“Founded with the purpose of finding the world’s greatest putter, to promote Putt-Putt Golf Courses of America
and its franchised locations.”
circa 1959 Don Clayton, Founder of Putt-Putt Golf Courses and The Professional Putters Association.
$50,000 PPA National Championship Highlights 2014 Season
LYNCHBURG, Va. - A PPA deja vu tournament program with prize monies of $80,000, including a $50,000 PPA National Championship with a five-digit first-place prize, a $10,000 PPA Tournament Players Championship, a $10,000 PPA Legends Diamond Jubilee Cup and the $10,000 PPA Hall of Fame Classic, highlights the 2014 Professional Putters Association/Amateur Putters Association season.
“One of our greatest season tours was in 1963, when then PPA National Tournament Director Dale Brady announced the $50,000 PPA National Championship on behalf of the Putt-Putt Fun Centers National Board of Directors, with a first-place prize of $10,000 that drew 231 professionals and 67 amateurs to North Olmsted, Ohio, and was won by Johnny Spotts of Indianapolis, Ind.,” says Joe Aboid, 58, the PPA National Tournament Director. “Our PPA National Tournament board of directors was thrilled with the success of our 2013 PPA National Championship held in Burlington, N.C., and because of the enthusiasm of our PPA and APA players there, the board decided to return to one of our sport's grandest moments in history with this year's program.”
It is a season based on the past, and one looking to the future.
“In this, our 60th anniversary, we turned to a PPA board of directors who not only have a lifetime of knowledge about the Putt-Putt franchise system, but a passion for the sport of putting,” said David Callahan, chief executive officer and president of Putt-Putt LLC, which is based in Winston-Salem, N.C. “The board understands and recognizes that our Putt-Putt Fun Center owners, managers and employees are the lifeblood of our franchise system, and have been for 60 years. And those members of the Professional Putters Association and the Amateur Putters Association have been a proud part of us for 55 years, and we could not be more pleased in joining with the PPA National Board of Directors in announcement of the 2014 PPA/APA Season Tour.”
PPA and APA membership applications are requested to be on file at PPA Headquarters in Lynchburg, Va. by March 15, 2014, with all players indicating tournament-participation intent, according to the PPA National Board of Directors. Applications are subject to review, and members will be notified of acceptance on proputters.org or by email inquiry to the PPA Commissioner or the PPA National Board of Directors. Aboid added that PPA Northern, Southern, Southwest, Virginia and Indiana regional tour schedules are being reviewed by the PPA National Board of Directors, and will be finalized and announced in January. Click here to download 2014 PPA/APA application, to view the rule book and prize money breakdown.
$10,000 PPA Legends Diamond Jubilee Cup
The 2014 PPA season is scheduled to begin on June 21-22 with the $10,000 PPA Legends Diamond Jubilee Cup at the flagship Putt-Putt Fun Center in Hope Mills, a suburb of Fayetteville, N.C., and just 8 miles from where the late founder Don Clayton opened the first franchise on June 21, 1954.
“The two-day, 144-hole medal play event includes a countdown to the sport's top 60 players in PPA players history,” Aboid said. “We will announce the 60th player on June 21, and identify each player daily on the PPA website, proputters.org, and conclude with announcement of the No. 1 player in history at the PPA National Championship. The PPA will be revealing the top 60 PPA players of all time based on a vote of 13 of the game's most respected players, and all who have a keen knowledge of PPA history that encompasses 55 years of PPA tournaments through participation, organization and other contributions.”
Among the 105 nominees are:
Vance Randall, Neil Connor, Dick and Evelyn Florin, Ron Frederick, Jim Borchelt, Jimmy Harritos, Mike Baldoza, Ed Haggerty, Greg Ward, Rick Smith, Daryl Freeman, Ray Browning, Ken Boy, Roger Beckerman, Kevin Lacy, Andy Coradini, Mark Coup, Buddy Taylor, Eugene Carter, Lewis Burton, Alan Quinnelly, Jeff Estep, Eddie Coy, Randy Deloach, John Connor, Mike Brown, Brice Bergensen, Joel Baker, Gary English, Rick Baird, David Gies, Earl Fritts, Bobby Gilmore, Charles Gatewood, Herman Strickland, Tracy Moore, Charles McIntosh, Frank Holt, Bob Williamson, Steve Haeseker, Steve Guyton, Jay Klapper, Robert Johnson, Brad Lebo, Carl Strickland, John Roessner, Gary Love, Bill Kirby Jr., Bob Lipscomb, Cliff Matthews, John Bambling, Ralph Sapp, Lee Weldy, Rainey Statum, Frank Warren, Robert Smith, Randy Reeves, Condy Roberson, Marc Portugal, Ron Nixon, Greg Newport, Gary Miller, Roger Moore , Ray Miller, Bob Duncan, Pat Youmans, Lehman Key, Chuck Schafer, Dean Dwiggins and Dan Anders.
