A Chronicle of the Philadelphia Section PGA and Golf in the Philadelphia Area
by Peter C. Trenham
The Leaders & The Legends - 1970 to 1979
John “Jack” Cuttle
Pocono Manor pro
Jack Cuttle was born on Long Island, New York in 1899. He grew up there caddying at the Cherry Valley Country Club and then he worked as a bookkeeper at the club. In 1921 he turned pro and went to work for the Cherry Valley professional, Frank McNamara. On May 1, 1925 he became the head professional at the Pocono Manor Inn & Country Club. He stayed at Pocono Manor until the end of the golf season in 1974, fifty years after taking the job. He must hold the record for the most years in the Section as the head professional at the same club. For most of his career he worked in Florida in the winters and at Pocono Manor in the summer.
Leo F. Fraser
Section President six years
1957 to 1962
1969 & 1970
Leo Fraser was born in the Queens section of New York City in 1910. His father James was a golf professional who had immigrated to the United States from Aberdeen, Scotland. In 1916 the family moved to New Jersey from New York when James, became the professional at the Seaview Country Club. That year James Fraser won the Philadelphia Open. The family lived next to the first hole of what was later called Seaview Country Club’s Bay Course. There Leo learned the game and met some of the world’s greatest golfers. In 1920 he caddied for his father in an exhibition at the Hill School’s course in Pottstown where James and Walter Hagen defeated Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. James Fraser had designed the course, which was later part of the Brookside Country Club, and the exhibition celebrated the opening of the course. In early 1923 James Fraser died in an automobile accident at the shore with a trolley that jumped the tracks. Three years later Fraser went to Michigan to visit an aunt and at the age of 16 became the professional at a public golf course. He returned to Seaview as the head professional in 1935 and stayed there four years before moving to Maryland. Fraser entered the army in 1942 as a private and served in a combat infantry unit in Europe, rising to the rank of major through battlefield promotions. He was decorated with the Bronze Star and five battle stars while also seeing action in North Africa. Fraser came home from the war in 1945 to find that his brother Sonny and some associates, who had bought the Atlantic City Country Club in 1943, were looking for a buyer. With the help of loans from friends Leo purchased the club and managed it successfully until his death in 1986. Fraser qualified for the PGA Championship in 1938 and 1947 and then made it through the on site qualifying for the match play on both occasions. He also played in the U.S. Open in 1932 and 1939, making the cut in 1932. In the fall of 1953 Fraser was elected second vice president of the Philadelphia Section and the next two years he served as the first vice president. In 1955 he chaired the national PGA meeting and hosted it in Atlantic City. Fraser was elected Section president six times, 1957 through 1962 making him the 14th president of the Philadelphia Section. After having been the Philadelphia Section’s delegate to
the national meeting for eight years Fraser was elected treasurer of the PGA of America in late 1964. He served the PGA as secretary for three years and then he was elected president for two terms, 1969 and 1970. Fraser was an innovator when it came to golf and he was responsible for many ideas that the PGA later adopted. In 1936 he wrote to the PGA stating that the professionals should have a home course. He pointed out that there were golf courses in Florida that could be purchased for almost nothing. In 1948 Fraser hosted the third U.S. Women’s Open Championship, five years before the USGA recognized the women professionals by taking the tournament over. He hosted the Women’s Open again in 1965 and 1975. In 1954 Fraser convinced the Section officers that they should institute a caddie scholarship fund, which he chaired. A few golf associations had scholarship funds but Philadelphia was the only PGA Section with one. By 1959 the Section was aiding five former caddies with scholarships. In the 1960s the Golf Association of Philadelphia joined up with the Section to co-sponsor the fund and in later years the GAP took it over completely. In 1958 he put together a spring golf show that was still an important feature of the Section’s schedule twenty years later. Fraser sponsored and hosted a senior open at Atlantic City C.C. for two years, 1957 and 1958, and the first tournament of what became the highly successful PGA Senior Tour was played at ACCC in 1980. In the late 1950s Fraser put together a group health insurance plan for the members of the Philadelphia PGA. The plan also offered a term life insurance option. While Fraser was a national officer he created the PGA Club Professional Championship, which gave the club professionals a more equitable method of qualifying for the PGA Championship and their own national championship. Another of his innovations as president of the PGA was to create a new PGA classification of Master Professional. To attain that classification a PGA member would have to complete certain education programs and write a thesis related to the golf business. When Fraser took office as president of the PGA of America the PGA Tour and the PGA were in the midst of a breakup. Both the PGA and the PGA Tour were setting up tournament schedules for 1969 until Fraser made peace with the tournament players. The “Tournament Players Division of the PGA” was formed and Joe Dey was hired as the commissioner. Also as national president he was responsible for setting up the PGA Credit Union for the professionals. In 1955 Fraser hosted the British Ryder Cup team for practice rounds at his Atlantic City Country Club before they traveled on to California for the matches. He hosted the Section Championship three times and the Section’s annual meeting for 17 years. After Fraser stepped down as president of the PGA he formed a consulting company. He was a licensed pilot and owned a single engine airplane that he used for short trips of 600 to 800 miles. Fraser was the Philadelphia Section’s “Professional of the Year” in 1957 and an original inductee into the Section’s Hall of Fame in 1992.
