Golf News for Thursday, February 7, 2013 | People

PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame prepares for new inductees

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Celebrated golf instructors Bob Toski and Michael Hebron, the late pioneers in diversity Jimmie DeVoe and William Powell, and PGA of America Honorary President Allen Wronowski head a class of eight inductees to be enshrined in the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame.

The 2013 class, which will be honored March 12 at the PGA Museum of Golf in Port St. Lucie, Fla., also includes 2011 PGA Golf Professional of the Year Donald "Chip" Essig of Westfield, Ind.; 2010 PGA Golf Professional of the Year Jim Mrva of Pittsford, N.Y.; and the late Bill Ogden, formerly of Glenview, Ill., who was one of the most prolific player-instructors in Illinois PGA Section history.

"It is with a great deal of pride that The PGA of America welcomes a special eight-member class into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame, who by their life's work have made significant and lasting contributions to our Association and the game of golf," said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. "This class features those who battled social injustice, renowned instructors, and leaders who exhibited a passion for serving others beyond their job description. Their names will be forever inscribed among those who have made golf the greatest game."

Toski, of Boca Raton, Fla., was inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame in 1990, and is the first among that elite roster to capture a PGA Tour money title (1954). Toski, now 86, won 11 events between the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, and competed in 21 majors. Leaving the Tour at age 30 to be closer to his young family, Toski utilized his animated style and showmanship to become a premier instructor. His students have included Tom Kite, Bruce Crampton, Judy Rankin and Ken Duke. He was a pioneer in video golf instruction, started the Golf Digest Schools in 1971 with late PGA teaching legend Jim Flick, authored multiple books, and served as a regular contributor to national industry publications.

Hebron, of St. James, N.Y., was the catalyst for the largest educational forum in the golf industry - the PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit - and went on to promote to his peers how to understand learning the game. Hebron earned the 1991 PGA Teacher of the Year Award and in 2008 was inducted into the Metropolitan PGA Section Hall of Fame.

Jimmie DeVoe, who passed away five days short of his 91st birthday in 1979, was the first African-American to be elected to membership following the rescinding of the "Caucasian clause" in 1962. At age 74, DeVoe also became the oldest to be elected to the Association. Among his many accomplishments, DeVoe operated the first African-American golf school in the 1930s in the basement of a pharmaceutical store in Harlem. He would eventually settle in Los Angeles, becoming a skilled player and popular teacher.

William Powell, the 2009 PGA Distinguished Service Award recipient before his death at age 93 on Dec. 31, 2009, remains the only African-American to build, own and operate a golf course in the United States. In 1946, Powell began breaking down barriers by building a "color blind" course, Clearview Golf Club of East Canton, Ohio. Clearview is among the National Register of Historic Places. Powell was 83 when he was granted PGA Life Membership status, retroactive to 1962, a year when The PGA of America dismantled another social barrier.

Allen Wronowski, the 37th president of The PGA of America (2010-2012), first made an impact in the Middle Atlantic PGA Section in business management and governance before rising to national office. Wronowski, the PGA director of member and player development at Hillendale Country Club of Phoenix, Md., joined the facility in 1979. Wronowski was mentored by the late William "Bill Clarke, who served as PGA president from 1973-74. Hillendale remains the only facility in the country to have employed two PGA presidents.

About the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame
Originated in 1940 at the suggestion of famed sportswriter Grantland Rice, the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame was relocated in 2005 at the PGA Museum of Golf at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The Hall of Fame recognizes all PGA members who have made significant and lasting contributions to the building of The PGA of America and the game of golf. The inductees include PGA Presidents, PGA Golf Professional of the Year award winners as well as those PGA Professionals who also distinguish themselves as competitors while in service to The PGA of America.

About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.