The SCGA recognizes a noteworthy group of individuals who have shaped the game we love.
These honorees represent those who brought the game to Southern California, who nurtured it through early decades into the first great Golden Age of golf course construction in the 1920s, who kept it alive during the Great Depression and World War II, and who had a vision for growth in the post-war era.
Class of 2019
From the beginning of her career in the SoCal junior golf circuit to her success on the LPGA Tour, Brandie Burton set the bar high with no shortage of accolades.
Before graduating from Eisenhower HS in Rialto, CA, she was already the 1988 PGA National Champion, the 1989 U.S. Girl’s Junior Champion and a two-time winner of the San Diego Junior World Championships. With that resume, Burton proved to be Sun Devil material, joining the Arizona State University women’s golf team in the Fall of 1989.
As a freshman, Burton quickly rose to the top. She won six of her first seven tournaments, capped off by a Pac-10 title, an NCAA Team Championship and a No. 1 U.S. collegiate ranking. That season alone, Burton proved she could compete with the best in the world.
After participating on the U.S. Curtis Cup team and winning the North and South Women’s Amateur Championship in the summer of 1990, she would forgo her amateur status. With an aggressive mindset and distance off the tee, Burton was named LPGA Rookie of the Year in 1991 after eight top-10 finishes.
In 1993, the San Bernardino native cemented her legacy. Up against Hall of Famer Betsy King in a sudden-death playoff at the du Maurier Classic, Burton birdied the first playoff hole to defeat the six-time major winner for her first major victory. Burton would be named 1993 Golf World Female Player of the Year. At the same event in 1998, Burton defeated 10-time major winner Annika Sörenstam by one stroke to claim her second major title.
In all, she competed in five Solheim Cups, recorded 88 top-10 finishes and was inducted into the Rialto Hall of Fame in 2007 followed by the ASU Hall of Fame in 2008. Burton, who resides in La Verne, CA, was the youngest female golfer to surpass $1 million in career earnings.
From cleaning golf clubs for $50 a month in the small mining town of Butte, Montana, to helping mold one of the premier private clubs in all of Southern California, Joe Novak was the author of an extreme life arc.
In 1927, Novak pondered upon joining the year-old Bel-Air CC after working for a club in Spokane, Wash. He decided to take a leap of faith, and the marriage between Novak and the club progressed through his position as head club professional, battling through the nation’s more difficult times.
Novak was the glue to Bel-Air CC’s troubles during The Great Depression and World War II. He would meet with federal officials to seek solutions and prevent closure. Though his hard work and support for Bel-Air CC never stopped, he assumed a leadership position as the PGA of America President from 1949-1951. As the first president elected from the Pacific Coast, he was an ideal ambassador for golf professionals across the country. He was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 2005.
Novak authored four books about golf. He also upstarted the Bel-Air CC award-winning newsletter “CHIPS” in 1929 and wrote it himself for 50 years until 1979.
Meanwhile, Novak always kept his own game in gear. 66 was his magic number, shooting it many times at Bel-Air CC and his past clubs. Prior to his tenure at Bel-Air CC, he won the 1925 NorCal Professional Championship and was runner-up in the California Professional Championship.
In 1962, Novak assumed the role of Bel-Air CC’s Director of Golf Emeritus. The annual Joe Novak Pro-Am tournament, which ran from 1971-1988, brought in many golf professionals from across the country to honor and pay their respects to Novak. Since 1989, the tournament has continued as a member event at Bel-Air CC.
Bel-Air CC recognized Novak’s 50 years of dedication to the club with a celebration in 1979, honoring his contributions through the decades. “Mr. Bel-Air” who passed away in 1982 at 83 years old, became an icon among the club and lives on till this day.
Charles Seaver took his first golf lesson at age nine from his father and 1920 SCGA Amateur Champion, E.H. Seaver. With the game in his DNA and an elite golfer as a role model, young Charles grew up rubbing shoulders with the greats, such as Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and Bobby Jones.
Only six years after learning the game, he captured the 1926 Southern California Junior Amateur Championship and The Los Angeles Country Club Invitational. Charles later reached the semifinals of the 1930 U.S. Amateur, all before the start of his college career.
It was not until 1932 when Charles truly became a household name. While a member of the Stanford University golf team, Seaver earned a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team, winning the biennial competition, 8 to 1. Charles went undefeated in both his singles and foursomes matches.
His run from 1933-34 cemented him as one of the greatest amateur golfers to ever grace California’s fairways. In 1933, Charles picked up victories at the California Amateur as well as the Northern California Golf Association Amateur Championship. In 1934, he won the SCGA Amateur, joining George Von Elm as one of only two players to hold all three major California amateur titles.
