A Chronicle of the Philadelphia Section PGA and Golf in the Philadelphia Area
by Peter C. Trenham
The Leaders & The Legends - 1940 to 1949
James J. “Jimmy” D'Angelo
Section secretary 6 years
A national VP 3 years
D’Angelo was born in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania in 1909. He was introduced to golf as a caddy at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club in Noble. At age 18 he became an assistant at the new Huntingdon Valley course. Two years later he became the assistant pro at the Baederwood Golf Club that was the old Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s course. At age 21 he was made the head professional at Baederwood where he stayed for thirteen years. In his early years as a golf professional D’Angelo spent the winters working for Robert White, the first president of the PGA, at the Ocean Forest Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In 1940 D’Angelo was elected secretary of the Section where he found his calling, promoting golf. He served the Section as secretary from 1940 through 1943 when he moved to Oklahoma. Two years later he returned and he was elected secretary again for two years. No one ever did a better job of promoting the Philadelphia Section. Every month he had a lengthy article with the Section’s news in the Professional Golfer magazine. In 1939 and 1940 the Section held a “Philadelphia Golf Week” and D’Angelo was the chairman. He used every possible idea to publicize it and the Golf Week was a huge success. In 1941 the Section put on a PGA Silver Anniversary banquet at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. It was held during the Hurst Invitational and 800 attended. D’Angelo was the co-chairman. In 1942 he was selected by the PGA executive committee to represent the District II as a national vice-president for three years. The association then appointed him chairman of the PGA of America publicity committee. That summer he managed the PGA Championship at Seaview for the Section and the PGA. That same year he gave golf lessons on WPTZ TV in Philadelphia. In 1949 he left the Section to be the professional at the new Dunes Golf & Beach Club in South Carolina. He became Mr. Golf in Myrtle Beach and played a large part in making it a destination for golf tourists. In 1954 D’Angelo invited the National Golf Writers Association to a dinner honoring Robert Trent Jones who had designed the Dunes course. This turned into the golf writers’ golf championship and it is still being held there every year the week before the Masters Tournament. D’Angelo is a member of the Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Hall of Fame.
A grand nephew of
Old Tom Morris
George Morris was born near Liverpool, England in 1888. His father, Jack, was the professional at the Hoylake Golf Club and the nephew of old Tom Morris the longtime professional at St. Andrews Golf Club. George’s grandfather was old Tom’s brother and he was also named George. That George designed the Royal Liverpool Golf Club’s course where the British Open was held many times. At age 19 George went to Australia to work on sheep ranches for five years. After that he immigrated to America and served in the United States Army in World War I. In 1921 he accepted an invitation to be Colonial Country Club’s first professional. He was the pro and green superintendent there through 1948. He had a complete knowledge of the game. In 1922 he laid out the back nine at Colonial and supervised the construction. Morris played well, gave the golf lessons and made clubs. During his career at Colonial he played in very few tournaments but in 1942 he finished third in the PGA Seniors’ Championship and he finished in the money three other years. Although Morris retired as the pro at Colonial in 1948 he stayed on as the green superintendent until 1953 and supervised the construction of their new course. His brother Thomas was the professional at the Country Club of Harrisburg and their nephew Michael Grace was the professional nearby at the Reservoir Park Golf Course. George Morris was a PGA member for more than sixty years.
