J.L. Lewis’s life was dedicated to golf. His life was one representing a dream come true for a golfer. He was a talented junior and outstanding high school golfer earning scholarships at two universities. He entered the PGA Apprentice Program, becoming a Class A PGA Professional while continuing to compete. He earned his PGA Tour card only to lose it after a year. More determined than ever, he regained his Tour status and won two events which put him in very rare company. He became the fourth native Kansan to win on the PGA Tour in the last 50 years. He, then, went on to qualify for the Senior Tour with expectations of more success, but cancer detoured his plans. J.L. never gave up. Unable to compete at the highest level he returned to teaching the game he loved. J.L. Lewis’s career was indeed devoted to golf.
After high school in Emporia, Kansas he was a 3-sport star in football, basketball, and golf earning All-State honors in basketball. He attended Emporia State University on a golf scholarship winning the NAIA District 10 Championship in 1980. Seeking a more competitive environment in golf JL transferred to Southwest Texas State University where he was Runner Up in the NCAA D-II Golf Championship while leading his team to the National title.
J.L. qualified for the PGA Tour in 1988 and played in 21 events in 1989 but lost his card and returned to the club pro world until 1995 when after repeated attempts he joined the PGA Tour for good. Prior to 1995, J.L. had many golf accomplishments and tournament victories, including:
- 1986 Alamo Chapter Southern Texas Player of the Year
- 1988 Las Vegas Section Player of the Year
- 1992 Champion Southern Texas PGA
- 1992 Southern Texas PGA Player of the Year
- 1993 Champion Southern Texas PGA
- 1994 Member of victorious PGA’s US Cup Team over European Team, where J.L. made a cinching 50′ putt on the last hole to win.
J.L. was diagnosed with multiple myeloma which ended his competitive career on the golf course.
Thereafter, J.L. dedicated his time to sharing his love of the game with others through golf instruction at Yaupon Golf Club in Lakeway, TX; Cimarron Hills Golf Club in Georgetown, TX; and various driving ranges in and around the Austin, TX area. J.L. became Head Golf Professional at Mill Creek Country Club in Salado, Texas for 18 months from January 2012-June 2013.
Following Mill Creek, J.L. opened the J.L. Lewis Golf Academy at Avery Ranch Golf Club in Austin and at Teravista Golf Club in Round Rock. He was the Director of Golf Instruction until he passed away on New Year’s Eve, 2019.
J.L. is inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in the category of Professional Player.