Father to Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver, Charles had success off the golf course as well. He worked in the food industry after moving to Fresno, where he introduced raisins into breakfast cereal. His lucrative career allowed him to play in what is now the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 39 times, winning in 1964 with Mike Fetchick.
The Seaver Cup, named after Charles, was created in 1998 by the NCGA and SCGA to bring together the best players in the golden state to compete against each other. This biennial competition continues to honor Charles’ accomplishments and passion for the game.
The architect of an unusual but remarkable resume, Mark Johnson enjoyed a unique career in amateur and professional golf, along with a casual 18 years of driving a beer truck. In high school, Johnson won the CIF-SCGA Championship as an individual and immediately decided to turn professional in 1972. After two years of struggling on mini tours, he regained his amateur status while working as a delivery truck driver for Anheuser-Busch in the Mojave Desert – a job he would hold for nearly two decades.
Johnson’s early morning travels on the open road, combined with his newfound amateur status paved the way to great success throughout the 1990s. He would win three SCGA Mid-Amateur Championships, four SCGA Tournament of Club Champions titles and the 1996 California Amateur – all after the age of 35.
In 1994, he battled with a young and emerging Tiger Woods, going head-to-head in the SCGA Amateur Championship, where Johnson finished runner-up. However, he would not let Tiger steal the entire spotlight, going on to win the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship just two weeks after his run-in with Woods. Johnson continued his torrid run later in the year as he was crowned the SCGA Mid-Amateur Champion.
At 45-years-old, he tested his professional skills once again. He earned his PGA TOUR Champions card in 2004, won Q-school and proceeded to spend the next five years on tour sponsored by his old employer, Anheuser-Busch. Mark Johnson would become a fan favorite, known as the “Beer Man.”
After 14 professional starts, Johnson earned his first professional victory in 2005 – dramatically holing out for eagle on the par-5 18th to win the Toshiba Senior Classic in front of a home crowd at Newport Beach CC. Johnson’s only official victory earned him nearly a quarter million dollars – becoming an instant hero for the working class.
"This win isn’t just for me," Johnson said. "I'm going to celebrate it with the fans; this is an awful lot of money for a beer truck driver."
If you’ve stepped foot onto a Southland golf course, a few degrees of separation would tell you that property had a Bell family influence. The dynamic design duo had a major role in shaping Los Angeles’ golf scene.
In 1911, William Park “Billy” Bell was hired by the Annandale CC as a greenkeeper and caddie master. By 1919, Billy Bell was supervising and building architect William Watson’s redesign.
During the 1920s, Billy Bell’s career led him to work with renowned architects such as George O’Neil, Jack Croke, Max Behr and George C. Thomas Jr. His work with these legends produced Pasadena GC, Griffith Park, Ojai Valley, La Cumbre, Bel-Air, Riviera and Los Angeles North. Billy Bell designed and built over seventy golf courses, including Palos Verdes, Woodland Hills, Brookside, San Diego and La Jolla, to name a few. By the 1930s Bell had earned a reputation as the most prolific architect in the west.
His partnership with his son, Billy Bell Jr. (William Francis Bell), started after junior’s return from the war. By the early 1950s, Billy Bell Jr. was clearly carrying on the family tradition. He would go on to design, build and renovate, over 100 golf courses. Their work together included, Tamarisk, Torrey Pines, Tucson, Bakersfield, Buena Ventura, Newport Beach, and Rolling Hills.
While on his own, Billy Bell Jr. gave us Malibu, Industry Hills, Antelope Valley, California, Jurupa Hills, Monarch Beach, Newport Beach, Palm Desert, Saticoy, Skylinks, Los Verdes, Lake Arrowhead and Sandpiper, among others. Both Bells continue to be remembered as legends within the golf industry.
Tom Addis III, PGA
Addis, who currently serves as the CEO/Executive Director of the Southern California Section of the PGA, is a longtime golf professional who served as president of the PGA of America from 1995-1996. Throughout his impressive tenure in the golf business, Addis has served on the board of directors for the San Diego Junior Golf Association, Lorena Ochoa Foundation and the California Alliance for Golf, where he’s a founding member and past president of the statewide advocacy organization. Until 2006, Addis also served as owner and president of Medallion Golf Inc., a golf facility design, construction, operations and management services company.
During his career, Addis has received several special distinctions including the Joe Graffis Award (National Golf Foundation), Horton Smith Award (PGA of America), Herb Graffis Award (SCPGA), Langley Legends Award (NCPGA), Conrad Rehling Award (Special Olympics) and National PGA Golf Professional of the Year (PGA).
During his current role with the Southern California PGA, Addis has committed significant resources to developing community-based initiatives that have impacted the Southland golf environment. He has worked tirelessly in support of player development programs including Golf in Schools and Neighborhood Golf. As a Conrad Rehling Award recipient, Addis has impacted the sporting world, helping establish golf as a recognized sport in the Special Olympics Games. He has ensured that everyone, including children and adults with special needs, school programs and community outreach programs, have access to the game.