Leonard M. “Len” Sheppard
Section officer 8 years
Section member 53 years
Len Sheppard was born in Philadelphia in 1900 and learned to play golf as a caddy at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. When he was 17 he began his apprenticeship at Whitemarsh as an assistant pro under the PGA champion Jim Barnes. In 1922 Sheppard left Whitemarsh to replace Stanley Hern in the sales-office for MacGregor Golf and the Colonel Golf Ball Company. Beginning in 1932 he managed public golf courses in Reading and the Poconos for nine years. At the same time he managed exhibition tours for Walter Hagen throughout the United States and he represented the Walter Hagen Golf Club Company as a sales rep. Sheppard was an officer in the Golf Salesmen’ Association of America, which was formed at Pitman Golf Club in 1932 and in 1937 he won their golf championship. He left the Section for one year to take a head pro job in the Tri-State Section before returning as the head pro at the North Hills Country Club in 1943. Sheppard stayed at North Hills for 13 years. At the age of 24 he was elected treasurer of the Philadelphia Section, an office he held for five years. For two of those years he held the combined office of secretary and treasurer. In 1927 the secretary-treasurer office was split up and Sheppard was elected treasurer again for two more years. After being out of office for sixteen years he was elected secretary in 1944 and he held the office for three years. Sheppard was also the tournament chairman in 1946. No one else ever held office in the Section during a period that covered a time span of over 20 years. Sheppard left North Hills in 1955 and joined Jock MacKenzie at the Sandy Run Country Club as his pro shop manager, where he stayed for 20 years. His son Robert was a Philadelphia Section member for more than thirty years.
Samuel Dewey “Sam” Byrd
Major league outfielder
Won 6 PGA Tour titles
Sam Byrd was born in Bremen, Georgia in 1907 and grew up in Alabama. He started out as a professional baseball player and made it to the majors in 1929 as an outfielder for the New York Yankees. He was known as Babe Ruth's caddy since he often substituted for the great baseball player. Byrd earned that label because he was known for his golf prowess even then. When Ruth overindulged and did not feel well, Byrd got a chance to play. In 1935 the Yankees traded Ruth to Boston and Byrd to the Cincinnati Reds where he played two more seasons. With Cincinnati he played in the first major league game played at night. He played in 744 games, had 1700 official at bats, hit 38 home runs, drove in 220 runs and compiled a .274 batting average. After the Reds sold his contract to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937, Byrd decided to change careers and joined Ed Dudley‘s staff at the Philadelphia Country Club. He spent three years there as a playing assistant before moving over to the Merion Cricket Club as George Sayers' teaching and playing professional. While at Merion, Byrd's salary was paid by J. Howard Pew, a member of the club and the president of the Sun Oil Company. Byrd compiled a distinguished record in local, state and national competition during his seven years as a member of the Philadelphia Section. He won the Philadelphia Open in 1939. In 1942 he began to realize his playing potential picking up his first PGA Tour win at the Greensboro Open. That year he was the second low qualifier in the PGA Championship at Seaview Country Club, won the Pennsylvania Open by seven strokes and was runner-up in the Section Championship. He left the Section in 1944 to become the professional at the Plum Hollow Country Club in Detroit. That year he returned and posted another seven-stroke triumph in the First Annual War Bond Invitation Golf Tournament at the Torresdale-Frankford Country Club. In 1944 he also was the runner-up to Byron Nelson in the PGA Championship. He placed third in the 1941 Masters Tournament and fourth in the 1942 Masters. In one of those ironies of golf Lee Mackey, Jr., the first round leader in the U.S. Open at Merion in 1950 had grown up ten blocks from where Byrd lived in Birmingham, Alabama. Mackey’s 64 was the lowest round in the 50-year history of the Open. He said that he hadn't gotten anywhere until Byrd started helping him with his game. Byrd was also in the field at that Open. Later on Byrd owned a par-three-course and driving range in Alabama. Jimmy Ballard worked there 21 years for Byrd and learned Byrd’s techniques. Ballard went on be the instructor for many championship golfers. Byrd completed his career with six PGA titles and placed second fourteen times.
