The Faces of Kings Park Pride:
2006 Person of the year Dinner March 9, 2007
the Year CHRIS HESLIN A Kings Parker with deep roots in the community, Chris Heslin
has worked his way up from the painting business to the administration of a nationally
ranked municipal golf course. He did it through hard work, imagination and a strict
CHRIS HESLIN & Michael Hebron - Kings Park Chamber of Commerce 2006 Persons of
attention to detail. In 1984, Michael Hebron entered into a contract with the Town of
Smithtown to take over management of the Smithtown Landing Golf Course. At the same
time, Chris became the Superintendent/Manager of the facility. The rest is history – as is
so often casually stated. This duo has proceeded to turn an ordinary golf course into one
of the most outstanding public courses anywhere in the country. And Chris is never
satisfied with “status quo.” He is constantly working on improvements to insure that this
jewel of a facility remains among the elite of golf courses. Over the years, Chris has
continued his education through national, state and local seminars regarding turf and
pesticide science. He has evolved into a manager whose expertise is now requested at
many regional conferences and seminars as a guest speaker. Anyone who knows Chris
knows that his talent lies in his ability to manage and communicate with his staff and the
golfing public in general. That public runs the gamut from scratch golfers to beginners;
from youngsters to teenage high schoolers to seniors. Because of the condition of
Smithtown Landing, the golfers know that they can play all year long, weather permitting.
That is a testament to the dedication of Chris, Mike and their staff. What Chris has given
back to the community is also measured by the many charitable functions and outings
he has helped to organize, often at the last moment, and the many contributions he has
made on behalf of the golf course to community organizations. The many lives he has
had an impact on can also be measured by the number of staff working in the golfing
business and their subsequent involvement in the community. The chemistry of Hebron
and Heslin has provided our community with fame and recognition and we are thankful
to them both for making us proud.
Michael Hebron was born in 1942. He attended Holy Cross High School and graduated
in 1960. One of the most influential persons in Michael’s life was his mother Florence.
Growing up in Bayside with his brother Jimmy, sports were an integral part of their lives.
Michael attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington from 1961-1964, playing
college basketball. His first job in golf was at Muttontown Country Club as shop
assistant. Gene Borek, a well-respected golf professional on Long Island, was one of
Mike’s early mentors. In 1969, he became the head golf professional at Smithtown
Landing Country Club and moved to St. James in 1970. Mike’s wife Pat was born and
raised in Kings Park.
Michael has long been a trailblazer in the professional golf industry. He was one of the
first golf professionals to lease a golf facility – Smithtown Landing Country Club; he has
written numerous nationally-recognized books on the sport; and he received national
awards from the PGA of America two years in a row – 1990 Horton Smith Award in
recognition of his accomplishments in PGA Education, and in 1991 as PGA Teacher of
the Year. He is consistently rated among the Top 50 golf instructors in the nation. Mike
has coached numerous Tour players, both PGA and LPGA. His extensive library of books
and research papers written over the years incorporates many of the principles of “how
to learn” with his teaching of the golf swing. With all of that national recognition, Mike has
never lost touch with our community. He is especially attentive to our local area students.
He not only teaches them about the game of golf and helps the school teams and
athletic staff wherever possible, he teaches them about the “game of life.” Just recently,
he partnered with the Smithtown News in a monthly essay contest encouraging local
students to compose original written material based on various topics. Because of his
unassuming nature, he is a gem too often overlooked and the community is proud to
honor him as one of “our own".