PGA Legacy and Heritage 

"Paying tribute to the contribution of PGA men and women in growing the game of golf in New Zealand for over 100 years" 
When 12 golf professionals met in Dunedin in October 1913, they had clear plans to help the growth of the game of golf in New Zealand, and a desire to set standards for the profession and to ensure that professional golfers received proper recognition for their skills and expertise. A century on, those objectives are still valid, but none of the founding fathers could have envisaged that their Association would grow to more than 400 members plying their trade throughout New Zealand and around the world, as part of an alliance of more than 35,000 qualified PGA professional engaged in the sport and business of golf.
Much like the game itself, the intervening 100 years has seen its share of triumphs and disasters, but the PGA of New Zealand is poised to play its part in the next century in growing the game, in helping more people play more golf, better.
Join with us as we Drive to the next Century.
PGA of NZ Recognises  Dennis M Clark with  Life Membership at the 2020 PGA AGM 

He started his love affair with golf by caddying at Titirangi in 1960 at the tender age of 10 years old, at this time it was a great way earning some pocket money and at 45 cents a round the money could be invested into Jelly tip ice creams and sports journals.

After a few rounds of caddying Dennis had saved enough money to purchase a Putter and 6 iron, and at the time Caddies were allowed to play in the evenings on the beautiful Titirangi course and this is where Dennis’ creative flare as a golfer developed, playing out of the many challenging Titirangi bunkers with only a six iron rapidly develops your ability to use imagination and manipulate the club into getting the ball to fly the desired trajectory and distance.

As Dennis developed as a golfer his handicap plummeted and he starting playing junior pennants for Titirangi, after reading an article on the successes of his second cousin and name sake Dennis Yogi Clark a glamorous life as a golf professional was in the future for Dennis, and so he started his apprenticeship at the club in 1967. It turned out to be a false start to his career, and he returned to the amateur ranks.

After spending some time coaching Rugby League, he realised coaching was his true passion, and returned to the Titirangi golf club to complete his PGA Apprenticeship under Aubrey Jolley in March 1971.

A year later Dennis moved to the Rotorua GC to work under John Carter to complete time 72-74, learning club pro skills required, from one of the best. Shortly before completing time at Rotorua was approached by the Lady President of Whanganui GC, who was up for a tournament and encouraged Dennis to apply for the club professional’s job at Belmont upon completion of training. Dennis did so, and was appointed professional at the Whanganui Golf Club June 1974. Dennis thrived in Whanganui working the local community to promote and grow the game in the region, one particular highlight was the work he did with a number of representative players in the Manawatu /Wanganui region who almost stole the Freyberg Rosebowl from Auckland in the 1975 final.

After 4 great years in Whanagnui Dennis headed back to Auckland to do some freelance coaching, and in the early 80s took up a professional role at Akarana and later at Waitakere and Pinesong, a 9 hole public course in Titirangi. Dennis serviced a number of clubs in the area coaching at courses around the Auckland area building strong junior programmes at a number of clubs.

In 1990 was appointed to a coaching role at Remuera. During his time at Remuera he built up a coaching reputation and a large progressive junior programme. Dennis also applied his passion for building and repairing clubs, and golf media where he wrote articles for numerous local and international golf publications and national media. Due to the popularity of his writing Dennis set up an Auckland Golf Newspaper that keep golfers and the interested public up to date and informed on all matters golf.

Writing and a passion for people to be informed and educated lead to Dennis developing an NZQA programme for a Diploma for Sport and Recreation (Golf) for AUT, and he lectured the programme for 5 years at Akoranga University. Along with working for AUT Dennis was appointed as the PGA Board Director of Education for 2 years.

From the late 90s onward Dennis was a key team member at the Takapuna driving range coaching a large number of players, one of whom he spent time with traveling internationally as coach and caddy on LPGA Tours.

Dennis was again elected to the PGA board in 2015 and was appointed president of the PGA of NZ in 2017.

After 60 years in the game, 49 as a pro, Dennis still feels a sense of excitement every time he drives through the gates of a golf club, whether to play, work, or just visit.

“In coaching, I have a love for seeing students realise how extraordinary they are and what they are capable of”.