Frank James “Buzz” Garvin
1975, 1976 & 1977
Buzz Garvin was born at Garden City, Long Island, New York in 1938 and grew up in Colorado. He learned to play golf as a caddy at the Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver. Garvin attended the University of Colorado where he played on the basketball team. In 1959 Garvin turned pro joining the PGA Tour with an “Approved Players Card”. For four years he was on and off the tour and in 1962 he played in the U.S. Open at Oakmont. He was working for Sam Snead and Gary Nixon at Boca Raton in late 1962 when Nixon was hired as the professional at the Philmont Country Club. In the spring of that next year Garvin came to the Philadelphia Section as Nixon’s playing and teaching assistant at Philmont. Three years later when Nixon left Philmont Garvin took over the head professional position. As a player in the Section he qualified for the PGA Championship twice and finished second in the Philadelphia Open two straight years. In 1967 Garvin was a member of the first Schmidt Challenge Cup team. Late in 1971 he became involved in PGA politics when he was elected second vice president of the Section. Garvin hosted the Section Championship in 1974. He served as the second vice president for three years and in late 1974 Garvin became the 21st president of the Philadelphia PGA. He was reelected twice holding the office from 1975 through 1977. As the Section president he created the Booster Pro-Am, which was used to thank the Section’s tournament sponsors and was instrumental in creating new ones. Also he formed an advisory committee composed of some of the region’s leading amateurs. Garvin was a delegate to the national PGA meeting three times. In 1977 he was the Section’s “Professional of the Year”. He left Philmont in 1984 to be the professional at the Overbrook Golf Club where he stayed four years before taking a head professional position at a new club in Florida.
1973 & 1974
Henry J. McQuiston Jr.
Henry McQuiston was born in Philadelphia in 1932 and grew up next to the Chester Valley Golf Club where his family lived. He and his two brothers played golf at Chester Valley and worked for the pro-green superintendent Dick Murphy. McQuiston graduated from West Chester State Teachers College in 1954 and then served two years in the United States Army. After being discharged from the army he went to work as a schoolteacher. In 1958 he turned pro and worked at Chester Valley while playing some tournaments on the PGA Tour during the summer months and still teaching school the rest of the year. In 1960 he took the job as the assistant at the Bala Golf Club and two years later he became the head professional. In 1968 McQuiston finished in a tie for second in the Section Championship losing in a three-way playoff and in 1971 he was second in the Philadelphia Open losing a playoff. He qualified for the 1962 PGA Championship, the 1963 U.S. Open and the 1984 PGA Senior Championship. McQuiston qualified for the PGA Tour tournament at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club ten times and made the cut three times. McQuiston was a member of eleven Challenge Cup teams that competed against the Middle Atlantic Section. He qualified for the Club Professional Championship four times and the Senior Club Pro Championship once. In 1970 McQuiston and several other Section members built the Avalon Golf Club and operated it until they sold out in 1986. He was elected as the 20th president of the Section in 1973 and 1974 after having served as the second vice president for two years. McQuiston was the head pro at Bala for thirty-seven years after which he continued on as the pro emeritus at the club. In 2004 McQuiston’s name was added to the Section’s Senior-Pro-Junior-Pro Championship, which had been held at the Bala Golf Club for over 20 years. He was the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” in 1997. In 2005 he was inducted into the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.
