played in thirty or more events. That position made him exempt for most of the tournaments in 1989. He then decided to see if he could improve his position by attending PGA Senior Tour’s Q-School again. He was successful as he secured one of the eight full exemptions by finishing third. That year Hendrickson played in 33 events and finished 31st on the money list, which was the last money position that made a player fully exempt for the next year. For the next four years he finished well up on the money list with 22nd place being his best. By the end of 1993 he was in the top 31 on the PGA Tour’s lifetime total money list, which exempted him for most of the tournaments each year through 1997. His last two years on the PGA Senior Tour were 1998 and 1999 where he was able to play in seventeen and eleven events. During his twelve years on the PGA Senior Tour Hendrickson finished second four times and third twice. During his career he played in four U.S. Opens, three PGA Championships, twelve PGA Seniors’ Championships and six U.S. Senior Opens. Hendrickson won the Philadelphia Open three times, the Philadelphia PGA Championship once and five times he finished second in the Philadelphia PGA Championship. He was a member of ten Schmidt’s Challenge Cup Teams. Hendrickson played in eight PGA Club Professional Championships where he made the cut six times. Five times he was the “Player of the Year” in the Philadelphia Section and he won the DeBaufre Trophy for having the low scoring average four times. Hendrickson was the Section’s first vice president and tournament chairman in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1972 along with being the secretary in 1971. In 1971 he was the Section’s Golf Professional of the Year and in 2007 he was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA’s Hall of Fame.
Jason R. Lamp
Jason Lamp was born in Oakes, North Dakota in 1967 and grew up in Fargo, where he began playing golf at age 12. He attended Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas, where he played on the golf team. He graduated in 1990 and went to work as a golf professional. In 1993 he came to the Philadelphia Section as an assistant at the Pine Valley Golf Club. After three years at Pine Valley he became the head pro at the Blue Heron Pines Golf Club. In 1998 he won both the Philadelphia Section PGA Championship and the Philadelphia Open. In 2002 Lamp left the Section to be the professional at the Deal Golf Club in the New Jersey PGA Section and in 2006 he won the New Jersey Open.
Walter T “Walt” Morgan
Walt Morgan was born in 1941 in Haddock, Georgia and grew up in Macon, Georgia. His only exposure to golf as a boy was limited to hitting golf balls in a vacant lot with a #7-iron. His brother had brought the club home from a local golf course where he caddied. Baseball was his game at the time. After high school Morgan joined the army and made it a career with two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was thirty years old when he played his first round of golf while stationed in Hawaii. He was then hooked on the game of golf. With 20 years in the army Morgan retired in 1980 and tried to qualify for the PGA Tour. He then settled down to the life of a club professional in Texas. In the early 1990s his wife got a job as a school administrator in New Jersey and Morgan, who turned 50 in 1991, decided to try the PGA Senior Tour. In late 1994 he earned a full exemption on the Senior Tour by finishing second at the qualifying school. With that full exemption he won $423,756, which put him in 27th place on the money list, and he picked up his first victory on the PGA Senior Tour at the GTE Northwest Senior Classic. He won again on the PGA Senior Tour in 1996. Morgan shares the record for the lowest round on the PGA Senior Tour, an eleven under par 60 at the 2002 AT&T Canada Senior Open Championship. He was a member of the Philadelphia Section from 1992 to 1995.
Richard C. “Rick” Osberg
Rick Osberg was born in 1952 at Wilmington, Delaware and not long after that his family moved to Texas. When he was twelve years old his family bought a house next to a new golf course. Since it was a new course he was able to play as many holes as he wanted to on almost any day. When he was sixteen his father, who worked for the Hercules Corporation, was transferred back to Wilmington. Osberg continued honing his game at the Hercules Country Club under the tutelage of the professional, Herman Schneider. After high school he attended Louisiana State University on a golf scholarship. He left college after two years and turned pro. For five years he competed on the minitours where he played well enough to break even. Five times he entered the PGA Tour qualifying school. All five times he reached the final stage of qualifying school but each time he failed to earn a pass to the PGA Tour. In 1983 he began his career as a club professional by going to work for Rick McCall at the Maple Dale Country Club. That year he earned a place on the Section’s twelve-man challenge cup team. After two years with McCall Osberg served as the head professional at Garrison’s Lake Golf Club for six years. In 1984 he joined Ted McKenzie’s staff at Waynesborough Country Club as the teaching pro for three years before becoming the professional at the Sunnybrook Golf Club in 1987. While working at Waynesborough he won his first major title in the Section, the 1985 Philadelphia Section PGA Championship. He won the Section championship for a second time in 1989 as the professional at the Sunnybrook Golf Club. In 1990 he returned to Waynesborough as the head professional and he won the Section Championship again in 1992. He was the eighth Section member to win the Section Championship more than two times. After having finished second in the Philadelphia Open twice, he won it at the age of 47 on his home course, Waynesborough. He also won the Delaware Open six times. Osberg qualified for the PGA Club Professional Championship twelve times and in three of those he finished third, eighth and fifteenth, which qualified him for the PGA Championship. He also played in two U.S. Opens. In 1982 he won the Pennsylvania PGA Championship and in 1989 he won the PGA Club Professional Classic, where the field was comprised of the champions from the forty-one PGA Sections. In the Section he was the “Player of the Year” three times and he won the DeBaufre Trophy twice for having the lowest scoring average in the Section. In 1993 when the Variety Club created its “Buddy Program” Osberg was one of the five original professionals that that took on a disabled child to teach them golf. Osberg also served on the Section’s Board of Directors as a District Director.
