PGA Vice President Suzy Whaley has become the ninth woman to earn the PGA Master Professional designation, the PGA of America’s highest educational achievement.
Whaley received her PGA Master Professional certification in Player Development. She joins PGA Past Presidents Roger Warren, Ken Lindsay and J.R. Carpenter as a PGA Officer who has earned the title of PGA Master Professional.
Whaley—the first woman ever elected to serve as a PGA Officer—is the PGA Director of Instruction at Suzy Whaley Golf in Cromwell, Connecticut. After serving two years as PGA Secretary, Whaley became the Association’s Vice President at the PGA Annual Meeting in November 2016.
“This is one of the great honors of my career, to reach the pinnacle of educational achievement from the PGA of America,” said Whaley, who is the 370th PGA Member overall to achieve Master Professional status. “I truly hope to inspire and mentor other PGA Members in their pursuit of the PGA Master Professional designation, which represents a depth of knowledge and passion for the game and business of golf.”
The PGA Master Professional Program (MPP) was established in 1969 to recognize PGA Members who have made a significant effort to improve as golf professionals and maintain the highest degree of excellence for themselves and their operations. As part of its Member education curriculum, the PGA MPP 2.0 program was designed to ensure that PGA Professionals are prepared to meet the growing demands of the current marketplace. To be eligible, the PGA Master Professional Program requires a minimum of eight years of PGA Membership.
A member of the PGA Board of Directors from 2011-13, Whaley has also served on the Connecticut PGA Section Board of Directors and as the Section’s Vice President at Large.
Recognized as one of the country’s top instructors, Whaley enjoyed a five-year tenure at Jim Flick Golf Schools, before becoming the Head Golf Professional at Blue Fox Run in Avon, Connecticut, in 2002. From 2004-06, she worked as an LPGA golf commentator for ESPN.
A dual PGA of America and LPGA Teaching & Club Professional member, Whaley was a LPGA Tour member in 1990 and 1993. She famously qualified and participated in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open—becoming the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA Tour event—after she became the first PGA of America woman professional to win the Connecticut PGA Championship.
Whaley also is a three-time Connecticut Women’s Open Champion; National LPGA Teaching & Club Professional winner; Connecticut PGA Section Champion; Connecticut PGA Club Professional Champion; and a two-time LPGA Northeast T&CP Section Champion. She competed in both the 2002 and 2005 PGA Professional Championships.
A 2016 Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Whaley also serves as an Honorary Director for the First Tee of Connecticut and is a Board Member for the ANNIKA Foundation. Whaley was honored with the 2017 Betsy Rawls Award from the American Junior Golf Association for her service, dedication and contributions to women’s golf. She was named a 2015 Sports Business Journal “Game Changer”—cited as a woman leader who has had a major impact on sports business. Whaley also received the 2015 Margo Dydek Award from the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, for her ability to engage, challenge and inspire, while serving as a role model.
A 1989 graduate of the University of North Carolina, with a Bachelor’s Degree in economics, Whaley and her husband, Bill, are both PGA Members.
The PGA Master Professional Program (MPP 2.0) is available for PGA Professionals who have achieved advanced certification through the PGA Certified Professional Program, which was launched in 2004. The curriculum is comprised of an extensive project based on the specific certification previously acquired by the PGA Professional. Upon approval of the project and successful completion of a presentation, a PGA Member will earn the prestigious PGA Master Professional status.
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