Suzy Whaley 'Incredibly Honored' to Join Golf Legends in PGA of America Hall of Fame
By Ryan Adams, PGA
Suzy Whaley carries a perspective bursting with gratitude.
Her attentive appreciation of those who’ve come before her but also her recognition of the ability to change the future is what makes her such an outstanding PGA of America Golf Professional.
And now, the newest member of the PGA of America Hall of Fame.
Whaley, who was the first woman to serve as PGA President from 2018-20, will be honored on Nov. 8 alongside fellow 2023 inductees Robert Dolan, PGA; Don Wegrzyn, PGA; Herb Wimberly, PGA; LPGA legend Kathy Whitworth and broadcasting icon Jim Nantz in Frisco, Texas. Her family, Connecticut PGA friends and PGA of America friends will all be in attendance to see one of the Association’s brightest stars see such a well-deserved recognition.
“It truly means the world to me,” says Whaley, who serves as the PGA/LPGA President of Golf Nation and is the Director of Instruction at The Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “Renee Powell sent me a note yesterday saying that I’ll be the eighth woman inducted, which is incredible. And to be alongside all the men who are in the Hall of Fame, all the names who’ve paved the way, it’s just hard to imagine. I’m incredibly honored.”
Whaley remembers the moment PGA President John Lindert called her with the news. It was special for her, since Lindert and Whaley served together as PGA Officers and had gotten close. She was floored by the news.
“Candidly, I thought he was calling for something else,” laughs Whaley. “We chatted niceties for a bit and then he says, ‘By the way, I’m calling to let you know you’ve been inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame.’ I said, ‘Really?!’ It was one of the moments where you take it all in, everything that’s happened and can’t believe it. I called my family right away.”
Throughout her career, Whaley has delivered an impressive resume of accomplishments that truly create a Hall of Fame-worthy legacy. Among them:
- First woman elected to serve as PGA President in 2018.
- Played in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open after winning Connecticut PGA Section Championship, becoming the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA Tour event.
- As President, steered the Association through the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to the establishment of the nearly $8 million Golf Emergency Relief Fund for golf industry personnel in need and an unprecedented growth in rounds played, using social distancing protocols established in conjunction with the CDC and Back2Golf.
- Led the 2022 U.S. PGA Cup Team to a 15.5-10.5 victory as first woman captain
- Led the 2019 U.S. Women's PGA Cup Team to an inaugural victory
- Dual PGA/LPGA Professional and PGA Master Professional
- Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee
- Connecticut Golf Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
- Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
- LPGA Tour member in 1990 and ‘93.
- Three-time Connecticut Women’s Open Champion
- Three-time Connecticut PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year
- Golf Digest Top 50 Instructor and GOLF Top 100 Teacher in America
The list could keep going, but you get the point of how decorated Whaley is at this point in her career. She’ll be inducted alongside another legendary woman in golf, Kathy Whitworth, the LPGA legend who will be honored posthumously for her iconic career. It’ll be the first time two woman will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same class.
“That’ll be a new moment for the room,” Whaley laughs. “Kathy Whitworth is an idol — I had posters of her in my room growing up as someone I looked up to every day. How could you not with 88 worldwide wins? And to be in the same Hall of Fame as Babe Didrikson Zaharias? It’s just surreal.
And as always, just as Whaley appreciates those who’ve come before her, she knows what it’ll mean to the young women in the room wondering if it’s possible for them to get to the mountaintop like she has.
“Having the women alongside who’ve been inducted, I hope the next generation sees this as something that’s possible for them,” Whaley says. “To think about it, to know it’s a real thing that can be accomplished for anyone.
“It’s super inspiring.”