With influences on the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, PGA Frisco, PGA Education, PGA Sections, iconic facilities and even teaching Michael Jordan the game, the inductees have made an indelible impact on golf
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — A group of six highly influential PGA Members were inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame during the 105th PGA Annual Meeting. PGA Professionals Kyle Heyen, Ed Ibarguen, PGA Past President Paul K. Levy, Marty Lyons, Gary Reynolds and Al Watrous received the Association’s highest honor during a ceremony hosted by broadcaster Scott Walker.
For PGA Members and Professionals, induction is recognition of a career-long commitment to the game.
“It’s such a privilege to welcome this incredible group of PGA Members,” said PGA President Jim Richerson to open the ceremony. “Collectively, we’re able to celebrate legends of the game, visionaries of the industry and highly accomplished PGA Professionals who have made an impact on our profession, our PGA Members and all those that love the game.
“Becoming a Member of the Hall of Fame is the pinnacle of someone’s career. It’s a crowning achievement, and for many, it’s a lifelong dream.”
Originated in 1940 at the suggestion of famed sportswriter Grantland Rice, the PGA of America Hall of Fame honors and recognizes individuals who through their lives, careers, service and support have made significant and enduring contributions to the PGA of America in its mission to grow the game of golf. Inductees include PGA Golf Professionals, Tour Professionals or Ambassadors who throughout their lives have supported and elevated the image of the PGA Professional, the PGA of America and the game of golf.
A PGA Master Professional, Ibarguen has worked for Duke University Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina for 33 years. Now the facility’s PGA General Manager and Director of Golf, he coined the club’s motto, “Get Better Every Day.”
A University of North Carolina graduate who previously worked at the rival school’s golf club in Chapel Hill, Ibarguen famously first taught Michael Jordan when he was a student at UNC, leading to a close friendship.
“Getting better every day is easy if you realize what you’re doing is not a job,” said Ibarguen, a Carolinas PGA Section Member for over 42 years. “I would have never met Michael Jordan if I wasn’t a PGA Professional, but I was preparing for that day for five years. You make your own luck if you are prepared for the opportunity when it comes.”
Similarly, Levy, the 40th president of the PGA of America has followed a mantra of, “What can we do better?” Levy was honored for a career of service and governance with the PGA of America and the Southern Texas, Southern California and Southwest PGA Sections.
“This is something that just warms my heart,” said an emotional Levy, the President and CEO of PKL Golf Management and Club Services in Pinetop, Arizona. “The great thing about being a PGA Professional is that we chose the game of golf.”
Levy was instrumental in helping to sign the landmark deal that will move the “Home of the PGA Professional” to PGA Frisco in Frisco, Texas next year.
“It’s a place where we will have our own identity,” added Levy. “The Officers and Members of the Board, we talked about the word ‘transformation.’ We debated whether this would be transformational. Do we have the right to use that word? This will be the most transformational thing that the PGA of America has seen in a very long time.”
A Colorado PGA Section Member, Heyen has spent 40 years at Hiwan Golf Club, in Evergreen, serving as PGA Head Professional since 1985. He has also run in several New York City and Boston Marathons while raising money for PGA REACH and PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere).
“It’s a special evening, you look at the list of PGA Professionals that have been inducted and will be inducted tonight, congratulations to my class,” said Heyen. “To be shoulder-to-shoulder with them, I’m humbled and very honored.”
Reynolds, a PGA Professional who made his career at The Hartford Golf Club in Connecticut, played a key role in propelling the city to restore both Keney Park Golf Course and Goodwin Park Golf Course, two cornerstone municipal facilities.
“[This ranks] right at the top,” said Reynolds. “PGA Professionals work long and hard, and it’s very important they get recognition. Having an evening like this is so rewarding. You get a chance to thank all the mentors you had to put you in this seat, and I do that right now.”
Watrous and Lyons were both inducted posthumously, with members of their families accepting the honor.
A three-time Senior PGA Champion, Watrous was one of the first Members of the PGA of America. He played on the first two Ryder Cup Teams in 1929 and 1927, which were captained by Walter Hagen. Watrous spent 37 years at Oakland Hills Country Club, where he served as PGA Head Professional.
“It is overwhelming to hear all these stories, that’s what it means to me personally and my family by everyone connected to my grandfather,” explained his oldest grandson Chuck Moritz. “He had a tremendous passion … and he really loved the game.”
Lyons famously wrote a letter to the PGA that changed the course of major championship history, urging the Association to change the PGA Championship format from match play to stroke play. The PGA followed Lyons’ advice to conduct the championship at stroke play beginning at Llanerch Country Club in 1958, where he served as Host PGA Professional.
“He loved golf, he loved the PGA, so he would be thrilled that he was honored by being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Lyons’ daughter Sister Kathleen, who was joined onstage by her nephew Marty Farrell. “This is so enlightening for me and a legacy for our family.”