Edward V. “Ed” Sabo
Ed Sabo was born in Ohio in 1949 and grew up in Georgia. He learned to play golf at the Druid Hills Country Club where his family was a member. He attended Georgia State University, graduating in 1973. That year he turned pro and went to work as an assistant to Davis Love, Jr. at the Atlanta Country Club. Sabo played on the PGA Tour for five years, winning the Buick Open in 1976. After holding head pro positions in Connecticut and Florida he arrived in the Philadelphia Section as the professional at the newly opened Laurel Creek Country Club in late 1989. While in the Philadelphia Section Sabo won the Section match play championship in 1991 and he qualified for the 1992 PGA Championship. After leaving the Section in 1993 he finished second to Pete Oakley in the 1999 PGA Senior Club Professional Championship and then he won the tournament the next two years. While in Connecticut he won that state open three straight years and he won the 1983 Metropolitan PGA Section Championship.
Richard N. “Dick” Smith, Sr.
Dick Smith was born in Ohio in 1942 and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. At age ten he began playing golf with his father at the Mount Pleasant Golf Course, a public course where he also caddied. He got his start playing competitively in the Baltimore City’s junior golf program. Each Monday morning in the summer the junior golfers could get on a bus at the Baltimore Country Club’s city course and be driven to a golf course where there would be a junior tournament for them to take part in. In 1959 he won the Maryland State Jaycee Junior Championship. Smith attended Loyola College in Baltimore and turned pro in 1962. That year he came to the Philadelphia Section as an assistant to George Griffin, Jr. at the Green Valley Country Club. In 1963 Smith joined Ken Gibson in New Jersey where he helped run the Golf Farm, the Indian Spring Golf Course and the Wedgwood Country Club. Smith credited Gibson with giving him the most help with his golf game. In the early 1970s he was the pro-manager of the Hi-Point Golf Club and in 1975 he went back to Wedgwood in a partnership that leased the course. One of the partners was Dick Hendrickson who he had caddied for when he was growing up in Baltimore. Smith moved over to the Woodcrest Country Club in 1981 as the head professional where he stayed for twelve years. Other than the pros that were successful on the PGA Tour, Smith had the most outstanding record in the Section’s tournaments. Smith won three Section Championships in succession and he won the tournament a total of five times. This tied him with Art Wall for the most wins in the Section Championship. Smith played in five PGA Championships and a U.S. Open. He qualified for the PGA Club Professional Championships fifteen times and the PGA Senior Club Professional Championship three times. In 1970 he tied for fourth at the Club Professional Championship and he won the Philadelphia Open. Beginning in 1969 there were seventeen Section Challenge Cup teams that competed against the Middle Atlantic Section and Smith was a member of the team sixteen times. Twice in the early 1970s Smith won the four round Prior Festival, which was the Section’s richest tournament at that time. Smith tied for 18th in the 1971 PGA Tour’s IVB Golf Classic, which was held at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and in 1978 he tied for 17th at the IVB. He played in two U.S. Senior Opens and two PGA Seniors’ Championships. In the Philadelphia Section Smith was the Section’s “Player of the Year” five times and he won the DeBaufre Trophy for leading the Section in scoring average six times. After several years of serving on the tournament committee Smith was elected to the office of first vice president at the 1974 fall meeting, which made him the tournament chairman as well. This was his first political step in what would take him to the highest office in the PGA of America. After three years as the Section’s first vice president Smith was elected president. He served the Section as its 22nd president for three years, 1978 to 1980. In late 1983 the Philadelphia Section sent Smith to the national PGA for a three-year term as its director representing District II. At the national meeting in 1986 Smith was elected to national office for a two-year term as secretary. After that he served as the vice president in 1989-1990 and president for 1991-1992. After leaving national office he also left Woodcrest to be the director of golf at the new Galloway National Golf Club, which was still under construction. Two years later he purchased the Williamstown Golf Center, which he operated for seven years. During that time Smith set up a partnership that leased the Bethpage State Park Golf Course’s golf shop from the state of New York for five years. That included 2002 when the U.S. Open was played at Bethpage. With the exception of the week of the U.S. Open, the lease gave them the opportunity to sell U.S. Open merchandise for those five years. During his time on Long Island he was a member of the Metropolitan Section and the Philadelphia Section. Smith returned to the Philadelphia Section full time as the director of golf at two new golf courses in South Jersey that were owned by a land development group. Smith and the Philadelphia Section created the Dick Smith Cup Matches that were contested each year between the assistants from the Central Counties Chapter and the assistants from the rest of the Philadelphia Section. In 2005 he was hired as the general manager at the Woodcrest Country Club where his son Dick Jr. had succeeded him as the golf professional and was now in his thirteenth year. Smith was the Philadelphia Section’s “Professional of the Year” in 1980 and he was an original inductee into the Philadelphia Section’s Hall of Fame in 1992. Smith was inducted into the PGA of America’s “PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame” in 2005.