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Dan Brooks, 61, heads into his 36th season as the head coach of the Duke women’s golf team after capturing a remarkable seven national titles with the Blue Devils in the last 21 seasons. In addition to the exceptional national titles, Brooks lead the Blue Devils to 20 career Atlantic Coast Conference championships and 136 team wins – the most of any women’s golf coach in NCAA Division I history.
Brooks, a former star golfer at Oregon State and a self-proclaimed West Coast guy, flew to the East Coast in the mid-1980s, and was hired to lead the Duke women’s golf team, along with assistant coaching duties with Myers on the men’s side. The two golf coaches also ran the golf course operations.
Brooks wasn’t sure he could coach, or become a good teacher for that matter, saying he “hedged his bets” by taking the coaching job. However, he has since proved otherwise, having been named national coach of the year seven times while leading the Blue Devils to 17 top-five national finishes.
Brooks joins the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame 2020 class alongside Dorathy Dotger Thigpen. Together they highlight some of the most outstanding accomplishments women’s golf has ever seen across the area.
Dorathy Dotger Thigpen
Dorathy Thigpen grew up playing golf at Charlotte Country Club and won the women’s club championship there in 1917 – at the age of 15. She dominated women’s golf across the region in the 1920s, regularly scoring in the mid 80s during a period in which the top women players were shooting in the 90s.
In 1923, she married Richard E. Thigpen who was alumni secretary at Duke University, and played the first round at the Donald Ross-designed Hope Valley Country Club, where she later set one of her numerous course records for female golfers.
Mrs. Thigpen gave up competitive golf in 1924 to raise her family after having played in the North-South Championship in Pinehurst a year earlier. She also won six team events in Pinehurst.
Returning to tournament play after having two children, she finished second in the 1929 Women’s CGA Championship. Mrs. Thigpen also captured the women’s championship at Hope Valley in 1928 and 1929. During this era, she played in the North-South Women’s Tournament in Pinehurst, and gave golfing exhibitions across the state of North Carolina.
Mrs. Thigpen enjoyed golf at the club level for over 50 years, and held the low score for women at four different venues in four different cities -- Charlotte Country Club, Hope Valley in Durham, Forsyth in Winston-Salem and Asheville Country Club.
Mrs. Thigpen died in 1989 at the age of 88 and joins the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame 2020 class posthumously alongside Dan Brooks. Together they highlight some of the most outstanding accomplishments women’s golf has ever seen across the area.
Jim Hyler, Jr.
By Dave Droschak
Payne Stewart’s dramatic winning putt on the final hole of the 1999 U.S. Open galvanized the world of golf 20 years ago this summer and to this day remains one of the game’s most iconic moments.
Stewart’s clutch putt played out in front of tens of thousands of fans huddled around the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2, and many millions more glued to their TV sets. But there was also a behind-the-scenes hero of that Open who played a vital role in the success of the championship and the USGA’s now long-standing relationship with one of golf’s historic resorts.
Jim Hyler Jr., the former president of First Citizens Bank and one of the state’s most influential businessman of his generation, was called upon more than two decades ago to serve as chairman of the 1999 U.S. Open President’s Council – a monumental task of gathering support for one of golf’s majors in a location that was anything but a slam dunk for the USGA.
It was Hyler’s role in that Open and his unlikely 12-year stint in the USGA ranks that eventually saw him rise to USGA president that helped get him elected to the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Hyler also spearheaded countless charitable efforts associated with golf over the years across the state, including serving as chairman of the First Tee of Wake County in 2005.
“Perhaps Jim’s greatest achievement was his leadership of a group that administered the U.S. Open at the legendary Pinehurst Resort,” says John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA. “While the USGA had always recognized Pinehurst No. 2 as one of the world’s finest, it never thought it could host a U.S. Open because of the agronomic limitations and because of its remote location to which fans and corporate dollars would not travel. Jim put together a group that overcame these challenges and by all measures staged one of the most successful U.S. Opens of all time, bringing notoriety to the USGA, the state of North Carolina and Pinehurst Resort.”
Hyler grew up on a tobacco farm in rural southside Virginia, with no access to golf.
“I had kind of beat some golf balls around in our yard at home but never really played to speak of until I went to Virginia Tech, and at the time there was a golf course on the edge of campus. I started playing golf on that little 9-hole course.”
Hyler says he also fell in love with Arnold Palmer in the early 1960s as he headed into his teenage years.
“Arnold Palmer really was a crucial part of my developing an interest in golf,” Hyler says. “I just found him to be an incredible personality and player, and really followed him. He’s my all-time sports hero. That had a whole lot to do with me falling in love with the game.”
After serving on the President’s Council for the U.S. Open in 1999 Hyler says was unexpectedly tabbed to serve as a member of the USGA executive committee from 2004-2011, rising to the position of USGA President in 2010-2011.
“Working with the business community across North Carolina to support the 1999 Open was my first exposure to the USGA,” Hyler recalls. “I developed some friendships there with Mike Davis and David Fay and so on, but then I got a call out of the blue in 2003 – totally out of the blue – asking me if I was interested in interviewing to go on the executive committee. I honestly asked the guy if he had the right number. He assured me he did. Being on the USGA executive committee, and spending four of those years chairing the championship committee and two years as president, was really was an incredible eight years. I’m sure thousands of people would have loved the opportunity to do that. My wife and I were able to meet a lot of wonderful people, make a lot of lifelong friends and travel to some fabulous places around the world. It was very cool.”
Hyler was also a founding board member of Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham County, serving as club president from 2005-2006. His business vision helped usher the club through a difficult beginning after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers.
“And probably one of Jim’s lasting legacies is his commitment to amateur golf, which has led Old Chatham to adopt a goal of hosting one major amateur championship or qualifying tournament each year which will culminate with the club hosting the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship,” said Old Chatham club president Allen Wilson.
“It is such an incredible game; there is no other game like it,” Hyler says when asked about selfless contributions to golf. “The game itself you are outside, you have a chance to be with your friends; you call penalties on yourself and there is really no other sport that does that. It is just an incredible game. If we can reach one kid and make a change in their life it’s worth it. I just love the game and what it’s about and just want to impart all the traditions and values of the game. Allowing others to be exposed to golf is very important to me.”
Hyler remains a solid 6.2 handicap between a few back surgeries and a recent rotator cuff operation.
“I kind of scrape it around now and have a decent short game,” Hyler says, chuckling.
A humble steward to the game of golf says he was humbled when informed he was heading into select company of the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame on Feb. 9 at a banquet in Columbia, S.C.
“It really was disbelief, just very surprised,” Hyler says. “It’s just like everything in my golf journey here the past 20 years I had no idea that something like this would happen. At the same time gratitude because it’s a great honor and something I never expected or considered.”
By Dave Droschak
Bob Farren has never won a championship, never hoisted a trophy for a global photo op or sank a clutch putt for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, many causal golfers may have never even heard of his name, let alone know his title at one of golf’s most glorious venues.
However, it’s an understatement to say Farren has virtually touched every piece of lush fairway grass, smooth putting surface, native grass or narrow blade of pine straw across the sprawling, iconic golfing destination known as Pinehurst Resort.
In one form or another for 37 years Farren has been the steward of the resort’s agronomy program and USGA golf championships, beginning as an assistant superintendant on courses No. 1 and 4 in the early 1980s to his current position for a decade as of director of golf course maintenance, earning him induction into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2019.
“I say this tongue-and-cheek but to a certain extent it is true that my department at Pinehurst Resort is responsible for everything green but the money, pretty much everything that grows and flows, everything from a tree falling on a green to our nutrition programs,” Farren says.
Farren, 61, has worked on eight USGA Championships at Pinehurst, including three U.S. Opens and the U.S. Women’s Open. In 2014, the men’s and women’s Opens were played on consecutive weeks on Pinehurst No. 2 – a first in golf history, and a huge accomplishment in the field of agronomy. Farren was honored with the President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship from the Golf Course Superintendents of America in 2007 and Golf Digest magazine’s Green Star Award for outstanding environmental practices in 2014.
Farren grew up the son of a greens keeper in rural West Virginia, the golf course a half mile from his house. He graduated from Marshall University in 1979 and found his way to the Tar Heel State.
“I never considered another career,” he says. “From middle school through high school people would ask what I wanted to do and I would tell them I wanted to be a golf course superintendent. Ironically I would say -- and still to this day it puzzles me -- that I wanted to be a golf course superintendent in North Carolina, and I had never even been to North Carolina. That’s weird.”
Farren’s expertise in balancing the science and “feel” of modern-day golf course agronomy is key, but his big-picture outlook at such a massive resort like Pinehurst is also a major component to his success.
“It is never all perfect. It is interesting, and that drives me,” Farren says. “You can kind of put people in my profession into silos. Some want to work at a championship venue and not all are fortunate enough to be able to do that; some want to work at a really high end private club and not to be bothered with championship noise and some want to work at a public venue. Some, especially in the early 1970s and 1980s, wanted to build a golf course, and then move on and do another one. I have been very fortunate and blessed to be here and do all of that and not have to move my family around, relocate and have to keep establishing different relationships in different communities. And I’ve been able to execute major championships at the highest level and construction as well.”
More recently at the resort, Farren has been credited with helping bring the Thistle Dhu putting course and The Cradle par-3 short course to life. He also worked alongside Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw during the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, and with Gil Hanse this past year on redo of Course No. 4. He also helped legendary architect Tom Fazio clear the land for Pinehurst No. 8 more than two decades ago.
Farren has been committed to minimizing over-seeding through the cooler months while investing in efficient turfgrass cultivars that reduce the use of water and nutrients over the long term of the golf courses at Pinehurst.
“And through Bob’s vision, the Pinehurst Resort property continues to serve as a turfgrass testing site to the benefit of all golf courses globally,” says Mike Davis, the CEO of the USGA. “We can only continue to watch and see what comes next from his greenhouse and committed staff.”
Farren laughs when asked about golfers mostly noticing when a golf course is in need of some TLC and taking for granted when conditions are pristine.
“I guess I really haven’t known it any differently,” Farren says. “It’s acceptable to me because I’ve been doing it for 40 years. But I do have an appreciation for and I acknowledge how course conditions affect the golf shop people. I get it, I understand what we do, and they are the ones that hear it from members or resort guests if it’s bad. I can see that connection and acknowledge that. What we enjoy as a staff when we leave at the end of the day is we have tangible results, regardless of what it may be. And it changes every day, sometimes we never know from one day to the next what we may be faced with. This past summer was an example with storms and hurricanes, and in the winter ice storms.”
Fellow inductee Jim Hyler has had the pleasure of working alongside Farren during several USGA championships at the resort.
“I think the world of Bob and am so honored to be in the same Hall of Fame class as he is,” Hyler says. “You talk about salt of the earth; that is Bob. He is a humble guy and he is very knowledgeable and is an incredible golf course guy. He’s a can-do guy; a what do we need to do to get this right type of guy. I just have the utmost respect for him in every way – just a high character guy, high integrity and the consummate professional.”
Maybe the biggest compliment came from Coore and Crenshaw.
“We learned a great deal from Bob, and he has been such an important and integral part of protecting and nurturing Pinehurst’s legacy,” the two architects said
George Cobb, Sr.
Golf Course Architect
By David Droschak
The owner of Linville Ridge Country Club talked to anyone who would listen about the great job architect George Cobb had done in creating the 16th hole, a dramatic par-3 that showcases an elevation drop equivalent to an 11-story building and a 50-mile view of the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance.
One day Cobb interrupted the owner, saying “I can’t take all the credit; I have to credit God for this.” Cobb then hesitated for a second or two before saying “but we worked closely with him.”
Cobb’s sense of humor, among many other talents, served the golf course architect well over a magnificent career, which saw him design or revamp more than 200 courses, many in the Carolinas, earning him induction into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
Cobb passed away in 1986, but most of his golf architectural works live on, capturing the imagination of millions upon millions of golfers since his career began in 1945 with the first golf course at Camp Lejeune. He joins other such architectural legends such as Donald Ross, Tom Fazio and Ellis Maples in the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame.
Cobb, a World War II Marine, would go on to design numerous other military courses, as well as maybe his most famous work – The Par 3 Course at Augusta National.
“Mr. Cobb used to say the Par 3 Course at Augusta National was his best golf course when critics would ask him about his favorite design,” said John LaFoy, who as a teenager was best friends with Cobb’s son and would later go on to team up with the elder Cobb on golf course design work. “He was proud of working at Augusta National but he also knew it would not offend any of the other clients he had ever worked for. I’ve always thought that was a good answer.”
