Bob Bodington was a member of The PGA of America for 64 years. He was the head professional at the Country Club of Farmington and Hartford Golf Club for many years, was a member of the Board of Directors, and served one term as President in 1967-68. Bodington died in 2014 in Juno Beach, Florida.
Tony Rowe has been serving as Head Golf Professional at Ellington Ridge Country Club for 30 years. Rowe, a PGA Member since 1982 was extremely active in the governance of the Connecticut Section PGA serving on the Board of Directors for many years culminating as President 1997-98. He was the recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2009, the Horton Smith Award in 1994, the Private Merchandiser of the Year Award in 1990, and was honored as the Golf Professional of the Year in 1992.
Paul Ryiz has been a PGA Member for 37 years and has been the head golf professional at Brownson Country Club for the past 8 years. Ryiz had an impressive playing career, winning 9 Section Player of the Year titles (1980-82, 1984-89)
STANLEY AND TED PISK
For the first time, this unique honor will be awarded to Stanley and Ted Pisk. Both were head professionals at Stanley Golf Course; Stan for 20 years until his early death in 1961, and his son, for more than 30 years. While stationed in Europe as a member of the Second Infantry Division, 38th Field Artillery, the elder Pisk established a relationship with the people in Pilzen, Czechoslovakia. His son has maintained this relationship through their gift of Czech Crystal by establishing the annual Rotary Stan Pisk Memorial High School Tournament and Scholarship program. Elected to PGA Membership in 1968, Pisk remains active as the section historian by writing the monthly Section Notes for PGA Magazine.
Tim Gavronski is a PGA Quarter Century Member, and is in his 14th season as Head Golf Professional at Shuttle Meadow Country Club, having previously spent 13 seasons as Head Golf Professional at the Black Hall Club. A major proponent of the Section and participant in its governance, Gavronski has served on nearly every Committee in the Connecticut Section. From 2001 - 2002, Gavronski served as President of the Section's Board of Directors. Gavronski was named the 1998 Connecticut Section PGA Professional of the Year, and is one of the most decorated award winners in the section, having been honored with Teacher of the Year (1995), the Bill Strausbaugh Award (1999 and 2011), the Horton Smith recipient (1995), the Youth Player Developer (2009), the Merchandiser of the Year (2000), and the President’s Award (2005) for his efforts to raise money for the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Foundation. Gavronski has singularly raised over $72,000 for the Foundation and junior golf through his annual golf marathon efforts. Gavronski has also participated in two Travelers Championships, in 1995 and 1999.
Tony Kelley has been serving for 30 years as Head Golf Professional at Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke, Mass. He also has an impressive playing career, winning several premier golf championships, including five (5) Connecticut PGA Championships (1988, 1989, 1996, 2000 and 2012), the 2014 Senior Connecticut PGA Championship, is a 3-time Section Player of the Year (1999, 2000 and 2009), and a 2-time Senior Section Player of the Year (2009 and 2013). Kelley has also captured the Connecticut PGA Professional Championship twice (1998 and 2005), and also participated in eight (8) Travelers Championships (1989, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2009). Kelley is a PGA Quarter Century member, and ranks tied for fourth all-time with nine (9) Section individual professional championship titles.
Jim Orsi spent 33 years as golf professional at New London Country Club (now Great Neck Country Club) from 1955-1988. Orsi got his start as a caddy at Shennecossett Golf Course and progressed to the rank of Assistant Professional under the legendary Del Kinney. Orsi followed Kinney to New London Country Club, and in 1955 Orsi became the youngest Head Golf Professional in the Connecticut Section at the age of 26. He is a Half Century PGA Member, having earned PGA Class A Membership in 1955, and was the 1969 Connecticut Section PGA Professional of the Year. Orsi served as the Secretary of the Connecticut Section PGA from 1962 to 1971 and wrote for the PGA Magazine from 1967 to 1970. During World War Two, Orsi served for the U.S. Army for three years, including a 16 month tour of Italy as part of the 115th Military Police Organization.
