Welcome to the
Arizona Golf Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame Ceremony
The Arizona Golf Hall of Fame welcomed five new inductees on November 26, 2019 at The 2019 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony hosted at Paradise Valley Country Club.
2019 Hall of Fame InducTees
A native of Michigan, John Davis was destined to be a journalist. “Ever since I was a kid, first reporting for my hometown newspaper, I knew I wanted to be a sports journalist because it would keep me ‘close to the action.’”
Davis (“JD,” as friends and colleagues know him), one of Arizona’s most prominent sports writers, began his journalism career after completing military service in the U.S. Army as a medical specialist. It was during this time that he began covering golf and covered his first major championship at the 1979 PGA Championship.
At the Phoenix Gazette, he continued golf coverage and was introduced to the Phoenix Open, which he has covered more than 30 times. He later served as the golf beat writer for 12 years at the Arizona Republic.
In retirement, he continues to excel as a freelance journalist, primarily as a senior writer for AZ Golf Insider magazine, and provides coverage for the Arizona Republic and various publications, including Golfweek and Sports Illustrated.
He has received numerous writing awards in annual state competitions conducted by the Associated Press and United Press International and produced a series of stories exploring multiple facets of golf in Arizona and the history of the game, which was an AP national finalist for Project of the Year across all aspects of news coverage (not just sports).
During his tenure at the Arizona Republic, Davis also received the Silver Ingot, which was the most prestigious honor awarded to reporters, for sustained excellence. He is a member of the Media Hall of Fame for the former LPGA Tour event conducted at Moon Valley Country Club and other venues in the Phoenix metro area and has been a member of the Golf Writers Association of America for more than 20 years.
Professional Golfer and Architect
Tom Lehman has played on the PGA TOUR and Champions TOUR for 37 years and has 35 professional victories, including the 1996 Open and TOUR Championships, 2000 Phoenix Open, 2010 Senior PGA Championship, 2011 and 2012 Regions Championship, 2012 Charles Schwab Cup Championship and 2017 Tucson Conquistadores Classic.
Lehman played on three Ryder Cup Teams (was captain in 2006) and three Presidents Cup teams. He is the first player to win Player of the Year honors on all three PGA Tours: Ben Hogan (now Korn Ferry)-1991, PGA TOUR-1996 & PGA TOUR Champions-2011 & 2012.
Lehman’s unwavering commitment to the game of golf and the community goes beyond his victorious golf career. Serving as the President and Designer of Lehman Design Group, Lehman has been credited with the work of 16 courses including eight in Arizona: Victory and Founders at Verrado, Encanterro, Verde River Ranch Resort, Sonoran at Tucson National, Quail Run and White Wing at Rio Verde, and the North Course at the Gallery. He’s also been part of several Arizona renovations and re-designs: CC at DC Ranch, The Wigwam-Gold and Phoenix CC.
Off the golf course, Lehman’s charitable activities have made a remarkable impact. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Payne Stewart Award which honors those that share Stewart’s respect for the traditions of the game, the game’s heritage of charitable support and professional presentation.
In Arizona, he serves on the board of Elevate Phoenix, a civic program providing long-term, life-changing relationships with urban youth, and is involved with several charities including Cortney’s Place, Hopekids, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Phoenix Crisis Pregnancy Center, Search Ministries, The Changing Lives Center for Women and Children, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Business Industry Leader
Doug Hawken began working for PING right out of college and, and after a 45-year career that saw him advance from assistant to the production manager all the way to president and chief operating officer of PING, he retired in 2017. He is currently serving on the board of directors.
Hawken began at PING in 1971, a 22-year-old fresh out of Arizona State University. His first job was to work for the plant manager, which included digging trenches for cement foundations, hauling trash to the dump and cleaning up after the guard dogs. He eventually became production manager and played a key role in PING becoming the first American equipment company to achieve ISO certification which certifies that a manufacturing process, service, or documentation procedure has all the requirements for standardization and quality assurance.
In 1994, Hawken’s role was expanded to oversee the marketing efforts, leading to the development of an account visitation program. Hawken felt that PING had lost touch with some of its customers. His goal was to create PING disciples in the field through education and hands-on training. The program helped re-build PING’s reputation as a leader in technology and custom fitting, while further strengthening customer relationships.
Upon his retirement, John Solheim summed up Hawken’s contributions: “His accomplishments are too long to list, but we all agree his leadership and contributions are evident company-wide. He’s led countless efforts and initiatives to help build PING into the industry-leading company we are today. He has a way of connecting with our employees at every level, mentoring and challenging them, while still being a friend. His strong relationships throughout the industry, including with our accounts, media and vendors, have earned him great respect in every facet of our business.”
Dick Kopplin has devoted his career to the betterment of the private club industry and today, leads a dynamic firm with a focus on executive searches, industry education, consulting and strategic planning.
Following a 35-year career as a general manager and vice president for nationally recognized clubs, Dick started Kopplin Search, Inc. over 20 years ago with the objective of assisting clubs in their search for skilled, competent staff.
KOPPLIN & KUEBLER emerged in 2007 as Kurt Kuebler joined the firm, which today, with the addition of partner Thomas B. Wallace III, operates as KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Dick began his career in the private club industry by managing golf clubs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. His managerial career continued as general manager and vice president of operations, including Castle Pines in Denver, CO, Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, AZ, and PGA West in LaQuinta, CA.
His oversight as senior director of clubs with multi-club responsibilities included KSL Recreation Corp. in LaQuinta, CA, Desert Mountain Development Company in Scottsdale, and Castle Pines in Denver.
Dick has served on the Executive Committee for nine PGA and Senior PGA TOUR events, has opened five golf courses and four clubhouses while working closely with architect and construction firms.
Jeff Spangler is one of the leading agronomic experts in the world of golf. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Science and Agronomy for Troon, the world’s largest golf management company providing services at more than 460 locations around the globe, including managing 510 18-hole equivalent golf courses.
Spangler started his career with Troon at Troon North Golf Club, where he opened the industry leading club with Troon Founder and now Executive Chairman, Dana Garmany, bringing a new level of agronomic conditioning to the resort/daily fee world. Spangler promoted to Troon's Director of Agronomy in 1993 and later was promoted to Senior Vice President, Science and Agronomy. He continues to oversee all agronomic programs for Troon. Spangler has been instrumental in standardizing high-level golf course agronomics, including environmental conservation, occupational safety and economic management across a global platform of 500 plus golf courses located in 45 states and 33 countries worldwide.
Under Spangler’s agronomic leadership, Troon facilities around the globe have received numerous awards and accolades, including having multiple courses ranked as “Best Conditioned Golf Course in the U.S.” by Golf Digest and multiple ranked within the Top 25 Golf Courses Rated by Conditions by Golf Advisor. Prior to Troon, Spangler served tenures at Scioto Country Club, Muirfield Village Golf Club and The Pebble Beach Company.