From the PGA

Al Watrous Leads 2021 Class of PGA of America Hall of Fame Inductees

Published on

Albert “Al” Watrous, one of the earliest Members of the PGA of America, a member of the first two United States Ryder Cup teams and a three-time Senior PGA Champion, will be inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame, along with PGA Professionals Kyle Heyen, Ed Ibarguen, PGA Past President Paul K. Levy, Martin “Marty” Lyons and Gary Reynolds, during the 105th PGA Annual Meeting on Nov. 3, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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. It is the highest honor that the PGA of America can bestow.
Watrous was one of the most decorated golfers in the Michigan PGA Section’s history. Heyen is an advocate for the game as part of the Colorado PGA Section. A staple in the Carolinas PGA Section leadership ranks, Ibarguen is renowned for his dedication to PGA Education. Levy served as the 40th president of the PGA of America. Lyons was a pioneer in the Philadelphia PGA Section, and Reynolds had a distinguished career in the Connecticut PGA Section.
“The PGA of America takes tremendous pride in honoring the people who have dedicated their professional lives to furthering our mission of elevating the standards of our profession, and growing interest and participation in the game,” said PGA President Jim Richerson. “These six new inductees into the PGA of America Hall of Fame are a source of great inspiration, mentorship and pride for their peers and to future generations of PGA Members. Their countless contributions to the game of golf will be honored forever as an indelible part of our Association’s storied history.”
 About the 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).
Kyle Heyen at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Kyle Heyen at Baltusrol Golf Club.
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.
Ed Ibarguen golfing as a child.
Ed Ibarguen golfing as a child.
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, Levy 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).
Paul Levy with Brooks Koepka at the 2018 PGA Championship.
Paul Levy with Brooks Koepka at the 2018 PGA Championship.
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 the 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.
Martin “Marty” Lyons, PGA (Deceased) - Philadelphia 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.
Albert Watrous, PGA (Deceased) - 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. 
Al Watrous at the 1951 US Open.
Al Watrous at the 1951 US Open.
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.