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Dennis Walters among Two South Florida PGA Hall of Fame Inductees
Dennis Walters, one of golf's most popular and best-traveled trick-shot entertainers and motivational speakers, and Roger Woonton, longtime Advisory Board member of the SFPGA and faithful supporter of the local golf community are the newest inductees into the SFPGA Hall of Fame.
The ninth annual awards dinner / induction ceremony is scheduled for mid November. Walters and Woonton will be the 24th and 25th inductees since the SFPGA Hall of Fame was established in 2002.
Dennis Walters, a popular trick shot artist and motivational speaker, is paralyzed from the waist down. Although his dream was to play for the PGA Tour, Walters determined to never give up playing golf, and thus a new career was born. Walters uses his personal experience to challenge and encourage young people to never give up. He travels the world and performs the "Dennis Walters Golf Show" to inspire children to achieve their dreams. Each year he performs a special local show and draws up to 700 elementary students from Broward, Dade and Palm Beach County.
Walters is one of eleven honorary lifetime members of the PGA of America. In 2008, The PGA of America presented him with their highest honor, The Distinguished Service Award. In 2009, Dennis was appointed a spokesperson and national ambassador for The First Tee.
Don Law, fellow PGA member, said, "Dennis has spent a lifetime encouraging young people through his gift for golf and is an unbelievable ambassador of hope for all."
Walters is delighted to be inducted. "I very much appreciate the honor of being inducted into the South Florida PGA Golf Hall of Fame. The game of golf has always been such a big part of my life. After my accident, my love of the game helped me get through some of the darkest days of my life and led me to a career that I am very proud of. This 34 year journey began in South Florida. I am honored to join other South Floridians in the Hall of Fame."
Roger Woonton has served faithfully on the South Florida Section PGA advisory board for 17 consecutive years beginning in 1993 and continues to do so today. Woonton has been instrumental in helping establish many of the South Florida PGA's successful programs, including the GolfPass program, SFPGA Junior Tour, SFPGA Charitable Foundation and the Section Hall of Fame. Woonton was one of the primary people responsible for recruiting individuals to join the Grilleroom / Foundation Club that generated over $200,000 for South Florida junior golf and other charitable programs. He has a long history of serving with various charities and the local golf community.
Woonton said, "I am very thankful to the nominating committee and for all the votes. It's quite an honor and I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude."
Geoff Lofstead, South Florida PGA Executive Director, said about the two inductees, "Both of these individuals have made a significant impact in many lives and local charities and certainly deserve this honor of being inducted into the SFPGA Hall of Fame."
The criteria for nomination is based on a person, professional or amateur, having significantly impacted the South Florida golfing community through dedication and contributions to the game while possessing recognizable achievements and being a unifying force in golf. Inductees must have at least 10 years of service to the game of golf within South Florida and have made outstanding contributions to the Section or service to the section. Inductees are selected by a committee comprised of the SFPGA executive board, former section presidents, previous inductees and selected at-large members. Nominations are made by a separate committee. Both committees consist of over 40 PGA professionals.
Previous inductees include:
2009 - Joe Lopez Sr and Kevin Maroney
2008 - Patty Berg
2007 - Don Beattie and Bob Toski
2006 - John Nelson and Craig Perna
2005 - Julius Boros and Lynn Josephson
2004 - Mike McLellan and Sam Smidt
2003 - Burl Dale, Charles DeLuca Jr., Laurie Hammer, John LaPonzina, Harry Pezzullo and Dr. Gary Wiren
2002 - Ed Ficker, Bobby Goodman, Roger Kennedy Sr., Jack Nicklaus, W.A. (Dub) Pagan and Henry Watkins Jr.
About the South Florida PGA
The South Florida PGA, one of 41 PGA Section offices throughout the United States, is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the game of golf while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. The South Florida Section is one link in the grass-roots network used to facilitate communication amongst the nation's 25 million amateur golfers and the PGA's 28,000 members. The South Florida Section PGA is comprised of over 1,600 men and women PGA Professionals dedicated to growing participation in the game of golf. For more information, visit www.sflorida.pga.com or call 561/624-7676.
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