Despite growing up in Savannah, Ga., a majority of Cobb’s designs stretch from the coast to the mountains of both the Carolinas. “My father was a Georgia native but a Carolinian by choice,” Cobb Jr. said.
A few of Cobb’s early designs were instrumental in helping Hilton Head become a national golfing Mecca.
“Dad always thought that the design of his first two Hilton Head courses was the main reason for the continued success and overall popularity of the region,” Cobb Jr. said. “If those inaugural courses – The Ocean and Sea Marsh at Sea Pines – had turned out to be mediocre maybe Hilton Head wouldn’t be the popular destination it is today.”
Cobb’s designs serviced a diverse section of the nation’s golfers, from those on the Armed Forces who have played on his military designs to students at colleges in North Carolina, Maryland and New York.
“I can only imagine how many University of North Carolina students have played Finley Golf Course while they should have been studying,” Cobb Jr. said.
Cobb helped mentored LaFoy, who he worked with at Linville Ridge, and fellow Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame member Tom Jackson.
“I learned so much from watching what he did and just being around him,” LaFoy says. “One of the biggest things I learned was his interaction with clients. He was such a personable guy, had a good sense of humor and he just knew how to not only treat clients but he knew how to get new work. I tell people this all the time that the only criteria of becoming a golf course architect is to get somebody to hire you.
“He was able to do that. He just had a way with clients. He was old school. He knew as much about golf architecture as he did course construction, which is really, really important.”
Cobb was a member of the first graduating class in the school of landscape architecture at University of Georgia, and was one of a very few golf course architects in his time to hold memberships in both the American Society of Golf Course Architects as well as the American Society of Landscape Architects.
LaFoy laughs about one encounter he and Cobb had with a golf course owner, who had been divorced six times. There was a slight disagreement over a portion of the course construction and the owner told Cobb, “You know George, I can divorce you, too.” Cobb, like he had done so many times in his four-decade career, smoothed it over and rolled on to complete yet another golfing masterpiece.
“Mr. Cobb never disagreed with his clients, but he was firm when he felt they were not right,” LaFoy said. “I learned another great lesson from Mr. Cobb that I still use today. He was always extremely fair to the golf course contractors. Even though he was working for the course owner Mr. Cobb new how hard a job golf course contractors have. He was tough on them but always fair.”
Golf course architecture is a unique blend of artistic ability, science and engineering – a combination of several different diverse disciplines, all of which Cobb had an abundance of.
“Mr. Cobb was so very gifted artistically; everything he did just kind of meshed together,” LaFoy says.
Bobby Long, a Greensboro businessman, is credited with helping save the PGA Tour stop in Greensboro a decade ago.
Long, chairman of the Piedmont Triad Charitable Foundation, convinced Wyndham to sponsor the PGA Tour event in Greensboro with a $25 million letter of credit. The Wyndham Championship has since been transformed in a move back to Sedgefield Country Club in large part to the vision of Long.
“When I heard the news that I was being inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame I felt completely unworthy because basically my deal has been to be a cheerleader, and all these other people do the work, and do it in such a wonderful way,” Long said. “I am in awe of them, certainly not of me.”
Long, 62, stepped in to help one of the nation’s oldest PGA Tour events when no sponsor arose in 2007, helping form a regional coalition of business leaders that included support from not only the Greensboro area, but High Point and Winston-Salem.
“While the tournament name included the word ‘Greensboro’ since it was created in 1938, Bobby saw a bigger picture – an opportunity to use the Wyndham Championship to promote Piedmont Triad regionalism and market the metropolitan statistical area as a great place to live, work, expand or start a business,” said Wyndham Championship tournament director Mark Brazil. “As the regionalism effort began to gain footing, companies that would never have done so if it remained a Greensboro event began joining as tournament partners.”
The CBS Sports broadcast of the Wyndham Championship now reaches nearly a billion people in 225 countries in 32 different languages.
“Mark (Brazil) and his team are incredible, and have been relentless in everything,” said Long, who grew up playing golf at Alamance Country Club. “They really do all the work, but then look at the community leaders, because the old GGO was predominately Greensboro and now the vast majority of the money comes from outside of Greensboro. I can’t sing their praises enough.”
“The world gets a look into the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, and that kind of exposure of golf in the Carolinas is truly priceless,” added Brazil. “When Bobby saved our PGA Tour event, he also saved many charitable organizations that benefit from it each year. Had the tournament gone away, their donations would have followed.”
One such organization is The First Tee. Long is one of the top donors for The First Tee of the Triad and is perhaps THE major donor of the First Tee of Wilmington.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate, so think about these kids who don’t necessarily have the same access and opportunity like I did,” Long said. “It’s a wonderful thing to try to enable them to have the same chance I did. I was sort of born on third base by comparison. Why not try to give them a shot?”
David Strawn reached the final of the U.S. Amateur in 1973, losing to future Masters champion Craig Stadler. The rest of Strawn’s resume also can’t be matched by many across the Carolinas, including playing in 8 U.S. Mid Amateurs and 14 Carolinas-Virginias Team Matches, along with winning the club championship at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte a record 11 times and the club’s senior title five times.
Strawn, 68, lived next to his father’s driving range growing up and started hitting balls when he was 6 years old, playing in his first tournament when he was 11.
“It was about the time that Arnold Palmer was getting popular and golf was getting very popular, and my dad Robert used to say ‘Hey boys, you have this great opportunity to practice whenever you want so you ought to take advantage of it.’ So we did,” Strawn said.
Strawn went on to play college golf at Furman, where he was a two-time Southern Conference champion.
Over a two-year span (1973-74) Strawn tied for second at the Eastern Amateur and Carolinas Open, was runner-up at the U.S. Amateur, won the Sunnehanna Amateur, and played in The Masters and U.S. Open. He later turned pro in 1974 and went on to play golf across the world, including in the Dutch, German, Portuguese, French and Spanish Opens before regaining his amateur status in 1986.
“I always liked amateur golf,” Strawn said. “When I played pro golf I was young and traveling and it was kind of fun, but amateur golf really is more fun over the long haul. You are trying to play the best you can, you are not mixing it up with trying to make a living.”
The real estate lawyer took a few years off to start his practice when he return to amateur status, then began playing at a high level again later in life, becoming a semifinalist in the 1993 U.S. Mid Amateur. Strawn also went on to win the N.C. Senior Four-Ball championship four times – each time with a different partner.
“It’s a great honor for me, but at the same time I am humbled by it because of all the people who are in there like Billy Joe Patton and Harvie Ward and Bill Harvey and Paul Simson – just extraordinary people and golfers.”
John Gerring had an illustrious career in golf and was highly regarded as a master club professional and as an outstanding teacher who worked with a number of touring pros as well as high handicap players. A native of High Point, he is a Wake Forest graduate and played his freshman year on a team that included Arnold Palmer. Gerring began his long list of honors by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. A member of the PGA Hall of Fame, he served a number of prestigious clubs including Biltmore Forest, Green Valley, Greenville, SC, Peachtree and Bloomfield Hills.
Willie McRae became a legend in Pinehurst after caddying at the famed No. 2 course for seventy-three years, beginning in the 1940s. During his colorful career, he carried the bag of five US presidents and numerous celebrities including Michael Jordan and Mickey Mantle. He also caddied for such prominent golf names as architect Donald Ross, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead. McRae’s father and his son Paul also were noted Pinehurst caddies. He worked in the 1951 Ryder Cup matches at Pinehurst and has participated in numerous major tournaments, including the US Open.
Dean Cassell’s resume is so impressive that it appears to the work of a fantasy writer with a gift for the improbable. And his diverse contributions included successful work in amateur, professional, business and organizational activities.
For instance, he was president of the Acushnet Titleist Company, president of the Dunlop Sports Company, president of the National Golf Foundation, and president of the Golf Ball Manufacturer’s Association.
He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina, holds a masters degree from Harvard, was a Rhodes Scholar, and a national Woodrow Wilson Fellow,
At UNC, he was an All-Conference baseball player as a star pitcher and played for two years as a professional in the Philadelphia Phillies system. On the golf course, he is a two-time winner of the Irish Senior championship, won the New England Senior Golf Association championship, and the National Society of Seniors Four Ball title. He qualified for the USGA Senior Amateur on seven occasions.
He has served as Executive in Residence for UNC’s MBA program, on the Advisory Council at Furman University and the University of Massachusetts /Dartmouth, and a Trustee of the School of Social Work at UNC. He is a frequent lecturer on sports management at a number of colleges and universities.
One of Cassell’s most cherished accomplishments was spearheading the campaign to adopt world-wide equipment standards, including a one-sized golf ball for all play. The US ball was selected, and players can thank Cassell for not having to play the British sized smaller ball. That historic event occurred at the Charlotte Country Club in 1972 during the U. S. Amateur championship.
Cassell is a native of Union City, NJ. He made All-State in baseball, basketball and golf at Union City High School as a senior. He currently resides in Charlotte and in Massachusetts. He was inducted in 2016.
If North Carolina had an “Ambassador of Golf,” the title would go to Johnny Harris of Charlotte, long one of the state’s most active and most effective golf promoters.
Harris’ list of accomplishments in the industry is long and impressive. Following in the footsteps of his father, James J. Harris, who was a founder of the Quail Hollow Country Club, Harris came by his enthusiasm for the game naturally, and he has worked tirelessly to bring the sport to the forefront.
Harris’ father brought the Kemper Open Tournament to Quail Hollow and his young son was a keen observer of the process. He would use his influence and promotional skills later on to spearhead the Wells Fargo PGA tour event in the Queen City.
The success of that event over the years brought much attention to the area and, at the urging of Harris, the PGA began to look seriously at Charlotte as the site of its annual championship. And it had a tournament chairman in Harris who would oversee the event in 2017.
With the PGA on the books, the next step for Harris was to procure the prestigious President’s Cup. That event is schedule for 2021 at Quail Hollow and will solidify Charlotte as a popular site for major tournaments.
Harris, a University of North Carolina graduate, is an accomplished player and a fierce competitor in addition to his promotional skills. His close friendship with golfing great Arnold Palmer has been a source of pride, and he has relied on that treasured association to help in his quest to boost the sport he loves.
Harris served on the board of the US Open championship in Pinehurst and has led numerous fund raising events for the betterment of the game. He is president of Lincoln Harris, a real estate development and management firm in Charlotte and has been a director of numerous companies and associations throughout his colorful career. He was inducted in 2016.
Larry Boswell of Jamestown, N.C. holds thirteen Carolinas Golf Association championships which ranks third in CGA history behind Dale Morey (24) and Paul Simson (22). Larry didn’t begin his golf career until well after graduating from college. Starting in 1978, he won the South Carolina state match-play; then came the inaugural Carolinas Mid Amateur in l981, a tournament he won five times. Larry has proved his longevity and consistency by winning CGA champions in five different decades.
Playing nationally, Larry has competed in eleven United States Golf Association championships: the U.S. Public Links (3), the U.S. Amateur (2), the U.S. Senior Open (3), and the U.S. Senior Amateur (3). In addition, he won the International Four-Ball (regular and senior divisions) and the Society of Seniors Super-Seniors National Championship. In 2009, Larry was recognized as the PGA Senior Amateur player of the year.
Words like “gentleman” and “respect” always accompany Larry’s name. He is held in the highest esteem by his fellow competitors.
Larry Boswell was inducted in to the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
Scott Hoch was one of the most consistent players of his era on the PGA Tour. Born in Raleigh, N.C. in 1955, he spent his early years with his dad who ran the pools at Wildwood and Raleigh Country Clubs. If he didn’t go play golf, his dad would put him to work at the pool. He played a lot of golf.
Hoch graduated from Wake Forest University in 1978 and is in the school’s hall of fame. He turned professional in 1979 and won 11 times on the PGA Tour, playing in 644 events and making 498 cuts, earning over $18 million.
He won the Vardon Trophy for low stroke average on the Tour in 1986 and was a member of two Ryder Cup teams in 1997 and 2002.
Although he never won a major, he finished runner-up to Nick Faldo in the 1989 Masters play-off and missed a playoff for the 1987 PGA Championship by one stroke.
When asked about his career, Hoch said, “It was a matter of determination. I knew I was never the best. I wanted to do well and prove myself. I didn’t have the highs of some players but I didn’t have the lows either. I was pretty even keel throughout my career.”
Since joining the PGA Champions Tour in 2007, Hoch has won three times so far with earnings over $3 million.
