Although he made his name as a singer, vaudeville performer and silver screen luminary, Bing Crosby would probably prefer to be remembered as a two handicap who competed in both the British and U.S. Amateur championships, a five-time club champion at Lakeside Golf Club, and as one of only a few players to have made a hole-in-one on the 16th at Cypress Point. In 1937, Bing Crosby hosted the first National Pro-Am Golf Championship, the 'Crosby Clambake' as it was popularly known, at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club. Now the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, it has been a leading event in the world of professional golf.
Bob Hope’s love for the game, and the humor he could find in it, made him one of the most enthusiastic players to have ever played the game. As he traversed the globe entertaining both black-tie audiences and battalions of soldiers, Hope made a second career of teeing it up with Presidents, Princes and Kings. Hope took the reins of the annual Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs in 1960. He was a life-long member of Lakeside Golf Club.
Dinah Shore didn't take up the game until the age of 52, and yet she was an illuminating presence for women's golf. Since 1972, her eponymous tournament has been one of the LPGA's most visible. Shore's name helped insure network television coverage back when it was a precious commodity, which in turn helped her tournament set the curve for purse increases. She became the first female member at Hillcrest Country Club, and her home away from home was Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage.
class of 2011
A native of Charlotte, N.C., Sifford became the first African-American to compete on the PGA tour. His friendship with professional Teddy Rhodes first brought Sifford to Southern California in the early 1950s. He won the Long Beach Open in 1957, and after the PGA dropped its Caucasian-only clause in 1961 secured his first PGA Tour victory at the Greater Hartford Open in 1967. Sifford went on to capture the PGA Seniors' Championship in 1975 and was an original member of the PGA’s Champions Tour. Sifford was the first African-American to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, in 2004. Watch Sifford's induction video here.
Alcott competed on the LPGA Tour for 30 seasons and was inducted into its Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999. A longtime Santa Monica resident, she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship three times and started the tradition of jumping into Poppie’s Pond at Mission Hills CC after winning the 1988 title.
Alcott started playing golf at the age of 9 at her Brentwood home. She competed throughout Southern California and in her amateur career amassed 132 junior golf trophies, including the 1973 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at the age of 17. Alcott made history in 1974 as the first female golfer to play in the CIF-SCGA high school championship as a member of the Palisades High School boys’ team. Watch Alcott's induction video here.
class of 2010
Joseph Francis Sartori
For more than half a century, Joseph Francis Sartori played a major role in the development of Southern California with his pioneering vision for a sound financial footing in all aspects of the community. One of the original founders of the Southern California Golf Association and The Los Angeles Country Club, Sartori was instrumental in building Southern California foundations in real estate, oil and gas, water, transportation, municipal bonds, banking legislation, golf, and philanthropy.
Geiberger joined the ranks of the world’s most elite athletes during that magical day on June 10, 1977, when he recorded 11 birdies and an eagle to score the first “59” in PGA Tour history, catapulting him to victory in the 1977 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic. “Mr. 59” won 11 times on the PGA Tour during the 1960s and 1970s. Geiberger’s silky smooth swing carried him to 10 more victories on the Champions Tour during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, including the lucrative Vantage championship. Geiberger’s Ryder Cup record speaks for itself; a two-time team member, Geiberger played for Captains Ben Hogan (1967) and Arnold Palmer (1975) on two of the strongest United States squads since the matches’ inception in 1927. Click here to watch Geiberger's Hall of Fame Induction video.
Stockton started golf at age 3, walking adjacent fairways with his father, Gail, at Arrowhead Country Club with a 3-wood and a putter. His skills developed over time, as did his love of all sports. But a broken back at age 15 left golf, rather than basketball or baseball, as Dave’s best choice for a sports career. Like his father, he enrolled at USC, winning the Pacific-8 golf championship, an honor his father had gained in his collegiate career. Earning his first professional win at the Colonial Invitational in 1967, Stockton went on to 10 more PGA Tour victories, including the PGA Championships in 1970 and 1976. He added 14 more titles during his tenure on the Champions Tour, including the 1996 U.S. Senior Open. Click here to watch Stockton's Hall of Fame Induction video.
class of 2009
Born in San Diego and raised in Chula Vista, Casper was the winner of 51 PGA Tour events and considered by many to be the “magnificent fourth” in an era of the “big three.” He attended Notre Dame but found little success on the amateur golf circuit. However, upon turning professional in 1954, he quietly and steadily built a stellar, and memorable, Hall-of-Fame career that remains one for the record books. Included in the 51 tour wins are three majors: the 1959 and 1966 U.S. Opens, and the 1970 Masters. Since retirement, his charitable contributions are numerous, with a focus on investing in the future of America—our children.
