November/December 1921 - At 10am on Monday November 21, 1921, the PGA members in the Philadelphia region met to begin the formation of a Philadelphia PGA Section. The PGA of America had decided to break up the seven original PGA Sections. All PGA members were invited to attend.
Stanley Hern, a PGA member and manager of the St. Mungo Mfg. Co. of America (Colonel Golf Balls) had been appointed to draw up the plans for an organizational meeting. The meeting was held at 715 Denckla Building, which was at Eleventh and Market Streets in Philadelphia. Temporary officers and temporary committees were appointed along with plans for the next meeting. St. Davids Golf Club professional
Bill Byrne was nominated president.
Vin O’Donnell, a professional golf salesman for the Holmac Golf Company, was the secretary and Hern was the treasurer. All of the temporary officers were PGA members.
Temporary Section President
At 8:30 on a Friday evening, December 2, 1921, the first official meeting of the Philadelphia PGA was held at Jack Gray’s private salon, which was located in A.G. Spalding & Bros.’ building at 1210 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. It was a rainy night but most of the golf clubs in the Philadelphia area were represented as about thirty PGA members gathered to officially form the Philadelphia Section PGA. From 1916 to that time the pros in the Philadelphia region had been members of the Southeastern Section PGA. The Philadelphia Section came into being due to the efforts of
Bob Barnett, Stanley Hern and Vin O’Donnell. The other members of the organizing committee were
James R. Thomson, Overbrook Golf Club;
Jack Sawyer, Torresdale Country Club;
Charlie Hoffner, Philmont Country Club;
Frank Coltart, Philadelphia Country Club;
Jim Edmundson, Sr., North Hills Country Club;
Bill Byrne, St. Davids Golf Club;
Wilfrid Reid, Wilmington Country Club; Bill Leach, Merchantville Country Club;
Herb Jewson, Roxborough Country Club;
Tony Natale, Lansdowne Country Club;
Joseph Seka, Cedarbrook Country Club; and
Jack Hobens, Huntingdon Valley Country Club. The plans were for the Section’s boundaries to go from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and north to Williamsport. It would include Trenton, Atlantic City, Wilmington and any clubs that were in between those cities and Philadelphia. The Metropolitan Section that included all of New Jersey at the time did not want to give up South Jersey. The end result was that only a few clubs across the Delaware River from Philadelphia were included in the Philadelphia Section at that time. The area included 50+ clubs. The dues were $5 per year, which went to defray the expenses of maintaining the organization, promoting tournaments and other forms of entertainment. The first president of the new Section was
Bob Barnett, Tredyffrin Country Club professional. The temporary president,
Bill Byrne, had told his fellow professionals that he would be willing to do anything for the PGA but he didn’t wish to be an officer. The vice president was
Jack Campbell the professional at the Old York Road Country Club. Two pro-golf salesmen,
Vin O’Donnell and
Walter Wood, were elected secretary and the treasurer. Wood was a pro-golf salesman for the A.G. Spalding & Bros. sporting goods company. Wood had been the professional at the Plymouth Country Club and was another golf professional that had gotten his start in golf as a caddy at the Philadelphia Country Club. O’Donnell had been the professional at the Wildwood Golf & Country Club. The vice president was the tournament chairman and several competitions were planned for the first year. The Section had no by-laws as it was thought that the unanimous interest in the new body would give it impetus and hold it together. They decided to have two classes of membership, active and honorary. The active included all professionals, assistants, caddie-masters and salesmen. The honorary members would be amateurs. They also decided that their tournaments would be open to all comers except the Section Championship, which would be open only to PGA members. The same constitution governed the local body as the national.
|Why the PGA Exists
The object of the Professional Golfers' Association shall be to promote interest in the game of golf; to protect
the mutual interests of its members; to hold meetings and tournaments periodically for the encouragement of the younger members; to institute the benevolent fund for the relief of deserving members; to hold meetings at which
the subjects of green keeping and course architecture are discussed by professionals and experts to which the
chairman of green committees will be invited; to act as an agency to assist any professional golfer or club-maker
to obtain employment, and to effect any other object of a like nature as may be determined from time to time by
One of the reasons for the forming of the organization was to improve their golf games through more competition.
Jack Campbell stated during the founding meeting “The local pros, as players, have been in the class of the Athletics and Phillies long enough. It is time for a change and the only way we can build up our games is through competition”. A number of tournaments were planned for the first year including a Section Championship. One proposal for the Section Championship was to have 36 holes of qualifying for eight positions and then continue at match play on subsequent Mondays. A second idea was to have the tournament all stroke play and decided in one week. It was put in the hands of
Bill Byrne and his committee for the championship. Another one of the events was a pro-am championship, at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, which was called the Amateur-Pro Championship. Since a number of events with amateurs were planned, amateur J. Wood Platt was made an honorary member of the Section and a member of the tournament committee.
On December 5 the amateurs notified the professionals that they would like to play not one but several matches against them. There doesn’t seem to be any record of this taking place at any time before the 1990s.
