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Starting in 2010, the USGTF will be inducting one or more members annually into the USGTF Hall of Fame during the closing ceremony of the United States Golf Teachers Cup. They will join those who have already been inducted into the Hall: Ken Butler, Marty Delohery, Leslie Duke, Mark Harman, Mike Levine, and Bob Wyatt.

On October 19 in Primm, Nevada, ten USGTF members were inducted into the Hall. Each was selected for their contributions to the USGTF, the golf teaching industry, and notable achievements.

The late Babe Bellagamba was one of a kind, a true innovator when it came to teaching aids. You know that large PVC swing circle you see on many ranges all across the country? That was Babe’s invention. He also taught quite a few tour pros in his 15 years as the head teaching professional at the Kissimmee Golf Club in Kissimmee, Florida, including Mike Brisky and Damon Green, who now caddies for Zach Johnson. Babe always had a smile on his face and obviously loved what he was doing.

Anthony Benny is the teaching professional at the famed St. Andrews Golf Club in Moka, Maraval, Trinidad. His main focus is juniors, and he has trained several who have represented the Trinidad & Tobago national team. Anthony was instrumental in getting the USGTF to play a prominent role in Trinidad, and is a frequent competitor in the United States Golf Teachers Cup. In 2009, he captured the Super Senior division of the US Cup.

Ricky serves as the teaching professional at Millennium Lakes Golf Club in Trincity, Trinidad, and his clinics are well-known for often drawing over 100 participants. This past year, Ricky was named as the Offi cial Golf Ambassador by the Trinidad & Tobago Golf Association and the Ministry of Sport. His main responsibility is to promote the game of golf and ensure that existing players reach national level status with the newly created “Strive for Excellence” program. Many USGTF members may be familiar with Ricky from his many years as a participant in both the United States and World Cup events.

Dick served as the longtime head professional at Holiday Valley Golf Club in Ellicottville, New York. Dick had a great personality, putting everyone he met immediately at ease. Those who had the pleasure of conversing with him often remarked how Dick made them feel like they were his best friend. Before losing his brave battle with cancer, Dick established the American Cancer Research Foundation, and asked the USGTF to perpetuate the concept, which it happily does to this day.

There may be no bigger personality in the USGTF than Jim. An energetic go-getter, Jim has established himself as one of the premier teaching professionals, not only in central California, but also in the WGTF. He has authored several books and hosted his own golf talk show on ESPN radio, and is a successful high school coach. Jim is an enthusiastic supporter and advocate of the USGTF, and regularly plays in the US and World Golf Teachers Cups. Jim is the 2008 United States Golf Teachers Cup Senior champion.

Mike was named the 2008 USGTF Professional of the Year, and teaches at Renwood Golf Course in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, specializing in juniors. Mike overcame great odds to get where he is today, having survived as a political prisoner in Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba. He also donates his time in teaching for various high schools, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the YMCA, and the First Tee Program.

Julius truly had one remarkable life. It seems that everything he set his mind to, he accomplished. A champion golfer in the military, Julius came to teaching later in life, but he certainly made the most of it. He was named the USGTF Teacher of the 20th Century, and remains the only African- American ever selected for Golf Magazine’s prestigious Top 100 Teachers list. Julius also appeared on Golf Channel as a featured instructor, and authored the book, Better Golf: A Skill Building Approach.

Rock is the president of the West Penn Minority Junior Golf Association, Inc., and is the author of the book, From the Ghetto to the Green. He has also mentored three golfers who later became USGTF members. In 2008, Rock was inducted into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame, joining such luminaries as Pete Brown, Jim Dent, Lee Elder, Gary Player, Ted Rhodes, and Jim Thorpe.

Turk, also known as Coach Walker, was inducted into the African-American Golfers Hall of Fame this past year. Turk is a longtime USGTF member, having originally been certifi ed in Florida in 1996. Turk, who has been playing and teaching golf for over 40 years, has also served as an assistant coach for the University of Dayton golf team and has written many golf columns for various publications. He has also mentored and has given time to many young people over the years in the Dayton area.

Thomas is the executive director of the World Golf Teachers Federation, which is fi tting for this experienced globetrotter. No one in the history of golf has traveled more miles and visited so many places worldwide in teaching and certifying golf teaching professionals for various WGTF entities. Thomas’ thirst for learning and excellence is second to none. He is also the author of the USGTF book, Golf Drills for Teaching Professionals. Thomas is a tremendous self-made golfer, and regularly competes in the US and World Golf Teachers Cups.

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