Will Mann, director of player development for the PGA Professional Golf Management Program at Coastal Carolina University, has been selected as the 2012 Legend of the PGA of America.
The Legend award was created in 1995 to recognize living past presidents of the PGA who have made positive changes within the organization and community. Mann served from 1999-2000 as the PGA’s 31st president.
“It’s always nice to be recognized for something you enjoy doing by your peers,” Mann said. “I think the most fun I’ve had with it is the opportunity to share it with Coastal Carolina and the students there.”
Mann’s golf career began and continues on the Grand Strand.
He graduated from North Carolina State with a bachelor’s degree in forestry and was the first superintendent at Myrtle Beach National Golf Club. Mann oversaw construction and turf management for the property’s three courses, which opened between 1973 and ’75.
When course architect Frank Duane was partially paralyzed after an adverse reaction to a bee sting, Mann and the club’s pros used Duane’s routing plans and employed and altered the plans during construction of the first layout, the North Course.
He has since become a head pro, general manager and course owner, and became a member of the PGA in 1979.
His first role in PGA administration was as an officer for the Carolinas Section. He served as the Carolinas PGA Section president in 1992-93, and two years later served as national secretary of the PGA.
During his PGA presidency, Mann championed programs to benefit PGA members including PGA Retirement Plus, which has helped PGA members supplement their retirement policies, and the Ryder Cup Player Charity Distribution Plan, which has given more than $18 million to date.
He is also a strong supporter of the Special Olympics, was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at NCSU in 2011, and was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 2005.
“William Mann is passionate about the PGA of America, and I think he looks upon the opportunity to teach as a way not only to share some of his experience and breadth of knowledge with students, but also to give back to the profession and the organization that has been so good to him,” said Charlie Thrash, director of CCU’s PGM program.
Gary Schaal of Murrells Inlet, who assisted Mann with the North Course construction as an assistant pro at Myrtle Beach National, has also received the Legend of the PGA honor.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.