Oldest Surviving Member of PGA Dies

The oldest member of the PGA of America has passed away. Joseph J. "Bud" Lewis died November 22nd at his home at Wyncote, Pa., at the age of 103.

Mr. Lewis was also the longest-serving member of the PGA of America, the association for club and teaching golf professionals.

After joining the PGA in 1931, Mr. Lewis worked as a professional at five clubs before landing the job as head professional at Manufacturers Golf and Country Club in Oreland, Pa., in 1943. Even after he retired in 1979, Mr. Lewis remained at the club as the pro emeritus and gave lessons until he was well past the age of 90.

"Why do I still give them?" he said once in an interview. "I have 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Whatever I make, I give to them." Since those comments were made in 1996, Mr. Lewis's number of great-grandchildren rose to 18.

According to reporter Joe Juliano of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mr. Lewis was a fine player but thought he was better suited to being a club pro. The great Byron Nelson was one observer who believed Mr. Lewis could have made a go of it on the professional circuit.

"I was playing with Nelson and [Gene] Sarazen at Torresdale-Frankford, and I broke 70 twice," Mr. Lewis told Juliano. "Nelson asked me, 'Why aren't you playing the Tour?' I said, 'Hell, no. I've got kids. I've got to make some money.' "

Mr. Lewis won Philadelphia Section PGA championships in 1943 and '48, and the Philadelphia Open in 1942 and '50. He also competed in three U.S. Opens and six PGA Championships.

But teaching golfers was what Mr. Lewis was best at. In his book, "A Centennial Tribute to Golf in Philadelphia," author James W. Finegan wrote that LPGA Hall of Famer Patty Berg considered Mr. Lewis the best teacher in golf. He also taught blind golfers and ran tournaments for them.

For Juliano's full story, visit http://articles.philly.com/2011-11-27/news/30447258_1_sarazen-pga-card-manufacturers-golf.