If you’ve been receiving this newsletter for the past several months, you know that Vale Adams is the patriarch of the Bloodline Legacy and namesake of our Vale putter. He was also an extremely well-respected PGA club professional at McHenry County Club from 1962 to 1981.
The job of a PGA club professional is a challenging and rewarding one. PGA club professionals are ambassadors for the game of golf, and they work to promote it to new players through teaching, club fitting services and helping golfers of all skill levels further their love of golf.
The Professional Golfers’ Association of America is one of the largest sporting organizations in the world and is made up of nearly 29,000 golf professionals nationwide. Although the names sound similar, the PGA of America and the PGA Tour are separate organizations.
In 1968, the PGA Tour split from the PGA of America to focus solely on running tournaments for tour players. However, the PGA of America still conducts prestigious tournaments in collaboration with the professional tours, including the PGA Championship, the Women’s PGA Championship, and the Senior PGA Championship.
The PGA Championship is the only major that does not invite leading amateurs to compete, and it reserves 20 of 156 places for club professionals. These slots are determined by the top finishers in the PGA Professional Championship, which is held in late April.
In the 2023 PGA Professional Championship, PGA club professional Michael Block finished T2, qualifying him for a spot in the 2023 PGA Championship. This wasn’t his first time qualifying. He has played in five PGA Championships, including this one, but it’s his first time making the cut in one of them. This year, it was meant to be.
It was truly exciting and inspirational to watch! Block held his own competing with the best in the world. If that wasn't enough, he made a hole-in-one and made a clutch putt on the 18th green to qualify for next year’s tournament. It was like a movie playing out in real life.
Block’s finish was the best for a club pro at the PGA Championship since Lonnie Nielsen finished in a tie for 11th in 1986. He is only one of five club pros who have finished in the top 20 in the history of the PGA Championship. Block is also the first PGA club pro to make a hole-in-one at the PGA Championship since George Bowman in 1996.
Congratulations to Michael Block for representing club professionals so well and for providing us with a true “Cinderella story”! We wish you the best this weekend at the Charles Schwab Challenge.