Scott Hoch was inducted in the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
The quality of Howard Ward's writing and his longevity as a golf reporter for newspapers and golf publications put him in elite company in the Carolinas.
Ward's honest appraisal of the game and the people who play it has greatly benefited the sport. When circumstances called, he has shown the toughness required of a good reporter, but he was never one to take cheap shots for the sake of spicing up stories. He continues to cover golf with integrity that all reporters should emulate.
Ward worked for the Fayetteville Observer for 41 years, the last 27 years as sports editor, retiring in 1997. He has worked since 1998 as lead golf writer for The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines/Pinehurst, and has freelanced for Golfweek, Golf World and Golf Magazine, as well as for newspapers in Great Britain and Canada. He was editor of the Golf Record of the Carolinas for eight years, has been a CGRA member since 1970, served as vice-president in 1979 and president in 1980, during which the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame was organized, and served on the Hall of Fame selection committee through 2008.
He's covered 22 Masters, seven U.S. Men's Opens, three PGA Championships, three U.S. Women's Opens, two U.S. Amateur Championships, two PGA Tour Championships and one LPGA Championship,. In addition, he has covered scores of other PGA and LPGA events as well as Carolinas Golf Association, CPGA Section events and numerous local events.
Ward penned what might've been the first national article on Michelle Wie for Golfweek when she competed in the 2000 WAPL Championship at Legacy Golf Links as a 10-year-old. He's won numerous North Carolina Press Association and CGRA awards, and has been recognized by the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association for continued reporting of members' activities.
Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C., is the most successful player in the history of the Carolinas Golf Association. The CGA began honoring the Player of the Year in 1997 and Simson has won four times, in 1998, 2005, 2008 and 2009. His winning ways date back to 1990 with his first win at the Carolinas Mid-Am. This 58-year-old insurance executive has also won the Senior Men’s Player of the Year Award the past four years and is well on his way to winning again in 2010.
One of Simson’s most outstanding years was accomplished on both sides of the Atlantic in 2008. He won four times and competed in the U.S. Senior Open, the U.S. Amateur held at Pinehurst, and in the U.S. Senior Amateur.
Simson holds the all-time record that currently stands at 22 Carolinas Golf Association championships. Simson won the British Senior Amateur for the second time in 2008 and made the cut in the British Senior Open in 2009. He won back-to-back North and South Amateur Championships in 1995-96
Golf Course Architect
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Strantz was working at Inverness Club for the 1978 U.S. Open when he was discovered by Tom Fazio. Over an eight year span Strantz worked with Fazio to create such notable courses in the Carolinas as Wild Dunes, Wachesaw, Wade Hampton, and Osprey Point.
Strantz went on to settle in Charleston, SC and over the next two decades emerged as one of the nation’s elite architects. His first solo effort was Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, in Myrtle Beach, SC, which was quickly ranked in Golf Magazine’s Top 100. Strantz was off and running. His work in the Carolinas went on to include True Blue (SC), Bulls Bay (SC), Tobacco Road (NC) and Tot Hill Farm (NC). Outside the Carolinas he created Royal New Kent (VA), Stonehouse (VA), Silver Creek Valley (CA), and Monterey Peninsula Country Club - Shore Course (CA).
The awards piled up quickly. Stonehouse was named the Best New Course in America 1996 by Golf Digest, followed by Royal New Kent, the Best New Upscale Course in America in 1997. Next came True Blue Golf Club (1998) and Tobacco Road (1999), both of which ranked in Golf Digest's top five new courses. All of his courses have been ranked in the Top 100 Best Modern Courses in America by Golf Digest.
But the greatest honors came when Golf World named Strantz the 1998 Golf Course Architect of the Year and in 2000, GolfWeek voted him in the Top 10 Greatest Golf Architects of All Time.
Strantz was an approachable, hands-on designer, who worked along side the crew, marking every green, fairway and hazard himself. He lost his fight with cancer in 2005, but his unique designs will carry on an unforgettable legacy.
A lifelong member of the Carolinas PGA Section, ‘Flo’ put together an enviable career record – both on and off the course. The 1992 CPGA Professional of the Year and four-time CPGA Resort Merchandiser of the Year, Florence’s playing résumé includes two South Carolina Open titles, four South Carolina PGA Championships, a combined five Carolinas Pro-Pro and Pro-Assistant titles, one Carolinas Assistants Championship and the 1976 Mini Kemper title.
Terry Florence was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.
He passed away in March, 2013 after a long battle with cancer.
Patricia J. Moore was born in Lodi Calif. and grew up in Lubbock, Tex. She attended college at Texas Tech University but didn’t play golf in high school or college and was only a weekend golfer until the mid 1980s. Her first statewide event was in Florida in 1985 and she went on to play in state championships in Louisiana and Virginia.
Regarded by many as “Mr. Golf” in South Carolina, Happ Lathrop has presided over the game as executive director of the South Carolina Golf Association across four decades. In 1976, he became the first full-time employee of the South Carolina Golf Association when membership involved 99 clubs (about 11,500 golfers) and assets stood at $50,000. Today, 32 years later, the association commands more than $1-million in assets and represents the interests of more than 70,000 golfers across nearly 300 clubs.
A fine player in his own right, Lathrop won the state amateur championship in 1968 as an 18-year-old, becoming the youngest to do so at that time. He was South Carolina Inter-Collegiate Champion in the same year. Yet it is his service as an administrator that he is best known for.
Lathrop also helped create one of the most successful and respected junior development programs in the country, through the South Carolina Junior Golf Association (1989) and the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation (1995). In addition to producing numerous PGA Tour players, those organizations have fostered strong and healthy competition for juniors and awarded more than $300,000 in education scholarships and well over $100,000 to organizations for minority and disadvantaged youth.
For all of the events and organizations Lathrop has had a hand in creating or running, his efforts brokering relationships, sponsorships, and general goodwill for golf in the state are just as far-reaching. He was inducted into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1997 and has also been recognized as Father-of-the-Year by the National Father and Son Team Classic tournament in Myrtle Beach .
Happ Lathrop was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2008.
Charles “Chip” Beck
Chip was born in Fayetteville , NCin 1956. Following an outstanding high school career at Terry Sanford in Fayetteville , he attended the University of Georgiawhere he was a three-time All-American. He was named the school’s Athlete of the Year as a senior.
Beck won four times on the PGA Tour — 1988 Los Angeles Open and USF&G Classic, 1990 Buick Open, 1992 Freeport-McMoRan Classic — and was runner-up in 20 other events. He was tied for second in the 1986 and 1989 U.S. Opens and was runner-up to Bernhard Langer in the 1993 Masters. He was named to three Ryder Cup Teams (1989-91-93) and played a key role in the U.S.win at Kiawah in 1991’s “War by the Shore.”
Beck became the second player on the PGA Tour to shoot 59 when he accomplished that feat at the Sunrise Golf Club in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational in a round where he had five pars and 13 birdies, including a three-footer on the final hole. He also became the first player to score a hole-in-one on a par-4 on the Nationwide Tour in the 2003 Omaha Classic. It was only the second par-4 ace scored under the PGA Tour umbrella.
Beck won the Vardon Trophy for low stroke average on the PGA Tour in 1988. He had career earnings of $6,841,741 on the Tour. Today he lives in Chicago , Ill., with his wife Karen, and has played on the Champions Tour since turning 50 in 2006.
Chip Beck was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2008.
A Pennsylvania native son of a golf course superintendent, Palmer arrived in North Carolina at what was then Wake Forest College in 1947. From then to 1954, taking several years out for national service, he won two NCAA championships and the very first ACC championship. Today Wake Forest University recognizes Palmer’s contribution with an award in his name to the male student athlete of the year.
A member of the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame and a 1995 inductee into the Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame, Gary Schaal, of Murrell’s Inlet, SC has been a leader in South Carolina's golf industry for more than 30 years. In 1973, he completed his tour in the U.S. Air Force, being honorably discharged as captain before becoming an assistant PGA professional at Myrtle Beach National Golf Club. He became a full Carolinas Section PGA member in 1976, and won the section’s PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award in 1985, and the section’s Horton Smith Award in 1978 and 1980.
In 1988, Schaal was elected as national secretary of The PGA of America. Two years later, he would ascend to PGA vice-president and in 1992 became PGA president. During his presidency he was instrumental in launching programs to enhance PGA professional careers through merchandising, employment assessment and lifelong learning programs. He also steered the debut of PGA 2000, which served as the blueprint for The PGA of America’s action plan to lead the association into the new millennium.
Gary Schaal was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.
Golf Course Architect
Tom Jackson, from Taylors, SC has been actively designing and building golf course since 1965. Prior to starting his own firm in 1971, he worked for two of the country’s leading golf course architects, Robert Trent Jones and George Cobb. During the past 33 years, has been involved with well over 100 golf course projects, the majority being located in the Southeast. These projects include private and semi-private courses, resort courses and public courses, of which seven have been done for various government agencies.
He also designed the course at Prestonwood Country Cub in Cary, NC that hosted the SAS Championship on what was then the Senior Tour. Other notable layouts of his in the Carolinas include Mount Vintage Plantation in North Augusta, rated by the late, great Byron Nelson as a “magnificent layout.”
Tom Jackson was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.
Don Padgett was hired as Pinehurst Resort director of golf in 1987 by then resort president, Pat Corso, and ClubCorp of America. “We needed a lot of things in that hire,” Corso said many years later. “We needed a mentor for a very young staff and I needed a mentor. That's exactly what we got with Padge.”
Ron Green, Sr.
Green, regarded as the dean of golf journalism in the Carolinas , covered 75 major golf championships, including 52 Masters. He is the author of four books: From Tobacco Road to Amen Corner: On Sports and Life (1990); Shouting at Amen Corner (1999); Slow Dancing with Bobby Jones (2004); and a History of Charlotte Country Club (2005).
In 2006, Green received the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. He has also won four Golf Writers Association of America awards and is a five-time North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year. Outside golf, he has covered four Olympic Games, 25 Super Bowls, the World Series, U.S. Tennis Opens, one world heavyweight boxing championship between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes; and 26 NCAA Final Fours. He retired from daily newspaper reporting in 1999.
Ron Green was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.
Golf Course Superintendent
Thompson is the first career superintendent to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He pioneered the use of ryegrass fairway varieties in the Middle Atlantic region, including the Carolinas in the late '60s. A constant ally for turfgrass researchers, he provided “living laboratories” and research support at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst. In the early ‘90s, his experiments helped identify new bentgrass varieties leading to many of those in use today. He was among the first superintendents to actively promote wildlife habitats on golf courses.
Thompson is a past winner of Distinguished Service Awards from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association. In 2002, he received the USGA's highest turfgrass honor – the Green Section Award. Retired as a golf course superintendent, he now instructs aspiring golf course superintendents at Sandhills Community College .
George Thompson was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2006
U.S. Open champion 1952, 1963; National PGA champion 1968; National Senior PGA champion 1971, 1977; U.S. Ryder Cup team 1959, 1963, 1965, 1967; National PGA Player of the Year 1952, 1963; winner of 15 PGA Tour events; leading money winner PGA Tour 1952, 1963; PGA Hall of Fame 1974; World Golf Hall of Fame 1982; Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame 1961.
Julius Nicholas Boros was born in Bridgeport , Conn. , March 3, 1920, and without much dispute, he is the best golfer and, when measured against the singular standard of ultimate success in his chosen sport, the greatest athlete ever to have been born in Connecticut .
I t is ironic, however, that if he were to be judged on his golf accomplishments in Connecticut alone, he would not be in the state's Golf Hall of Fame. For although Julius was clearly the odds-on favorite in the Connecticut Amateur and Open championships he entered in 1947, 1948 and 1949, his main competitive years here, he never won either of those state majors. He was a losing semi-finalist to champion Holly Mandly in 1947 and to champion Alpheus Winter Jr. in 1948; and, by the winner's own ready admission, he was an opening match victim of a career round by Pat Mazzarella, the losing finalist, in 1949. Julius was the Amateur's medalist in 1948 and again in 1949. In the Open at Indian Hill he finished at 1-over 289, four behind professional Frank Strazza, and in 1948 at Race Brook he made 6-under 278 for second all alone behind Frank Staszowski's 277.