Hosted “Blinded Golfers”
Built a driving range
Built a golf course
Guided young professionals
Tanino A. “Tiny” Pedone
Pedone was born in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1926 with the given name of Tanino meaning Little Thomas in Italian, hence the nickname Tiny. He was a caddy, shop boy, driving range operator and assistant pro in North Jersey before coming to the Philadelphia Section as the professional at the Overbrook Golf Club in late 1955. He left there in 1961 and became the director of golf at the new Kimberton Golf Club. While he was there he built and owned the Kimber View Driving Range. In 1963 Pedone joined up with a heavy construction contractor named Nazz Mariani to form the Edgmont Golf Club where he designed and built the golf course. Pedone found a home there as the director of golf and part owner. His main interest in golf was the blinded golfers organization. Pedone spent many hours coaching, promoting and playing in their events. Once he owned his own course that gave him a place to host their events and he hosted their national championship in 1966. He served as the president of the Blind Golfers Association. While Pedone was at Overbrook he gave Andy Thompson, who later won the Philadelphia Section Championship and the Pennsylvania Open, his first golf lessons. Pedone liked to give young golf pros a start. Jerry Pisano and Tim DeBaufre were on his staff at Overbrook and at Edgmont he gave John Kennedy, who later played on the PGA Tour, his start. Pedone’s greatest success was Ed Dougherty, a Vietnam veteran who had played little golf. Dougherty showed up at Edgmont in the early 70s and Pedone took him under his wing, teaching him the fundamentals of the golf swing. Dougherty went on to win three Philadelphia Section Championships, a Philadelphia Open, a tournament on the PGA Tour and one on the Senior PGA Tour. He was always first in line to offer his golf course for Section events. In 1967 Pedone was selected as the Philadelphia Section “Professional of the Year” for his work with the blind golfers.
Designer & Proprietor
Ted Smith Putter Company
Theodore P. “Ted” Smith
Ted Smith was born in Philadelphia 1906, the son of immigrant parents who had come to the United States from Hungary and Americanized their name to Smith. His family moved to Chicago and at the age of 12 he requested clubs for Christmas because he had seen a picture of John D. Rockefeller playing golf. He began to play golf, caddy and hang around the golf shop at a public course. He asked the pro so many questions about how to make clubs he was nicknamed “questionnaire”. At the age of 18 he went to work at the Seaview Golf Club as an apprentice club maker under professionals Jack Croke and Jack Schmidt. After stints working as a club maker and professional in Illinois and California he became a salesman for the MacGregor Golf Company, which was based in Dayton, Ohio. Ted covered the states east of the Mississippi River calling on the golf pros and Toney Penna covered everything west of the Mississippi. Ted and Toney Penna soon convinced the managers of the MacGregor Company that they could make better clubs than what they were being given to sell. Ted and Toney moved into the
MacGregor factory where Smith designed the irons and putters while Penna created the woods. The company began turning out the finest golf equipment in the United States and most of the top players like Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret and Tommy Armour joined the MacGregor staff. Smith designed the Tommy Armour Silver Scot irons and putters, which became the “state of the art for golf clubs”. They were collector’s items 60 years later (as were Penna’s wood clubs). Smith was made superintendent of the MacGregor factory and Penna played the PGA Tour, returning on occasion to design a new driver. When World War II broke out the MacGregor factory was taken over by the government to manufacture things for the defense of the country. Smith made dummies used in testing experimental ejection seats for fighter planes. The government became aware of Smith’s talents and sent him to Camden, New Jersey to work on the navy supply ships. Smith created a new type of propeller for the ships that made them more efficient thus transporting the supplies to Europe more quickly. The navy then asked him to find a way to protect navy pilots who had been shot down. He helped design a jacket that contained foil, which made it more difficult for the Japanese to locate them on their radar, which was inferior to the United States