Derek Hardy, a PGA teaching professional at Talega Golf Club in San Clemente, has been named the recipient of the 2009 PGA Horton Smith Award for outstanding and continuing contributions to professional education.
Hardy, 76, is a 51-year member of the PGA of America and is the third member of the Southern California PGA Section to be named recipient of the national PGA Horton Smith Award. The award was established in 1965, and named for the late past PGA president and inaugural Masters champion.
Hardy will be recognized at the PGA of America Awards, Jan. 28, 2010, during the 57th PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center’s Linda W. Chapin Auditorium in Orlando, Fla.
Hardy shares PGA history with his brother, John, a PGA master professional from Murrieta,. Earlier this year, the “Hardy Boys” became the first brother combination on the West Coast — and fifth in PGA of America history — to achieve PGA Half Century Membership. Derek was elected to PGA membership on Feb. 1, 1958, while John, 82, earned membership on March 16, 1959.
“This is a wonderful honor and I think back to when my brother and I were first coming to America and being part of the golf community,” said Derek Hardy. “What struck us was how this is such a real fraternity. No question you ask is too stupid to pose. You are constantly learning and sharing information.
“My years spent on the PGA education faculty were my turn to give back. When you do things for others, you get rewards, too. I have always been excited about helping others learn the game of golf and to see programs that you put together benefit others.”
Born in London, England, Hardy came to the United States in 1957 with his older brother, John. While John remained in Southern California, Derek moved on to spend two years working with Dutch Harrison at Old Warson Country Club near St. Louis, Mo., site of the 1971 Ryder Cup. When Harrison, a member of three Ryder Cup Teams, received the PGA head professional position at Olympic Club in San Francisco, he invited Derek to follow as his first assistant.
Hardy’s first head professional position came at Sunnyside Country Club in Fresno, where he served seven seasons. From there, Hardy moved east to the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.) in the early 1970s. He spent 13 years in South Carolina, including six at Snee Farm Country Club in Mount Pleasant.
While in the Carolinas, Hardy became heavily involved in teaching, and spent almost two decades working with the PGA’s Business Schools as a faculty member. Hardy also served as a board member, education chairman and won the 1977 Section Horton Smith Award. He would go on to serve 22 years (1974-1992) as a member of the PGA of America education faculty; was the Carolinas PGA representative to the first Employment Conference in 1974; served as instructor at the first PGA Golf Schools (Golf Discovery Schools) in 1985; and was a presenter at the inaugural PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit in 1988.
Hardy returned to Southern California and became a member of the Section Board of Directors, winning the Section’s 2007 Bill Strausbaugh and 2004 Horton Smith awards. He is now in his third season at Talega Country Club. He founded the first Teaching Summit for the Metropolitan Chapter of the Southern California PGA Section.
Hardy worked for 13 years at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast, and from 1995 through 2000 at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells. He also was head instructor for seven years at the Golf Academy of Japan before arriving at Talega Golf Club.
Hardy’s many students include two whom he began to work with from their first entry into the game – World Golf Hall of Fame member Beth Daniel and past U.S. Women’s Open champion Jane Geddes. He later worked with such LPGA standouts as Shelly Hamlin, Sandra Palmer, Dot Germain, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann.
Hardy and his wife, Diana, live in Santa Ana. Hardy has a son, Darren, of Charleston, S.C., a daughter, Doneen of Scottsdale, Ariz., and four granddaughters.
Two of a kind — Derek and John Hardy