But despite these disappointments at home, Julius was making some noteworthy moves on the national competitive scene, bearing out what many then believed was his inevitable destination. He led the national qualifying for the 1948 U.S. Amateur with tour-like numbers of 69-66-135, and went on to acquit himself commendably in the championship itself, losing to international-class player Charlie Coe in the 5th round. Then, in November that year, still an amateur, of course, he made a weak 3-over 39 on his final nine in the competitively respected North and South Open PGA Tour stop to finish in a tie for second with Sam Snead, two back of Toney Penna's 3-under 285. This standout performance against the world's best caught the attention of Joe Dey, then secretary of the USGA, and the following spring Julius was being seriously considered for America 's Walker Cup team that would play the British team at Winged Foot August 19-20. Though he wasn't selected, it was this high-level interest and the competitive deeds that had attracted it that confirmed Julius's growing self-conviction about making in on the big tour.
The clincher for him, however, was a 65 he made at Mid Pines in October to relieve Hogan and Snead of several twenties each. His record in the U.S. Open stands with the best, with the records of Jones, Hogan and Nicklaus. He twice won our national Open, acknowledged by most players to be the most difficult to win of golf's four major championships. And as late as 1973, a 53-year-old Boros was leading the Open at Oakmont with nine holes to play. Battling sudden heavy rain, fierce wind, and Oakmont's brutal length, he slipped to fourth place, a stroke behind Palmer, Nicklaus and Trevino, who were his junior by nine, 20 and 21 years.
His play in the Insurance City-Greater Hartford Open at Wethersfield brought him two seconds and eleven top-ten finishes. In 1979, at 59, he made the 36-hole cut but declined to play. For almost 30 years he returned to Wethersfield to compete as more than just a sentimental favorite, and for more than that time, playing in the ever-capricious public eye perhaps the most temperamentally demanding of games, Julius Boros consistently was a credit to his chosen profession and his home state.
Julius Boros was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.
Dan F. Maples
Golf Course Architect
Dan was born in Pinehurst, North Carolina in 1947 into a family whose roots in golf course construction reach back into the 19th Century. The Maples family, since Dan’s great-grandfather James, has been involved with golf either as professionals, superintendents, builders or architects.
After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia in 1972, he worked as a club pro for two years. In 1974 Dan joined the firm of his father, Ellis, as a full partner. Together, the team of Ellis and Dan Maples helped create 17 superb courses including Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC, and the Country Club of North Carolina Dogwood Course in Pinehurst. Since forming Dan Maples Design, Inc. in 1984, Dan has gone on to become one of the most successful golf course designers in America.
His impressive list of courses includes many of America's finest. Dan is a past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. "When you are building a golf course, you have to please three different groups of people; pros, superintendents and owners. Having experience as all three gives me an edge because I know what each is looking for."
Cliff Cunningham was first an electronic technician for AT&T and, second, a good local golfer through most of his amateur days in the Charlotte area.
Cunningham began playing in state senior events when he became eligible in 1990. His golf resume did not sizzle until 1997, when he won the USGA Senior Amateur championship at the Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, N.Y. His senior career popped when he won his first North Carolina Senior Amateur championship in 1994.
But for four years, Cunningham wondered if he had the talent to play senior golf at the state level. He resolved those doubts by beating a solid field in the North Carolina Senior at Rolling Hills Country Club near his home in Monroe, N.C. He followed that a year later with a playoff victory in the same event, again at Rolling Hills. He shrugged off being labeled a one-course victor by winning the title again in 1996 at Wilson Country Club, again in a playoff. He followed with titles in 2001 and 2002 at Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro and at Raintree Country Club in Charlotte.
His USGA experience was unique. At that time, he had won four state crowns; and he went to New York playing well. He had failed to qualify for match play in two previous USGA Seniors, and that became his goal in 1997. “I thought I might even win a match or two,” he recalled. “But I liked the course, and my putting was the best in had been in some time. The longer I played, the better I played.” Cunningham needed two extra holes to win his quarterfinal match, even though he was three holes up with only four to play. He was under par in his semifinal 5 and 3 victory, and his final-match margin also was 5 and 3.
Cunningham is part owner of Eagle Chase Golf Club in Marshville, NC.
Cliff Cunningham was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.
Golf Course Architect
According to Golfweek and Golf Digest magazines, only one living golf course architect rivals the legendary Donald Ross for the number of top courses in the USA. That architect, Tom Fazio, moved his home to North Carolina in his prime designing years, much as Ross did a century earlier.
Many architects have design in their blood, and Fazio is among them. He started at age 17, assisting his uncle, George Fazio, in a firm that was Tom’s on-the-job training. He became a partner with Uncle George in the 1970s, took over the business in the early 1980s and created his own firm shortly thereafter.
One of his early co-creations with George was Pinehurst No. 6 Course (1978). Tom’s solo work such as the Wild Dunes Links Course (1980) on the Isle of Palms, S.C. got him national recognition.
His best judged Carolinas works at the turn of the century were Wade Hampton GC in the North Carolina mountains (1987), Forest Creek GC in the North Carolina Sandhills (1996), and Belfair Club West Course on the South Carolina coast (1995). The variety of his designs over all types of terrain is testimony to his creativity. “A golf course should reflect the natural beauty of its environment,” he said in describing his design theory in part.
His other North Carolina designs include Champion Hills GC, Eagle Point GC, Old North State Club, Pinehurst No. 8, Porters Neck P&CC, Treyburn CC and complete redesigns of Pinehurst No. 4 and UNC Finley GC in Chapel Hill.
His other South Carolina designs are Barefoot Resort’s Fazio Course, Belfair’s East Course, both courses at Berkeley Hall, Callawassie Island, Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards, Cotton Dike Course at Dataw Island, The Daniel Island Club, Moss Creek Plantation’s Devil’s Elbow Course, the Osprey Point Course on Kiawah Island, the Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes, Sage Valley GC, The River Course at Kiawah Island, Thornblade Club, TPC at Myrtle Beach, Wachesaw Plantation Club, the Harbor Course at Wild Dunes and Woodcreek Farms.
Tom Fazio was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.
"Bobby" Knowles, Jr.
A bout with rheumatic fever at age 10 turned young Bobby Knowles from tennis to golf, a fate he never minded. A native of Brookline, Mass., Knowles won the Eastern Interscholastic golf championship at age 16 and the Maine Amateur in 1937.
Bobby Knowles was inducted in the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.
Instead of following his father’s career into the tobacco industry, Cecil Brandon pursued one in golf. And even that path was different from most in the game, following his graduation from Davidson College, a stint in the U.S. Army (and Korea) and two years as an insurance salesman.
Brandon could have been a club professional and might even have pursued a playing career with a career-low handicap of plus two. Instead, at age 29, he moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he produced and sold advertising postcards, leaving behind a potential banking career.
Eight years later, he and a trusted few friends started a company that would drive Myrtle Beach into the “golf capital of the world.” He was part of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday from its inception in 1967, serving as executive director for 30 years. Brandon is credited with spearheading the golf package marketing effort that has seen the area grow from eight courses and 10 motels to more than 100 of each.
Brandon was instrumental in attracting the Senior PGA Tour Championship to the area in 1993 and 1994. Golf Holiday hosts the World Amateur Handicap tournament each year, the largest single-site gathering of amateur players in the world, attracting nearly 5,000 competitors from all over the world.
Brandon also worked closely with the PGA Tour to develop the Tournament Players Club of Myrtle Beach. His efforts on behalf of Myrtle Beach have brought worldwide attention not only to his home but also to golf in the state of South Carolina. Brandon Advertising is a successful agency in Myrtle Beach.
He has been honored by South Carolina with the Order of the Palmetto, Tourism Ambassador of the Year, Citizen of the Year, the state tourism award and –special to him – Parent of the Year.
Cecil Brandon was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2001
Amateur Golfer, Caddie
The chance for an eleven-year-old to make 25 cents carrying a bag of golf clubs for nine holes doesn’t sound like much today. But for Johnny Bulla in 1925, it was the first of many opportunities that he turned into a Hall-of-Fame career.
From those humble beginnings in Burlington, Bulla went on to set a standard of great golf that was finally recognized earlier this year with his induction into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame.
Bullas father, a Quaker minister, moved the family from Asheboro to Burlington as young Johnny was starting grade school. After a few years kicking around Bigger Better Burlington, Bulla found out you could make some good money as a caddie at Burlington Country Club. The old country club is no longer around but stood near what is now Williams High School. Bullas father wasn’t very fond of his son being a caddie. At the first sign of spring, Bulla would kick off his shoes and walk barefoot down the fairways looping for the members. He liked the money but he didn’t have any interest in playing.
“I didn’t start playing until I found out they had a caddie tournament and all the caddies had to play. I finished last and was embarrassed”, laughed Bulla. “I worked my fanny off after until I got better.” Bulla learned a lot about life from his parents and from those early years as a caddie. He was Burlington Industries founder Spencer Loves favorite caddie.
The best lesson he ever learned in life was when Staley Cook, owner of the newspaper in Burlington, offered him a dollar if Staley beat this doctor he always lost to.
“Staley was a good player but had a terrible slice off the tee”, Bulla recounted. I would race ahead and pick up the ball with my toes and place it on top of the Bermuda grass. Cook won the match and Bulla collected the dollar.
Two weeks later the doctor invited Bulla to caddie for him in Pinehurst. It would be Bullas first trip to Pinehurst, but Bulla never saw the course. When they arrived the doctor gave him 50 cents and told him to catch the bus back home. He told me, I saw you cheating for Staley picking the ball up with your toes and teeing it up. That stayed with me all of my life. I never cheated anyone again.
At age 18, Bulla hitchhiked to Pinehurst to play in his first professional event. His curiosity led him to hitchhike to Georgia to see the course Bobby Jones was building. Along the way he slept in the back seats of cars. In 1933 he hitchhiked to Chicago to watch the U.S. Open; he could not have imagined he would play in the same tournament three years later. That same curiosity led him to frequently visit Pinehurst and watch Donald Ross create his magic on the No. 2 course.
Bulla joined what is now the PGA Tour in 1935 and played into the 1960s. At the 1935 Louisville Open, Bulla became friends with Sam Snead; and, for the next few years, they traveled together. Snead noted, Traveling with Johnny in those days probably helped me handle the successes and the failures. I always remember what he said about life. It's like a three-legged stool with equal parts spiritual, mental and physical. It can't stand up without solid foundation in each part of your life.
Bulla was a hard worker on tour; the number of practice balls he hit rivaled Ben Hogan's. Bulla was among the best long-game players of his day.
I was one of the top four or five longest drivers on tour and I was very accurate. Sam used to say I was the best one-iron player of our time. But, he admits, I was probably the worst putter on tour. The shorter the shot, the worse I got.
Bulla was a naturally left-handed but was told to do everything right-handed growing up. Later in his forties he tried playing left-handed and finished second in the National Lefties Tournament.
His greatest moment might have been the 1939 British Open at St. Andrews. In miserable conditions, he drove flawlessly and never missed a fairway. The driver is on display in the Royal & Ancient Golf Club Museum, but his name is missing from the claret jug. He finished early that day and was the leader in the clubhouse. He held the lead until Dick Burton, playing in the final group, caught him and won with a birdie on the last hole.
All was not lost; Bullas wife bore him a son that day named Robert Bob Jones Bulla named after his Georgian friend.
The British Open was suspended until after the war. When it resumed Bulla picked up where he left off and finished second to Sam Snead in 1946. He tied for second in the 1949 Masters Tournament. He came close to winning all four events now considered the Grand Slam. In 1939, he led the U.S. Open after 54 holes but finished sixth; and he gained the round of eight in the 1948 PGA Championship.
Another great accomplishment was his string of cuts made in the U.S. Open from 1936 to 1954. He played in 18 U.S. Opens, 15 Masters and 9 British Opens. Bulla played in 40 consecutive Los Angeles Opens, the site of his lone tour triumph in the 1941.
Bulla endorsed Walgreens Drug Store's low-priced Po-Do golf ball. This cost him invitations to many tour events, and he was banned from the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup from 1936 to 1946.
Walgreens offered Bulla a plane to fly to the tournaments back in the 1930s. He was the first tour player to fly his own plane to tournaments. During World War II he moved to Greensboro and flew the Atlanta-to-Chicago route for Eastern Airlines. I played a lot of golf with Bobby Jones during the war. We normally played several times a week at East Lake , commented Bulla.
After the war he purchased a C-47 and converted it to a DC-3; Hogan was his co-pilot. He would charge players a small fare to ferry them to the next tournament.
In 1946, Sears and Roebuck signed him to a 10-year contract to represent them and create a line of Johnny Bulla clubs and balls. During this time Sears became the leading golf retailer in the nation.