On Monday December 19 the members of the newly organized Philadelphia Section PGA met at the Holmac Golf Company, which was near Twelfth and Market Streets. Enthusiasm for the Philadelphia PGA was growing and there were not enough seats. Frank Gumbes, a lawyer and Bala Golf Club member, was invited to the meeting in the interest of proper organization and parliamentary procedure. Gumbes made a powerful presentation, which cleared the air as to certain procedures. At the meeting it was decided that amateurs could be voted in as honorary members only. The amateurs would not be able to vote and could only serve on a committee in an honorary status. Gumbes, J. Wood Platt (who had attended most of the meetings) and Sandy McNiblick (the golf writer for the Public Ledger newspaper whose real name was Percy Sanderson) were made honorary members. Many of the region’s golf professionals had been born in Great Britain. They had PGA experience as many of them such as
Wilfrid Reid, Frank Coltart, Jim Edmundson, Sr., Jack Hobens and George Sayers, the professional at the Merion Cricket Club, had belonged to the British PGA.
The PGA of America’s seven-man Executive Committee met at its New York headquarters on 366 Fifth Avenue, in mid December.
Jack Hobens was in attendance at the meeting as a vice president of the PGA and a member of the Executive Committee. The PGA now had 400 members. The Executive Committee decided to return to sectional qualifying for the PGA Championship. There would be 64 paired for the match play and each Section would receive qualifying spots based on the number of Section members.
In November 1921 The Professional Golfer Magazine reported that some new PGA Sections were nearly organized. By the end of December 1921 Philadelphia, Illinois and Western Pennsylvania had formed PGA Sections. After Philadelphia no other PGA Section was ever named for a city. The Philadelphia Section’s territory was composed of eastern Pennsylvania and the state of Delaware along with a few clubs in southern New Jersey that were just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
Jack Hobens must have had something to do with placing those New Jersey clubs in the Philadelphia Section. For most of the proposed new PGA Sections it would take some time for their formulation. At the end of 1922 there were still only 12 PGA Sections.
1922 - In mid February Aronimink Golf Club hired a new head professional
David Kirkaldy, the son of Andra Kirkaldy, professional at the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, Scotland. He was also the nephew of former British Open champion, Sandy Herd. David served his apprenticeship at St. Andrews and the famous golf shop of R. Forgan & Son in Glasgow. Dave’s uncle, Hugh Kirkaldy, was not as good a player as Andra but he won the 1891 British Open.
Alex Findlay was responsible for bringing David to America. There were 60 applicants for the position.
On the first of April Charlie Hoffner returned home to the Philmont Country Club after a successful season on the thirteen-tournament Southern Tour. Hoffner finished fifth at New Orleans, third at Mobile, third at Deland and fourth at St. Augustine.
First Section Champion
Won Philadelphia Open
Won Pennsylvania Open
The North and South Open was held at the Pinehurst Golf Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina in the first weekend of April. Pat O’Hara turned back the strongest field in the history of the tournament. He began with a 73 and then in the afternoon he posted a 69 in near hurricane winds. The winds brought a deluge, which washed out the afternoon rounds. Instead of leading by nine strokes O’Hara now trailed by three. The next morning he shot a 75 to move into a tie for the lead and in a windy afternoon round he turned in a 72. His 220 total was four better than
Clarence Hackney (224) who finished second. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and
Pat Doyle tied for third with 226s. Jim Barnes (228) finished fifth.
In early April the USGA made several announcements that concerned the professionals. It stated that the stymie rule was being restored. The stymie had been abolished for a one-year trial period in January 1921. Steel shaft golf clubs, which had been recently introduced, were banned from tournament play. They stated that the steel shaft club offers too much of an aid to imperfectly played shots. The USGA also issued a warning against the growing practice of offering large purses as an inducement to professionals to compete in tournaments and exhibitions. The USGA stated that it had no desire to hinder or hamper any professional from earning money to the limit of his ability. Nevertheless it was felt that great harm would be done in creating a class of professional player who would devote all of their time and attention to tournaments.
The stymie had been ruled out for a year or so, but it was restored by the USGA at a meeting held at Pine Valley Golf Club in mid April. Howard Whitney, a USGA vice president, cited Australian professional
Joe Kirkwood, Sr.’s ability to negotiate a stymie. He stated that a golfer with that skill should not be penalized by not being able to make use of it.
The Philadelphia Section PGA executive committee met in the first week of May to set a date for what was going to be their first Section Championship. Monday June 12 was decided upon as the date with the format being stroke play. A minimum purse of $250 was agreed on. The Evening Public Ledger newspaper was donating a permanent cup for the championship. Section President
Bob Barnett also announced that a meeting would be held that evening as well to elect new officers.
On the third Wednesday of May the Western Golf Association announced that its investigations and tests showed that steel shaft golf clubs afforded no mechanical advantage to players, and that their use would be permitted in all tournaments held by the association.
In late May the New Jersey Open was held at the Shackamaxon Country Club. Plainfield’s Martin O’Loughlin won the tournament by four strokes with a 71 and a 73.
Clarence Hackney finished second with a 148. Amateur E.M. Wild was third at 150. Cyril Walker and Bayard Beebe were next with 151s. First prize was $200 and Hackney won $100.