Navy’s radar. This gave our Navy more time to rescue them. After the war Smith decided to stay in the Philadelphia area and opened the Ted Smith Golf Club Company at 8515 West Chester Pike in Upper Darby. He worked out of the basement of his home making the Ted Smith putters. His shop wasn’t set up for visiting customers. One had to enter from the outside through ground level pull up doors and then descend a steep set of concrete steps. Without any employees except two high school boys who worked on Saturdays he turned out about 2,000 putters a year, half wooden shafted and half steel. Eventually he had 30 different models for sale, which he designed himself. Just one year after Smith started his business Lew Worsham used one of Smith’s hickory shafted mallet head putters to hole the winning putt at the 1947 U.S. Open. When Smith opened his business in 1946 (right after the war) there was a pent up demand for domestic goods like automobiles, which used steel. The big golf companies were buying all of the steel shaves that were available so Smith put hickory shaves in his putters. As it turned out the hickory shafted putters were very popular even though they were more expensive due to it taking longer to make one. It took him about two hours to make a wooden shafted putter and half as long to make one with a steel shaft. Smith said that he thought the hickory-shafted putters sold better because they had a feel that the golfers liked. Each winter Smith and his wife would drive south selling the putters along the way until they reached South Florida. They would winter in Key West and a few months later they would head north selling the rest of the putters and taking orders for the new golf season. In one of those ironies of life the Japanese people who Ted had helped to defeat in World War II
became his biggest and best customers. With the World Amateur Team Championship being played at Merion Golf Club in 1960 Ted put 50 of his hickory-shafted putters in Fred Austin’s golf shop on consignment. Each member of the Japanese team bought one of his putters. One member of the Japanese team who was affiliated with an import/export firm in Japan began importing Smith’s putters. By 1971 sixty percent of his putter sales were in Japan and he could have sold his total output there. With each order came a letter of credit and three days after the putters were shipped, Smith was paid by a local bank. Smith had never advertised and now he wasn’t even making his occasional calls on the local pros. He said that the only reason that he continued to sell putters in the United States was to let the people know that he was still making putters in case his business cooled off in Japan. For over thirty years every Philadelphia pro shop stocked at least a few Ted Smith putters and each year most of them sold. When Smith sold his company in the late 1970s it was one more exodus from the golf business of a dying breed, the skilled craftsman who turned out hand made golf clubs.
Philadelphia Section president 1970
Chairman PGA Golf Show 10+ years
Chairman Phila. Section golf show 5 years
President national PGA Seniors 2 years
John P. “Johnny” Vasco
Johnny Vasco was born in 1909 in Westchester County, New York. He grew up on the estate of John D. Rockefeller where his father took care of the greenhouses. He was introduced to golf as a caddy at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club when he was eleven. He worked as an assistant and learned the art of club making under Cuthbert Butchart at the Westchester Country Club. The Butchart-Nicholls golf clubs were sold all over the world. Vasco was the golf coach at the United States Military Academy at West Point for two years. He came to the Philadelphia Section in 1952 as the professional at the Lehigh Country Club where he stayed for over 20 years. Vasco served on the Section’s Board of Control, and the tournament committee. He was president of the Section’s seniors’ organization, chairman of the Section’s annual golf show for five years and he was elected as the 18th president of the Section in 1970. In 1968 he was the Section’s “Professional of the Year”. He was a delegate to the national PGA meeting one year and an alternate delegate eight years. On the national level he was chairman of the PGA’s highly profitable merchandise show for more than ten years and president of the national PGA Seniors association in 1969 and 1970. He served on the membership committee, education committee and the winter activities committee. As a player he qualified for the U.S. Open in 1954.
