Bill Kozak is a Canadian Golf Legend. Born in Port Moody, British Columbia, and a long-time resident of Niagara Falls, the 5-time Canadian Seniors Professional Golf Champion, and first Canadian in history to capture the Western New York PGA title in 1956, has had an outstanding career to say the least. Now in his 90s, Bill can still be found with a club in his hand and golf in his heart.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR TIME PLAYING ON THE PGA TOUR?
Golf is a game of dedication, confidence and hard work. You have some disappointments and hopefully many rewards. You are playing with some of the best players in the world. That should give you a lot of confidence in yourself. You learn by playing with the best players.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE WELLKNOWN PLAYERS YOU’VE PLAYED WITH?
I had the good fortune to play with top golf pros such as Gary Player, Al Balding, Doug Ford (Master’s Champion), Pat Fletcher (the only Canadian to win the Canadian Open) and many more top PGA seniors.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST MEMORIES PLAYING ON THE SENIOR PGA TOUR?
The Senior tour was a wonderful experience for me as the play was more relaxed. It is very competitive but friendlier than the regular tour.
HOW MANY HOLES IN ONE HAVE YOU HAD?
Six Aces in the many years I have played with the most notable one at Winged Door in the 1980 U.S. Senior Open – 3rd hole, 145 yards, 7 iron. It was the first hole-in-one in this event and is on record.
HOW IS YOUR GOLF GAME THESE DAYS?
My golf game is for pleasure and exercise, as I have a few physical issues. I usually play two or three times a week. Also, I like to hit balls on the driving range.
WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE WEEKEND WARRIOR LOOKING TO IMPROVE THEIR GOLF GAME?
The weekend warrior should practice a little before teeing off. A few lessons from a CPGA pro will also benefit your game. Most of all, enjoy the game.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE COURSES YOU’VE PLAYED AND WHY?
My favourite golf course is Lookout Point Country Club in Fonthill. I caddied there. It was my start in golf. It’s a very hilly layout with a variety of difficult shots, which is good for your game. Glen Abbey and Pebble Beach are the most famous courses I’ve played.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG ASPIRING GOLF PROFESSIONALS?
Professional golf is a tough road to travel. You must be dedicated and serious with your practice and play. Don’t be afraid to learn or take advice. Ask questions and be confident. Watch the top players hit balls. Always be a gentleman. Dress well and be well groomed. Your best advice would be from an older pro. Good luck!
Presently, Bill Kozak is located at Oaklands Golf Club in Niagara Falls and available for golf instruction.
Lookout Point Golf Championship, 1940
Buffalo Open, 1955
Western New York PGA, 1956, 1958, 1970
Wester New York Seniors PGA, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1981
Canadian PGA Seniors Championship, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978