The Philadelphia PGA’s first Section Championship was played on Monday June 12th. The tournament was hosted by the Section president
Bob Barnett at his club, the Tredyffrin Country Club in Paoli. The tournament chairman was
Bill Byrne and the assistant chairman was Frank
Coltart. The Evening Public Ledger newspaper donated a large silver old-English urn to the Philadelphia Section to be called the Evening Public Ledger Cup. At that time there was a morning and evening Public Ledger newspaper printed each day. Each year the name of the winner of the Philadelphia Section PGA Championship was to be engraved on the cup. The cup was displayed at the winner’s home club for that year. The winner also received a medal. The host club put up $230 to enhance the purse and some of the golf equipment companies also contributed. Some of the money was spent on a banquet, which was held at the club that evening with most of the entrants attending. There were sixty-five entries and fifty returned a score for the 36 holes. The course measured 6,507 yards. At the conclusion of play on a very windy spring day
Charlie Hoffner (78-77) and
Jack Campbell (76-79) were tied for first with 15-over-par 155 totals. The tournament committee told Hoffner and Campbell that they could split the money if they wanted to but a playoff would be held to determine a winner.
Jim Edmundson, Sr. (159) was four strokes further back in third place. The host pro and Section President
George Sayers, Coltart and
Jim Devlin, a former assistant at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club who was working in Puerto Rico, tied for fourth with 160s. Eleven players received checks from the purse. There was a gold medal for the winner and a silver medal for the runner-up. The playoff was held two days later on June 14th and Hoffner became the first winner of the Philadelphia Section Championship, shooting a 77 against an 80 for Campbell. Before the playoff took place the two pros had decided to split the top two prizes of $100 and $75.
The professionals and some of their guests at the first Philadelphia Section PGA Championship
Len Sheppard wrote the names of the people pictured, row-by-row, on the back of his picture.
Charlie Hoffner and Jack Campbell each have a hand on the Public Ledger Cup.
The Section president and host professional, Bob Barnett, is in front of them in the white shirt and tie.
Percy Sanderson, golf writer for the Public Ledger newspaper, and wife are at right end of back row.
On the evening of June 12 after the play had concluded for Philadelphia Section Championship, the Section members dined in the Tredyffrin Country Club’s clubhouse. They were entertained with music and vaudeville acts. There was also a business meeting where the Section members elected officers for the coming year.
Bob Barnett was elected president again.
Frank Coltart was made vice president and
Stanley Hern was the new secretary.
Walter Wood was reelected treasurer. The manager of the A.G. Spalding Brothers golf company announced that his company would be holding a tournament at Tredyffrin Country Club on June 26 with a $500 purse.
On the fourth Sunday of June Percy Sanderson and Robert “Tiny” Maxwell were critically injured in an automobile accident west of Norristown. Maxwell, who suffered seven broken ribs and a broken hip, died of pneumonia at Norristown Hospital a few days later. Maxwell had become famous as a football player and official. At the time of the accident he was the sports editor of the Public Ledger newspaper. It is Maxwell who the Philadelphia Maxwell Football Club is named for. Sanderson was a sports writer for the
Public Ledger and when he wrote about golf he used the pen name “Sandy McNiblick”. Sanderson suffered a fractured skull and a concussion. It was Sanderson and Maxwell who were responsible for the Public Ledger Cup, which the Philadelphia Section members competed for in their championship from 1922 through 1939. Sanderson’s wife, a lady friend of Maxwell and another man were also in the automobile, but their injuries were not life threatening. Sanderson was able to return to writing for the
The 1922 British Open was played at the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, Scotland in the fourth week of June. The tournament was played in two days as Walter Hagen won the Open championship for the first time. His rounds were 76, 73, 79 and 72 for an even 300.
Jim Barnes and George Duncan tied for second just one shot back with 301 totals.
Jock Hutchison finished fourth at 302.
On the fourth Monday of June the pros returned to Tredyffrin for a 36-hole open tournament sponsored by the Spalding Sporting Goods Company and their salesman
Walter Wood. The tournament was open to all professional golfers in the Philadelphia area. Spalding added $300 to the purse and hosted a dinner that evening. Again
Jack Campbell tied for first place. He beat his score shot in June by seven strokes as he and
Frank Coltart tied at 148. No playoff was held and they divided first and second money. John Edmundson, the professional at the Llanerch Country Club, finished third with a 149, one stroke in front of
Bob Barnett and
Charlie Hoffner. Six other pros won money.
On a Thursday two days after the Fourth of July only five professionals from the Philadelphia Section were at the Pennsylvania Open. Played at the Allegheny Country Club near Pittsburgh, Emil Loeffler won his second Pennsylvania Open and $200. He broke the tournament record by nine strokes with a pair of 69s for a two-under-par 138. The Pittsburgh Field Club’s professional Dave McKay (143) finished second five strokes back. Gene Sarazen and Emmet French, who was now in Ohio as the professional at the Youngstown Country Club, tied for third with 145s.
Jack Sawyer led the Section’s pros tying for 12th with a 152. The defending champion, Cyril Walker, did not enter the tournament.