Bruce P. Coltart
Played in 18 major championships
Won 1937 Section Match Play title
Won 1944 Delaware Open
Finished in top 10 on PGA Tour 14 times
Bruce Coltart, who came from a long line of golf professionals, was born in London, England in 1909. His father Frank Harper Coltart was the golf professional at several clubs in England. Bruce’s grandfather James and his great grandfather Alexander were golf professionals in Scotland. Frank was born in Scotland in 1883. The Coltarts moved to the United States in 1921 when Frank became the professional at the Philadelphia Country Club. Late that year Frank was on the organizing committee that formed the Philadelphia Section PGA. Although he was almost 40 years old when he came to the Section he was able to finish second in the 1922 Philadelphia Open and he qualified for the PGA Championship three times. Frank’s brother, William Masted Coltart, also served as a head professional in the Philadelphia Section. The Andrew Coltart who played on the European PGA’s 1999 Ryder Cup team is a distant cousin. Bruce turned pro in 1929 and assisted his father at the Philadelphia Country Club. After that he was the head professional at the Woodcrest Country Club for six years. In 1940 he took over as the professional at the Seaview Country Club. In 1948 he shot a 59 on Seaview’s Bay Course. Except for the two years he served in the army during World War II Bruce stayed at Seaview for over thirty years. At Seaview he ran one of the most successful pro shops on the east coast. He sold so much merchandise that Seaview’s owners eventually required him to pay them rent for the privilege of being their professional. In 1945 Bruce was the Section’s first vice president. For almost twenty years Bruce was one of the elite tournament players in the Section. He qualified for 11 PGA Championships, 7 U.S. Opens and he played in the 1941 Masters Tournament. In 1937 Bruce won the Section match play championship, which was part of the Section Championship. That was the only year between 1932 and 1959 that the match play winner wasn’t considered the Section champion. That year he also finished second in the Philadelphia Open losing in an 18-hole playoff and in 1948 he finished second in the tournament again. Not long after being discharged from the army in 1944 Bruce won the Delaware Open against a strong field, which included several tour players. On three occasions Bruce finished fourth or better in PGA Tour events. He was third at the 1936 Wildwood Open along with finishing fourth in the 1944 Portland Open and the 1945 Inquirer Invitation. During the winter of 1944-45 Bruce played in thirteen tournaments on the PGA Tour and was among the top 20 money winners.
Edward Bishop “Ed” Dudley
President PGA of America 7 years
Philadelphia Section president 7 years
Ryder Cup Team 1929, 1933, 1937
Won 15 times on PGA Tour
Ed Dudley was born in Brunswick, Georgia in 1901. At age 17 he won the Brunswick city championship and the Southern Amateur. He turned pro two years later, working in Missouri and Oklahoma where he won the Oklahoma Open in 1926. In 1927 he won the Southern California PGA as the pro at a club in Los Angeles. That winter he played on the PGA Tour and after returning to his job in LA he soon resigned to play the tour full time. In 1929 Dudley came to the Philadelphia Section as the professional at the Concord Country Club. As a member of the Ryder Cup Team that year he had national playing credentials. After returning from the Ryder Cup matches in England Dudley lived up to his reputation by winning the Pennsylvania Open and the Philadelphia Open that summer. He continued to play at that same level through the 1930s, as he was a member of two more Ryder Cup teams in 1933 and 1937. In 1931, the year of the balloon ball, he won the Western Open, which was considered a major at the time, and the Los Angeles Open. He finished the year with the low scoring average on the PGA Tour. The “balloon ball” was a lighter golf ball that the USGA went to for one year in order to control the distance that the ball traveled. Dudley had 15 wins on the PGA Tour and finished second 11 times. Early in his career Dudley worked winters for Tommy Armour as his first assistant at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida when he wasn’t playing in tournaments. In 1933 he took a winter job as the first head professional at the Augusta National Golf Club. As a native of Georgia he was a golfing contemporary of Bobby Jones and he was Jones’ first choice to be the professional at Augusta National. In the first eight Masters Tournaments Dudley finished in the top ten each year, with a third place finish in 1937. While in the Section he won the Philadelphia Open four times and the Pennsylvania Open three times. He also won four consecutive Philadelphia Section professional championships that were played each year with a different format from the Section Championship. The last three were played at stroke play for the Public Ledger Cup, of which he took permanent possession. The only championship in Philadelphia that he didn’t win was the Section Championship. He came close in 1940 losing in the finals one-down. Sixteen times he qualified on site at the national PGA Championship for the match play. He reached the semifinals once and the quarterfinals five times. Dudley had finishes of fifth