It was also at this same time he moved his family to Arizona and founded Arizona Airways with Bob Goldwater. Bulla reflected, We were a little before our time in founding the airline. America West and Southwest Airlines are really doing well here now.
In Arizona, he helped design a half dozen courses. He won 42 sectional titles, including 10 PGA Chapter Opens and four Arizona Section Opens.
Today, at 86, he walks three miles a day and can be found most every day at Ocotillo Country Club in Chandler, Arizona.
In January of this year (2000) the Carolinas Golf Reporters Association inducted him into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame. A fitting tribute to a man that took every opportunity the American dream had to offer.
As one might expect from a man who has made a good living in the promotion business, Bill Hensley is a font of one-liners.
"I once won the 10th flight of a club championship and was runner-up a year later."
"I was expelled from Dana Rader’s golf school."
"I have made four holes-in-one and at least that many birdies."
"I have taken my classic three-piece, over-the-top swing to 14 foreign countries and hold the record for double bogeys in eight of those countries."
"I probably hold the world’s record for bets lost in foreign currencies."
It’s a good thing that Hensley, now 75, can laugh and self-deprecate about a golf game that leaves a lot to be desired and is a source of almost constant ridicule from his peers in the golf writing and promotion business, not, it must be noted, that those peers can necessarily produce anything better.
Hensley graduated from Wake Forest when it was still located north of Raleigh. Carol, before she became Mrs. Hensley, went out with a young WFU golfer with a first name of Arnold and a last name of Palmer.
"She dated the world’s best golfer and married the worst," says Hensley.
Feeling he was not going to get anywhere with sports as a participant, the tall and athletic looking Hensley decided to become a sports writer with the Asheville Citizen-Times. However, after writing a piece about the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Hensley joined the FBI for a couple of years until Jim Weaver, who would ultimately become the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, asked him to become sports information director at Wake Forest. He eventually took the same position at North Carolina State. His salary at the time was $7,000. On Hensley's departure from the FBI he noted, "It didn't take me long to realize the bad guys I was chasing had guns too."
After N.C. State, Hensley took positions with R.S. Dickson Company, Wachovia Bank, and Paramount’s Carowinds, the massive amusement park just south of Charlotte. After several years promoting roller coasters and their adjuncts, Hensley opened his own shop, providing services for a variety of clients - but he always felt a pull towards the game he loved.
"I suppose I just started to take on more and more golf and tourism clients to the point where promoting golf became my business," Hensley says. "Since that point, it’s never seemed like work."
Hensley also served for six years as North Carolina’s director of tourism from 1965-1971. In that capacity, he organized the state’s first golf guide and initiated a national advertising campaign designed to attract golfers to North Carolina . He routinely invited golf writers to the state from around the country. The fact that so many golfers visit North Carolina today can be attributed to Hensley’s work in the early 1970s.
Hensley’s clients from his private practice include the Old North State Club on Badin Lake , Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte , Elk River near Boone, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Hound Ears, plus Pine Needles and Mid Pines.
"I don’t take bad clients," Hensley recently told Ron Green, former sports columnist for the Charlotte Observer. "One reason I’ve been successful in public relations is that I’ve only promoted courses and resorts that were worth promoting."
Hensley will once again help Pine Needles this year when the U.S. Women’s Open returns to the famed resort. He has also helped with promotions and press relations for several championships including last year’s U.S. Senior Men’s Championship at Charlotte Country Club.
One of Hensley’s more noted and important contributions to the game has been the initiation of the North Carolina Golf Panel for North Carolina Magazine. The panel, which includes golf writers, business people, and others in the golf industry, rates private, resort, and public golf courses in North Carolina and produces a top 100 list each year. Even though he claims to be semi-retired, new and established golf courses continually call on Hensley to help them with promotion.
"Bill brings extensive knowledge of the golf travel industry to the table," says Holly Spofford Bell, Director of Sales and Marketing with Pine Needles and Mid Pines. "With all his contacts around the country, he helps us communicate changes and other important events that happen at these properties. Plus all the work he does to promote golf in North Carolina helps everyone in the golf industry."
Bell adds that even the crack cadre of PGA and LPGA teaching professionals at Pine Needles have so far been unable to fix Hensley’s golf game.
And so it was for his significant contributions to the promotion of the game that Hensley was recently admitted to the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame.
Fellow members of the hall include talented and accomplished golfers like Harvie Ward and Peggy Kirk Bell. But despite Hensley’s relative lack of skill with a golf club in his hands, Hensley’s induction is definitely deserved. It’s not a stretch to say that North Carolina would not be one of the top golf destinations in the United States without the efforts of the husband of Arnold Palmer’s former girlfriend.
Bill Hensley was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.
Golf Course Architect
Twice in the mid-1950s, a young golf professional from Raleigh was promised head pro jobs, first in Jacksonville, N.C., and later in Durham . But neither situation developed as planned. So it was in 1957 that Gene Hamm placed that fateful phone call to Robert Trent Jones.
"He told me if I needed work, to come on up to Wilmington, Delaware, where he was designing a golf course," Hamm says. "I went up and built it for him, then built another one. By 1959, I was ready to come back to North Carolina and try to design a golf course on my own."
That was the first domino to fall in the prolific and probably underrated design career of Hamm. Today 72 and retired in Raleigh, Hamm designed more than 60 courses in southern Virginia, Piedmont and eastern North Carolina and the Myrtle Beach area.
"I've been very happy with what I've done," Hamm says. "I came along in an era where things were a lot different. We didn't have the equipment they have today; we didn't have the budgets they have today. But the work we did was considered very good."
Hamm has designed four courses in the Pinehurst area, 12 in Myrtle Beach, a dozen or so along the Virginia-North Carolina border in towns such as Martinsville and Danville. He's done work in many eastern North Carolina towns such as New Bern, Kinston and Clinton, and lists Cheviot Hills, the second 18 at North Ridge Country Club, Wake Forest C.C., Lochmere C.C. and Chapel Hill C.C. among his designs in the Triangle area.
"As soon as a developer starts thinking of an architect, he's immediately going to think of all the great ones who get all the press or the tour players who he wants associated with his development," says Tommy Albin of Whispering Pines, who hired Hamm in the mid-1980s to design the Holly Course at Pinewild C.C. in Pinehurst.
"Gene is in neither of those categories. But I think he's the most underrated architect there is. He's not won the U.S. Open or the Masters. But his knowledge of routing a golf course and of getting the most for your dollar puts him right up there with the best, in my opinion."
Albin remembers officials from Club Corporation of America, his eventual partner in Pinewild, suggesting some features to add "sex appeal."
"Gene said to me, 'Tommy, that's fine, but it's going to cost a lot of money,'" Albin says. "He was always looking out for the bottom line of his clients."
Hamm grew up in Raleigh and first learned golf by caddying at the Raleigh Golf Association course. His first job was with Ellis Maples at New Bern Country Club in 1946. After one year, he moved to Pinehurst to work under green superintendent Frank Maples, and later was head pro in Mt. Airy.
"Back then you had to be golf pro and supervisor of the golf course at the same time," he says.
In 1955, architect George Cobb hired him to build a course in Jacksonville, and Hamm was to get the head pro job after the course opened. But the course owner reneged on the arrangement, and Hamm found work building the Duke University Golf Course for Robert Trent Jones. Again, Hamm was to get the head pro job when the course opened, but the job went to Duke golf coach Ellis "Dumpy" Hagler. That's when Hamm took more work from Jones in Delaware and started on his own in design, helping pro Al Smith at Danville C.C. redesign the course there.
"Trent Jones wanted me to go to Venezuela to build a golf course, but LaRue, my wife, and I had two children, and I couldn't go running off to Venezuela," Hamm says. "So I took off on my own."
As a PGA member, a course construction expert and a member of the national greens superintendents' association, Hamm has brought a well-rounded background to his design projects. He's maintained a low profile throughout his career and built courses that remain today playable and interesting despite being built in the 1960s and early 1970s for less than half a million dollars. His favorite design, Pinewild, was built for about $2.5 million a decade ago.
"That was very little money," Albin says. "But it's still a tremendous golf course."
"There are some things you can't leave out, but you can control the cost with the routing plan and the clearing of the golf course," Hamm says. "You can keep the course pretty tight and not take out so many trees. You don't move as much dirt. You don't elevate the greens as much. You keep the greens smaller.
"It's not hard to keep a golf course challenging when the hole's only four and a quarter inches wide."
Hamm’s last design job was Caswell Pines in Yanceyville. He says if someone came to him today with some work, he'd consider taking it.
"Otherwise, I'm finally getting to play some golf," he said.
Jay Haas was introduced to golf by his uncle, 1968 Masters winner Bob Goalby. A graduate of the legendary Wake Forest golf program, under Jesse Haddock, Haas became a fixture of golfs highest echelon for decades, setting the record for most cuts ever made in PGA Tour history. He won nine times on the PGA Tour and soon approached the mark on the Champions Tour including his first major win, the 2006 Senior PGA Championship.
After a distinguished amateur career that included Walker Cup representation and the NCAA individual championship, Haas earned his PGA Tour card in 1976. the quality and the durability of his game was evident in the fact that he played on the U.S. Ryder Cup teams in 1983, 1995 as a 50-year-old captains pick in 2004. From his home in Greer, South Carolina alongside the golf course at Thornblade, Haas has raised a family including sons Jay, Jr. and Bill, both of whom would play on the PGA Tour. In 2004, Jay and Bill became the first father and son duo to play in the U.S.Open, twice. A brother, Jerry, was long-time golf coach at Wake Forest and brother-in-law, Dillard Pruitt, also played on the PGA Tour and later served as a tour rules official
Charles B. Smith Sr.
In his heyday, Charles B. (Charlie) Smith Sr. of Gastonia, North Carolina was ranked the No. 3 amateur in the country, trailing only Jack Nicklaus and Deane Beman. He was Carolinas Golf of the year in 1961 and 1963. He took up the game with a borrowed set of clubs of left-handed clubs in high school, his farther passed down a right handed set and his game flourished. Smith won the inaugural Donald Ross Invitational in 1948 and the Southern Conference championship in 1952, as a senior at The Citadel.
In 1960, he won the North & South and Southern Amateur titles, and played on the U.S. Walker Cup teams in 1961 and 63. In 1962, Smith added the Eastern Amateur to his list of victories and won the Carolina Amateur two years after older brother Dave lost in the final. The brothers won The Dunes Club National 4-Ball titles in 1962 and in 1964, the year Charlie added a second Azalea Amateur to his first from 1958. He played in the The Masters Tournament four straight years (1962-65) missing the cut three times by a single stroke. He also played in the U.S. Open at Oakmont Hills in 1961 and Oakmont in 1962. He was a three-time quarter-finalist in the U.S. Amateur.
Addison 'Add' Penfield
Add Penfield roots in golf broadcasting likely developed the day he interviewed Sam Snead and Ben Hogan in Pinehurst. He was interning at WPTF Radio in Raleigh and a Duke University student at the time. From his Duke days in the late 1930 into the new millennium, his association with sports was unwavering and highlighted by accomplishments. A native of Meriden, Connecticut, his career embraced football, baseball, and basketball, among other sports, with a distinguished longevity as a broadcaster, writer, and publicist.
But it was in golf that his professional participation endured. His voice was familiar to golf fans tuned into broadcasts of the Greensboro Open from 1953 into the 1990 and of the Vantage Championship from its beginning. His live coverage, as well as analysis and general reporting, included the Masters. He was working when Ben Hogan donned the green jacket in 1953 and was on hand that fateful day in 1968 when Roberto DiVicenzo singed and incorrect scorecard. His dedication to golf never waned. He continued staging tournaments for charitable causes and promoting the sport in general well into his 80s from his home in Asheboro. A charter member of the Carolinas Golf Reporters Association, he was later honored with a lifetime membership.
An NAIA All-American at High Point College, Roger Watson was elected to the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1981. After graduation in 1966, his first job as a Professional was for Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame member Buck Adams, at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst. Later he became the Head Professional and Golf Director at MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary for ten years. As a young Club Professional, he won the 1969 North Carolina Open.
Watson’s greatest years as a player came in the mid-1970s. The first of those years was 1974, when he won the PGA Club Professionals Championship in Pinehurst, making a 90-foot putt on the 72nd hole to tie Sam Snead, then defeating Snead in a playoff. He successfully defended the title in 1975. He won the Carolinas PGA Championship in both 1975 and 1976, and was a member of the PGA Cup Team in both of those years.
