Oldest PGA of America member Lewis dies at 103


Joseph 'Bud' Lewis, the oldest living member of The PGA of America, died Nov. 22. He was 103.

Elected to PGA membership on May 13, 1931, Lewis, of Wyncote, Pa., was also the longest-serving member of the PGA.

With Lewis' passing, Samuel Henry 'Errie' Ball of Stuart, Fla., the only surviving player from the first Masters, becomes the oldest living PGA of America member. Ball, who was inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame on Nov. 2, celebrated his 101st birthday on Nov. 14. Ball was elected to PGA membership on June 20, 1931.

Born Aug. 30, 1908, Lewis grew up in west Philadelphia. At age 12, he was introduced to golf as a caddie at the Llanerch Country Club, the site of the 1958 PGA Championship, the first conducted under a stroke-play format.

After working at five different clubs as an assistant and head pro, he became the head pro at the Manufacturers Golf & Country Club in 1943 and settled in for a tenure of 37 years.

For many years, Lewis was one of the leading instructors in the Philadelphia PGA Section. His most notable pupil was Bill Hyndman III, a runner-up in the U.S. Amateur and the British Amateur.

Lewis was also a top-flight player, winning the Philadelphia Open in 1942 and 1950 and finishing second twice. He qualified for the PGA Championship four times and the U.S. Open three times.

When asked before his 100th birthday about his secret to longevity, he repeated what he called a “simple lesson” that he had received early in life.

“You’ve got to be happy no matter what it takes,” he said, “and you have to keep smiling no matter how much it hurts.”

Lewis is survived by sons Joseph Jr., Dan, a daughter, Jean, 12 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.