Twelve Section members traveled to Chicago in the second week of July to try and qualify for the U.S. Open at the Skokie Country Club. That year an admission fee was charged to see the Open for the first time. A record number, 320 players, entered the qualifying test. The players were placed in three groups. Each group played in a one-day 36-hole competition. The low 24 and ties in each group qualified for the tournament. Lancaster Country Club professional
Cyril Hughes qualified with a 78-74 for 152 and
Charlie Hoffner also made it with 70-77 for147. Gene Sarazen won the championship with rounds of 72, 73, 75and 68 for 288 as Bobby Jones and John Black tied for second at 289. Bill Mehlhorn finished fourth with a 290. First prize was $500. Hoffner (305) tied for 19th, and Hughes (306) tied for 24th. Atlantic City Country Club professional
Clarence Hackney (303) had also qualified with 71-75 for 146 and finished tied for 17th in the tournament three strokes out of the money. For the first time the USGA charged the spectators an admission fee, which added up to $15,078 for the week. The April issue of the Professional Golfer Magazine mentioned that it seemed like the U.S. Open prize money could be increased and more players should win money.
1912 Champion of Wales
Five days after the U.S. Open ended
Charlie Hoffner added the Philadelphia Open title to his list of achievements on the Merion Cricket Club’s East Course. He had finished second in this championship on three previous occasions. His two-day, 21-over-par total of 301 was six better than
Frank Coltart. Long Island’s Alex Gerard finished third with a 309. The Springhaven Club’s professional
Andrew Campbell, George Griffin, Sr., professional at the Clearfield Country Club and amateur John Beadle tied for fourth with 311s. Even thought Clearfield, Pennsylvania was in the newly created Tri-State Section Griffin was allowed to be a member of the Philadelphia Section because he had a home in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. First prize totaled $250 and there were eight money prizes. The total purse was $650. The Golf Association of Philadelphia, which sponsored the tournament, had decided that for the first time all of the prize money would go to the professionals. The amateurs would receive a medal if they finished in the top eight. Before that if an amateur finished in the money he received the amount a pro would have won in silver plate.
The next day 5,000 golf fans were at the Philmont Country Club to witness an exhibition that featured some of the world’s leading players. The fourball match paired Walter Hagen who had won the British Open in June with Joe Kirkwood, Sr. They defeated the team of Gene Sarazen, the 1921 U.S. Open champion, and the host professional
Later that week the touring pros were at the Shawnee Country Club & Buckwood Inn for the Shawnee Open. Shooting a course record 67 in the last round to go with his earlier rounds of 76, 72 and 73 for a total of 288, Johnny Farrell won the $500 first prize by six strokes. New York’s Johnny Golden finished second. Two pros that were formerly employed in the Philadelphia area, Emmet French (296) and Jim Barnes (298), finished third and fourth. The low man from the Philadelphia Section was
George Griffin, Sr., who tied for twelfth at 306.
Cyril Hughes finished fourteenth with a 308. The host professional was
On the first Friday in August
Jack Campbell was the medalist in the qualifying for the PGA Championship with a 72 and a 75 for 147. Nine Section members made it through local qualifying at the Philmont Country Club. Philmont still only had one course at that time, which would later be called the South Course. The Section was allotted one place in the championship for every seven members. Class “A”, “B” and “C” members were eligible for the championship. Class “A” was active professionals attached to a club, Class “B” was private instructors, and Class “C” was professional golf salesmen.
Frank Coltart came in with a 148, one stroke off the lead.
Bill Leach, now the professional at the Overbrook Golf Club and Philmont Country Club assistant,
Lew Goldbeck, were next at 150.
Charlie Hoffner finished fifth with a 153.
Jim Edmundson, Sr., Johnny Rowe, the professional at the Stenton Country Club, Merchantville Country Club professional
Matt Duffy and Philadelphia Cricket Club professional
Bill Robinson took the last four spots with 156s. Leach didn’t make the trip to Pittsburgh.
The PGA Championship was held near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Oakmont Country Club in mid August. Wanamakers notified the PGA that their contribution to the purse was being increased by $800 to $3,380. The starting field had been doubled from 32 to 64. The extra $800 went to the additional 32 players and in order not to increase the length of the tournament the first two rounds were reduced to 18 holes. Everyone who had qualified in the various PGA Sections and the defending champion went directly into the match play.
Charlie Hoffner won his first round match over Larry Nabholtz by 3&1 and
Matt Duffy made it into the second round through a default. In the second round Hoffner lost to Harry Hampton by 3&2 and Duffy lost to Eddie Towns one-down. The six other Section members had all lost in the first round.
Jack Campbell lost to Johnny Farrell 6&5.
Frank Coltart was defeated by Johnny Golden 4&3.
Lou Goldbeck lost to Jock Hutchison 6&5.
John Edmundson lost to Tom Boyd by 5&4.
Johnny Rowe lost to Fred Baroni 4&3.