Joseph F. “Joe” Data
Section Champion 1973
Won Philadelphia Open 1974
Joe Data was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1945 and grew up in Deepwater, New Jersey. He graduated from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. After college he taught math in South Jersey where he won the South Jersey Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 1969. Late that year he turned pro and went to work for John Long as his assistant at the Louviers Country Club. After that he worked for Jack Grout in Miami and returned to the Section in 1972 as an assistant to Loma Frakes at the Philadelphia Country Club. Data won the 1973 Section Championship in his first year of eligibility and the next year he won the Philadelphia Open in a playoff. In January of 1973 Data won the PGA Match Play tournament during the winter program at Port St. Lucie, Florida. He left the golf business for several years to sell insurance but he returned as the teaching pro at the Edgmont Golf Club and later he was the part owner of the Golf Zone Driving Range. Data played in one PGA Championship, a PGA Seniors’ Championship, a U.S. Senior Open, two PGA Club Professional Championships and a PGA Senior Club Professional Championship. In 1998 he was the Section’s Senior “Player of the Year.
Martin A. “Marty” Furgol
Section Champion 1970
Ryder Cup Team 1955
Won 5 PGA Tour Events
Marty Furgol was born in New York Mills, New York State in 1916. He grew up caddying and playing at the Twin Ponds Golf Club in New York Mills. That course produced a number of outstanding tournament players such as Ed Furgol, no relation to Marty, and Matt Kowal. He turned pro in 1937 but World War II came along and he spent five years in the army as an artillery sergeant. Furgol joined the PGA Tour in 1947 and his first victory came at the Houston Open in 1951. That year he also won the Western Open. In 1954 he was the third leading money winner on the tour and the next year he made the 1955 Ryder Cup team. Furgol won a total of five events on the PGA Tour during his career and finished second six times. In fifteen-plus years on the PGA Tour he finished 10th or better in 107 tournaments. He came to the Philadelphia Section in 1968 as the teaching pro for Ronnie Ward at the Wildwood Golf & Country Club. After that he was affiliated with the Ramblewood Country Club as their teaching pro. He won the Philadelphia Section Championship in 1970. Furgol finished in a second place tie at the 1971 U.S. National Senior Championship, which was held for several years before there was a PGA Senior Tour or a USGA Senior Championship. He also had several high finishes in the PGA Seniors’ Championship with a tie for fifth in 1972 being his best. In the 1980s when the PGA Senior Tour came along he played with some success but it was too late for him as he was now in his 60s.
Hubert Myatt “Hubie” Green, II
Won 1977 U.S. Open
Won 1985 PGA Championship
Won 17 other PGA Tour events
Hubert Green was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1946. The son of a doctor he began playing golf at the Birmingham Country Club at age 5. He was exposed to two classic golf swings in Sam Byrd and Jon Gustin who were Birmingham professionals but it seemed to have little impact on Green, as he was quite unorthodox in all phases of the game. Green graduated from Florida State University where he played on the golf team for four years and roomed with Andy Thompson. While he was at Florida State he won the Southern Amateur twice and finished fourth in the U.S. Amateur. He was selected for the 1969 Walker Cup Team but declined the invitation in order to turn pro and play in the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School where he failed to earn his tour card. In order to hone his game for another shot at the qualifying school he joined Bill Kittleman’s staff at the Merion Golf Cub that spring as an assistant pro. In one of the many ironies of golf Green joined the staff at the Merion Golf just 30 years after Sam Byrd had gone to work as an assistant at Merion in 1940. Green finished third in the Pennsylvania Open that year while biding his time at Merion. When the Q-School dates came around that fall he was ready as he tied for fifth to earn his card. It didn’t take long for him to pick up his first tour victory winning the Houston Open in May of that 1971 and he went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors. In 1976 he won three straight tournaments on the tour. Green won the 1977 U.S. Open and the PGA Championship in 1985. He went on to win 19 times on the tour, one of them being the 1974 IVB Classic in Philadelphia, and he was a member of three Ryder Cup Teams. When he turned 50 he joined the PGA Senior Tour and went on to another successful career in tournament golf where he won 4 more times. Green was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.
