Frank Ford Sr. started playing in his early teens near the end of World War I when he bought a 5-iron for 50 cents and two balls for a nickel, then dug some holes in the front yard to chip to. From that beginning, he became one of the most heralded golfers in South Carolina.
Ford’s accomplishments included winning seven South Carolina Amateur Championships, the first on his home course at the Country Club of Charleston in 1930, the last in 1955 at age 51. In 1935, he teamed with the great Henry Picard to win the International Four-Ball, beating the likes of Horton Smith, Denny Shute and Sam Snead. He won the Biltmore Forest Invitational, then a top amateur event, and was medalist in the Carolinas Amateur three times.
On the local scene, he won the Azalea Invitational four times, the Charleston City Championship 11 times and was club champion at the Country Club of Charleston 18 times. His accomplishments are made more remarkable considering that he gave up golf every August 15, when hunting season began.
Ford was the head of a family that produced four generations of accomplished players. His three sons were all fine golfers, with Billy once a captain of the University of North Carolina golf team. Grandson Frank Ford III won the Azalea Invitational six times and includes Charleston City titles, the Carolinas Amateur and the Carolinas Mid-Amateur among his victories. Great-grandson Frank (Cordes) IV also had an impressive record, with a Carolinas Amateur among his titles.
Ford was inducted into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1977 and the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.