Bill Robinson lost to Charles Rowe 1-down. No alternates were accepted into the tournament and any open spots were filled with qualifiers from the Michigan and Wisconsin Sections, which had not reported their qualifying results on time. Gene Sarazen, who didn’t play a single practice round, won the title. He had been in Ohio playing exhibitions. Sarazen defeated
Emmet French in the finals. To reach the finals Sarazen defeated Bobby Cruickshank 3&2 and French put out Johnny Golden 8&7. First prize was $500 plus a diamond medal and French took home a check for $300 along with a gold medal.
In the fourth week of August Mike Brady won the Western Open on his home course, the Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit. Brady put together rounds of 72, 69, 76 and 76 for a 291 that won by ten strokes over Jock Hutchison and Laurie Ayton who tied for second. George Sargent finished fourth at 302 one stroke ahead of
In mid September The Springhaven Club hosted an open tournament for the pros and added $462.50 to the purse. Some of the money, $137.50, stayed at the club, as the winner was their professional
Andrew Campbell. He was the brother of
Jack Campbell. Campbell ran away from the field with a last nine 31. His afternoon 70 added to his morning 72 gave him a total of 142 and brought him home six strokes in front of
Bob Barnett and
Johnny Rowe tied for third with 150 and two other professionals cashed a check.
The Met Open was played at the Lido Golf Club on Long Island in the third week of September. Marty O’Loughlin came away the winner on a very difficult golf course with rounds of 76, 76, 74 and 83 for a 309 total. In the morning round of the last day
Pat Doyle set a new course record with a 73 and wound up in a tie for eighth at 317. Johnny Farrell finished second at 312 and Tommy Harmon, Jr. was next with a 313. Willie Ogg and Francis Gallett tied for fourth with 314s. First money was $500 and a gold metal.
In mid October two charity exhibitions were played on successive days. Jim Barnes and Tom Kerrigan opposed
Charlie Hoffner and
Johnny Rowe on the second Thursday at the Stenton Country Club. It was played for the benefit of Percy Sanderson (Sandy McNiblick) the golf writer for the Public Ledger newspaper and a friend of the golf professionals. The Public Ledger had put up the trophy for the Section Championship. Late in June Sanderson had been injured in an automobile accident that had caused the death of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, who the Maxwell Football Club was named for.
The next day, the second Friday of October, Walter Hagen, Joe Kirkwood, Sr., Johnny Farrell, and Jim Barnes played a 36-hole exhibition match for
Johnny McDermott at the Merion Cricket Club’s East Course. All four interrupted lucrative exhibition schedules to aid their former colleague. They accepted no fees for their expenses or play.
Three days later a member of Overbrook Golf Club, Horace B. Swope, put up $500 for a 36-hole one-day tournament at Overbrook for the Section professionals. The scores were high as the club’s green committee set up the course with very difficult pin placements.
Clarence Hackney came home in front over 80 entries with a 74 and a 76 for an eight-over-par 150.
Charlie Hoffner completing an outstanding playing year in the Section finished two strokes back in second place.
John Edmundson and
George Griffin, Sr. tied for third with 154s.
On the last Monday of October
Charlie Hoffner won another championship, the Section’s first Pro-Am Championship. The tournament was cosponsored by the Golf Association of Philadelphia and was a benefit for Johnny McDermott. There was a great deal of interest in the tournament and 57 two-man teams were entered. Hoffner teamed up with amateur
Marcus A. Greer, who later became a Section member. The Hoffner team was tied with
Clarence Hackney and his partner, Thomas B. Wootton, at the end of the 18-hole round with even par 72s. In an 18-hole playoff held the same day the Hoffner team defeated the Hackney team by four strokes with a 75 versus a 79. A lack of daylight on the latter holes made the scoring difficult. On the last few holes Francis Warner, secretary of the GAP, held up a newspaper in order to assist the players as to the line of play. The last hole was played in the dark. Hackney wasn’t a Section member yet as most of New Jersey was still in the Metropolitan Section, but he was invited to play because his club, Atlantic City Country Club, was a member of the Golf Association of Philadelphia.
In the third week in November the PGA of America’s annual meeting was held in New York at their national office, 366 Fifth Avenue.
Jack Hobens and ten other professionals from other PGA Sections who comprised the Executive Committee made up the delegation. The Executive Committee was made up of the president, secretary-treasurer and nine vice presidents representing the 18 Sections. Hobens was one of the vice presidents at large along with
Wilfrid Reid, who was now employed in the Washington D.C. area. George Sargent was reelected president. Ernest Anderson was reelected secretary-treasurer. At the meeting Hobens and Jack Mackie were reappointed trustees of the benevolent fund. The association went on record as being opposed to gambling in golf.
1923 - The country was booming and golf was following right along. In early 1922 there had been 2,300+ golf courses in the United States and now there were over 3,000. This was a thirty-percent rate of growth. It was estimated that another 500 courses were under construction or in the planning stages. The city of Philadelphia announced that the yearly permit (fee) to play the Cobbs Creek Golf Course was being increased from $1 to $3 on April 1st. The increase was needed as the city was losing more than a thousand dollars each year operating the course.
In January Bob Barnett was elected president of the Section for a second term along with his fellow officers. Barnett was known for his whistle. He could imitate almost any bird. Barnett whistled when he played and he whistled when he wanted to call the meetings to order. All he had to do was whistle and he had the full attention of all the professionals present.