Since 1985, Watson’s efforts have been focused on developing and managing new golf courses in the Carolinas and Virginia, keeping the game alive for future generations.
Roger Watson was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1981.
L.B. Floyd was born in Lake City, SC in 1920. He is the father of PGA Tour professional Raymond Floyd and former LPGA Tour member Marlene Floyd. He retired from the US Army at Fort Bragg, NC, where he managed Stryker Golf Course. He bought Green Valley CC in Fayetteville in the mid-1950s and expanded it to 18 holes. Floyd did most of the design and work on the additional nine himself. Sold Green Valley and built Cypress Lakes Golf Course with co-owner, Al Prewitt, giving Fayetteville and Cumberland County its first truly public course. Credited with changing the face of golf in the area and generally known as its Patriarch of Golf.
Dick Taylor was best known for his relationship of nearly 30 years with Golf World Magazine, which he joined in 1962. He was named editor in 1965 and from 1970 until 1989, when the magazine was purchased by The New York Times Company; he was editor-in-chief and vice president.
Shortly thereafter, he became a freelance writer for an assortment of golf publications. Taylor was president of the Golf Writers Association of America from 1980 to 1982 after serving nine years as the group’s executive director.
He also was a member of the Association of Golf Writers in Europe, the LPGA Advisory Board and the World Golf Hall of Fame and Ambassador of Golf selection committees.
He was the first recipient of the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism (1991), was inducted into the Memorial Journalism Hall of Fame, received the Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Courses Architects and the Joseph C. Dey Career Excellence Award. Three times he was a first-place winner of GWAA writing awards.
In 1977 and ‘79, he was honored for news articles, while in 1991 he was cited for a column. Regarded as a very nice person with a great sense of humor, Taylor has been described as “a walking encyclopedia” of the sport of golf.
He was also a promoter of the game, and is credited with bringing women’s golf into the spotlight through articles in Golf World.
Dick Taylor was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1996.
The hallmark of Jim Ferree’s career in professional golf has been courage. In 1991, at age 60, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Three years later, he would beat the illness and receive the prestigious Ben Hogan Award, presented annually by the Golf Writers Association of America.
Golf Course Architect
As a 14 year old, Ellis Maples worked summers for his father, Frank Maples, who was the construction superintendent for Donald Ross and greenkeeper at Pinehurst Country Club. From that early experience blossomed young Ellis’ interest in golf course architecture.
Maples left his lasting imprint on Carolinas golf with such treasures as Grandfather Golf and Country Club; Bermuda Run Golf and Country Club, home of The Crosby Pro-Am, Forest Oaks Country Club, home of the K Mart Greater Greensboro Open since 1977, Gaston Country Club, Country Club of North Carolina (Dogwood); Pinehurst No. 5, Greensboro Country Club (Carlson Farms); and Cedar Rock Country Club.
Born in Charleston, SC, Beth Daniel had won 29 tournaments on the LPGA Tour in a 16 year career at the time of her induction. She needed only one more win in a major championship, or six more victories of any type to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Daniel was an All-American at Furman in the early 1970s and went on to win the US Women’s Amateur in 1975 and 1977. She was a member of the US Curtis Cup Teams in 1976 and 1978.
Everyone was confident that Daniel would be a major success on the LPGA Tour, and she disappointed no one.
Turning professional in 1979, Daniel made an immediate impact on the LPGA Tour. She won five events in 1980 and three in 1981, leading the tour’s money list in both of those years. Again in 1990, she led the LPGA Tour in money winnings, capturing her only major victory to date, The LPGA Championship, in that same year.
Beth Daniel was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1994.
When Jimmy D’Angelo first saw Myrtle Beach in November 1937, as winter golf professional at the Ocean Forest Club—the Grand Strand had one golf course. That was it. Ocean Forest.
Now Ocean Forest is called Pine Lakes International; and the Grand Strand, at this time has many more courses.
It’s impossible, of course, to point a finger at any one person and say “This is the man responsible for the golf boom along the Grand Strand.”
But the name of Jimmy D’Angelo would be among those mentioned.
D’Angelo was involved in the creation of The Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach, which is considered one of the nation’s best courses. He was the Dunes Club’s head professional from the club’s inception in 1949 until his retirement in 1968. During that time D’Angelo helped promote and develop Myrtle Beach as a prime golf location.
D’Angelo was the first president of Golf Holiday, an organization that promotes the area to golfers all over the nation. As a result, millions of golfers visit Myrtle Beach every year.
Jimmy D’Angelo was inducted into the Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame in 1984 and the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1985.
Ike Grainger’s playing record hardly deserves a second glance, with his major prize being the Lyons Trophy, which he received for posting low net in the US Seniors’ GA Championship in 1960. One other golf achievement was serving as non-playing captain of the US Team that won the World Amateur Team Championship in 1964.
While football was his main game in college—as a lineman under the legendary Wallace Wade at Duke University—it was in golf that Welch made his mark. He not only was a fine player, but he also proved to be a great leader.
Welch teamed up with fellow Hall of Famer Dale Morey to win the Carolinas Senior Four-Ball Championship on eight occasions, including the first four times the championship was played, from 1969 to 1974. He and Jack Crist won the Carolinas Four-Ball title in 1963 and he and son Charles captured the Carolinas Father-Son Championship in 1977.
His most satisfying golfing achievement, perhaps, was in the 1966 Carolinas Amateur Championship at Linville Golf Club, where he had a monumental struggle on the way to the title. In the quarterfinals, he needed 21 holes to prevail over Dillard Traynham and in the semi-finals, he went to the 20th hole before toppling the legendary Billy Joe Patton. In the championship match, he disposed of Joe Inman Jr., then a member of the Wake Forest University golf team, 5 and 4.
Additionally, Welch was medalist in the Carolinas Amateur in 1951 and ‘52 and reached the championship match in 1951, where he was defeated 2 & 1 by P.J. Boatwright Jr.
Welch, who served on the CGA’s Board of Directors for more than 40 years, was the organization’s President from 1959 to 1960.
Harry Welch was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1981.
Welch (L) pictured with PJ Boatwright.
Frank Ford, Sr.
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.
Hale Van Hoy
Van Hoy didn’t set out for a career in golf. A 1952 graduate of the University of North Carolina, He worked as a systems analyst at Western Electric in Winston-Salem until 1965. But sometime that year, he read in the newspaper that the executive directorship of the Carolinas Golf Association was open, applied for the job—and got it. Thus, an administrative giant was born.
Hale B. Van Hoy was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1992.
A native of Chicago who grew up in Memphis, TN, Orville White was a club professional at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro and at Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem. At the time of his Hall of Fame induction, he was golf professional emeritus at Midland Valley Country Club in Aiken, SC.
White was inducted into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Carolinas PGA Section Hall of Fame in 1985.
Described as “a big, rugged guy who was dynamite on the greens,” White won the Carolinas Open in 1938 and 1945, claimed the Carolinas PGA Section Championship in 1945 and took the South Carolina Open Championship three straight times from 1953-1955.
Outside the Carolinas, White played in five Masters and spent ten years on the pro tour. He won the Southeastern PGA and the Mid-South Open at Pinehurst. A fine teacher, his pupils included Clayton Heafner, Art Wall, Cary Middlecoff and Doug Ford.
At the time of his induction, White had been involved with the game, in some form, for over 65 years.
Orville White was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1991
Irwin Smallwood is a retired executive sports editor of the Greensboro News & Record. He was managing editor of the Greensboro Daily News for 15 years and a founder of the Carolinas Golf Reporters Association. Irwin served as the CGRA’s first president in 1957 and 1958. His work has appeared in national publications, and he won three first place awards in Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) competition. Smallwood recruited players for and was a key advisor to the Greater Greensboro Open (GGO) over the years. At his suggestion, the GGO first extended an invitation to Charlie Sifford to play. He chaired GGO’s 50th anniversary program and celebration honoring Sam Snead. One of the Carolinas greatest golf advocates.
Irwin Smallwood was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1991.
Randy Glover grew up in Cheraw, South Carolina where his father was a golf professional. He attended the University of Tennessee prior to joining the PGA Tour in 1962. He ranked among the circuit’s top 60 money winners from 1965 to 1968 and was a two-time tour winner: the Utah Open and the Azalea Open, both in 1967.
Athlete - Golfer
The ninth of 12 children who grew up in a home off the second fairway of Roxboro Golf Club, where his father worked on the course, Jim Thorpe learned the game by going out after dark and hitting shots, with the only illumination provided by the back porch light.
Joe Cheves was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1989.
Jane Crum Covington
A native and lifelong resident of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Jane Crum Covington began playing golf at age 13. She won the South Carolina Women’s Amateur five times, the Carolinas Women’s Amateur five times and the Florida East Coast Championship on two occasions. Her husband, Hub, was the 1942 Carolinas Amateur Champion.
A past member of the USGA Junior Girls’ Committee, she was among the founders and served as the first President of the South Carolina Women’s Golf Association.
In her youth, she played on the boys high school team, and, while she made the mens golf team at the University of South Carolina, she wasn’t allowed to play in competition. During her career, she also wasn’t allowed to play at some men only clubs; but she didn’t call it discrimination.
“I always thought it was a shame. I hated to be told that because I was born a woman I couldn’t play at some clubs when my son, who was six years old could.”, she once said.
Mrs. Jane Covington was inducted into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1978.
Jane Covington was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1989.
Grant Bennett is no stranger to Halls of Fame. Prior to his induction into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, the tall Winston-Salem, NC native was inducted into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame (1978), the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame (1980) and the Carolinas PGA Section Hall of Fame (1985). Additionally, for a number of years, he served as either Vice President or President of the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame.
Bennett is best remembered as a fine teacher and promoter of junior golf. His multitude of pupils included fellow Hall of Famers Randy Glover, Jack Lewis Jr. and Carolyn Cudone. A long-time head professional at Florence (SC) Country Club, Bennett established a junior program that produced many outstanding players; and the high school team he coached won a number of Southern Interscholastic titles.
Although he had moved to Columbia in 1979, the folks in Florence didn’t forget him. In 1984, he became the first non-Rotarian to be named a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest honor bestowed by the Florence Rotary Club.
Early in life, Bennett dreamed of being a big-league baseball player and later a tour golfer, but freak injuries ended the possibility. Thus, he turned to teaching golf to youngsters. He served as head professional at Country Club of South Carolina for 13 years, and later at two clubs in Columbia.
He served on the USGA Junior Committee for more than two decades, served as chairman of the PGA of America’s Junior Committee in 1959-’60, was twice named South Carolina Professional of the Year and was named Carolinas PGA Professional of the Year in 1956.
Grant Bennett was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.
Ellen Griffin began playing golf as a child while her father was stationed at Fort Benning, GA. She had a varied career in the game. She became a golfer at UNC-Greensboro, and, until her death, operated a teaching facility near Greensboro called “The Farm,” where she worked with several LPGA tour pros. She earned her degree in Physical Education from UNC-Greensboro in 1940 and her Master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1943.
A native of Durham, NC and a long-time resident of High Point, NC, Henry Poe played collegiate golf at Duke University. His amateur career was highlighted with victories in the Eastern Amateur in 1934 and 1935. At Durham’s Hillandale Golf Club, which his father operated, he once shot 61, a record that still stands. He also once posted a record 63 at Hope Valley CC in Durham.
A long-time resident of Myrtle Beach, Carolyn Cudone dominated golf on the national scene and won numerous championships in three states. The New Jersey native won that state’s stroke play championship 11 times and the Metropolitan New York title five times. After moving to Myrtle Beach, she was a five-time winner of the Carolinas Women’s Amateur and a five-time winner of the South Carolina Women’s Amateur. Nationally, she recorded five straight victories in the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur from 1968-72 and took the women’s North and South Senior six times.
Other achievements included selection to the 1956 Curtis Cup team and serving as the team’s non-playing captain in 1970. She also won the 1960 Women’s Eastern and the 1968 Women’s North and South Amateur.
Mrs. Cudone was not only a fine player. She contributed mightily to the game as a promoter of junior golf. She was instrumental in the formation of a fine junior program in the Myrtle Beach area.
Carolyn Cudone was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1987, following induction into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1979.
Jack Lewis, Jr.
Jack Lewis Jr. was one of the all-time great junior golfers in the Carolinas history. He won the Carolinas Junior three consecutive years (1963-1965), the South Carolina High School Championship in 1964, the Southern High School Championship in 1963 and ‘64 and the South Carolina Amateur in 1964 at age 17. Lewis also propelled his McClenaghan High School team to four State Championships and five Southern High Schools titles.