2021 PGA of America Hall of Fame Inductees
Kyle Heyen, PGA
Colorado PGA Section
Heyen was named the Colorado PGA Section’s Golf Professional of the Year twice (2005-2006), won the Section’s Professional Development Award four times (1993, 1999-2001) and Player Development Award twice (2007-2008), and served two years as President. He also sat on the Board of Directors for 23 years (eight as an Officer) and was a Committee Chair for 17 years. On the national level, he has won the PGA Player Development Award (2009), and served as a PGA of America Board of Control Member (2008-2012), Co-Chairman of the Governance Committee (2006-2008) and as Player Development Co-Chair (2012-2014). He also served on the Play Golf America Committee (2009), Hall of Fame Selection Committee (2009-2010), Golf 2.0 Platinum Committee Member (2011-2012), PGA of America Membership Committee (2014-2016) and the PGA of America Awards Committee (2015-2016 and Committee Chair in 2017). Heyen created an annual trip to the VA hospital to visit Veterans who were either hospitalized or in for a routine check up and thank them for their service. He was also instrumental in local efforts to grow the game, becoming involved in different capacities in PGA Jr. League, the Colorado PGA’s Golf in Schools Program and Get Golf Ready. Heyen has spent 40 years at Hiwan Golf Club, serving as PGA Head Professional since 1985. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
Ed Ibarguen, PGA
Carolinas PGA Section
A PGA Member for more than 42 years, Ibarguen has worked at Duke University Golf Club since 1988, where he currently serves as General Manager and PGA Director of Golf. He was also a Carolinas PGA Section Officer (1992-1995) and a seven-time Section award winner, including Golf Professional of the Year (2001), Teacher/Coach of the Year (1991, 2003), Bill Strausbaugh (1993) and the Professional Development Award (1990, 1998, 2004). He was inducted into the Carolinas Section Hall of Fame in 2015. He earned two national PGA awards: Bill Strausbaugh Award (1995) and the Professional Development Award (1998) and served on the national Board of Control from 2003-2007. Ibarguen has served as Chairman of several national committees for a total of 12 (2-year) terms, including Teaching/Coaching, Membership and Education. He has been the national chair for PGA Education since 2017. A PGA Master Professional, Ibarguen has been a nationally recognized teacher/coach as a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher (since 2001), GRAA Top 50 (since 2012) and Golf Digest Best in State (since 2001). Throughout his time as a PGA Member, he has used education and learning as a tool to grow the game to different audiences.
Paul K. Levy, PGA
PGA Past President – PGA of America
Southern California, Southern Texas and Southwest PGA Sections
The 40th President of the PGA of America, Paul Levy is also the President and CEO of PKL Golf Management and Club Services in Pinetop, Arizona, specializing in operational management and consulting services for the golf and club industry. Additionally, Paul is President of Distinguished Golf Destinations, a company that recognizes the best golf facilities in America that allow play to the general public. As an Officer, he also has served two-year terms as PGA Honorary President, PGA Vice President and PGA Secretary. Levy also served on the PGA Board of Control (2004-2008), as President of the Southern Texas Section (1998-2000) and was named the Southern Texas Golf Professional of the Year (2000). An advocate for junior participation, he is a three-time Section PGA Junior Golf Leader recipient (1992, 1993, 1998) and also earned the Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award (1999). As PGA President, Levy was influential in the deal to relocate PGA Headquarters to Frisco, Texas, and spearheaded growing the employment consultant arm of PGA of America‘s Career Services and executive search. The $550 million PGA Frisco development will bring 26 PGA of America championships, approximately 150 jobs and a new Northern Texas PGA Section Headquarters. A 1983 LSU graduate, Levy played on the Tigers golf team.
Marty Lyons, PGA (posthumous)
Philadelphia PGA Section
Lyons was a two-time Philadelphia Section Golf Professional of the Year (1956, 1958) and was named to the Section’s Hall of Fame in 1994. He served as Section President from 1942-1947. Lyons was instrumental in bringing the 1958 PGA Championship to Llanerch Country Club, and he advocated aggressively for the Association to change the format from match play to stroke play, which the 1958 Championship adopted. Lyons lived the PGA of America’s mission most notably through his passion for introducing and teaching the game to Veterans returning home from war and to juniors. He established the junior program at his first stop as a PGA Professional in Maple Shade, New Jersey. When he arrived at Llanerch, the program was not open to boys under 16, so Lyons changed that rule and then opened the program to boys and girls of all ages.
Gary Reynolds, PGA
Connecticut PGA Section
Reynolds, a PGA Life Member, earned the Section’s Golf Professional of the Year honor in 1989, and he’s a three-time winner of the Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award (1996-1998), which he also won nationally in 2001. Reynolds was elected to the Connecticut PGA Professional Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Connecticut Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2011. During his career at The Hartford Golf Club, Reynolds led a variety of initiatives to grow the game, including free instructional clinics, a nine-hole women’s group and programs for health and wellness. He was also a founding board member of First Tee – Connecticut and the Connecticut PGA Section Golf Foundation, which awards grants to youth, diversity, disability and military veteran golf programs. Reynolds also played a considerable role in the City of Hartford restoring Keney Park Golf Course and Goodwin Park Golf Course.
Al Watrous, PGA (posthumous)
Michigan PGA Section
A three-time Senior PGA Champion, Watrous was named the Michigan Section’s Golf Professional of the Year in 1958 and 1967. He won the Michigan PGA Championship nine times and the Senior Michigan PGA Championship five times. He also won eight PGA Tour events and was a member of the first two U.S. Ryder Cup teams in 1927 and 1929, as well as competing in the 1926 challenge matches (precursor to the Ryder Cup). He finished runner-up to Bobby Jones in the 1926 Open Championship and twice made the PGA Championship semifinals when it was a match-play event. Watrous had a 37-year career as the PGA Professional at Oakland Hills Country Club and was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1962, the Polish American Hall of Fame in 1979, the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1982, and the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame in 2011. He served as Michigan Section President from 1936-1937. In addition, Watrous penned a regular column designed to reach new golfers in the Detroit Times called “How to Play Golf.”
For a full list of PGA of America Hall of Fame Members, click here