and sixth in the U.S. Open along with sixth and seventh in the British Open. He finished among the top ten in the major tournaments 19 times. In 1934 he left Concord to become the head professional at the Philadelphia Country Club. He held both of those positions, Philadelphia in the summer and Augusta during the winter, until 1941 when he left the Philadelphia Country Club for The Broadmoor in Colorado. When Augusta National closed in 1943 for World War II Dudley was named professional at the Atlantic City Country Club, where he stayed two years. When the war ended Dudley went back to being the professional at Augusta in the winter and the Broadmoor in the summer. After 27 winters at Augusta National, Dudley left for a winter job as the professional at the new Dorado Beach Golf Club while still holding his summer job at the Broadmoor. At Dorado Dudley gave Chi-Chi Rodriguez his start in golf as the caddy master first and then as his assistant. Dudley was elected ninth
president of the Philadelphia Section in 1935 and was reelected six more times. During that time he was the tournament chairman of the PGA of America for six years and a national vice president at large for five years. He hosted the U.S. Open at the Philadelphia Country Club in 1939. In late 1941 Dudley was elected president of the PGA of America and he also held that office for seven years. During World War II Dudley convinced the United States government to exempt the golf professionals from gas rationing because they needed to continue the golf tournaments for their livelihood. Along with that professional golf raised many dollars for wartime charities and it was also thought that the golf fans needed a diversion from the war. In 1943 the PGA Tour had only offered a few events because the sponsors of the tournaments couldn’t be sure if the touring pros could get to their cities. After Dudley got the government’s approval to keep tournament golf going the PGA Tour came back with almost a full schedule in 1944. For the same reason the local pros were able to keep their schedule going as well. Dudley remained a member of the Section until 1948 when he had to transfer to the Southeastern PGA Section. The PGA had made a rule that a professional had to be a member of the Section where he was employed. Dudley was probably the most multi talented and successful professional in the Section’s history. He was honorary captain of the Ryder Cup team in 1949, inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 1964 and selected as an original member of the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame in 1992.
John Frederick “Jack” Grout
Won Mid-South 4-Ball
Taught Jack Nicklaus
Jack Grout was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1910 and he began his professional career as an assistant pro at the Glen Garden Country Club in Ft. Worth, Texas where his brother Dick was the head professional. At that time Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson were starting their golf careers at Glen Garden as caddies. Grout came to the Philadelphia Section in 1937 as an assistant to Henry Picard at the Hershey Country Club. He was the head professional at the Irem Temple Country Club in 1940, Fox Hill Country Club in 1941and 1942 and the Country Club of Harrisburg from 1946 through 1949. Grout won the Mid-South Four-Ball with Picard in 1938. He played the winter PGA Tour for fifteen years and had one second place finish. Even though he didn’t win he had many high finishes and was in the money quite often. During his career Grout played in five U.S. Opens and 3 PGA Championships. In the three PGA Championships that he competed in, he defeated Jimmy Demaret, Johnny Palmer and the 1945 defending champion Bob Hamilton. Grout finished in the top ten on the PGA Tour 18 times. In 1950 he left the Section to become the professional at the Sciota Country Club in Ohio. At Sciota Grout became famous as the pro that taught Jack Nicklaus how to play. He began teaching Nicklaus at age 10 and was his only instructor for over 25 years.
Ernest Joe "Dutch" "E.J." Harrison
Won 18 times on PGA Tour
2nd 21 times on PGA Tour
His given name was Ernest J. but he was usually called Dutch or E.J. He was born in Conway, Arkansas in 1910. He was also known as “The Arkansas Traveler” because he held so many professional jobs. Harrison began playing golf left-handed and after two years he switched over to the right side. Two years later he won the Arkansas Amateur Championship and a year later he turned pro. Harrison was the professional at the West Shore Country Club in 1942 and 1943 before joining the United States Army. In 1947 he was the professional at the Country Club of York. As a Section member in 1947 he won three PGA Tour events including the Reading Open. That year he was also a member of the Ryder Cup Team and won the Delaware Open. Harrison won 18 times on the PGA Tour including a Western Open and a Canadian Open. Ten of his wins came while he was a Section member. In 1960 at the age of 50 he tied for third in the U.S. Open by finishing with a 70 and a 69 on Saturday. When Harrison turned 50 the PGA Senior Tour and the U.S. Senior Open were still 20 years away but he did win five U.S. National Senior Opens from 1961 to 1966. He was a member of three Ryder Cup teams, won the Vardon Trophy in 1954 and is in the PGA Hall of Fame.
