Thank you ladies. You are inspiration and class in the game. Long life to you both.
Bastanchury Booth, Porter-King are newest additions to SCGA Hall of Fame
October 29, 2015
The SCGA Hall of Fame hit 30 members Thursday, with the induction of Jane Bastanchury Booth and Mary Bea Porter-King. The two women, who were honored not only for their outstanding playing careers but also their enormous contributions giving back to the game, were on-hand to accept the honor in front of a crowd of nearly 200 people.
The two former Arizona State golfers and Southern California natives may not be household names to all golf fans, but they should be. Their list of golf accolades stretches a mile long, and the two women could not be more respected by higher-ups in the golf industry, evidenced by the presence of PGA of America, USGA, LPGA and other golf entity representatives in the room.
Bastanchury Booth was introduced to the game of golf at a young age by her father, the former director of golf for LA County. She would become one of the most prolific female amateur golfers of her time, playing on three World Cup teams from 1968-1972 and three consecutive winning Curtis Cup teams in the early 1970s. As an individual, she would reach the semifinals of the U.S. Women's Amateur twice as well as place in the Top 10 in three U.S. Women's Opens, all as an amateur.
"It's an honor to be inducted today, especially with Mary Bea," said Bastanchury Booth, who was inducted by her daughter and former LPGA Tour player Kellee Booth.
Since retiring from her playing career, Bastanchury Booth has served the game in a variety of ways. She dedicated a large portion of her life to the Junior Tour in Southern California, giving back to a program she was heavily involved with as a kid, as well as spending 26 years as a member of the USGA Girls' Junior Amateur Committee. Bastanchury Booth also volunteered with the rules department of the Florida Golf Association, and captained the 2000 Curtis Cup team to a win in England at Gatton GC.
"There are so many things my mom has done for junior golf," said Kellee during the induction speech at Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. "There were so many days when we would be at the golf course from dawn to dusk. She has impacted so many players."
Much of the same can be said of Porter-King, who herself was impacted by her days playing in the Southern California Junior Golf Association.
"After I married my husband and moved to Hawaii, I was struck by the lack of opportunities there in the junior golf space," said Porter-King.
Wanting to give the kids of Hawaii the playing opportunities she herself had, Porter-King founded the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association, which has since impacted thousands of kids, and sent hundreds of passionate golfers on to play collegiate golf.
"Mary Bea is everything you would want in an advocate for golf," said Jim Vernon, past president of the USGA and SCGA and the induction speaker for Porter-King. "What she has given back to the game is unbelievable."
Porter-King also began playing the game at a young age, spending years under the guidance of her mentor Betty Hicks, the 1941 U.S. Women's Amateur champion at Los Coyotes CC. After success in junior golf, she continued her playing career at Arizona State University, joining Bastanchury Booth on the women's golf team. Porter-King was an exceptional athlete, playing golf, basketball, volleyball and softball. She would later be inducted into the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame, and spend 25 years on the LPGA Tour.
"The only reason I turned professional was because Jane [Bastanchury Booth] kept beating me all the time in amateur events," joked Porter-King in her acceptance speech. "I always knew that I wanted to be a pro golfer. I had some wonderful people that helped me follow my dreams, and today I really want to take the opportunity to thank them."
Aside from her illustrious playing career, Porter-King may best be known for an errant shot she hit during a qualifying round for the 1988 Samaritan Turquoise Classic in Phoeniz, Ariz. While searching for her ball, Porter-King noticed a commotion in the yard of a house adjacent to the golf course. In what became a life-defining moment, Porter-King ended up performing CPR and saving the life of a young boy who had drown in a pool. In honor of her exemplifying a heroic act, The Mary Bea Porter Humanitarian Award was created by the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association. In 2011, the PGA of America recognized Porter-King as the year's PGA First Lady of Golf.
"With all of her accomplishments on and off the course, Mary Bea is still able to be humbled by the game," said Vernon. He then recounted the time when, after receiving her First Lady of Golf Award, Porter was asked by one of her junior golfers if she was in fact "the first lady to ever play golf."
After ending her long playing career, Porter-King shifted her focus and dedicated her life to giving back to the game she loves so much. In addition to founding her Junior Golf Association in Hawaii, she served on the USGA Executive Committee from 2001-2006, the PGA of America's Board of Directors from 2006-2009 and was a member of both the USGA and PGA Rules Committees. She has officiated more than 75 National Championships, including 13 U.S. Opens, 17 U.S. Women's Opens, five Masters Tournaments and five PGA Championships.
"Betty Hicks had a profound effect on me and how I play the game," said Porter-King. "She wouldn't let me play until I passed a written rules test, and guess what? Kids in Hawaii today need to pass a written rules test before I let them play. I still teach what I was taught. But I know my mission is not complete. Kids need golf more than ever. I can't image how great the world would be if everyone played golf. I have no plans to stop giving back to the game."
The 2015 class of women became the fifth and sixth in the SCGA Hall of Fame, joining Dinah Shore, Mickey Wright, Babe Zaharias and Amy Alcott, who was in attendance. The SCGA Hall of Fame was founded in 2007, and honers those who brought the game to Southern California, 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. Scott Medlock is the official artist of the SCGA Hall of Fame, and honors each inductee with a personalized painting.
The dedication and contributions of these women are greatly appreciated.