Seven Golf Legends Make Up 2015 Michigan PGA Hall of Fame Class

Emil Beck, Joe Devaney, Wilfrid E. Reid, Alex Ross, Don Soper, Frank Sprogell and Gary Whitener will be inducted to the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame on October 25 in a ceremony at the Country Club of Lansing.

This is the fifth class inducted to the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame, which honors section members who distinguished themselves in golf.

  • Emil Beck
    • Served the Soo Golf Club in Sault Ste. Marie for five years and Black River Country Club in Port Huron for 25 years
    • A founder, national committee chairman and for 11 years director of the PGA Business School, which started as the Dunedin Educational and Professional Training Program.
    • 1975 National Horton Smith Award winner
    • Served as the Michigan PGA President in 1951-52
    • Michigan PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 1962.
    • A life member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
  • Joe Devaney
    • Grosse Ile golf professional
    • Served two stints as Michigan Section President (1931-32 and 1948-50)
    • Michigan Section Golf Professional of the Year for 1956
    • In 1957, Devaney became one of the original teachers of the Dunedin Educational and Professional Training Program, which later became the PGA Business School.
    • Nationally active with the PGA of America as a chairman of national committees, such as the War Program in 1952, the Annual Meeting in 1953 and the Active Services and Veterans Programs in 1954.
    • The Michigan PGA Pro-Assistants Championship Trophy is named the Joe Devaney Trophy in his honor.
  • Wilfrid E. Reid
    • Player and golf course designer from England
    • Visited the United States with golf legends Ted Ray and Harry Vardon in 1914 to play in the U.S. Open Championship
    • Later emigrated and worked at several golf clubs as a professional, including Country Club of Detroit.
    • One of the original members of the PGA of America
    • Served on the National Executive Committee of the PGA of America as vice-president at large, vice-president in 1920 and 1921 and was a member of the organizing committee of the Philadelphia Section of the PGA of America.
    • He was president of the Michigan Section from 1928-30.
  • Alex Ross
    • The third golf professional at Detroit Golf Club and the brother of famed course designer Donald Ross
    • First president of the Michigan Section in 1922.
    • Came to the U.S. to play in the U.S. Open and in 1907 was the champion at Philadelphia Cricket Club.
    • Ross went on to have five top 10s in U.S. Open play.
    • Ross is famous at Detroit Golf Club for giving Horace Rackham, a charter member of the club, his first golf lesson.
  • Dan Soper
    • Designed golf courses like Royal Oak Golf Club, which is on Don Soper Drive
    • President of the Michigan Section 1961-63
    • Three times was Michigan PGA Golf Professional of the Year (1966, ‘76 and ’78).
    • Named the PGA of America’s Golf Professional of the Year in 1978
    • Enshrined in the national PGA of America Hall of Fame.
  • Frank Sprogell
    • Served as a golf professional and superintendent at several Michigan courses including Meadowbrook and Blythefield
    • Founder of the PGA Merchandise Show.
    • Served golf as president of the Michigan Section from 1941-47
    • National Secretary of the PGA of America from 1941-46.
  • Gary Whitener
    • A caddie at age 11 at Western Country Club
    • An Evans Scholar at Michigan State University
    • Golf professional at Tam O’Shanter and Knollwood
    • Ran the Livonia municipal courses and the driveway at Whispering Willows is named Gary Whitener Drive.
    • Was involved in golf course ownership in Plymouth and Monroe.
    • Served the Michigan Section from 1978-89 as a board member, officer and committee chairperson
    • Serving the PGA of America as a District 5 Director for two years, chairman of the Special Awards Committee, vice-chairman of the Education Committee, at-large member of the Section Affairs Committee and others.
    • He was the Michigan PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 1989.

For more information visit www.michiganpgagolf.com

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