Bill Fox Sr. was a multifaceted guy, serving in World War II as a 1st Lieutenant and received the Purple Heart. He was the last living founding member of the Salisbury Rotary Club, a life insurance salesman for Great West Life Assurance Co. for 37 years, a life member of the American Legion Post #0178, a life member of the Torrington Elks Lodge, a life member of the Retired Officers Association, and a 32* Mason. He was also a dedicated husband and father of four children. His highly successful years in the Life Insurance business provided many opportunities to play a great deal of golf. Fox was a scratch golfer and always passionate about the game, winning numerous club championships and scoring several holes in one. At the age of 57, Fox decided to pursue his “second career” of PGA membership. In 1980, at the age of 62, he successfully completed his rigorous PGA apprentice training. He served on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Section PGA for several years and in 1980, he was honored as the Golf Professional of the Year. He was the founder of the Connecticut Senior Open, one of the section’s most prestigious and popular annual events.
Tom Gleeton is a graduate of Florida Southern College, a two-time All-American, and was the 1979 NCAA Individual Champion. He played on the PGA TOUR in 1986. He was inducted into the 1992 Hall of Fame Class of the Sunshine State Conference. Gleeton was elected to PGA Membership in 1988 and has served as the head golf professional at the Country Club of Waterbury since 1993. Some highlights of his career include playing in the Buick Championship in 2004, 2005, and the Travelers Championship in 2010. He is the 1998 Connecticut Section Player of the Year; 2000 Connecticut PGA Match Play Champion; 2004 Connecticut PGA Champion; and 2008 Connecticut PGA Professional Champion. In 2001, he was honored by his peers as the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year. He served as the 30th Connecticut Section PGA President in 2005-06.
Jack McConachie was elected to PGA Membership in 1978. He has served as the head golf professional at North Ridge Golf Club, formerly Pine Valley Country Club, in Southington since 1979. Some of the highlights of his playing career include: 1977 Metropolitan PGA Assistant Champion; 1982 Connecticut PGA Champion; 1984 Connecticut Open Champion; 2001 Connecticut Senior Open Champion; four time Connecticut Senior PGA Champion; and four time Connecticut PGA Senior Player of the Year. At the national level, he has competed in two PGA Championships, 1980 and 1983, and the 2006 Senior PGA Championship. McConachie was honored by his peers in 2008 as the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year and in 2012 as the Connecticut Section PGA Teacher of the Year.
Ron Beck was elected to PGA Membership on January 1, 1985. And has been the as head golf professional at Fox Hopyard Golf Club for 13 years Before joining Fox Hopyard, Beck spent 12 years at Crumpin-Fox Club from 1988 to 2000. He has served on the Connecticut PGA Board of Directors and has been previously honored by the Connecticut Section as the 1992 & 1993 Public Merchandiser of the Year, 1993 & 2006 Horton Smith award winner, 2000 & 2002 Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, 1996 Teacher of the Year, and 1997 Golf Professional of the Year. Beck is also a national PGA award winner as the 1994 Public Merchandiser of the Year. He is one of the original members of the National Education Team since 1994 administering the business portion of the curriculum to GPTP and PGA Golf Management programs to students.
Fran Marrello was elected to PGA Membership in June 1, 1988, and is the most decorated player in the Connecticut Section PGA’s 80 year history. Marrello has served as the head golf professional of Quaboag Country Club, and During his illustrious playing career, his achievements were many, including a total of 21 Championship wins. He is a Spring PGA Stroke Play Champion, two-time Tournament of Champions winner, three-time Assistant Champion, five-time Senior Connecticut PGA Champion, eight-time Match Play Champion, and two-time Connecticut PGA Champion. He is also a three-time winner of the Walter Lowell PGA Tournament, a six-time Senior Player of the Year, and eight-time Section Player of the Year. Marrello also served the section in 2013 as a Junior Golf TOUR Competition Director teaching and mentoring aspiring golfers. As a player of the game, Fran Marrello cannot be matched.