$10,000 PPA Hall of Fame Classic
The $10,000 PPA Hall of Fame Classic is scheduled for Aug. 2-3 at the Putt-Putt Fun Center in Charlottesville, Va., where Putt-Putt Fun Center franchise owner Lloyd Wood, 78, will be inducted as the 47th member of the PPA Hall of Fame.
The PPA Hall of Fame Player Category is under consideration.
“I'm overwhelmed,” said Wood, who began construction of his first Putt-Putt Fun Center on June 10, 1959 on Hydrolic Road and later moved the franchise in 1966 to its current location on Rio Road. “I am honored to even have been considered for the PPA Hall of Fame.
“I love Putt-Putt.
“It has been a great business for me and my family for so long."
Wood managed Putt-Putt Fun Centers in Richmond, Va., while a student at the University of Richmond before becoming a franchise owner.
“My first association with the Professional Putters Association came back in, I believe it was, 1961,” Wood said. “I was in Fayetteville, N.C. at the home office meeting with Mr. Don Clayton. He convinced me to host a $1,000 PPA tournament on my course. I was hesitant to commit to that, but Mr. Clayton guaranteed me the tournament would be a success. And, he was right. Since then I have enjoyed hosting tournaments whenever I have been asked and look forward to seeing the players that play our game. They are a good group of people."
And his Rio Road facility will offer a challenge to every competitor at the $10,000 PPA Hall of Fame Classic.
“If ever there has been a test of putting skills, it is this course built by Lloyd Wood in 1966,” said Bill Baus, 63, the PPA Pros-Players Chairman. “And Lloyd Wood is a former Putt-Putt Fun Center Board of Directors member who always embraced PPA and APA competitions with open arms along with franchise owners such as Howard Loy, Jack Seaton, Jim Black, Todd Lecka, Harold Barnett, Jocko Dively, Ed Haddad and Phil Aboid. He will be inducted into the PPA Hall of Fame Executive Category, and this induction is long overdue for this time-honored franchise owner who has dedicated his life to the franchise system, the sport and his beloved city of Charlottesville, Virginia.” Lloyd F. Wood Named 2012 Chamber Volunteer Award
$50,000 PPA National Championship
The season concludes Sept. 30-Oct. 3 with the 55th PPA National Championship, a three-day and 12-round marathon at the Putt-Putt Fun Center in Lake Charles, La.
“He would be beaming with pride,” said Greg Simpson, co-owner and general manager of the franchise that was purchased in 1960 by his late father, 1998 PPA Hall of Famer Al Simpson.
Al Simpson was a charter member of the PPA, winner of the 1965 Fort Worth Open, 1966 Waco Open, 1968 Port Arthur Open, 1971 Lake Charles Open, 1971, 1975, 1986 Gulf Coast Tournament of Champions and 1986 Louisiana State Championship. He was honored as the 1981 Putt-Putt Fun Center Owner of the Year and served as the 2002 PPA Commissioner.
“He would already be thinking of how to make the 2014 PPA National Championship the very best it can be for the players,” Greg Simpson said. “Now that we know the 2014 PPA National Championship Week will be in Lake Charles, we will move forward with several ideas to create a memorable event and energize the community.”
Simpson said he and his family, all who will attend the championship, are already in the planning stages for PPA National Championship Week.
“We are looking at welcome bags for each participant with a local Cajun theme,” Simpson said. “Tours for those that travel to our area, prizes for a perfect 18. We have had a 19 shot three times on Course 2 in the last few years by Wade Sahmel, Mike Baldoza, and last year Jesse Hebert did it in his first ever event as an APA member. We also are planning a cookout with a Cajun menu, a charity event and a car show or mini-parade. We are a long way from finalizing any of this, but we hope to do so as soon as possible in anticipation of this great event that we are so proud to host.”
