PGA Legacy - our heros
Way before the current PGA of Belgium was founded, Belgium had some impressive professionals. Although they have already gone to Heaven Golf Club, we do not forget them. Please find some historic info on our passed away heros...
Flory Van Donck
Tervuren 23 June 1912 - 14 January 1992
Van Donck is widely regarded as the greatest ever Belgian golfer. During his career, he won more than fifty tournaments worldwide, including many of the most prestigious national opens of Europe. He also finished as runner up in The Open Championship on two occasions.
Until the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer burst onto the golf scene in the late 1970s, Van Donck was one of the few golfers from continental Europe who had been able to win regularly in professional tournaments in Britain. Much of Van Donck's fame rested on his great putting ability, though his style was unorthodox as he kept the toe of his putter in the air, similar to Isao Aoki.
Van Donck held most of the national open titles in Europe at one time or another, including the Belgian Open and Dutch Open (five times each), Italian Open (four times), French Open (three times), German Open and Swiss Open (twice each), and Portuguese Open (once). In 1953 he won a total of seven tournaments on the European circuit, a record he still shares with Norman Von Nida who achieved the feat in 1947, and was awarded the Harry Vardon Trophy.
As of 2017 the PGA of Belgium organises the Flory Van Donck Memorial Pro-Am.
1936 - 25 April 1975
Like his father Jules, Swaelens taught golf at Royal Latem Golf Club and in 1972, 1973 and 1974 played in thirty tournaments on the recently formed European Tour. He also played in The Open Championship several times. His best result was in 1974 at Royal Lytham & St Annes where he finished tied for seventh.
In 1973, he finished tied for second, with Dale Hayes, in the Viyella PGA Championship held at Wentworth, three shots behind Peter Oosterhuis. In 1974 he finished third in the Dutch Open at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club.
Swaelens died in 1975 at the age of 39 from cancer. Until Nicolas Colsaerts played in 2013, he was the only Belgian golfer to be invited to the Masters Tournament, although the cancer prevented him from taking part.