FAIRBORN, OH (September 18, 2021) – JR Ables, a 45-year member of the PGA of America, has been elected to the 2021 Hall of Fame class for the Southern Ohio PGA. Joining Ables in receiving recognition are Mike Crotty, PGA, who was chosen to receive the Legacy Award and Tim Tilton, selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ables was born and raised in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He got his introduction into the game of golf at 13 years of age and quickly immersed himself in the sport. Ables noted that he tried to learn as much as he could, as quickly as he could, which led him to eventually join Rod Myer, the Men’s Golf Coach and Head Professional at Ohio State University as an Assistant Professional in 1971.
Ables stayed on at Ohio State for nine years, eventually taking on the role of Co-Head Professional and Assistant Men’s Coach in 1974 and Head Women’s Coach in 1976. Beginning in 1980, Ables started focusing full-time on teaching the game. He was a Teaching Professional at Bash Recreation from 1980 to 1982 before he moved on to the Head Professional and Co-Owner role at Eastland Golf Center. From 1989 through 2018 he owned and operated his own golf centers, first at Ables Golf Center on Polaris and then at Ables Golf on Avery in Dublin, OH. Since 2019, he’s taught the game at a number of facilities in the Columbus area.
A noted instructor, Ables was named the Southern Ohio PGA Teacher of the Year in 1987 and 1992.
One of his career highlights came in 2010 when then student Rod Spittle qualified for the Champions Tour event in San Antonio, TX. Rod called on Ables to caddie in the event which Spittle went on to win in a sudden-death playoff over six-time PGA Tour winner, Jeff Sluman.
Ables prides himself on programs he’s created and the success that many of his junior students have had over the years. In 1982, Ables created Maximum Golf, an off-season program focused on exercise and strength training that continues today with more than 40 attendees annually. Junior students that he has taught and coached include Leila Raines, Holly Niederkohr, Allison Harper and TT Crouch.
Over the years, Ables estimates that he’s given nearly 90,000 lessons. He has always focused on delivering the same consideration and effort, regardless of the skill level, and has lived by a single philosophy: keep it simple with the right fundamentals.
Mike Crotty, PGA Life Member, was selected to receive the Legacy Award. The Legacy Award is given annually to a Past President or prominent SOPGA Member who has shown exemplary devotion and commitment to enhancing the well-being of the Southern Ohio PGA.
Mike started his career as a PGA Professional at New Albany Country Club before taking over as Head Professional at Darby Creek Golf Course and later Safari Golf Course, where he spent more than 13 years in the his role.
Crotty was honored with the PGA of America’s Junior Golf Leader Award in 1991 for his work growing the game with young people. Mike served as the Southern Ohio PGA President for two years in 1998 and 1999. He was honored numerous times with SOPGA Special Awards: Golf Professional of the Year (1996), Youth Player Development Award (1988-1991); and Professional Development Award (1999).
Tim Tilton, a long-time high school golf administrator, was selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Given to an amateur who has greatly contributed to the game of golf, Tilton embodied the award through years of hard work and dedication to high school golf.
Tilton served as a high school golf coach from 1974 until 2009 at Greenhills and Winton Woods High Schools. During that time, he also spent more than 40 years serving as a Tournament Manager with the Ohio High School Athletic Association, annually running Sectional and District Tournaments while assisting in the State Championships.
Tilton has been honored previously. He was inducted into the Ohio High School Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 1989, the Winton Woods High School Hall of Fame in 2009 and received the OHSAA Distinguished Service Award for golf in 2017.
All three will be honored at the annual Southern Ohio PGA Awards Dinner schedule for Friday, November 19, 2021 at NCR Country Club in Kettering, OH.