Matt McCaslin of Raleigh, N.C. won the 2013 PPA National Champions in Burlington with rounds of 24-23-23-23-27-28-29-26 – 203, 85 under par, to take the top prize of $3,000. Kevin Lacy of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Greg Newport of York, S.C. shared second at 205, each winning $1,000. Joey Graybeal of Bristol, Tenn., won the 2013 APA National Championship with a 214 total, 74 under par, for a one-stroke victory over David Meyers of High Point, N.C. and Ben Blake of Waynesville, N.C.
PPA Seniors National Championship
The 2014 PPA Seniors National Championship will be staged over the first two days and eight rounds of the PPA National Championship.
Frank Warren of Martinez, Ga., won the 2013 PPA National Championship Seniors title with scores of 24-25-25-25-27 – 126. Chris Chafin if High Point, N.C., was second at 129. Larry Smith of Birmingham, Ala., took the 2013 APA National Seniors crown with rounds of 29-26-30-26-25 – 136, and a one-stroke victory over Randal Smith of Greensboro, N.C.
$10,000 PPA Tournament Players Championship
The PPA National Championship Week will include the $10,000 PPA Tournament Players Championship, which was won in 2013 by Frank Warren with rounds of 24-25-25-25 – 99, 45 under par. Nate Nichols of Columbus, Ind., and Manfred Stewart of Richmond, Va., were second at 100. Ray Guthrie of Thomasville, N.C., won the APA division with scores of 29-24-29-26 – 108, 36 under par, to slip past Randal Smith and John Kropinak, both at 110.
PPA Charity Pro-Ams
Charity pro-ams , Aboid said, will be identified for all events at later dates.
“Coming off a successful 2013 season, in which we raised over $10,000 for charity, and in which we crowned three relative youngsters as our major champions, I am anxiously looking forward to the 2014 season,” Baus, the PPA Pros Players chairman, said. “Thanks to the generosity and belief in our sport shown by David McCollister and his enterprises, we will be playing for a much larger prize fund than in the near past. I hope that all of our membership, professionals and amateurs alike, will continue to support the PPA this season.”
The PPA and APA raised more than $10,000 for charities in 2013, with The Ronald McDonald House of Memphis receiving $2,500 at the charity pro-am at the $10,000 PPA Western Open, $2,500 for the Fairhaven Foundation to assist developmentally disabled children and adults at the $10,000 PPA Northern Open in Warren, Ohio, and $6,000 for the Alamance Regional Charitable Foundation at the $30,000 PPA National Championship in Burlington, N.C.
“We were more than pleased with our 2013 PPA National Championship in Burlington, and the enthusiasm and energy of the players – professionals and amateurs – reminded me of the 1963 PPA National Championship, which was held on Phil Aboid and Ed Haddad's courses in the Great Northern Shopping Center in North Olmsted, a suburb of Cleveland,” Bill Kirby Jr. of the PPA National Board said. “I played in that event as a 14-year-old amateur, and I can still remember the excitement and anticipation of that great PPA National Championship. This is our 2014 PPA National Tournament program, tailored from 50 years ago. We were diligent, and we considered every aspect and every recommendation of our membership, including a 12-round PPA National Championship. We wanted the most for all players, and never the least. We are where we are today in the PPA/APA season ahead because great leaders of our Putt-Putt and PPA past were there in that Cleveland suburb 50 years ago, and in this 2014 PPA/APA season because of David Callahan, Robin Kerr, Joe Aboid, David McCollister, Greg Simpson and others who gave us such support in developing this program that could not be more fitting for Putt-Putt Fun Center's 60th anniversary.”
The PPA National Board of Directors, according to Gary Hinshaw of the PPA National Board of Directors, did not turn a deaf ear nor did it turn a blind eye to its membership's hopes and dreams for the PPA's future.
"In designing the 2014 PPA National schedule, the PPA National Tournament Board listened to the players and met many of their desires, with more prize money, challenging tournament sites and more rounds of competition to test and reward the best Putt-Putt players in the game," Hinshaw said just hours before the Dec. 18, 2013 official announcement of the 2014 PPA/APA National Tour Season. "In a year when Putt-Putt Fun Center celebrates its 60th anniversary, it's exciting that the PPA and APA can be a part of that celebration through 2014 PPA National Tour with over $80,000 in prize monies, and three exciting new sites to compete, our hope is that every PPA member and every APA member looks forward to being a part of and embracing this celebration.”
