(Lahaina, HI) – David Havens, PGA Director of Instruction at Ka’anapali Golf Courses was recently awarded the 2015 Horton Smith Award by the Aloha Section PGA (ASPGA).
The Horton Smith Award recognizes the PGA professional who is the model educator of PGA Professionals and gives special recognition for outstanding continued contributions to professional education. The recipient must demonstrate qualities of leadership, moral character and maintain a record of service to the association and the game of golf.
“When I was young, someone gave me the opportunity to play golf,” says Havens. “Working at Ka’anapali and helping people get into the game is my way of giving back so someone else has that same opportunity.”
Havens utilizes the PGA National education program, Tee it Forward, “All of my students, whether male or female, old or young, start at the forward tees on the course.” He continues, “It is important for new students to be educated on the rules and etiquette of the game as they learn the sport.” Havens has a weekly “soup kitchen” club with several of the hotel sales and front line staff, where they meet at the range and learn more about the game, practice and often play one of the practice holes together. It is programs like this that help grow the game of golf.
Havens’ boss, Ed Kageyama, PGA General Manager at Ka’anapali commented about his award, “David is a great ambassador for the game of golf – he has such a big heart and he truly cares about people.” Kageyama added, “Ka’anapali is lucky to have him on staff – he is not only a great player and teacher of the game, but also someone who educates people about the game and gets them excited to make golf a part of their life.”
Havens has been published in several articles for PGA Magazine, including “PGA Best Practices: Player Development” and most recently his “Teaching Teachers” article in October. David was asked to write the teaching article while competing to represent the ASPGA in the PGA National Championship held on the mainland.
“It is important for me to work the full spectrum of the modern day golf professional – full time teacher, non-profit founder, PGA Sectional and National tournament player, Board of Director for the Section, and mentor to those aspiring to become a PGA member.” He concluded, “All while being a husband and a father.” Havens also donates his time for a multitude of junior events across the state year round.
David Havens is no stranger to the award podium. Havens was awarded the Teacher of the Year award by the ASPGA in 2013, which is an award based on the professional's overall teaching performance, special teaching programs he has initiated or played a key role implementing, as well as outstanding golfers the professional has instructed. He was awarded the Junior Leader Award by the ASPGA in 2012 for his work with Hawaii’s rising-star golfers. Havens is credited for bringing hundreds of new people of all ages into golf. Teaching hundreds of students annually, including instruction programs for kids living in West Maui and Hana, Havens has traveled the globe from China to Vietnam and Bhutan to Nepal establishing junior golf programs.
David even created his own non-profit “Spare for Change” several years ago that recycles old golf clubs and donates them to golfers young and old across America. The organization offers college scholarships to kids in need - several Maui kids have benefited from these scholarships over the last few years. Spare for Change has also sponsored and financially supported several PGA apprentices looking to become full time PGA members. The financial assistance helps to pay for apprentices’ Player’s Ability Test (PAT), PGA dues and national testing.
David Havens was born in Virginia and walked on to the Virginia Tech golf team in 1992. He then played on the Australia, Asia, Canada and South African Tours and won the 2008 Bhutan Open. While on Tour, David helped start a junior program in Bhutan and renovate a golf course there. Performing similar work in Nepal, he also trained the Nepal National Team players.
Havens moved to Maui in 2004 and immediately began working with Maui’s youth, also working with the several PGA Tour players, Boo Weekley and Brendon de Jonge. Brendon de Jonge was one of Havens’ golf students from Zimbabwe that David worked with during his college career at Virginia Tech, as well as on the Nationwide and PGA Tour. In 2012, the Aloha Section PGA honored Havens with the Junior Leader Award and in 2013 the Aloha Section Teacher of the Year Award.
The Royal Ka’anapali Course, a Robert Trent Jones Senior design, opened in 1962 and has tested the skills of golf professionals and amateurs alike. A Par 71 stretching 6700 yards, the Royal Course combines wide fairways and undulating greens, making it both distinctive and demanding. Home of the Champions Tour Ka’anapali Classic for 14 years, the Royal Ka’anapali Course also hosted Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, the Canada Cup and LPGA Kemper Open, donning such golfing greats as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper Golf, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Jan Stephenson and Betsey King.
The Ka’anapali Kai Course is a Par 70, 6,400-yard course and boasts an array of strategically placed bunkers, contoured fairways, and re-shaped and resurfaced greens. This course, host of Golf Channel’s #1 series Big Break Ka'anapali, is a challenge to play and places a premium on strategy off the tee, accuracy with approach shots, and a deft touch around the greens.
In 2005-2007, Ka’anapali Golf Courses invested over $13 million in renovations and infrastructure. Golf course architect, Robin Nelson, was brought in to oversee the rework of the Ka’anapali Kai Course and enhancements to the championship Royal Ka’anapali Course. Ka’anapali recently celebrated 50 years (1962-2012) and was host of the Champions Tour SKIN GAME January 2008-2011.