Dr Gary Wiren USPGA Master Professional and Master Teacher said,“I would certainly encourage people to listen to Dennis Clark as he is on the right track for creating ‘real golfers’, those who love the game and can play it”.

PGA Member Profile - Brian Doyle  
Brian Doyle has been a member of the Professional Golfers' Association of New Zealand for 47 years and dedicated his professional life to great of golf, Brian has many achievements and is still very happy giving back to the game he loves so much. Brian resides in the Hawkes Bay and is always willing to share time with any golf enthusiast, for more details on Brian click on the link below for his professional profile. 
/clubs/1028/uploads/BRIAN DOYLE PGA Profile.pdf 
Good things come in threes
19 April 2013
Golf history has several examples of small groups of players who completely dominated the game in their era.  In the 1890`s and early 1900`s, the “Triumvirate” of Vardon, Braid and Taylor had a stranglehold on the Open Championship and virtually everything else at that time.  More recently, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player exerted similar dominance to the point that anyone finishing ahead of all three in any given tournament was almost guaranteed victory.
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Victory Progress
18 March 2013
As with all facets of society, World War II hit the game of golf and the players who were building their careers and reputations prior to the outbreak of war in 1939.  Who knows how many majors would have been won by Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Henry Cotton but for other commitments?  Or how many more NZ Opens and PGA Championships would have been added to Andy Shaw’s tally?
A fascinating radio interview from 1940 gives a real “back to the future” flavour, with Shaw talking about the R & A’s efforts to limit the distance the golf ball was travelling, while retaining its playability around the greens.  Maybe the rules makers and researchers were diverted to other projects – such as building the atom bomb – but 70+ years on the same arguments rage. 
Listen to the full radio interview (15.2Mb)
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The Golden Era of Golf
(February 2013 Golfer Pacific Article)
The 1920’s was  arguably the first golden era in golf, dominated by American golfers who won nine Open Championships during the decade.  The profile of the game was lifted hugely by superstars such as Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen.  Although Hagen and Jones never visited New Zealand, Sarazen did in 1930, when he ran into New Zealand’s own superstar of the time, Andy Shaw.  You’ll hear more of Shaw in a minute, and in subsequent articles.
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The 1930s: Golf on the move!
17 February 2013
While the rest of the world struggled with the aftermath of the 1929 Wall Street crash, golf in New Zealand grew at a rate belying this.  The NZ PGA, which started the decade with fewer than 40 members, had 69 accredited professionals by the outbreak of World War II reflecting the rapid growth in golf clubs, which by 1939 totalled 328 clubs with over 29,000 members.  PGA professionals could be found not only in the main centres, but also in towns like Hawera, Hanmer and Oamaru.
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Beyond the Hickory
17 July 2012
My recent article on hickory clubs and the skill of old time players like Ted Ray, who used only seven clubs throughout his career, led me to investigate why we have finished up with the current limit of 14 clubs – a rule which was established in 1938.  Hickory clubs themselves were sometimes highly specialised, as a visit to Allan McKay’s Millbrook shop will confirm: there you will see clubs specifically designed to play out of cart tracks, long grass or even water, no doubt designed for pessimists who doubted their ability to find the short grass on a regular basis.
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Back in the Day...
The Scottish origins of our game are well known to all golfers, but the role of the Scots and their early professionals in spreading the game around the world has probably not received due recognition.  In the 1880s and 1890s, there was an exodus of many Scottish professional golfers and clubmakers to all parts of the globe, driven no doubt by the promise of better wages and conditions, and in some cases by health reasons and the search for a better climate.