He was the first four-year recipient of the prestigious Buddy Worsham scholarship at Wake Forest University. He would lose only one individual match during his college career, which began in 1966. A member of the 1967 Walker Cup team and the 1968 World Amateur team, Lewis earned first-team All-American honors in 1968 and 1969. All three Wake Forest teams of which Lewis was a member won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, including 1968 when he was the individual champion.
Lewis played in the 1967 and 1968 Masters Tournaments as an amateur. He won the Sunnehanna Amateur in 1966, the North and South Amateur in 1968 and the South Carolina Open in 1968. After a brief stint on the PGA Tour, Lewis returned to Winston-Salem in 1975 to become head professional at Forsyth Country Club. During his 10 years at Forsyth, he won the North Carolina Open three times (1979, ‘80 and ‘84) and the Carolinas Open in 1980. He was named Carolinas PGA Section Player of the Year in 1980.
After moving to Atlanta Athletic Club, he won the 1986 Georgia PGA Match Play title. Lewis became Associate Coach at Wake Forest in 1989 and became Head Coach when Jesse Haddock retired in 1992.
Lewis is a member of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame.
Jack Lewis, Jr was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1987.
Clyde Mangum played a lot of golf during his years in Pinehurst. And, while he won a couple of titles, he wasn’t really a championship caliber player. As an administrator, however, he was one of the best. He started his golf career when P.J. Boatwright Jr. gave up his post as executive director of the Carolinas Golf Association. Asked by Richard Tufts why he wanted the job, Mangum replied, “I simply have a real love for the game of golf.”
Mangum worked for the CGA from 1959 to 1965 and served as general manager of Pinehurst Country Club golf properties from 1956 until 1971. That year, he joined the PGA Tour staff as Deputy Commissioner of Operations and held that position until he retired in 1985. In his post with the PGA Tour, Mangum was responsible for all tournament operations, the employment of the tournament staff and supervised the headquarters’ tournament administration department.
He served on the USGA Rules Committee for ten years and as a rules committeeman during the Masters for several years. As a competitor, he won the 1970 Carolinas Father-Son with Clyde III and took the 1962 Dunes International Four-Ball title.
Clyde Mangum was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1987.
Skip Alexander was raised in North Carolina and won the Carolinas Amateur and Publinx, the North and South and was qualifying medalist in the 1941 US Amateur. Skip played No. 1 for the Duke University golf squad and led the team to Southern Conference championships in 1939 and 1940.
He won the 1946 Carolinas Open and shot 58 at Lexington (NC) Country Club in 1947. After service, Alexander joined PGA Tour and won the 1948 Tucson Open. Also won the Capital Open, and tour events in Peoria and Decatur, IL.
Surviving a plane crash in 1950 and despite injuries that would require 17 operations, he returned to golf and played on the 1951 Ryder Cup Team at Pinehurst. He also won the 1959 PGA Stroke Play Championship.
A Connecticut native who played out of Pinehurst for many years, Chapman won national titles on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
A native of Dallas, NC, John Derr started his journalistic career as a high school correspondent for The Gastonia Gazette. Later, John held sports editing jobs at Asheville and Greensboro before becoming a writer/electronic reporter under Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell during World War II.
After the war he joined CBS radio in New York and was there as CBS made the transition into television. He was a member of the announcing team when the Masters Tournament was first telecast in 1956 and, since 1976, has directed the Masters Progress Report, as up-to-the-minute accounting of the tournament action that is available to newspapers, radio and television stations.
Derr was the first executive director of the World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst, and later became president of the facility. In 1976 he became executive director of the Carolinas PGA Section and helped that group enjoy a period of tremendous growth and prosperity.
John Derr was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1986.
The lanky Augusta, GA native was both a fine amateur player and an outstanding administrator.
P.J. Boatwright’s playing record included victories in the 1961 Carolinas Amateur, the 1967 Carolinas Open and the Carolinas Four-Ball Championship in 1951 and ‘53. One of his biggest thrills as a player came in 1951 when he defeated fellow Hall of Famer E. Harvie Ward in the championship match of the Biltmore Invitational. He also played in four U.S. Amateur Championships and survived the 36-hole cut in the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion.
But Boatwright, who grew up in the South Carolina towns of North Augusta, Rock Hill and Spartanburg, is best remembered for his achievements as an administrator. He served as executive director of the Carolinas Golf Association from 1955-’59, conducting tournaments, working on handicaps and rating courses. He once joked that he had “played more courses than anyone in the history of the Carolinas.”
His work with the CGA prepared him for his next job, which came in 1959 when he joined the United States Golf Association as assistant executive director. He later became the USGA’s executive director for Rules and Competitions.
During his stint with the USGA, Boatwright became known as one of the most knowledgeable Rules of Golf experts in the world. He participated in a number of quadrennial Rules conferences between the USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and was responsible for a multitude of Rules Decisions.
He was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976 and the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1987.
PJ Boatwright was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1985.
Jesse Haddock is credited with redefining the term “college golf coach.” Prior to taking over the position at Wake Forest University, golf coaches were generally regarded as combination bus drivers/baby-sitters. Before he retired in the 1992, his dedication to duty and the success of his program had made the position as respectable as football or basketball coach. A 1952 graduate of Wake Forest, Haddock became golf coach in 1960 when the legendary “Bones” McKinney resigned.
Born and raised in Charlotte, Charlie Sifford was the first African-American ever to play on the PGA Tour and became the first black to win a Tour event when a closing-round 64 propelled him to first place in the 1967 Greater Hartford Open. He also won the 1969 Los Angeles Open and took the 1980 Suntree Classic on the Senior PGA Tour. Other victories came in the 1975 PGA Seniors’ Championship, the 1957 Long Beach Open and the 1971 Sea Pines Open on the so-called “second” tour.
A long-time caddie at Charlotte Country Club and Myers Park Country Club, Sifford eventually decided he wanted to play golf for a living and turned pro in 1948 (although he didn’t join the PGA Tour until 1960 at age 36). He quietly endured taunts and insults for more than a decade before becoming the first black to play in a Tour event the 1961 Greater Greensboro Open, where he eventually finished fourth. Breaking the color barrier and playing well at Greensboro didn’t end his race-related problems, however. He wasn’t allowed to play at some tour stops and wasn’t allowed to use the locker room at some of the places that let him play. The galleries weren’t always kind to him either. “I’ve had some hard days and some good ones, but if I had it to do over, I’d do the same thing,” Sifford said at his induction ceremony. “I love the game and the world knows what I did. I feel good about myself.”
He was inducted in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
Charlie Sifford was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1985.
Miss Burns, a native of Greensboro, NC, dominated women’s amateur golf during her heyday as a player. Before turning professional in 1970, she won 10 North Carolina Women’s titles and six Carolina’s Championships. She also qualified to play in 14 USGA Amateur Championships and six U.S. Opens. In the U.S. Amateur, her best showings were in 1953 and 1956 where she reached the fourth round.
She won the Teague Award as North Carolina’s best woman athlete five times. Then in January of 1970 she joined the professional ranks and gained widespread fame as an instructor. A short six years later, she was named LPGA Teacher of the Year, an award well earned from her years as a teaching professional at the Surf Club, Golf Acres Driving Range and Par Three, both in Myrtle Beach, SC and the High Meadows Country Club in Roaring Gap, NC.
In addition to her work as a teacher, Marge has also done considerable work as a golf administrator serving as an area consultant with the National Golf Foundation, a Director with the Southern Women’s Golf Association. President of the NC Women’s Golf Association and the LPGA Southeastern Section Teaching Division. Before turning pro she was a member of the USGA Junior Girls Committee.
Asked what were her biggest moments in golf she replied, “All the firsts were thrills, but probably one of the really big ones was playing with Patty Berg the first time at age 13.” The year 1984 also provided Miss Burns with thrills as she was inducted into the NC Sports Hall of Fame and received her Master’s Professional Classification, the latter being the LPGA highest classification.
Miss Burns was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1984.
Her record speaks for itself as an outstanding competitor.
1940 Winner, Carolinas Junior Girls; Runner-up 1941-’42
1961 winner, Eastern Amateur
1962 Curtis Cup Alternate
1966-’67 Winner, Middle Atlantic Amateur Championship
Ten time winner, NC Women’s Amateur Championship
Six time winner, Carolinas Women’s Amateur Championship
Four time winner, Greensboro (NC) City Championship
Four time winner, Harder Hall Invitational ( Fla )
Four time South Atlantic Runner-up
Three time Women’s Southern Runner-up
Golf Digest’s “Top Ten,” 1959-1962
Bill Harvey was born and raised in Greensboro, NC, where he resides today and operates a driving range near Sedgefield CC, his home club. Although he has been a golfer most of his life, he didnt start to play serious competitive golf until 1956 at age 26, when he qualified for his first USGA Amateur Championship. That year, playing at the Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, Bill drew a bye in the first round, then lost one down after 20 holes to the internationally known Dick Chapman. The loss, however, prompted Bill to improve his game and participate in more competition. This he did and with astounding results. In the next twenty-five years, he would win over three hundred titles. Ironically, he met Chapman again in the third round of the National Amateur at St. Louis in 1960 and revenged his loss with a 4 and 3 victory.
Porter Cup, Niagara Falls, NY
NC State Open
1965, 1966 & 1973
Dixie Amateur and North and South Amateur
NC Amateur Runner-Up
5-time Winner Amateur Tournament of Champions
PGA Tour Professional
Mike Souchak was born in Berwick, Pa. In 1927 he moved to North Carolina to play football at Duke University and Durham then became his home for the next twenty-two years. He was a standout lineman and kicker; however, he could also play a decent game of golf and it was the latter to which he eventually turned to make his fame and fortune.
He turned professional in 1952 after leaving the US Navy and looked as though he would win many major championships. He was a likeable bear of a man with massive strength and a fine rhythmic swing, who won sixteen PGA tour events between 1955 and 1961, including three in 1955 and four in 1956. His consistently good showing earned him a place on the 1959 and 1961 US Ryder Cup Teams. At this writing Mike still holds the PGA 72 hole scoring record (60-68-64-65-257; 27 under par!) and shares the nine-hole record of 27, both scored in the Texas Open of 1955 at the Brackenridge Park Country Club in San Antonio.
Although he never won any of golfs four majors, he came very close to winning three consecutive US Opens. In 1959, at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, NY , he had four solid rounds of 71-70-72-71-284, which placed him in a tie for third place two shots behind the winner Billy Casper. The following year at Cherry Hills he had his best showing. He led through the first three rounds with scores of 68-67-73-208 was two ahead of Julius Boros and seven in front of Arnold Palmer. However, in the final round Palmer made one of his famous charges and fired at 65 to Mikes 75. Mike was again tied for third place at 283 - three shots back. Finally in 1961 at Oakland Hills he played well with rounds of 73-70-68 (one shot back at this point), but his closing round of 73 (total 284) placed him in a tie for third place for the third consecutive year and for the second year three shots back.
Since retiring from the tour he served as head pro at Oakland Hills and helped develop and build the Innisbrook Complex at Tarpon Springs , Florida . He has also played in a few PGA Seniors events.
Mr. Souchak was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1984.
A partial listing of his tournament victories:
The Texas Open
The Houston Open
The Colonial Open
The Buick Open
1959 - 61
Member Ryder Cup Team
The Western Open
The Tournament of Champions
The San Diego Open
The Greater Greensboro Open
The Memphis Classic
Peggy Kirk Bell
Although Peggy Kirk Bell was born in Finlay, Ohio, she moved to North Carolina in 1953 where she and her husband, Warren, began developing Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
Mrs. Bell has had a long and illustrious career in golf as both an amateur and professional, as a teacher and a golf resort owner-operator. After being voted the best athlete in her high school, she went on to the Sargent Physical Education School in Boston, and finally graduating from Rollins College in Florida with a degree in Physical Education.
As an amateur, she won the North and South at Pinehurst, the Womens Eastern Amateur and the Titleholders in Augusta, Georgia, where she was the first to break 300 in that tournament. In 1947 she teamed with the late Babe Didrickson Zaharias to win the International Four-Ball. Then in 1948 she was invited to play as a member of the US Curtis Cup Team against the United Kingdom. Twice Mrs. Bell was beaten in the fourth round of the USGA Womens Amateur.
