Arizona resident Tim Kloenne awarded Anser Award from Southwest PGA

Tim Kloenne and John A. Solheim. (Submitted Photo)

Tim Kloenne has been named the 27th recipient of the Southwest PGA PING Anser Award, recognizing an individual whose positive efforts have influenced the history of the game in Arizona.

“We couldn’t be more proud to honor Tim Kloenne as the recipient of the Anser Award,” Jamey Lewis, president of the Southwest PGA, said in a prepared statement.

“For over 40 years, Tim’s contributions to golf in Arizona with the Thunderbirds and the First Tee of Phoenix have made long-lasting impacts to the game and those who enjoy the game. His passion and dedication to giving back to the game of golf exemplifies the mission of PING founder, the late Karsten Solheim, who the award was named after for his famous PING Anser putter.”

Born and raised in Covington, Ky., Mr. Kloenne was introduced to golf at an early age when he joined his older brother Jack caddying for their father at the local 9-hole municipal course, according to a press release.

Following the loop, the brothers would putt and hit balls, and in the summer, played every day, often times 54-holes per day.

A multi-sport athlete throughout high school, Mr. Kloenne attended Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Ky., where he was a member of the basketball team all four years.

Mr. Kloenne, 73, relocated to Arizona in 1970 and immediately got involved in the golf community. He became a board member of the Arizona Golf Association in the late 70’s, the early years of the AGA, ultimately serving as President from 1984-86, a release states.

Among his many accomplishments with the AGA, Kloenne was a key figure in the establishment of the Karsten Turf Research Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

A member of the Thunderbirds since 1983, Mr. Kloenne was instrumental in the founding of the First Tee of Phoenix in 2001.

Established by the Thunderbirds for the purpose of providing affordable access to golf and golf learning facilities for young people in Maricopa County, the First Tee of Phoenix has expanded from one facility in 2001 to 13 today.

Mr. Kloenne served as Chairman of the Board from the organization’s inception until 2016.

He volunteered for the majority of the First Tee of Phoenix functions and programs and often knew the names of all the children who were participating.

After providing clothes, toys and gifts to a family from the war-torn nation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr. Kloenne introduced the family’s three boys to the First Tee of Phoenix upon their relocation to the valley.

With little knowledge of golf at the start, the boys became infatuated and consumed by game with Mr. Kloenne serving as a mentor to the boys every step of the way.

In 2005 the First Tee of Phoenix created The Kloenne Cup, an invitational Ryder Cup style tournament for boys and girls in the different Chapters of the First Tee of Phoenix.

The event was named in honor of Mr. Kloenne and his father Gene, who worked tirelessly refurbishing golf clubs for the kids in the program.

Mr. Kloenne served on the Southwest PGA Advisory Council, was a member of the USGA’s Regional Affairs Committee, served as president of the Arizona Golf Foundation and served on numerous committees at Paradise Valley Country Club, 7101 N. Tatum Blvd. in Paradise Valley.

Among his many honors, Mr. Kloenne was the 2007 recipient of the Ed Updegraff Award, the AGA’s highest honor given in recognition of those who, by their actions, exemplify the spirit of the game. He was inducted into the AGA’s Arizona Golf Hall of Fame in 2012 by his close friend Hale Irwin.

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