PEOPLE OF INTEREST
Golf pro Joe Kern, director of instruction at The Moorings At Hawks Nest course, donated a kidney that helped save the life of a friend.
BY MARY ANN KOENIG
Arnold Palmer once said, “Golf is deceptively simple
and endlessly complicated.” For professional golfer
Joe Kern and his fishing buddy Bill Sedleckis, their
friendship marks that equation perfectly and identifies a
relationship that evolved from simple to complicated, with a
truly endless quality.
In October, Kern was named PGA Senior Tour Treasure
Coast Golfer of the Year, an indication that his game is on a
level beyond that of mere mortal golfers. He is the director of
instruction at the Jim Fazio-designed The Moorings at Hawks
Nest in Vero Beach.
But Kern’s talent for the game ranks second to another
exemplary trait. He’s gifted with a giving spirit of grand
proportions and received the Deacon Palmer Award named
for Arnold Palmer’s father in 2017 as recognition.
According to the PGA, the award “bestows special recognition
upon a PGA Professional who personally displays
outstanding integrity, character and leadership in the effort to
overcome a major obstacle in his/her life.”
This prestigious acknowledgment had its genesis during a
fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee that became a turning point
for both men, when Kern made an offer that few would ever
consider and many would never be courageous enough to
Kern, a Titusville native, was the head golf professional at
Indian River Club in Vero Beach when he met Sedleckis. As
pro and member, the two played golf there occasionally, but
their friendship was cultivated around fishing.
“I do a lot of fishing at Lake Okeechobee,” Sedleckis says,
“so I invited Joe to come with me, and we ended up going
But Sedleckis was living with the knowledge that his time
as a golfer and a fisherman were limited.
On that fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee, Sedleckis confessed
that it might be their last together.
“I have kidney failure,” he told Kern. “I’m going to have to
The SELFLESS PRO