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How good were those guys?
The golfing world of the 1970s was vastly different to today.  The European Tour played all their tournaments in Europe during the northern hemisphere summer; the PGA Tour had a longer season but essentially wrapped up by October.  Australian events fitted into a January / February time frame.
That left a window for an extended New Zealand professional circuit from Labour Weekend until early January.  A glance at the 1976 programme shows seven four round tournaments and ten Pro-Ams fitting into that space, ranging from the $500 Drysdale Ales Pro-Am at Maungakiekie to the $35,000 NZ Airlines Golf Classic at Russley, with total prize money of around $200,000.  That may not sound much by today’s standards, but if we consider that the 1971 US Open at Merion was played for $US 190,000, and translate that into the 2013 purse equivalent, our circuit was effectively worth around $8 million in today’s money.
Certainly it was enough to attract a dazzling array of overseas stars to these shores, from a 20 year old Severiano Ballesteros (who won the Otago Charity Classic in 1977), to the likes of Tom Watson, Tom Kite, George Archer, Tom Weiskopf, Sam Snead, George Archer, Tony Jacklin, Jumbo Ozaki and all the top Australians headed by Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle.  Some may have come for a spot of fishing, but collectively they made up the strongest fields this country has ever seen, or is likely to see.
However, local golfers more than held their own in 1976, with Simon Owen winning the NZ Open and John Lister three other tournaments including the PGA Championship.  He was also runner-up in the Airlines Classic at Russley, having won that tournament (previously known as the Garden City Classic) four times in a row from 1972 to 1975.  In the history of tournament golf around the world, such a feat has only been matched by one other golfer: Tiger Woods with four Bay Hill Invitationals from 2000 to 2003.
Arguably, John has not received the recognition he deserved.  Between 1972 and 1977, he won 10 of the 25 four round tournaments played in New Zealand, including three PGA Championships.  He was more than competitive overseas, winning two European Tour events and the Quad Cities Open (now the John Deere Classic) to cap off an outstanding 1976 year.  He played in seven Majors and made the cut in each of them, including the 1971 US Open at Merion.  He was the only player to birdie the notorious 18th during the final round, and finished with a four round total of 290, which earned him $US 1,080.  The identical score in the 2013 Open was worth $US 116,000.  Playing in the same field was Bob Charles, who finished 17th with a total of 286, and $US 2,220 as a result.  In 2013, that would have been a top 10 finish worth $US 210,000.
Back in the 1970s, we probably didn’t appreciate how good these players were on the world stage, and how fortunate we were to watch golf of such quality for a good part of the summer.  We cannot replicate that against the crowded and competing tour schedules of today, but we should certainly acknowledge the importance of hard competitive golf on our home circuit as the base for building success at the highest level, and do our best to support it wherever we can.

Milestones in the History of the PGA of New Zealand
Twelve golf professionals gather at the City Hotel in Dunedin on October 15th to form the Professional Golfers’ Association of New Zealand. F G (Fred) Hood is elected as the first Chairman. Coaching fees set at 35 cents (equivalent) per hour, or 20 cents per half hour lesson
Second AGM held in Auckland, combined with competitions for professional 
First PGA Championship held in Hamilton, won by Joe Kirkwood (matchplay)
PGA resumes activities after World War I – holds AGM in Palmerston North
Andy Shaw wins first of his seven NZ Open titles, at Miramar
Membership reaches 50. First Life Members elected: H R Blair, James Watt, Reg Butters and J A Clements
PGA Board votes to allow free subscriptions for members serving in the armed forces
PGA holds first meeting after World War II in Auckland, with 27 members attending. Wisemans agree to sponsor a Victory Tournament, which ran annually until 1949
First Caltex tournament held at Paraparaumu Beach; continues until 1973
Bob (later Sir Bob) Charles joins PGA, after a special resolution of the PGA Board
Bob Charles wins the Open Championship at Royal Lytham St Annes
NZ PGA Championship is run directly by the PGA as a 72 hole stroke play event, played for £2,000 at Mount Maunganui.
New Zealand Professional golf circuit grows to seven major events, with total prize money of $164,000. Bob Charles elected as president of the PGA of New Zealand.
Large ball made compulsory for the PGA Championship. NZ Open continues to make this optional
Membership reaches 260
PGA Championship goes into recess
Code of Ethics agreed and included in the rules of the Association
World Cup of Golf held at Gulf Harbour, with PGA member Richard Ellis playing a key role
PGA Championship reinstated at Clearwater, and played for a purse of $A1 million
Michael Campbell wins US Open at Pinehurst
PGA Championship moves to The Hills, Arrowtown; Pro-Am format introduced alongside the 72 hole Championship.  Michael Hendry wins in a close finish
2013 A gala dinner to celebrate 100 years of the NZPGA was held at the Sky City Conference rooms. It was attended by many local and overseas guests of the association, as well as a wonderful attendance from the NZPGA members throughout the country. The association's board had worked for over a year in preparation for the event.