Leo C. “Jack” Kiefer
Won 1971 Pennsylvania Open
Won New Jersey Open 3 times
Two wins on PGA Senior Tour
Jack Kiefer was born January 1st, 1940 in Columbia, Pennsylvania. In 1991 he graduated from Millersville State College and signed a baseball contract with the Detroit Tigers as a knuckleball pitcher. Kiefer only stayed with the Tigers for a few days. Back home in Lancaster County he began to concentrate on golf. Kiefer turned pro in 1966 and went to work for Howard Kramer at the Host Farm Golf Club. The next year he was a member of George Griffin, Jr.’s staff at the Green Valley Country Club. For the next three years he played on the PGA Tour with limited success. In 1970 he came home from the tour to win the four-day Prior Golf Festival, which offered the largest purse on the Section’s schedule. Kiefer won the Pennsylvania Open in 1971 while working at the Meadia Heights Golf Club as a teaching pro. For the next three years he ran the Airport Driving Range before moving to North Jersey where he would go on to win three New Jersey Opens. In 1990 he earned full playing privileges on the PGA Senior Tour by finishing second at the qualifying school. This time his game was ready for golf’s major leagues. Kiefer played eight years on the PGA Senior Tour, winning twice. His best years on the tour were 1996 and 1997 when he finished 17th and 16th on the money list. He set a Senior Tour record in 1994 by playing 97 consecutive holes without making a bogey.
Theodore Richard “Ted” McKenzie
Section champion 1979
Won 1971 Philadelphia Open
Section president 1986 & 1987
Ted McKenzie was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in 1939. He learned to play golf at the Waynesboro Country Club where his father Paul was the pro and green superintendent. It seemed like everyone in his family was in the golf business. His uncle, Arthur Edgar was the pro at the Chambersburg Country Club and his cousin Jim Edgar was the pro at two clubs in the Section. Ted’s godfather Dick Sleichter won the Section Championship while serving as the professional at the Gettysburg Country Club. Ted’s brother Mike became a green superintendent and his other brother David was the professional at the Old York Road Country Club for over 25 years. One of his sons, David, worked as an assistant in the Section and his daughter Carolyn won a Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Girl’s Championship and two WGAP championships before becoming a head professional in Florida. Ted won the Pennsylvania State High School Championship in 1957 and went to Duke University where he graduated in 1962. He turned pro in 1961 and in 1962 he returned to the Philadelphia Section as an assistant at the Aronimink Golf Club. After five years at Aronimink he became the head professional at the one-year-old Waynesborough Country Club where he stayed for 23 years. After leaving Waynesborough he was instrumental in locating a piece of ground and putting together a group of founding members to form a new golf club called Stonewall where he served as the professional. For over 20 years McKenzie was one of the leading players in the Section. He had two major wins in the Section, the 1971 Philadelphia Open and the 1979 Philadelphia PGA Championship. In 1975 he was the Section’s “Player of the Year” and he also won the DeBaufre Trophy for the lowest scoring average. During his career he qualified for two U.S. Opens, seven PGA Club Professional Championships and a PGA Senior Club Professional Championship. In the first thirteen years of the Challenge Cup Matches against the Middle Atlantic Section McKenzie qualified for the team eleven times and he earned a berth on the team a total of twelve times. He finished second in three Philadelphia Opens, one Section Championship and a Pennsylvania Open. McKenzie was the Section’s tournament chairman and first vice president in 1984 and 1985 and the Section president for the next two years. He was the Section’s 26th president. In 1980 he hosted the Section Championship at Waynesborough Country Club. Three times he was a delegate to the national PGA meeting. In 1984 he was honored as the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” and in 2006 he was inducted into the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.
Tony Perla, Jr.
Won Pennsylvania Open
1969 & 1973
Born in Moorestown, New Jersey in 1943 Perla grew up in South Jersey and attended the University of Georgia. He began his professional career as an assistant at the Concord Country Club in 1966. He was one of Loma Frakes’ playing and teaching professionals at the Philadelphia Country Club for four years and he spent a year as the teaching pro for Bill Kittleman at the Merion Golf Club before becoming the head professional at the Sunnybrook Golf Club in 1972. One of the longest drivers in the Section he won two Pennsylvania Opens on two of the most difficult courses in the state, Philadelphia Cricket Club and Oakmont Country Club, before the age of 30. In 1977 he left the Section for a head professional position in North Jersey. Perla later returned to the Section as the teaching pro at the Hi-Point Golf Club and Merion Golf Club. He then became the head professional at the Edgmont Golf Club. When he turned 50 he turned his attention to the senior tour tournaments winning many checks. Perla was a two-time Senior Player of the Year in the Section and he qualified for two PGA Senior Club Professional Championships. In his mid-fifties he gave up the senior tours for the head pro position at the new Bellwood Golf Club. For thirty years Perla was one of the best strikers of the ball in the Section and a player with all the shots but he never quite cracked the upper echelons of the PGA Tours.