Joe Kirkwood Jr.
Joseph Henry “Joe” Kirkwood, Jr.
Won on PGA Tour
Played Joe Palooka in movies
Joe Kirkwood, Jr. was born in Australia in 1922 and came to Philadelphia with his father as a baby. He worked for his father as an assistant at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club in 1940 and 41. In 1949 he returned to Philadelphia and won the Inquirer Invitation tournament at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. It was his first of three wins on the PGA Tour but his main occupation was in Hollywood. He made numerous movies, many of them staring as a fictitious boxer named Joe Palooka. His first movie called “Joe Palooka, Champ” came out in May of 1946. He played in three U.S. Opens, four PGA Championships and five Masters Tournaments.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
Joseph Henry “Joe” Kirkwood, Sr.
Trick Shot Artist
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. was born in Sydney, Australia in 1897. When he was ten years old he left his family home in Sydney for a 400-mile journey to a sheep station in the outback. He walked alone, without a compass, map, or watch, following rivers and railroad lines. Upon reaching the ranch where he had accepted a job as a drover, he found that the owner was a golf enthusiast. The ranch had a rudimentary three-hole course and Kirkwood learned to play there. He won his first tournament six years later and turned pro at age 19. During World War I he entertained Australia’s wounded veterans by hitting golf shots and found that they were even more impressed with the trick shots that he could pull off. He was just 23 when he won the Australian Open, the New Zealand Open and the New Zealand PGA Championship in 1920. The next year Kirkwood ventured out of the South Pacific for the first time. He landed on the west coast of the United States and played his way across the country. In April he played in the North and South Open, where he played with Walter Hagen for the first time. At the conclusion of one of the rounds during the tournament Kirkwood showed off his array of trick shots for the spectators and players. When he finished Jimmy Walker, the mayor of New York, passed a hat around to collect a little money for him. When Hagen saw how much money was collected he decided that Kirkwood was someone he should team up with. Kirkwood and Hagen struck up a friendship that would last as long as they lived. From there he traveled to Scotland for the British Open where he tied for sixth and then it was back to the states for the U.S. Open. In 1922 Kirkwood returned for the North and South Open, where he finished second. In 1923 he made what would be a permanent move to the United States and joined Cedarbrook Country Club in Philadelphia. Between 1923 and 1938 he represented clubs in several different cities but he always kept a home in the Philadelphia area and paid dues to the Philadelphia Section. Kirkwood was the first of the great trick-shot artists and maybe the greatest of all time. He was the professional at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club from 1938 through 1949. He was a great player but he found his trick shot show to be easier to pull off and more profitable. He traveled all over the world putting on his show with Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen. Kirkwood won the Philadelphia Open in 1924 and he was runner-up in 1947. He won three PGA Tour tournaments in a row in Texas in 1924 by a total of 28 strokes. At Corpus Christi he won by 16, which is still a record margin on the PGA Tour. In 1948 he and his son both finished in the top 30 and the money at the U.S. Open. In his career he won 13 times on the PGA Tour, which included victories in the Canadian Open and the North and South Open. In 1926 he was a member of an American team that opposed a British team in England. In honor of Kirkwood, the winner of the Australian PGA Championship receives the Kirkwood Cup each year.
