Met PGA Awards Top Professionals For Contributions To Golf And Quality Of Life

Top honors went to two Westchester golf pros this spring at the 54th Annual Metropolitan Educational Forum. The pair were John Kennedy, director of golf at Westchester Country Club in Rye, and Nelson Long, head pro for Century CC in Purchase. Both are veritable institutions in Westchester golf circles whose work has impacted lives well beyond the game.

John Kennedy accepts the Sam Snead Award.

John Kennedy was awarded the highest honor the Met PGA bestows, the Sam Snead Award, in recognition of his contributions to the game of golf, the PGA and the Met Section. The Westchester CC director of golf has impacted numerous lives both on and off the golf course in his more than 40 years in the Met Section. During his career, he mentored 18 assistants pros who have gone on to become head pros or directors of golf at other clubs as well as hosted numerous PGA Tour, Champions Tour, and PGA/LPGA events. He was named the 1997 Met Professional of the year and became the PGA of America’s national Horton Smith Award recipient in 2010. 

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In 2012, Kennedy received the national Patriot Award for his service to the military and veterans.  He established Golfers in Support of the Troops to provide clothing to those in the service and in 2011, in concert with the Manhattan Veterans Hospital, he created Veterans on Par to provide recreation to disabled veterans.

Nelson Long receives honors as the 2015 Professional of the Year.

Nelson Long was named 2015 Professional of the Year by the Met PGA. This year marks the start of his fifth decade as head pro of Century CC, a position he achieved after only two years in a staff job. At Century, he has mentored two Met PGA Teachers of the year, three National PGA Professional champions, three Met Open champions, and three Met Section Players of the Year. He was named Met PGA Teacher of the year in 1999 and received the Horton Smith Award for educational contributions in 2005. In 2010, Long received the national Strausbaugh Award from the PGA of America.

In addition to his work as head pro at Century CC (and Tryall Club in Jamaica in the winter), Long actively supports numerous charitable endeavors including the Einstein College of Medicine and the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital Fund as well as First Tee, the MGA Foundation, and GolfWorks. 

Long is the son of a PGA professional credited by Sam Snead with teaching him the finer points of competitive golf when they were both on staff at the Homestead in West Virginia. His resume includes a unique bookend accomplishment: he played in two USGA championships 45 years apart, the USGA Junior in 1968 and the US Senior Open in 2013 at the age of 62.

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Kennedy and Long photos courtesy of the Met PGA

Read more from Tee to Green, our guide to Westchester’s golf scene.

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