Edmund A. “Andy” Thompson
Won 1972 Pennsylvania Open
Section champion 1976
Andy Thompson was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1949 and learned to play golf at the Overbrook Golf Club where his parents were members. As a junior he received his first golf instruction from Tiny Pedone. He went on to win the Pennsylvania Junior Championship, the Pennsylvania Junior Chamber of Commerce Junior Championship and the Philadelphia Junior Championship. He received a golf scholarship to Florida State University where he roomed with Hubert Green. He turned pro in 1971 and worked at the Spring-Ford Country Club two years winning the Pennsylvania Open in 1972. That fall he missed getting his tour card at the qualifying school by one stroke. The next year as the assistant at the Radnor Valley Country Club he finished second in the 1973 Philadelphia Open. Thompson then embarked on the PGA Tour and for four years he was on and off the tour. In 1976 he won the Philadelphia Section Championship and finished second at the Pennsylvania Open in a tie with his brother Ray. Ray won the Philadelphia Amateur at age 20, worked in the Section as an assistant for three years, qualified for two U.S. Opens and played the PGA Tour for a year. In 1974 Andy played in the IVB Classic and announced that he was finished with professional golf. Even though he was exempt for the PGA Championship as the Section champion he withdrew and left the professional game. He was reinstated as an amateur and later won the Philadelphia Amateur at the age of 49.
Arthur Jonathan “Art” Wall, Jr.
Won 1959 Masters Tournament
Won 12 PGA Tour events
Member of 3 Ryder Cup Teams
Section champion 5 times
Art Wall was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania in 1923 and learned to play golf at the Honesdale Golf Club. Art and his brother Dewey got there start in golf by caddying for their father at Honesdale. When their golf games began to show promise, their father a Pennsylvania State Representative, bought a membership at the Country Club of Scranton so they could hone their skills on a more difficult course. After high school Art and his brother entered the service and served during World War II, where Dewey, who was said to be as good at golf as Art, was killed in action. After the war ended Art enrolled at Duke University where he played on the golf team and roomed with Mike Souchak, graduating in 1949, at the age of 26. Wall won the Pennsylvania Amateur twice in the late 40s. After college he turned pro and worked as an assistant on Long Island for two summers, while testing his game on the PGA winter tour. In late 1951 he joined the PGA Tour full time and picked up his first win at the Ft. Wayne Open in 1953. The next year Wall won the Tournament of Champions and he went on to win twelve more PGA Tour events. Along with his victories on the PGA Tour, Wall won ten times on the Caribbean Tour. His last win came at the 1975 Milwaukee Open at the age of 51, which made him the second oldest to win on the PGA Tour. His best year was 1959 when he won the Masters Tournament along with three other tournaments. That year he was the PGA “Player of the Year”, won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average, led the PGA Tour in money winnings and earned a spot on the Ryder Cup Team. The next year Wall won the Canadian Open. He played on three Ryder Cup teams and served on the PGA Tour’s four-man Policy Board three years. In spite of the longevity of his career it was marred by back ailments and other illnesses. Three times he qualified for the U.S. Open and didn’t tee off in the
tournament. Three other times he was invited to the Masters and wasn’t able to play, one of those being 1960 when was the defending champion. He tied for second at the 1974 PGA Seniors’ Championship in his first year of eligibility and went on to several more high finishes in the tournament. He won the Philadelphia Section PGA Championship five times. In 1978 he won the U.S. National Senior Open by four-strokes with a 72-hole score of 18-under par. That National Senior Open was two years before there was a PGA Senior Tour or a USGA Senior Open. Some credit for the creation of the PGA Senior Tour should go to Wall. In April 1979 he was teamed up with Tommy Bolt at the Legends of Golf Tournament in Texas. At the end of regulation play they were tied with Julius Boros and Roberto De Vicenzo. In the sudden death playoff four holes were halved with birdies before the Boros-De Vicenzo team won with a birdie on the sixth extra hole. NBC-TV stayed with the telecast, which knocked out their Sports World and Nightly News shows. The TV ratings were so good that the PGA Tour decided that a PGA Senior Tour could be of interest to the golfing public. The next year Wall and Bolt won the Legends of Golf Tournament, which was one of two senior events that the PGA ran that year. In 1981 the PGA Tour had five senior tournaments and the schedule continued to grow. During his career Wall made so many hole-in-ones that it reached the point where he refused to divulge the total. For most of his career he represented the Pocono Manor Resort where his son Greg was later the professional for many years. He played in 31 Masters Tournaments, 15 U.S. Opens and 12 PGA Championships. Wall was inducted into the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame in 2009.
