July 7, 2014. The Long Beach Golf Hall of Fame will be welcoming two new members in 2014, according to Hall of Fame Chairman Len Kennett. The new members are Greg Hetzer and Phil Kessler.
"The City of Long Beach has a rich tradition of good golf, good golfers, and great tournaments," said Kennett. "We want to acknowledge those who have played the game well, like Greg Hetzer, and those who introduce the game to others, particularly to young people, like Phil Kessler. These two men represent what is good about golf in general and in Long Beach in particular."
Greg Hetzer – Greg began his competitive golf at Diablo Junior College where he was selected First Team All-Conference. When he transferred to Long Beach State, he was the #4 player on the team that finished 8th at the 1974 NCAA Championship at Carlton Oaks CC in San Diego. He qualified for the California State Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links four times, and advanced to the round of 16 in 1975. In 1976 he was the Medalist in the US Amateur Public Links Local Qualifying and in 1977 he advanced to the round of 16 in the championship proper held at Deer Creek GC in Milwaukee. Greg decided to turn professional and worked at Skylinks Golf Course for five years under fellow Long Beach Golf Hall of Fame member Frank Newell, Jr. Greg played professionally for four years in Canada, carding several top three finishes and earning points for the Order of Merit. After being reinstated as an amateur, he won the Long Beach City Match Play Championship in 1992 (an event in which he was runner-up in 1977, before he turned pro) and he has won the Club Championship at Virginia Country Club seven times. Once eligible, he began playing in senior amateur events, and as of his induction had qualified to play in two consecutive US Senior Amateur Championships, including being medalist in one Local Qualifier. Greg also served for six years on the Virginia CC Board of Directors, where he chaired the Committee that redesigned and renovated the course's greens and bunkers.
Phil Kessler – As the sustainability of the game of golf becomes a concern, Phil Kessler is doing his part by introducing the game to kids, and doing it with a passion. Phil was born in Muskegon, MI, where he took up the game at age 4 and worked at the Muskegon CC, before moving to California in 1990. His involvement with junior golfers began in 1994 at Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course in Irvine. In 1998, he was appointed the Director of Junior Instruction at Heartwell Park Golf Course and took over a program that averaged four junior participants per month. Under his leadership, the program has grown to where now, an average of 75 juniors participate every month. Phil has also been instrumental in the growth of the highly popular Long Beach Junior Golf Association, where he was brought on board by fellow Long Beach Golf Hall of Famer member Bev Brines, and he is the lead instructor and curriculum coordinator for the Association. Every Friday night for 16 consecutive years, he has taught the fundamentals to hundreds of the program's members, and created a rules and etiquette class to augment the knowledge the juniors receive about the swing. Along with his Long Beach work, he has volunteered with the Tregnan Junior Academy at Griffith Park, the First Tee of Los Angeles, the Urban Youth Golf Foundation, and in 2007 he was named the Outstanding Instructor for the Urban Youth Golf Foundation. Phil is also trained in club repair and club fitting and educated in how the club shaft effects the swing.
As always, the Long Beach Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will follow the conclusion of the $165,000 Long Beach Open professional golf tournament at El Dorado Park GC on Sunday, July 27, 2014, at approximately 2:30 p.m.
|| Phil Kessler