Mrs. Bell turned professional in 1950 and qualified ten times to play in the USGA Womens Open; her best finishes were 9th place in 1955 at Wichita, and tied for 10th in 1956 and 1957 at Duluth, Minnesota and Mamaroneck, New York, respectively. She was a Charter Member of the Ladies PGA. After a brief try on tour, she turned to teaching. In 1966 she published a book of instruction, A Womans Way to Better Golf.
In 1953, the year she claimed North Carolina as home, she married Warren (Bullet) Bell, a former professional basketball player, and the couple, with Julius Boros and the Cosgrove family, bought a rundown golf course in Southern Pines. Two years later, the Bells bought out their partners and began building the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, which she still operates today. Pine Needles is ranked among the top of the nations golf resorts and teaching centers. Mrs. Bell was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1983 and is also a member of the NC Sports Hall of Fame.
Mrs. Bell's Honors:
1947 -Winner, Womens International Four-Ball
1948 - Member, US Curtis Cup Team
1949 - Winner, North and South Womens Amateur
1949 - Winner, The Titleholders, Augusta, Ga.
1950 - Winner, Womens Eastern Amateur
1961 - Named LPGA Teacher of the Year
1981 - Received National Golf Foundations Herb Graffis Award for Service to Golf Bobby Jones
1981 - Named LPGA Pro of the Year
Johnny Palmer was born in Eldorado, NC in 1918 and grew up in nearby Badin. There he spent much of his free time caddying at the Stanley Country Club and learning as much as he could about the game of golf. Then in 1938, feeling confident that he could earn a living playing golf, he turned to the professional tour. However, it was not until a long nine years later that he proved to himself that he was indeed a winner. That year, 1947, he won his first of eight PGA Tour events when he won the Western Open, at the Salt Lake City County Club. Two years later, in 1949, at the Hermitage Country Club in Virginia, he came close to winning one of golf’s four “majors.” He lost in the match play finals of the PGA Championship to Sam Snead three down and two to play. In route to the finals, he beat such tour standouts as Jim Ferree and Lloyd Mangrum.
The Western Open
The Philadelphia Inquirer Open (now the Philadelphia Classic)
The Mexican Open
The Nashville Open
Member US Ryder Cup Team
The Houston Open The World Tam O’Shanter
1949, 50 '52 '54
'Among top 15 money winners on PGA tour
The Canadian Open
The Colonial Open
Born in Plymouth, Mass., Henry Picard is a long time resident of Charleston, SC, where he moved as a young man. He was one of the outstanding golfers of the 1930's and his swing was one of the finest in the game. Besides winning two of the Big Four Championships, he was successful in about thirty other tournaments in the twenty years of his playing career, which began in 1925.
Mr. Picard was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1983. He is also a member of the National PGA Hall of Fame, the Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame, and the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
Winner, The North and South Open (Discontinued 1951)
Winner, The Metropolitan Open
Winner, The Argentine Open
Winner, The Masters
Winner, The Hershey Open
Winner, The Charleston Open
Winner, USF&G. Classic
Winner, PGA Championship
(Semi-Finalist 1938 and 1950)
A Charlotte native, this patriarch of golf grew up caddying at the Charlotte Country Club where he was the favorite bag-toter of James B. Duke of Duke Power and Duke University fame. He turned professional at age 18, taking his first job at Badin. He later served brief stints at Bassett, Va., Forest Park in Martinsville, Va., Greensboro’s Green Valley Country Club and at New Bern Country Club, but most of his career was at the Lexington (NC) Country Club where he has been since 1938. He is now professional emeritus there.
In 1940 he helped lead a move that enabled the Carolinas PGA to regain its charter after losing it to another section. The 74-year-old Aycock was named professional of the year in the Carolina in 1957, that same year he won National Pro of the year honors.
Widely known for his many charitable projects, he has served 14 one-year terms as President of the Carolinas PGA Section and two different three-year terms as a National Vice-President. He has held every office in the Carolinas PGA. Aycock was chairman of National Golf Day two years, raising a record sum for charity in 1971. He has also served on many PGA Championship and Ryder Cup Committees.
“Mr. PGA in the Carolinas ,” Dugan is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, was in the inaugural class of inductees into the Carolinas PGA Section Hall of Fame and was voted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1982
Born at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the son of an army officer, Ray Floyd Floyd almost became a professional baseball player, but a victory in the National Jaycee Tournament in 1960 fortunately turned him to golf. He joined the PGA Tour in 1963, played in 10 events without even making the cut, but won the 11th, the St. Petersburg Open at age 20 years and five months. He was voted Rookie of the Year and went on to become one of the legends of the game.
One of the most feared competitors on the professional golf tour in the 1940's and ‘50's, Heafner gained a reputation for unpredictability and was once described as the angriest man in golf.
Before his death in 1961 at age 47, Heafner bought and operated the Eastwood Golf Club in his native city Charlotte. When his wife died a year later, Eastwood was left in trust for his three children. One of his sons, Mike, operates the club and another son, Vance, followed his father to the PGA Tour for a brief stint.
Among Heafner’s notable tour victories was the Mohoning Valley Open in 1941 and 1942, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Open in 1947, and the Colonial Invitation in 1948. Locally, he won the Carolinas Open in 1939 and 1953 and the Carolinas PGA Section title in 1950. He was twice runner-up in the US Open and first came to public eye in the Open of 1939 at Medinah. He shot a third round 66, the lowest round of that championship. It raised him into a tie for second place, but his last round of 80 dropped him out of contention. Two years later he was tied with Ben Hogan with one round to play but Hogan returned an unanswerable 67 and won by 2 stokes.
Heafner played in two Ryder Cup matches and was unbeaten in four matches. In 1951 at Pinehurst he halved with Fred Daly. In that match he was laid a stymie by the Irishman, believed to be the last stymie on record. the stymie was abolished six weeks later. He played in nine Masters Tournaments with his best finish in 1946 when he took seventh.
Clayton Heafner was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1982.
One of the country’s leading amateurs for almost three decades, Dale Morey was born in Martinsville, Ind., where he was a high school basketball star in the late 1930's. He moved to North Carolina over 20 years ago at the urging of his friend and fellow Carolinas Hall of Famer, Billy Joe Patton.
Born in Spartanburg, SC, Betsy Rawls grew up in Texas. During her amateur years in the Lone Star State, she won the Texas Amateur twice, the Trans-National in 1949 and the Broadmoor (Colorado) Invitational in 1950.
Miss Rawls turned professional in 1951 and was elected secretary of the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association when the group was chartered. She won 55 tournaments, putting her third on the all-time winners' list behind Kathy Whitworth and Mickey Wright.
Miss Rawls holds the unique distinction of having won the Women’s US Open four times. Only one other player, Mickey Wright, shares this prestigious feat. In her first clash with the pros in 1950, she finished 2nd in the Open 9 strokes behind the winner, Babe Zaharias. The following year, her first full year on tour, she won the Open. She was leading money winner in 1952 and 1959. As an indication of the size of the tour at that time her earnings in 1959 were under $27,000, in spite of winning 10 tournaments and capturing the Vare Trophy for lowest stroke average. During her tournament career, she was elected president of the LPGA in 1961 and ‘62.
Rawls retired as a player in 1975 but remained with the LPGA tour as tournament director. More of her time was then devoted toward administrative golf and in 1980 she became the first woman ever named to serve on the rules committee of the Men’s US Open.
She was elected on the LPGA Hall of Fame in 1960 and to the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1982.
Estelle Lawson Page
Born in East Orange, NJ, March 22, 1907, Mrs. Page made Chapel Hill, NC home since early childhood. She was taught the game of golf by her father, Dr. Robert Lawson, a University of North Carolina Faculty member.
USGA Women’s Amateur Championship
Semi-Finalist, 1941,1947, 1951
Curtis Cup Team,
Women’s North and South Amateur Championship
Winner, 1935,1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1944, 1945
Runner-up, 1942, 1946, 1950
Semi-Finalist, 1947, 1949
Women’s Southern Amateur Championship
North Carolina Women’s Amateur Championship
Winner, 10 times, Runner-up twice
William J. (Billy Joe) Patton
A native of Morganton, NC, born there April 19, 1922 William J. (Billy Joe) Patton was one of the game’s most flamboyant amateurs during an illustrious career of almost twenty years. The record is less impressive than the man. Few amateurs in any country of the world made quite the same impact as Billy Joe Patton. This was because he responded to the big occasion and was capable of flair. Possessing of one of the fastest swings in first-class golf, he inevitably hit many loose shots. When out of form and timing he could play downright badly, but thanks to his great strength and speed of clubhead he could engineer marvelous recoveries, which were useful in stroke play and devastating in match play—all to the delight of the gallery.
Probably one of his most dramatic finishes occurred in the finals of the 1951 North and South Amateur and featured a loss rather than a win. Playing Hobart Manley, Billy Joe stood two up on the 14th tee with only five holes to play. He played those last five holes one under par—and lost the match! Hobart finished with 5 straight 3's which boiled down to a birdie, par, eagle, par, birdie finish!
North Carolina Amateur Champion, 1964
Eisenhower Trophy, 1958, 1962
North and South Amateur Championship
Winner, 1954, 1962, 1963
Runner-up, 1951, 1964
Southern Amateur Championship
Winner, 1961, 1965
US Amateur Championship
Semi-finalist, 1962 The US Open
Low Amateur, 1954, 1957
US Walker Cup Team
1955, 1957, 1959, 1963, 1965
Low Amateur, 1954, 1958, 1960
Billy Joe Patton was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1981.
Golf Professional - Architect
Born in Scotland in 1872, Donald James Ross started his working days as a carpenter. Because he lived close to Royal Dornoch Links, he developed an interest in golf. He trained as a golf professional at St. Andrews, returned to Dornoch in 1893, and remained until 1898 when he emigrated to Boston, MA, where he became a pro-greenkeeper at Oakley Country Club.
In 1890 he moved to Pinehurst Country Club and remained there until his death in 1948. Mr. Ross later became interested in golf course architecture and went on to design, build or remodel more than 600 courses, including Pinehurst No. 2, Seminole, Dunedin, Inverness and Oak Hill.
As a player, Ross won the inaugural North and South Open in 1903 and repeated those victories in 1905 and 1906.
He was inducted into the PGA World Golf Hall of Fame in 1977 and into the Carolinas Hall of Fame in 1981.
Richard S. Tufts
Tufts was president of the USGA in 1956 and 1957 but his influence was strong before then and still influences the game today. In 1951 he played a central role in the rules summit in which the USGA and the Royal and Ancient agreed to uniformity. In concert with the USGA, executive director, Joe Dey, Tufts crafted the standard set-up for championships - tight fairways, graduating rough and near fast, firm greens. Tufts also formulated the modern USGA handicapping system of drawing on the best 10 of the past 20 rounds. He also instigated the conversion of the USGA Green Section from a modest research supporter to a national network of visiting agronomists.
E. Harvie Ward Jr.
Harvie Ward was born in Tarboro, NC, on the 8th day of December, 1925. During the 1950's he was one of the most accomplished golfers in the world, and supreme as an amateur. He won the British Amateur at Prestwick, Scotland in 1952; was runner-up the following year at Hoylake, England. In 1955 at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond, he defeated Bill Hyndman in the finals to win his first US Amateur Championship, a feat he later described as being his greatest moment in golf. The following year at the Knollwood Club, Lake Forest, IL, he again became the US Amateur Champ by beating Charles Kocsis 5 up and 4 to play. In reaching the finals that year, Ward disposed of a Texan 6 and 5 in the third round. The Texan? Miller Barber!
Before he could attempt another defense of his title, he was suspended for a year by the USGA for allegedly accepting expense money by his employer for playing in amateur events. The irony of it was that had he received a larger salary and paid his own way, there would have been no debate, no suspension. As it was, the USGA clearly decided to make an example of their Amateur Champion. The effect upon Ward was immediate; his golf lost its tremendous flair and although he finished 4th in the Masters in 1957, and competed with distinction in his last Walker Cup Match in 1959, he was never quite the same player again.
Typical of Ward’s lust for competition and aggressive play were his two finishes in the 1948 and 1949 North and South Amateur Championships when in both years he played Frank Stranahan in the 36 hole finals. In 1948, he beat Stranahan 1 up; in 1949, he lost to Stranahan 2 and 1.
North and South Amateur
NCAA, winner 1949
Carolina’s Amateur Championship
British Amateur Championship
USGA Amateur Championship
Canadian Amateur Champion, 1954
Walker Cup Team: 1953, 1955, 1959
The Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame is located in the conference center of the Carolina Hotel, Village of Pinehurst, NC