In the News


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – November 3, 2021 – Kathy Wilkes has been named the 28th recipient of the Southwest PGA PING Anser Award, recognizing an individual whose positive efforts have influenced the history of the game in Arizona. She will be recognized during the Southwest PGA Semi-Annual Meeting on Nov. 8 at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale.

“We couldn’t be prouder to honor Kathy as the recipient of the Anser Award,” said Al Sutton, President of the Southwest PGA. “Her contributions to the Southwest PGA and the golf community in Arizona are well-documented and have made long-lasting impacts to the Section and the game, which exemplifies the mission of PING founder, the late Karsten Solheim, who the award was named after for his famous PING Anser putter.”

Born in Newport News, Va., and raised in Marshalltown, Iowa, Wilkes attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a degree in business. Following college, she relocated to the Phoenix area and entered the golf industry accepting positions at McCormick Ranch Golf Club and Paradise Park Golf Course.

In 1988, Wilkes was named the second Executive Director for the Southwest Section PGA, where she served for more than 20 years. During her tenure leading the Section’s administration, the Southwest PGA experienced exponential growth both in terms of the number of members served and in overall operations. Under her leadership the Southwest PGA created the golf pass, which grew into the largest program of its kind in the country and served as model for the development of similar revenue-generating programs with Sections across the country. She also led the Southwest PGA through the process of purchasing its own corporate office building.

After leaving the Southwest PGA, Wilkes finished her career working for the PGA of America as the Director of Career Services.

Throughout her time with the Southwest PGA, and since her retirement, Wilkes has continually served in various community civic volunteer roles throughout the Phoenix area. Today she continues to volunteer her time with the Phoenix Public Library and various Section programs and activities, including local Drive, Chip & Putt qualifiers.

The Anser Award was created by the Southwest Section of the PGA in 1991 as a way to recognize individuals who have made significant and impactful contributions to advancing or promoting the game of golf throughout the state of Arizona. Over the past 29 years the list of recipients has grown to include some of the most influential names in history of golf in Arizona. Past recipients of the Southwest PGA PING Anser Award include:

1991 – Karsten Solheim

2006 – Al Birmingham

1992 – Bob Goldwater, Sr.

2007 – Louise Solheim

1993 – Bill Farkas, Sr.

2008 – Heather Farr

1994 – Dr. Ed Updegraff

2009 – George Boutell

1995 – Arch Watkins

2010 – Dot Straw

1996 – Harry Cavannaugh

2011 – Brian Whitcomb, PGA

1997 – John Riggle

2012 – Tucson Conquistadores

1998 – Lyle Anderson

2013 – Ron McPherson

1999 – Linda Vollstedt

2014 – John A. Solheim

2000 – Bill Dickey

2015 – Tom Cunningham

2001 – The Thunderbirds

2017 – Dave Engelking

2002 – Sister Lynn Winsor

2018 – Tim Kloenne

2003 – Jay Woodward

2019 – Dana Garmany

2004 – Willie Low

2020 – No Award (COVID-19 Pandemic)

2005 – Vernon Orrin “Red” Allen, PGA

2021 – Kathy Wilkes

About The Southwest Section PGA:
The Southwest Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving the men and women golf professionals in Arizona and Southern Nevada who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The Southwest PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, junior golf programs and events, educational opportunities, support programs and growth of the game initiatives. With 1219 members and associate Professionals, the Southwest PGA is the fifth largest of the 41 regional entities or Sections that comprise the PGA of America. For more information about the Southwest PGA, please visit our website and join us on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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