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Michael Block’s 2023 PGA performance was a win for golf professionals

Michael Block’s 2023 PGA performance was a win for golf professionals

As a PGA of America Golf Professional with decades of lessons under his belt, Michael Block had an inkling that he’d be able to connect with doughy middle-aged men as the golf instructor and Head Professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California.

With a gregarious personality and a smooth-as-silk golf game, the four-time Southern California PGA Championship winner assumed if he found his way into the spotlight at the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill, he might resonate with the group he resembled.

But the others? The thousands of adoring fans chanting his name in the Rochester suburb of Pittsford as they followed him at the storied East Course designed by Donald Ross? Or the millions more watching him on subsequent TV interviews after his Sunday ace propelled him into a tie for 15th place, the highest a PGA of America Golf Professional had finished in decades?

Even the cheery Block didn’t think he’d make all those connections.

“I thought I was just going to hit a chord with like 40-year-old … what do they call them? Dadbods. I thought I was going to hit a chord with them, which I think I did, but I think I hit a chord with all the other ones too, which is really, really cool,” Block said. “I met a lot of young people and old people and middle-aged people and whatever else.”

The then-46-year-old club pro aced the 151-yard par-3 15th hole at Oak Hill on Sunday with a 7-iron. Block, who was playing alongside Rory McIlroy, sent his tee shot into the air at “Plateau,” the shortest hole on the course, and dunked it.

“No, no way,” he said as the crowd erupted. “Are you kidding me?”

McIlroy smiled widely and slapped Block’s hand and gave him a congratulatory bear hug and tap to the belly.

“I’m like, ‘Why is Rory giving me a hug?’” Block said. “Rory is giving me a hug for hitting it 3, 4, 5 feet? That’s weird. I’m like, ‘I think I just made it.’”

It was the 29th ace in the PGA Championship since 1983.

And while fans from all walks of life were rallying in Block’s corner as he put together the improbable charge, perhaps the group that was pulling for him the most was his own brethren — fellow PGA of America Golf Professionals.

Kris Hart is the Senior Director of Growth and Ventures at the PGA of America and a Golf Professional himself. When Block made the cut in 2023, he said…


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