Jerry Barber is forever remembered for his superb short game, his shiftless swing and a gritty competitive spirit that propelled him to become one of the top touring pros of the 1950s and 1960s. Barber would eventually play on two Ryder Cup teams – in 1955 and as a Captain in 1961 – a year that would prove to be very special. Barber’s milestone accomplishment is his 1961 PGA Championship victory, a win that propelled him to a PGA TOUR Player of the Year honor, unseating Arnold Palmer. Throughout his career, Barber amassed a total of seven victories on TOUR. He is also the oldest man to ever play in a tour event, entering two tournaments in early 1994 just weeks shy of his 78th birthday.
Len Kennett has deep roots in the Southern California golf landscape. After serving in the Marines, he continued playing at USC, where he won the 1950 Southern California Inter-Collegiate Championship. He eventually met fellow SCGA Hall of Famer Paul Runyan, who invited him to team up and offer kids free golf lessons. This was the starting point for Kennett’s contributions to junior golf, and in particular, the Len Kennett Junior Golf Championship, now going into its 61st year. He and his wife Marie lived in Oceanside until 1957, when Kennett took the second in a string of head professional jobs at San Gabriel CC. In 1964, Kennett transferred to a newly opened Los Verdes GC, where he was head pro for 34 years. In 1979, he also became the head professional at Lakewood GC before retiring from teaching in 2001.
Jane Bastanchury Booth’s commitment to the sport of golf has proven to be one of passion and appreciation for the game. Booth attended Arizona State University from 1969-71, where she won several college tournaments, none more special to her than the 1969 Match Play NCAA Championship. Jane was the 1965 California State Junior Girls Champion and went on to be a member of three consecutive winning U.S. Curtis Cup Teams (1970, 1972 and 1974).
Mary Bea Porter-King
Mary Bea Porter-King’s illustrious career in golf began at Arizona State University, where she also played basketball, volleyball and softball. Golf, however, would remain her priority, as she picked up several collegiate wins and on Oct. 26, 1975, she won the Golf Inns of America Classic in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. by 3 strokes. Upon retirement from the LPGA Tour in 1998, Porter-King founded the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association, where she continues to spend most of her time teaching juniors.
Never the long hitter, Pavin was known for his pinpoint accuracy and course management skills. As a Bruin, he totaled 11 victories, earned first-team All-American honors twice, was a member of the winning 1981 U.S. Walker Cup Team and named the NCAA Player of the Year in 1982. Pavin turned professional that same year. Pavin totaled 28 Professional wins including 15 PGA TOUR wins.
Known as "the Walrus" due to his down-to-earth personality and iconic mustache, Craig Stadler's obsession with the game began at the age of four. He attended USC, where he earned All-American honors all four years, won the 1973 U.S. Amateur, was a member of the winning 1975 Walker Cup team and turned professional in 1976. Stadler has 31 Professional wins including 13 PGA TOUR wins and was the Masters champion in 1982.
Nicknamed "Little Poison" due to his slender 5'7" 125-pound frame, Paul Runyan was one of the dominant players during the early days of the PGA TOUR. With 28 victories, he was the leading money winner on the PGA TOUR in 1934. Runyan is perhaps best remembered for defeating Sam Snead 8 and 7 to win the PGA Championship in 1938. Beginning in 1946, he taught as a club professional at Annandale GC in Pasadena and La Jolla CC in San Diego.
During the 1930s, Roger Kelly was a powerful force in the Southern California amateur golf world. From 1936 to 1938, Kelly won the Los Angeles City Amateur, the SCGA Amateur Championship and claimed two California Amateur Championships. His amateur achievements earned him an honorary Lakeside GC membership in 1939, and he became a regular member in 1959. During his time at the club, Kelly won 11 Lakeside Club Championships. He never turned professional, instead becoming a highly successful attorney and founding partner of the Los Angeles Firm of Gilbert, Kelly, Crowley and Jennett. In 1968, Kelly was elected President of Lakeside GC and the club later named a tournament in his honor, "The Kelly Cup."
John Cook's amateur career turned into a successful professional one. After winning the California Amateur Championship in 1975, Cook moved back to his birthplace to attend at The Ohio State University, where he would win a NCAA Team Championship title in 1979. Cook also won the U.S. Amateur in 1978, and the Sunnehanna Amateur in 1977 and 1979. Professionally, Cook earned 11 PGA TOUR victories over a 20-year period and two runner-up finishes at the 1992 The Open Championship and 1992 PGA Championship. He currently plays on the Champions Tour, where he has thus far collected nine more victories.
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.