Jack Campbell was reelected vice president. The secretary and treasurer,
Vin O’Donnell and
Walter Wood, were also reelected.
In early March
Bob Barnett was appointed golf professional at the Chevy Chase Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland and was no longer a member of the Section. The professionals wanted him to stay on as their president even though he would be living and working in Maryland. He declined because he felt that he would not be able to give the office the attention that it required. At a meeting on the third Wednesday of March
Joseph Seka was elected to take Barnett’s place as president.
2nd Section President
Professional for 50 years
Early in the year the USGA warned its member clubs, urging them to cut down on prize money to the golf professionals. The USGA stated that the large purses offered to the pros were working toward commercialism of the game, to the detriment of the amateur game and away from the ideals of the association.
Walter Hagen completed a brilliant winter campaign by winning the North and South Open at the Pinehurst Golf Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Hagen led all the way. He posted a 70 and a 68 the first day to lead by seven strokes at the halfway point. The second day was rained out so the tournament was extended to a third day. Hagen (289) finished up with rounds of 76 and 75 to win by two strokes over Cyril Walker (291).
Jim Barnes (296) and
Jock Hutchison (298) finished third and fourth. A future Section member,
Harold Calloway, was fifth with a total of 299.
The British Open was won by Arthur Havers at the Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland. It was played in the middle of June. Havers’ (295) rounds were 73, 73, 73 and 76 as he nipped the defending champion Walter Hagen (296) by one stroke. Macdonald Smith (297) and
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (298) finished third and fourth.
Jim Edmundson, Sr.
Jim Edmundson, Sr., a former Irish Open champion, won the Pennsylvania Open. The tournament was played on the Huntingdon Valley Country Club course at Noble on the fourth Wednesday of June. There were 86 pros and amateurs entered. Edmundson nosed out the Ashbourne Country Club head professional
(151) by a single stroke with rounds of 77 and 73 for 150. The scores were high as it was a windy day and the cups were located in tricky places on the greens. Huntingdon Valley was a difficult course as there was a brook that had to be crossed 22 times and there were tight boundaries on twelve holes. Edmundson, who had learned to play golf on the windy courses of Portrush, Ireland, was the right man for that day.
Jack Campbell, Bill Leach and John Edmundson tied for third with 154s. Jim’ brother
John Edmundson, who was the professional at the Llanerch Country Club, had a good chance to win when he turned the first nine of the afternoon in 34 strokes. It wasn’t to be as John took 42 on the back nine with three putts on the last five holes. Cuthbert and Campbell were both familiar with the course as they had been head professionals at Huntingdon Valley at one time. First prize was $200, and it came in two crisp $100 bills.
Won Irish Open
1907 and 1908
Won 1923 PA Open
The Section had 20 members in New York at the Innwood Country Club in mid July. They were part of a record field of 360 entries trying to qualify for the U.S. Open. Qualifying took four days as each day 90 of the entrants competed in a 36-hole qualifier.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. led the qualifiers by four strokes with a 70-74 for 144. Gene Sarazen (148) was the only other player under 150. That trimmed the field to 77 starters and only four were from the Philadelphia Section. The Philadelphia qualifiers were
(155) the professional at the Woodbury Country Club,
(163), the Green Valley Country Club professional. When the championship got under way Hughes (307) led the Section pros tying for 11th as Bobby Jones won defeating Bobby Cruickshank in a playoff with a 76 against Cruickshank’s 78. Jones’s four rounds were 71, 73, 76, 76 and Cruickshank’s were 73, 72, 78 and 73. First prize, which went to Cruickshank, was $500. McCarthy (326) tied for 46th and Ward (345) finished 61st. Hoffner withdrew after the third round.
The day after the U.S. Open ended the Shawnee Open began. The tournament ended in a tie between George McLean and
Harry Hampton with eight under par scores of 288. Even though they had just completed 72 holes in two days McLean and Hampton were sent out for another 18 holes that same day. In the playoff McLean claimed the $700 first prize as he posted a 74 against Hampton’s 76 to emerge the victor. Hampton had also just finished playing in the U.S. Open where he had played 72-holes in three days. This meant that Hampton had now played nine 18-hole competitive rounds in five days. McLean was more rested as he had failed to qualify at the U.S. Open. McLean’s rounds were 77, 71 70 and 70. Hampton won $300.
Clarence Hackney led after the second round with 141 and finished third with a 291, one stroke in front of Gene Sarazen.
Ray Derr (302), the Lu Lu Country Club professional, finished 11th six strokes out of the money. Since the tournament was played right after the U.S. Open and only a short drive away many of the top professionals in the country were entered. Except for the U.S. Open the Shawnee Open was considered to be the most important tournament in the East. The host professional was
The Met Open was held in the third week of July, just two days after the Shawnee Open ended. Like the U.S. Open and the Shawnee Open this tournament also ended in a tie. The Canoe Brook Country Club hosted the tournament. At the end of 72-holes it was
Jim Barnes and Bob MacDonald tied for the top prize with 295s.