Gene Laverne Kunes
Won 1935 Canadian Open
Won Philadelphia PGA
1934 & 1942
Won 1941 Pennsylvania Open
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1909 Gene Kunes caddied at the Kahkwa Country Club and then became a shop assistant. His first pro job was in Hartford where he won the Connecticut PGA Championship in 1931 and 1933. He came to Philadelphia in 1934 as Ed Dudley’s assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club. That winter he had been Dudley’s assistant at the Augusta National Golf Club. Kunes arrived after having one win and a second place finish on the PGA Tour the previous year. He was only there a few months when he replaced the late Frank Wood as the professional at the Jeffersonville Golf Club. In the early 1940s he was the professional at the Holmesburg Golf Club. He was a Section member for ten years. Kunes won the Pennsylvania Open, two Philadelphia PGA Championships, and had a second place finish in the Philadelphia Open during his ten years as a Section member. He won the 1934 Philadelphia PGA Championship, beating his assistant Bud Lewis in the finals. The next year he did not defend his title at the Section championship. Instead he entered and won the Canadian Open that was being played at the same time. He had a history of stomach ailments and wasn’t able to defend his Canadian Open title. From 1936 until the fall of 1939 he was too ill to even play golf but in November of 1939 he finished sixth in the Miami Open. In a total of seven stomach operations he had his gall bladder, appendix and spleen removed. In 1945 he finished tenth in the Chicago Victory Open and then he went back into the hospital where he stayed until the fall of 1946. In 1947 he returned from North Jersey for a day to win the Philadelphia Open. That year he also won the New Jersey Open and the Massachusetts Open. In his career on the PGA Tour he placed in the top ten 32 times. After having been a club professional for more than twenty years he went into the driving range business. At various times he owned driving ranges in Florida and Ohio.
William Lawson Little, Jr.
Won U.S. Amateur 1934 & 1935
Won British Amateur 1934 & 1935
Won 1940 U.S. Open
Lawson Little was born in 1910 at Newport, Rhode Island. The son of a military man, Little learned to play golf in various places. He played his first golf in Texas and then the Philippines where his father was stationed. Next it was on to what had to be one of the most improbable locations for a future champion to learn golf, China. When his family returned to the states they lived in Northern California where Little took up the game in earnest. He received instruction from several club professionals and he was greatly influenced by Tommy Armour who he studied while playing in the 1927 Oregon Open where they were both entered. He attended Stanford University for three years. In 1934 he won the U.S. Amateur and the British Amateur and the next year he won both of those tournaments again. Little left Stanford in the fall of 1935 and turned pro in order to capitalize on his fame. The next year he won the Canadian Open. He won the 1937 Shawnee Open, which was the 20th and last Shawnee Open. That year he also won the San Francisco Open Match Play, which solidified his reputation as the best match play golfer in the world at that time. He went on to win the 1940 U.S. Open in a playoff over Gene Sarazen. Little won a total of eight times on the PGA Tour, which was much less than had been expected of him. He seldom practiced and seemed to be more interested in the stock market than tournament golf. Little served in the navy during World War II and by the time the war ended he had lost something when it came to competitive golf. He probably had more to do with the `14-club limit that was established in 1938. Before that he would carry as many as 26 clubs in his bag, of which seven might be wedges. In 1946 and 1947 he was a member of the Philadelphia Section where he was an employee of the A.G. Spalding & Bros. golf equipment company, working out of Philadelphia. Little was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1980.
James Barnard “Jimmy” McHale, Jr.
Won 1948 Philadelphia Open
Walker Cup Team 1949 & 1951
Holds U.S. Open 9-hole record of 30
Jimmy McHale was born in Stockton, California in 1916. In 1940 he came to the Section as an assistant to Ed Dudley at the Philadelphia Country Club for two years. In 1942 he applied to the USGA for reinstatement as an amateur. For a decade after World War II he was one of the best amateurs in the country. McHale won the Philadelphia Open in 1948 and finished second in 1949. He was a member of the 1949 and 1951 Walker Cup Teams. McHale was a semi-finalist in the 1950 British Amateur and runner-up to Skee Riegel in the 1948 Western Amateur. In the 1947 U.S. Open he set scoring records of 30 for nine holes and 65 for eighteen holes. His nine-hole record lasted until 1960, when it was equaled. He possessed a classic golf swing. He was pictured in one of Henry Cotton’s golf books as the epitome of how to start the downswing. McHale was a member of several clubs in the Philadelphia area.
