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THREE NAMED TO TENNESSEE GOLF HALL OF FAME
Mike Kaplan, Joe Kennedy & Toby Wilt Make Up Class of 2017
Tennessee Golf Foundation (TGF) Chairman Jim Seabury announced on August 26 that the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame will induct three new members into its Class of 2017. Joining the Hall of Fame’s 46 current members will be Tennessee golf legal counsel and past TGA President Michel (Mike) Kaplan, Vanderbilt Legends Club of Tennessee superintendent Joe Kennedy and longtime TGF independent director and The Masters starter Toby Wilt. Induction ceremonies are to be announced in early 2017.
Mike Kaplan, Nashville - Mike is a nationally prominent tax attorney with Sherrard & Roe in Nashville and has served as legal counsel the TGF, Tennessee Golf Association and Tennessee Section PGA for the past 26 years. He is past President of the TGA and is an accomplished expert in the USGA Rules of Golf. Michel orchestrated the historic merger in 2000 of the Women’s Tennessee Golf Association and the Tennessee Golf Association. “Today our state is looked upon by others as having set the standard bringing men’s and women’s golf administration under one roof. What Mike did was brilliant and golf leaders from around the country marvel at how two established organizations came together to make the game better,” noted fellow Hall of Fame member Lew Conner of Nashville.
Joe Kennedy, Franklin - Joe has been a turf grass leader in Tennessee and on a national stage. He has been the head superintendent at the Vanderbilt Legends Club since it opened in 1991. He is a past officer of the Tennessee Turfgrass Association and has been at the forefront of turf research at The Little Course, growing 56 varieties of Bermuda, zoysia, fescue and bent grass since 1995. It is the only golf course with active, turf research on its entire property with golfers playing over 16,000 rounds annually. “Joe and fellow Hall of Famer David Stone (the Honors Course) set the standard for golf turf in the southeast transition zone. Keeping golf turf year-round with temperature ranges from -10 degrees to 105F is next to impossible and nobody in America does it better than Joe Kennedy,” noted TGF President Dick Horton.
Toby Wilt, Nashville - Toby was the Independent Director of the Tennessee Golf Foundation for its first 19 years. He and the late Bronson Ingram were principal founders of The Golf Club of Tennessee and facility that has hosted TGF’s primary fundraiser, Vince Gill’s “The Vinny” since 1993. Toby has international acclaim and is seen by millions each April as the Starter on the first tee at The Masters at Augusta National. Wilt has teamed with PGA Ryder Cup member Brandt Snedeker to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and his endowed TSW scholarship at Vanderbilt has been given to such notables as Snedeker, the PGA TOUR’s Luke List and current NCAA All-American Matthias Schwab. Presently, Mr. Wilt is chair of the TGF President’s Advisory Committee. His other sporting love is football and has seen him chair the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
About the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame - located at Golf House Tennessee (400 Franklin Road in Franklin) and was established in 1991. There are currently 49 members in the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. Inductees are selected by the TGF Board of Directors that consists of board members of the Tennessee Golf Association and Tennessee Section PGA.
The Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame is open to the public and free of charge and is operated by the Tennessee Golf Foundation, a not for profit organization with the mission to promote golf and its life-enhancing values with an emphasis on teaching youth and the disadvantaged.