Barnes’s rounds for the three days were 78, 70, 74 and 73. MacDonald’s were 77, 69, 70 and 79. The next day MacDonald won an 18-hole playoff with a three under par 70 against an 80 for Barnes. It was the second Met Open title for MacDonald and it was the third time that Barnes had lost the Met Open in a playoff. Gene Sarazen and Johnny Farrell tied for third with 296s. First prize was $700 and second was $500.
The two-day Philadelphia Open was held at the Pine Valley Golf Club in the fourth week of July. The Golf Association of Philadelphia put up $675 and the Pine Valley members matched it.
Clarence Hackney won by 13 strokes with a 298 total for his four trips around the par 70 course. Hackney’s rounds were 75, 73, 78 and 72. Hackney won $500 and the runner-up
Jim Edmundson, Sr. (311) took home $300. Hackney defeated the best pros and amateurs in the Philadelphia area along with established national professionals including Macdonald Smith, Willie Macfarlane, Bob MacDonald, Johnny Golden, Wiffy Cox and Bobby Cruickshank. Smith, Golden, and MacDonald tied for third at 313.
Charlie Hoffner and
Johnny Rowe made the money tying for eighth with 317 totals.
One week later in early August 146 players teed off in the Canadian Open. This was the fifth big money tournament in 21 days for the golf professionals.
Clarence Hackney, still at the top of his game, became the fourth American in a row to win the Canadian Open. In the second round his 72 set a new course record for the Lakeview Country Club in Toronto. His 75, 72, 74 and 74 for a 295 total won by five strokes as Tom Kerrigan (300), Gene Sarazen (301),
Jock Hutchison (302) and Johnny Farrell (305) finished second, third, fourth and fifth.
On the second Monday of August Section qualifying for the PGA Championship was held at the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Flourtown Course. There were over fifty entries and the Section was allotted six places in the championship.
Bill Leach led the scoring with a score of 142. In the morning round Leach established a new course record for the course that had opened two years before. He finished the round with an eagle two on the seventeenth hole and a birdie three on the eighteenth hole for a two-under-par 70.
Charlie Hoffner earned the second spot with a 146 and
Frank Coltart was two strokes higher with a 148. Also making the grade was
Jim Edmundson, Sr. with a 149.
Ray Derr and
George Griffin, Sr.
picked up the last two spots in a playoff with the Gulph Mills Golf Club professional
George Peters. They had finished tied with 151s.
Clarence Hackney qualified for the PGA Championship in the Metropolitan Section on the fourth Monday of August. Qualifying was held at the Garden City Country Club where Hackney made it with a 146. The Met Section had twelve spots and the medalist was Cyril Walker with a 141. The 150 scores made it on the money.
The PGA Championship was at the Pelham Golf Club near New York City in late September. There was no on site qualifying. The six pros that had qualified in the Philadelphia Section along with the other Sectional qualifiers and the defending champion were all paired for the match play. It was unfortunate that several of the Section members were paired against each other in the first round. Five of the six were next to each other on the ladder. In the first round
Ray Derr beat Charlie Hoffner 2&1and
Frank Coltart defeated
Jim Edmundson, Sr. one-down. Also in the first round George Griffin, Sr. lost to Walter Hagen 4&3 and Bill Leach was eliminated by Bobby Cruickshank 2&1.In the second round Derr put out Coltart 5&4 before losing in the third round to Cruickshank one-down. Gene Sarazen beat Walter Hagen in the finals on the 38th hole to win his second consecutive PGA. In the semifinals Sarazen defeated Cruickshank 6&5 and Hagen routed George McLean 12&11. First prize was $500.
Also in the first round George Griffin, Sr. lost to Walter Hagen 4&3 and
Bill Leach was eliminated by Bobby Cruickshank 2&1.In the second round Derr put out Coltart 5&4 before losing in the third round to Cruickshank one-down. Gene Sarazen beat Walter Hagen in the finals on the 38th hole to win his second consecutive PGA. In the semifinals Sarazen defeated Cruickshank 6&5 and Hagen routed George McLean 12&11. First prize was $500.
The popular Bob Barnett was invited to play in the Philadelphia Section Championship even though he was no longer a member of the Section. He accepted and he won the title by two strokes over
Ray Derr. Barnett put together rounds of 71and 75 for total of 146. Along with the title he took the Evening Public Ledger Cup home to Maryland. Derr almost caught Barnett with a four-under-par 31 on the last nine. Derr’s one-day 6-over-par 148 total left him two strokes off the winner’s total. The defending champion
Charlie Hoffner finished third with a 149.
Johnny Rowe, the host professional, and
Eugene McCarthy tied for fourth at 153. The championship was played in early October at the Stenton Country Club, which was located in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. The course closed for good at the end of that year.
1923 Section Champion
The Western Open was held at the Colonial Country Club in Memphis in the second week of October.
Jock Hutchison opened with a 75 but a 67 the second day put him in contention. The third day Hutchison went around in 72 in the morning and came back with another 67 in the afternoon for a 281 total that won by six strokes. Four pros tied for second.
Leo Diegel, Joe Kirkwood, Sr., Walter Hagen and Bobby Cruickshank all posted 287s.
