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David Havens honored with 2015 Horton Smith Award

By Staff | Dec 31, 2015

David Havens created his own nonprofit called “Spare for Change” several years ago that recycles old golf clubs and donates them to golfers young and old across America, offers college scholarships to kids in need, and sponsors and financially supports 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.

LAHAINA – David Havens, PGA director of instruction at Kaanapali 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 among peers and gives special recognition for outstanding continued contributions to professional education. The recipient must demonstrate qualities of leadership and 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,” said Havens. “Working at Kaanapali 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,” Havens said.

He continued, “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 hotel sales and front line staff. 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 Kaanapali, 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, “Kaanapali 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. He 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, nonprofit founder, PGA Sectional and National tournament player, board of director for the section, and mentor to those aspiring to become a PGA member,” Havens said, “all while being a husband and a father.”

Havens also donates his time for a multitude of junior events across the state year-round.

Havens is no stranger to the award podium. He was awarded the Teacher of the Year by the ASPGA in 2013, and honored with 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.