Life Member Active Vic Svenberg was elected to PGA Membership on October 11, 1961, and served as Copper Hill Golf Club’s head golf professional for over 37 years from 1961 to 1998. He has spent countless hours volunteering for Section initiatives including Play Golf America days and is also certified to work with golfers with disabilities, leading programs like ‘Golfers in Motion’ program run by Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital. Svenberg has been honored previously as a member of the PGA President’s Council on Growing the Game in 2007 and 2009 and the 1972 Connecticut PGA Golf Professional of the Year. He has been a member of the Junior Golf TOUR Competition Directors staff since 2009 helping to run and officiate at junior events. The First Tee of Connecticut has also benefited from his volunteerism, donations, and PGA Instruction since 2006. Vic Svenberg is a true giver and community leader as a PGA Professional within the Connecticut Section.
Jimmy Nichols was a Texas native and Head PGA Professional at Westover Golf Course and is most respected for his career following a train accident in 1929 that left him without his right arm. Jimmy switched his attention to help others who were disabled, aiding many in rehabilitation through the game of golf. He conducted many clinics and instructed nearly 100 people who were similarly disabled who looked to golf for its therapeutic qualities. He had a humorous, gregarious personality, making him a great showman. When he “hooked a shot” he declared to the gallery that he used too much right hand there. Jimmy was also 1976 Golf Professional of the Year and honored by the Western Massachusetts Tee Party and was the 1961 Ben Hogan Award Winner. Jimmy Nichols was loved, appreciated, and respected by all who knew him.
A 33-year member of The PGA of America, John Nowobilski has overseen the golf operations at Tallwood Country Club for over 30 years. Nowobilski was honored by the section is 2007 as the Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, 1997 as the Public Merchandiser of the Year, in 1998 as the Teacher of the Year, received the Horton Smith Award in 1982 and ’87, the Assistant Professional of the Year in 1976, and in 1986 he was the Golf Professional of the Year. John served as the Chairman of the Connecticut Section PGA 75th Anniversary Committee and was crucial to the success of that multifaceted, year long celebration.
John is also a three-time recipient of the President’s Award. Each year, he runs the Harry Nowobilski Memorial Golf Tournament in memory of his late father. Since 2002, he has been able to donate more than $140,000 to the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Foundation to support junior golf, his father’s passion. The public relations benefit he gains from this event is invaluable for the promotion of the game.
Henry Bontempo, PGA was an instrumental Connecticut Section leader in the 1940’s and the 1950’s while also establishing both the Western Massachusetts Tee Party and the Western Massachusetts Chapter of our Section. He was a runner up in the 1952 Connecticut PGA Championship and had many memorable matches and life experiences along side Bobby Jones.
WALTER "WALLY" CICHON
Wally Cichon, PGA was a colorful figure among Section professionals for over 30 years from the 50’s to the early 80’s. He served Ellington Ridge Country Club for over 30 years as its golf professional and helped forge a relationship between the club and the PGA that has resulted in over 17 Connecticut PGA Championships held at Ellington Ridge. Although he never won the Championship, he was runner up multiple times and was named the 1979 Golf Professional of the Year and the 1987 Teacher of the Year in the Section.
DONALD F. GLIHA
Don Gliha served as president of the Connecticut Section for three years from 1984 to 1986, and at a time when the Section Officers had little administrative support. He is one of only three Section professionals to be named as a two-time Teacher of the Year. After serving as Black Hall Club professional, Gliha built and still operates the Connecticut Golf Academy in Manchester, Conn. The Master Professional is the highest PGA Membership status that can be achieved academically by a PGA Member and Gliha is the only Section member to currently hold that level. Gliha continues to be an active participant in Section tournaments and education seminars, particularly on the subject of coaching and instruction.
Joel Smith, PGA is one of the founding members of the Connecticut Section PGA, which was chartered by The PGA of America in 1933. Smith was a member of the Board of Directors when it decided to petition the Association for a new Section that would include the territory of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Smith spent 31 years of his professional career at the Wallingford Country Club and he also served as its greens keeper in the late 20’s and early 30’s.
