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Three New Members for Vegas Golf Hall of Fame


The Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame will induct three new members at a special ceremony and dinner October 19th at the Pearl Theater in the Palms Hotel. Charlie Baron, Tournament Director of the Las Vegas PGA Tour stop for 22 years; Joe Kelly, PGA of America golf professional who has opened and run more than a dozen local courses plus earned several honors as professional of the year and assisting junior golf; and the Tournament of Champions, a pre-eminent Las Vegas event that took place here from 1953 to 1968 and drew some of the biggest names in both golf and entertainment, will be honored at the event.

Charlie Baron

Baron spent the better part of 22 years as the driving force behind the PGA Tour's annual stop in Las Vegas. In that time, he helped the Las Vegas Founders raise millions of dollars for local charities and contribute significantly to the Las Vegas economy as some of the biggest names on the PGA Tour - Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and others - roamed the fairways. Baron had a couple of top memories in his years organizing the tournament, including Chip Beck's fabled 59 in 1991 at Sunrise Country Club and Tiger Woods' first PGA Tour victory, coming in 1996. Baron also helped run countless men's and women's collegiate tournaments over the years and was also involved in AJGA golf tournaments held around the Las Vegas valley.

In his words: "I am honored to be recognized as part of the golf history in Las Vegas. I had the pleasure of working with many Las Vegans during my 22 years in the community and we accomplished many goals over the years that benefitted numerous organizations."

Joe Kelly

A resident of Las Vegas for over 30 years, Kelly has lent his considerable talents to many local courses, including Dessert Inn Country Club, Las Vegas Country Club, Desert Pines, Sunrise Country Club, Stallion Mountain, Royal Links, Bali Hai and most recently, Sun City Summerlin's three courses; Palm Valley, Highland Falls and Eagle Crest. Kelly is a Founding Father of the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association, sits on the boards of the First Tee of Southern Nevada and the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame. He has received many decorations, awards and acknowledgements through the years including Las Vegas Chapter Golf Professional of the Year in 1983, 1989 and 2009.

In his words: "As a PGA club professional it is probably the highest honor that can be bestowed upon you. To be recognized by the Las Vegas golfing community is very special. It is a great honor for me and also my family."

Tournament of Champions

The original Tournament of Champions was played in Las Vegas in 1953, and the event continues on the PGA Tour to this day. It's now called the SBS Championship and played in Hawaii. Champions of the event when it was held in Las Vegas include Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler and many other golf greats.

"The Tournament of Champions was the preeminent Las Vegas and Nevada event for many years, bringing the eyes of the world to Las Vegas, right from the beginning when it debuted in 1953," says Jack Sheehan, Las Vegas golf author, historian and 2009 Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame inductee. "The event drew the biggest names in golf and biggest Hollywood stars to Las Vegas, and was created by Las Vegas' movers and shakers including Moe Dalitz, Irwin Molasky, Howard Capps, Merv Adelson, Wilbur Clarke, and Allard Roen, among others. Roen served as the Director of the TOC for 38 years, including after it moved to La Costa, the San Diego resort which was built by the same group who operated the Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas. To this day, the event is played on the PGA Tour, but its roots date back to 1953 when Al Besselink collected his $10,000 first prize in a wheelbarrow full of silver dollars."

The celebration will kick-off with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the ceremony. Special emcees for the evening are current Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame members Chris Riley and Jack Sheehan. Riley is a former PGA Tour winner, and in 2010, qualified for the PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs. Sheehan is a nationally recognized author and emcee. Other speakers include Al Besselink, 1953 Tournament of Champions winner. Tables of ten may be purchased for $1,250; individual tickets are $125; dinner and wine are included in the ticket price. Limited seats remain. For tickets or information call 702-270-9630, e-mail hurly2@cox.net, or visit www.LasVegasGolfHOF.com. The event coincides with Las Vegas' PGA Tour event, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame

The mission of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame is to celebrate and bring awareness to players, administrators, benefactors, groups, instructors, teams, and other worthy golfers who have served the game of golf in Las Vegas in a positive and meaningful way; whether through performance on the course, volunteerism, financial support, promotion, or other dedicated service. An additional aspect of the mission is to help reveal Las Vegas as a great golf destination. A 16-person committee made up of Las Vegas golf professionals, media, amateur association leaders, and Hall of Fame members, oversees the voting process. The annual induction ceremony takes place during the week of the PGA Tour's Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Current members of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame and class in which each was inducted are: Tommy Armour III, 2008; Jerry Belt, 1991; Jimmie Bullard, 2009; Helen Cannon, 2004; James Cashman, Jr., 1998; Clyde Cobb, 1991; James Colbert, 2002; Eddie Draper, 2004; Eric Dutt, 2008; Brady Exber, 2006; Edward Fryatt, 2009; Las Vegas Founders, 2004; Robert Gamez, 2002; Butch Harmon, 2006; Ernest Haupt, 1998; Richard Huff, 2004; Dwaine Knight, 2009; Louis Redden, 2008; Stuart Reid, 1991; Chris Riley, 2004; Jerry Roberts, 2008; Jack Sheehan, 2009; Tom Storey, 2006; Charlie Teel, 1991; 1997-98 UNLV Golf Team, 2002; C. Pat Walker, 1998.

The Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame committee includes: Jimmie Bullard, Class of 2008; Chuck Bombard, PGA of America, General Manager, TPC Summerlin; Bill Bowman, Media; Tim Cashman, Former PGA Tour Event chairperson; Nevada Senator Bob Coffin; Sherry Corsello, President, Women's Southern Nevada Golf Association, Eric Dutt, Class of 2008; Nicole Dutt, Executive Director, Southern Nevada Golf Association; Brady Exber, Class of 2006 and President, Southern Nevada Golf Association; Scott Greer, PGA of America and GM Las Vegas National GC; Brian Hurlburt, Founding Editor, GolfLasVegasNow.com; Joe Kelly, PGA of America, President, First Tee of Southern Nevada; J. Rick Martin, Photographer; Louis Redden, Class of 2008; Jerry Roberts, PGA of America, Class of 2008; Jack Sheehan, Golf Personality and Author.

The Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame is located at 1911 E. Desert Inn Rd., Las Vegas, Nev., 89169. For more information, call 702/734-1796 or visit www.LasVegasGolfHOF.com.