Albert Winsborough “Bert” Yancey
Won 1963 Pennsylvania Open
Seven wins on PGA Tour
Bert Yancey was born in Chipley, Florida in 1938 and he grew up in nearby Tallahassee where his father was the city manager. As a young boy Bert and his brothers learned to play golf at the Tallahassee Golf Club, which was owned by the city and the only golf course in town. From the age of ten he was always one of the best golfers in the south in his age group. After one year of college at Florida State University he entered the United States Military Academy. At the Point he was always near the head of his class and he was the captain of the golf team in his junior year. He was elected captain again in 1960 for his senior year at West Point but in the late summer, as he was about to begin his final year he suffered a nervous breakdown. He spent nine months at the Valley Forge Military Hospital near Phoenixville and was dismissed from the Military Academy. He went to work as an assistant to his brother Jim who was a professional in Miami and in 1962 he played on the PGA Tour for a while without success. In the spring of 1963 he came to Philadelphia to visit his hometown friend John Berry, an assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club. He ended up staying for more than a month as a guest of the professional Loma Frakes who had a penchant for helping young golf professionals. Later that summer Yancey went to work for George Griffin, Jr. as his assistant at the Green Valley Country Club. In August Yancey missed a playoff for the Philadelphia Open title by one stroke and one week later he won the Pennsylvania Open. With the backing of several Green Valley members he was back on the PGA Tour in January. This time he was a success, winning money in most of the tournaments. In April of 1966 Yancey got his first win on the PGA Tour and he went on to win two more times that year. Those victories earned him an invitation to the 1967 Masters. Maybe because he was from the south he was obsessed with winning the Masters. He said that he would never go to Augusta until he was invited to play in the tournament. He must have had some early practice rounds that year because he showed up for the tournament with clay models of each of the greens at Augusta. Someone noted that you had to appreciate his talent as a sculptor. His first tournament round at Augusta was a 67 that led the field. He still had the lead after 36-holes and he had a share of the lead with a round to go but he closed with a 73 and finished third. Each year he stayed with the J.B. Masters
family at Augusta where he kept the green models under one of their beds. He didn’t win a Masters or any of the other majors but often he was in contention. Twice he finished third in the Masters and fourth once, twice he was third in the U.S. Open and he had a fifth place showing at the British Open. Yancey played in 10 U.S. Opens, 9 PGAs, 8 Masters Tournaments, 5 British Opens and he won seven times on the PGA Tour. At the 1968 U.S. Open he led for three rounds while setting a U.S. Open record for the first 54 holes with a 205. In 1974 and 1975 he was an elected member of the PGA Tour policy board and he attended the 1975 PGA of America national meeting as a delegate from the PGA Tour. Not long after that he had another mental breakdown, which sidelined him for almost three months. Just three weeks out of the hospital he finished second at Doral and continued to play through June picking up checks in most of the tournaments. After Westchester he had another breakdown and he was off the tour for good before his 37th birthday. He moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina and started what became a highly successful golf school where he taught what he called the classic golf swing which all began with a pre-shot routine. After experiencing another breakdown he was diagnosed as a manic-depressive and put on Lithium. The Lithium caused a slight hand tremor, which eliminated any possibility of tournament golf. When Yancey was in his late 40s a doctor recommended a different medicine and his low scores returned. He joined the PGA Senior Tour when he turned 50 and played with success for several years but the victories eluded him.