Harold Lee “Jug” McSpaden
Won 17 times on PGA Tour
Second on PGA Tour 32 times
McSpaden was born in Rosedale, Kansas in 1908 with the given name of Harold. Along with holding various jobs he played the PGA Tour for over 20 years. He became a member of the Philadelphia Section in 1942 when he became the professional at the Philadelphia Country Club for a three-year stint. Before arriving at the Country Club, McSpaden had won the New England PGA Championship three times and the Massachusetts Open three times. After winning two of the first four tournaments on the PGA winter tour in 1944 he was called back to Philadelphia by the draft board for a physical. After two days of examinations he was classified 4-F. In 1945 McSpaden left PCC to play the PGA Tour full time but he remained a Section member for one more year. At the same time he went to work for the Goodall Palm Beach Company, the manufacturers of Palm Beach slacks and sport coats for men. The company president, Elmer Ward, thought that McSpaden could help persuade the professionals at the wealthiest golf clubs in the country to purchase the Palm Beach clothing line for their golf shops. McSpaden became a vice president of the company and he had a degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He and Byron Nelson convinced the Field & Flint Company, madder of the Foot Joy shoe, that they could design a better golf shoe, which they did. For several years he and Nelson received 25¢ for every Foot Joy shoe that was sold. McSpaden shot a twelve under par 59 in a practice round at the Texas Open in 1939. In 1944 he won five times on the PGA Tour and Byron Nelson won 8 times. The next year Nelson won 18 tournaments and McSpaden finished second 13 times. During that time, 1944 and 1945, he finished second on the money list to Nelson each year and the press started referring to them as the “Golf Dust Twins”. In total McSpaden won 17 PGA Tour titles and finished second or third 54 times. In 1944 he finished in the top ten 31 times. His best finish in a major tournament was in 1937 when he lost to Denny Shute in the finals of the PGA Championship on the 37th hole. He played his way onto the Ryder Cup Team in 1939 but the matches were canceled because World War II was under way in Europe. Three more times, 1941, 1942 and 1943, McSpaden was picked for the Ryder Cup Team, which played exhibitions to raise money for wartime charities, but McSpaden never participated in a Ryder Cup match. He continued to play well into his 90s. Often he bettered his age at the PGA Seniors’ Championship.
William Earl “Wild Bill” Mehlhorn
RU 1925 PGA
Bill Mehlhorn was born in Texas in 1898 and was one of the leading players on the PGA Tour during the 1920s. He won 22 times on what was then a makeshift PGA Tour, but he never won a major championship. He did finish in the top ten at the major championships 14 times. Mehlhorn’s best showing in a major was in 1925 when he lost to Walter Hagen in the finals of the PGA Championship. His most important victory came in 1924 when he won the Western Open, which some consider to have been a major at that time. In 1927 he was a member of the first Ryder Cup Team and he was a member of a pre-Ryder Cup team that lost to a British team in 1926. In the 1926 match Mehlhorn was the only American to win a match. Ben Hogan proclaimed Mehlhorn to be one of the great ball strikers of that time but weak putting kept him from being a great player. He came to the Philadelphia Section in 1947 as the professional at the newly opened Brandywine Country Club and was there for two years. In his retirement years he worked in Miami as an assistant to Bob Shave, Jr., who was coaching the International University golf team.
Henry B. Ransom
Ryder Cup Team 1951
Won 5 PGA Tour titles
Born in Houston, Texas in 1911 Ransom was only in the Philadelphia Section for one year. He was the professional at the North Hills Country Club in 1942. Ransom finished second in the Pennsylvania Open that year. In 1943 he left North Hills to join the United States navy. He won five times on the PGA Tour and was a member of the 1951 Ryder Cup team.
Charles W. “Charlie” Schneider, Sr.