David McCollister, who represents sponsors Southern Key Investments, Innovative Care and Elder Outreach out of Baton Rouge, La., calls the 2014 PPA/APA season on of the most exciting in recent memory and is a result of the 2013 PPA National Championship Week in Burlington, N.C.
“Last year's PPA National Championship in Burlington was an example of the excellence we should all strive for,” Mcollister said. “The PPA's charitable giving can only bring future success to our organization, and I have no doubt that the PPA Nationals in Lake Charles, with prize money of $50,000 and a top prize of $10,000, will be remembered as one of the finest events ever for the PPA."
Aboid calls the 2014 PPA/APA season an exciting time in the organization's history.
“With more than $80,000 in prize money being awarded on the PPA National Tour, I expect participation to be strong at all three major events,” the PPA Commissioner said. “The PPA National Board and Putt-Putt LLC has worked toward this end. Gary Hinshaw was dedicated to honoring 60 years of a franchise system of leaders, owners, managers and employees who have given without fail to generations of families, as well as to the skilled players of the sport, past and present. Bill Baus was passionate about a 12-round PPA National Championship. Bill Kirby was equally passionate about a $50,000 PPA National Championship, a $10,000 first prize and a PPA and APA to be embraced by all.
“And, David McCollister was there.
“I am sure all of the great players will elevate their games as we continue the search for the world's greatest putter,” Joe Aboid said. “Finally, we are grateful to the Simpson family for hosting the PPA/APA National Championship Week. Al Simpson, at his PPA Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1998, said that he would not be surprised if his son, Greg, took the Lake Charles Putt-Putt Fun Center to new heights. Being selected as the host course, Greg has made his father's comments prophetic. Our thanks to Greg Simpson, his family and staff for hosting our most prestigious event. I look forward to presenting the $10,000 winners check to the PPA National Champion.”
John Spotts Wins 1963 PPA National Championship
July 5-7, 1963
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Twenty-year old John Spotts of Indianapolis, Indiana, outlasted a strong field of eager putting pros to cop first place money of $10,000 to become PPA's 1963 National Champion. The "sure-putting" Spotts shot a sizzling 346 - 86-under par in getting the job done.
Young Spotts, a new face on the PPA tour, entered the final day's competition six strokes off the pace.
He wasted no time in getting down to business as he fired a 28-28-29-25 to squeeze out his victory. Staying right on his heels all the way, making a strong bid for the lead, was Ralph Sapp of August, Ga. Ralph finished one stroke off the pace with an 85-under par, 347, good for second place and $5,000. Third and fourth places proved to be an exciting battle as Tracy Moore of Augusta, Ga, and Charles Gatewood of Mississippi City, MS, battled all the way down to the wire, tying with a 349.
Moore, a constant face on the PPA tour since its infancy, played his final round under heavy pressure.
First and 2nd place winners, Spotts and Sapp, entered the final round 75 under par. Moore entered his final round 79 under par. With the leading score (86 under) already in, Moore had to fire a 29 to tie or 28 to win. The putts just wouldn't fall, and a disappointed Moore had to settle for a third place tie. The entire field for the pro division consisted of 231 pros, the largest ever gathered for a PPA event.
Young Joe Gehling of Cincinnati, Ohio came to Cleveland with a hot putter and put it to work in the amateur division by firing a 358, 74-under par, to claim the first place trophy. In second place, 9 strokes off the pace, was Jerry Pruitt of Atlanta, GA. Pruitt fired a 367, 65-under par. Shooting scores in the 20's was not confined to the pro division. In taking first place in the amateur division, Gehling fired 3 rounds of 29, one of 28, and a sizzling 25. A field of 67 amateurs started the first day's competition. The field was cut to the top 30 after the 2nd day's competition.
Many of the men in the putting spectacular will now move on to Indianapolis, Ind.; Charlotte, N.C. ; Atlanta, Ga; and Lake Charles, La, to complete the 1963 circuit.
Although the 1963 National Championship has ended, hundred upon hundreds of people who witnessed the event will remember it for a long time to come.
_________________ Wins 2014 PPA National Championship
Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2014
Lake Charles, Louisiana
LAKE CHARLES, La. - ______________________ outlasted a strong field of eager putting pros to cop first place money of $10,000 to become PPA's 2014 National Champion.
Enjoy the television history of The Professional Putters Association on PPATV.
Many of the players that are celebrated on these pages have displayed their putting abilities on PPATV shows, which began airing in 1960.
Take a trip back in time with more than 150 videos available to view. Enjoy the memories.
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