EDWARD "EDDIE" BURKE
Burke, head golf professional at Race Brook Country Club 1944-47, and Woodbridge Country Club 48-71, was the first five-time winner of the Connecticut PGA Championship 1940, ‘45, ‘46, ‘48, and ‘50. He was the 1938 Connecticut Open Champion and also won the Senior PGA Championship in 1963 and 67. He competed in several PGA Championships and holds the distinction of having defeated Sam Snead, 1-up, in the third round of Match Play in 1950. He also holds the Race Brook course record of 63. He was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 1971 for distinguished golf achievement.
Frank Kringle, a 59 year member of The PGA, was the section’s 1996 Golf Professional of the Year, the first to be honored from Western Massachusetts. He was the first golf professional at Crestview Country Club. Kringle was one of the driving forces behind the chartering of the section’s Western Massachusetts Chapter. He led his Pioneer Valley contingent to obtaining a charter in order to have better representation on the section Board of Directors and was named the first Chapter President in 1964.
Dalziel, who was born in Carnustie, Scotland, has been a PGA Member for 33 years. He began his career as an assistant golf professional at Aspetuck Valley Country Club and then Mill River Country Club. He went on to be the head professional at Mill River and later at Grassy Hill Country Club. Some of his playing highlights include: A three-time Bermuda Open Champion, a National PGA Stroke Play Champion, three Connecticut PGA Championships, two Connecticut Open Championships, a Connecticut Senior Open Championship, Low Qualifier for the Senior PGA Tour, qualifier for the Greater Hartford Open three times, Senior Series Championship, and runner-up at the British Senior Open. He was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 2005 for distinguished golf achievement. Now a PGA Life Member, he resides in Hobe Sound, Florida.
McGoldrick was elected to PGA membership in 1954 and is a member of the Half Century Club. He served as the head professional at D. Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course until his retirement in 1989. He was an active member of the section serving on the Board of Directors for five years, as Tournament Committee chairman for three years, and on the Membership Committee for seven years. Until his death in March of 2015 at the age of 88, he lived in Bridgeport and still played at D. Fairchild most days of the week.
CAPTAIN C.H. PERKINS
Except for the initial struggles of the “Founding Fathers” of the section, most of the history of the early years is a mystery. Some small bits of information from newspaper articles were discovered through research.
“Cap” Perkins, was the founder and first president of the Connecticut Section in 1933 and head golf professional at Wampanoag Country Club. He was active in the governance of The PGA of America and attended several national meetings during the 1930’s. His tireless work of organizing the PGA here resulted in the section’s growth to where, in the second year, it became one of the largest in the country. George Jacobus, national president, came here to personally laud the work he had done.
In 1933, he attended the national meeting in Chicago and was instructed to propose two things, that annual dues be lowed from $45 to $35 and that the office of business administrator be dispensed with. Connecticut was the only section with the opinion that this position, which was paid $8,000 a year, could be handled by the President at a great savings to the Association. The rest of the delegation was convinced, and the position eliminated. He came back impressed with the progress of the PGA in the area of uniform teaching methods among golf professionals.
Upon his resignation from Wampanoag, the Hartford Courant described him as “one of the most colorful and popular figures ever to occupy a golf shop in the Hartford district.”
Attempts to ascertain more information about what happened to Cap after his return to England in 1935 and to contact relatives were unsuccessful. His trophy will be displayed at the Golf House until someone comes forward.
Nettelbladt was the head golf professional at the Golf Club of Avon from 1943-1976, section president, 1958-61, and was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 1973. The 1950s were dominated by Harry who won the inaugural Connecticut Open in 1948 and then again in 1954, the Connecticut PGA Championship twice, the Connecticut Senior Championship five times, and the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New England Opens. By all reports, he is most remembered for his putting skill. He played in the first 7 Insurance City Opens, qualified 11 times for the National PGA and US Open tournaments and twice wound up fourth in the Tam O’Shanter.