Macbeth designed Wilshire in 1919, and it is his enduring monument in golf architecture. Not only a designer, Macbeth was also the Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Champion in 1896, 1897, 1898; the SCGA Amateur champion in 1911 and 1915; the NCGA Amateur champion in 1921; and served as president of the SCGA in 1929 and the CGA in 1938.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Olympic medalist, LPGA record holder, and one of the world's greatest female golfers and athletes, Zaharaias was also a prolific basketball player. However, golf was her best sport. She won 82 tournaments on both the amateur and professional level, which includes 17 consecutive amateur tournaments in 1946 and 1947. She was a founding member of the LPGA, but also played in men’s PGA Tour events. Zaharias was named Woman Athlete of the Year six times between 1932 and 1954, and The Associated Press called her the greatest woman athlete of the first half of the twentieth century.
Taylor was an outstanding life-long amateur golfer and two-time California Amateur champion. He attended the University of Southern California’s dental school, but didn’t play golf for the university. Instead, he became the first person to win back-to-back California Amateur Championships since 1912, when he did so in 1954-55, and went on to play on three Walker Cup teams. The 1959 Walker Cup team, of which Jack Nicklaus was also a member, is considered by many to be the greatest team ever assembled. Taylor continued to demonstrate his prowess by capturing the course records at three Southland clubs: Red Hill Country Club, O’Donnell Country Club and Shadow Mountain Country Club.
class of 2008
Charles Maud was the first SCGA president and designer of golf courses in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Maud is credited with helping to found many of the earliest clubs in Southern California’s Riverside area, including the Riverside Polo & Golf Club, which was one of the SCGA’s five founding clubs in 1899.
Bruce McCormick was the 1937 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, two-time California Amateur champion and three-time SCGA Amateur champion. McCormick is one of six people to capture consecutive California Amateur Championship titles which he won in 1946 and 1947. The following two years, he won the SCGA Amateur Championship and became the oldest SCGA Amateur winner when he won his third title in 1963.
Known as "The Little Pro," Merrins was long-time head golf professional at Bel-Air CC and one of the nation's foremost golf teachers. Merrins wrote his landmark book, "Swing the Handle, not the Clubhead" in 1973 and has since produced a video series with the same name. Merrins, who was inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, was also the men's golf coach at UCLA for decades; his 1988 team won the NCAA Division I national championship.
Murray, who wrote prolifically and brilliantly about golf, was a Los Angeles Times sports columnist from 1961 until his death in 1998. In 1988, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and in 1990, he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
George C. Thomas, Jr.
Thomas was a legendary golf course architect who designed the courses for Bel-Air Country Club, The Los Angeles Country Club, Riviera Country Club and others in the 1920s. Thomas was a prominent rose breeder on the East Coast before gaining fame as a golf course designer. He was one of the great architects of courses in Southern California. In addition to the courses noted above, he designed those of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Palos Verdes Golf Club and Red Hill Country Club, among others.
class of 2007
Dawson was one of Southern California’s greatest golfers, winning four SCGA Amateur Championships and the 1942 California Amateur title, and he is the last person to win them both in the same year. However, equally important, Dawson was the visionary force that began the golf course boom in the Coachella Valley after World War II, developing Thunderbird Country Club, Eldorado Country Club and La Quinta Country Club, among others.
Edward B. Tufts
He was an entrepreneur, a tennis buff who became an ardent golfer and a sporting goods merchant who became known as the Father of Golf in Southern California. But most of all, Edward B. Tufts was a visionary who, among other things, helped found The Los Angeles Country Club—the first club in Los Angeles County—and the Southern California Golf Association.
George Von Elm
A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Von Elm won the SCGA Amateur Championship three times, as well as the 1926 U.S. Amateur title (beating Bobby Jones in the championship match). In 1925, he became the only player to ever win the SCGA Amateur, California Amateur and Northern California Golf Association Amateur titles in the same year. Von Elm served as head professional at Hacienda Golf Club from 1950–1953 before returning to Utah to retire.
Dr. Paul Hunter
The only five-time SCGA Amateur champion (1908, 1909, 1921, 1924 and 1926), Hunter was also the California Amateur Champion in 1920 and 1921. Of the thousands of golfers who have competed in SCGA and USGA tournaments, a handful stand above the rest. The first of those was Dr. Paul Hunter.
A native of San Diego, Wright was one of the greatest—if not the greatest—female golfers ever. Among her 82 tournament wins were four U.S. Women’s Open Championships and four LPGA Championships. Wright was also instrumental in the growth of the Ladies Professional Golf Association and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. She retired after the 1969 season but came back in 1973 to win the Colgate Dinah Shore Championship. More importantly, she paved the way for the great women players who have followed her.
San Diego-area native and also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Littler was one of the first home-grown Southern Californians to become a PGA Tour star. After winning the 1953 California Amateur and U.S. Amateur championships, Littler captured the San Diego Open as an amateur in 1954 and turned professional, winning 29 PGA Tour events, including the 1961 U.S. Open.