Won Section Championship
1933, 1937, 1939, 1947
Charlie Schneider was born in 1900 and got his start in golf as a caddy at the old Huntingdon Valley Country Club in Rydal. At one time he worked as a telegrapher. Schneider was the head professional at five clubs in the Philadelphia Section between the early 20s and the mid 60s. His first head position was at the Rydal Country Club. From there he moved to the Pennsylvania Golf Club and then the Melrose Country Club. In 1934 Schneider beat out more than 200 applicants for the professional position at the Concord Country Club. In 1943 he went to the Lu Lu Country Club where he stayed over 20 years. The rest of his career he and his three sons Charles, Jr., George and Herman, who were all golf professionals, owned a public course, the Neshaminy Valley Golf Club. Schneider won the Section championship four times and was runner-up in the Pennsylvania Open once. He played in ten PGA Championships and two U.S. Opens. In 1930 Schneider was the secretary and treasurer of the Section and seven other years, between 1935 and 1948, he was either first or second vice president.
Won 1939 Hershey Open
Won Pennsylvania Open
1931 & 1936
Felix Serafin was born at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1905 and got into golf as a caddy at the Wyoming Valley Country Club. His first golf club was the brake lever from a railroad car, which he used to slam old golf balls around. In 1921 he became the assistant at Wyoming Valley at the age of 16. He was the head professional at the Country Club of Scranton from 1929 through 1942 and after that he moved to the Fox Hill Country Club where he served as the professional for 25 years until his death in 1966. Serafin won the Pennsylvania Open in 1931 and 1936 and finished second in 1933. It was a real accomplishment to win the Pennsylvania Open during that time period as it was open to all comers and was won at various times by some of the biggest names in golf. Serafin’s finest achievement was winning the 1939 Hershey Open when he outscored most of the leading professionals in the country including Ben Hogan and Jimmy Hines who tied for second. He also had a second place finish in the Hershey Open and the North and South Open in 1935. Both of these tournaments were part of the informal PGA Tour. The North and South Open was considered a major event for many years. In the first round of the 1938 Masters Tournament Serafin was five under par on the back nine when the round was canceled due to rain. He still played well finishing if a tie for sixth, six strokes out of first place. He played in 11 U.S. Opens, 8 Masters Tournaments and 6 PGA Championships. In 1933 Serafin finished second in the Philadelphia Open and he was runner-up in the 1949 Philadelphia Section championship. Serafin finished in the top ten on the PGA Tour 30 times. His son John won the Section championship twice.
Samuel Jackson “Sam” Snead
Won 7 major championships
Won 81 PGA Tour events in total
Played on 8 Ryder Cup Teams
PGA Senior Champion 6 times
Sam Snead was born in Hot Springs, Virginia in 1912. He learned to play golf as a caddy at the Homestead Hotel golf courses in Hot Springs. Snead was a member of the Philadelphia Section from 1940 through 1944 as the touring pro from Shawnee Country Club, Shawnee-on-Delaware. He served two years in the navy, reporting for duty the day after winning the PGA Championship at the Seaview Country Club in early June of 1942. During his long career he won 81 times on the PGA Tour and on 63 other occasions he finished second. Snead won the PGA Championship, the Masters Tournament and the Canadian Open three times each and he won the British Open the only time he entered it. He was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour three times. He played on eight Ryder Cup teams and he captained the Ryder Cup team three times. Snead won the PGA Seniors’ Championship six times. In 1953 he was voted into the PGA Hall of Fame. Snead and all of the other members of the PGA Hall of Fame were made members of the World Golf Hall of Fame when it opened in 1998.
Joseph “Joe” Zarhardt
1938 Section Champion
Won 1944 Philadelphia Open
Joe Zarhardt was born in New Jersey in 1905. He was the professional at the Burlington Country Club from 1934 through 1937 and Jeffersonville Golf Club from 1940 through 1945 except for 1943. In 1943 he was in the United States army and received a special discharge at the end of the year for his age. Zarhardt won the Section Championship in 1938. In 1944 he was runner-up in the Section championship and he won the Philadelphia Open. While he was in the Section he qualified for three PGA Championships and two U.S. Opens. In 1957 he returned to the Section to win the Atlantic City Senior Open and the next year he finished second in the tournament losing in a playoff. Zarhardt played in 12 PGA Seniors’ Championships and had a third place finish in 1956.