Don started to play golf at age 13. He designed and built several golf courses in New England including Pleasant Valley in Sutton, Mass. He has been a resident of Thompson his whole life and owns and operates Raceway Golf Club and Restaurant and Thompson International Speedway. As an amateur he won several club championships, some local and regional tournaments, and the following: New England Junior Championship, National Junior Championship, Connecticut State Amateur, 2 Connecticut Opens, Massachusetts Open, New England Open, Rhode Island Open, 2 US Air Force Championships, and qualified for 5 US Amateur Championships and 4 US Open Championships.
Then he turned pro – in 1962. He is one of only two to win the Mass Open as both an amateur and a professional. The other is Francis Ouimet. He went on to win the Rhode Island Open, the Connecticut Section PGA Championship, 3 Connecticut Senior Open Championships, 5 Connecticut PGA Senior Championships, and the New York Senior Open. He qualified for the National Senior PGA Tour in 1987 & 1988, played in 5 US Senior Opens and 5 National Senior PGA Championships.
In 1981, he was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame and in 2003 he was honored by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance as a winner of the Golf Key Award. Over the years, he has been instrumental in raising more than $100,000 for the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Foundation to be used for junior golf programs in memory of his son-in-law, Jack Kelly. At age 78, Don plays approximately 10 rounds of golf a year with his friends.
Coscina has the distinction of winning a record eight Connecticut PGA Championships over the span of three decades. His first victory was in 1975 and then six more times over the next ten years and again in 1994. He was named section Player of the Year six times and qualified and played on the Senior PGA TOUR.
Except for a few years, Ralph’s entire career as a golf professional, starting as an assistant in 1963, to head professional in 1976, to Director of Golf in 1994, was devoted to the patrons of Manchester Country Club. He was honored as the 1978 Public Merchandiser of the Year and the 1994 Golf Professional of the Year. Ralph started in eight Greater Hartford Open tournaments, won the 1995 Senior Connecticut PGA Championship, and played as a member of several Julius Boros Challenge Cup teams. He celebrated his retirement from Manchester after 45 years in 2008. DeNicolo died on July 25, 2014, at the age of 70.
The long time Wampanaog Country Club professional won the Connecticut PGA Championship six times, the 1964 Connecticut Open, was the 1975 Player of the Year, and played in the first 15 PGA TOUR events in Hartford.
Although each of the Past Presidents made contributions to the betterment of the section, Walter Lowell, stands out as the consummate leader. His unprecedented nine terms of office resulted in his appointment as Honorary Life President and a permanent position on the Board of Directors. He was a National Vice President (now known as District Director) in 1974 and was instrumental in the charter of the Aloha Section as well as serving as the catalyst for women to be allowed to pursue PGA membership. In 1978 he was honored as The PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year.
Gary served as Section President in 1993-94, and the following year was one of the co-founders of the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Foundation. He has served on the Board of Directors since that time and as President for one term. He served as District Director in 2002-04 and won The PGA of America Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2001. He was the recipient of the Merchandiser of the Year Award in 1995, the Golf Professional of the Year in 1989, The Bill Strausbaugh Award in 1996, 97, 98, The Presidents’ Award in 2002 and 2005. Gary retired from Hartford Golf Club in 2008 after 27 years at the club.
In 1995, while serving as President, Frank Selva co-founded the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Foundation. Frank worked with the PGA of America and the World Special Olympic Games to introduce and implement the inaugural golf competition at Yale University. Frank is the recipient of The Assistant Professional of the Year Award in 1973, Golf Professional of the Year Award in 1983, The Bill Strausbaugh Award in 1992 and 2004, The Horton Smith Trophy in 1989. Junior Golf Leader in 1999 and in 2006 he was selected as The PGA of America Junior Golf Leader.
Stan won the Connecticut PGA Championship in 1968 and the Senior Connecticut PGA 1968, 69, 70, and 78. He served as head professional for 40 years at Green Woods Country Club. Stan is the oldest and longest serving member of the section, 69 years.
The former professional at Longmeadow Country Club won the first two Connecticut Section Player of the Year titles in 1970 and 1971. He also won the 1967 Connecticut PGA Championship.