Frank Sprogell, now working in Memphis, finished sixth at 293. First prize was $500 and a gold medal. The total purse was $1,500.
During the previous year
Johnny McDermott had started feeling better and a six-hole course was improvised for him on the hospital grounds. The course measured 1,232 yards with the longest hole 287 yards and the shortest 132 yards. Some of the fairways crossed each other but it worked since only a few of the staff and patients played the course. Walter Hagen, who was in town for an exhibition at the Gulph Mills Golf Club in October, visited McDermott at the hospital and played the course with him. Hagen was impressed with McDermott’s game and reported that he had lost only a little of his ability.
The PGA of America’s annual meeting was held in the third week of November at their national office, 366 Fifth Avenue, New York City. George Sargent was reelected president. Ernest Anderson was reelected secretary-treasurer. Jack Mackie and Stewart Gardner were vice presidents-at-large. There were 17 PGA Sections and nine Districts.
Herb Jewson was there as a representative of the Philadelphia Section and the vice president at large from the District it was in. The delegates made a recommendation to the USGA to hold qualifying for the U.S. Open at two sites, New York and Chicago. It was also decided that 64 professionals would qualify for the PGA Championship as usual. But, there would be a second 36-hole qualifying round at the site of the championship that would reduce the field to 32 for the match play. All the matches would be scheduled for 36-holes. At the meeting three new Sections were added to the PGA bringing the total to 20. Also all the territory south of the 40th parallel in New Jersey, which is south of Trenton, became part of the Philadelphia Section rather than the Metropolitan Section. Up to that time only a few clubs that were across the Delaware River from Philadelphia were members of the Philadelphia Section. When the Burlington County Country Club, later called Burlington Country Club, opened in 1930 its professional was a member of the Philadelphia Section even though the course was north of the 40th parallel by .2995951.
Late in the year the Section had a new member. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. had moved to Philadelphia and joined the Cedarbrook Country Club. In 1920 he had won the Australian and New Zealand Opens along with the Australian PGA. Kirkwood had won the California Open and two other tournaments on the PGA Tour that year, but he made most of his money giving exhibitions featuring trick shots. There was no one better at this and he traveled the world putting on his shows.
In mid December Johnny McDermott and an amateur partner, Zimmer Platt, defeated two local professionals,
George Peters and
Morrie Talman, in an exhibition match at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club where Talman was the professional. McDermott and Talman, his best friend, had grown up on Florence Street in the same block in West Philadelphia and had caddied together at the Aronimink Golf Club. They played fourteen holes and Johnny had a 38 on the front nine and was three over par for the fourteen holes. Even though they were playing in winter weather he would have nothing to do with playing “winter rules” and would not touch the ball.
1924 - Joe Kirkwood, Sr. won the third annual Texas Open on the third Saturday of February at San Antonio. The tournament was two-days and 72-holes. Kirkwood (68-72-68-71) put together a nine-under-par 279 to win by seven strokes. The French Open champion James Ockenden (286) and
George Kerrigan (286), who had been the professional at the Northampton Country Club just four years before that, tied for second. Joe Turnesa finished fourth at 287. There was a dinner after the tournament for the 120 entries and $6,000 was paid out to the 37 pros that had finished in the money. First prize was $1,500.
Six days later in February
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. won the Corpus Christie Open. Kirkwood (141-144) finished at 285 for the seventy-two holes and won by an astounding margin of 16 strokes over some of the country’s best professional golfers. He led by seven the first day and the scores were all higher the second day due to a stiff breeze. Bobby Cruickshank picked up the second place money with a 301. One stroke further back was Johnny Farrell (302) and Johnny Golden (303) finished fourth one behind Farrell.
The next week the tour was still in Texas and
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. won for the third week in a row. The tournament was the first Houston Open and it was played on a sixteen-hole course on the fourth Tuesday and Wednesday of February. The pros didn’t seem to mind playing a 16-hole course as a very strong field was entered. Kirkwood finished with a 259 for the 64 holes and won by five strokes over
Bill Mehlhorn (264). Bill Creavy finished third (265). Jack Burke, Sr. and Cyril Walker tied for fourth with 268s.
Charlie Hoffner (271) tied for sixth and finished in the money. Kirkwood had won the three tournaments using the new Spalding Dot golf ball and Butchart Bilt clubs. The companies took full advantage of that with a flurry of ads.
On the third Wednesday in March
Herb Jewson was elected president of the Section.
was reelected secretary and
Len Sheppard a pro-golf salesman was elected treasurer.
George Peters was elected vice president and he served as the tournament chairman and he announced that the Section Championship was being held at the Linwood Country Club. That year the Section started a pro-lady championship, which was a first for any PGA Section.
Cedarbrook Country Club hosted an exhibition for the benefit of
on the third Sunday of April.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
and Max Marston were opposed by the foreign team of Arthur Havers and James Ockenden. Havers, the holder of the British Open title, and Ockenden, the holder of the French Open title, had been in the states for several months playing exhibitions along with competing in some of our tournaments. Havers had selected Cedarbrook for the match because he had heard that it was similar to the British golf courses. Kirkwood had moved to the United States the year before and was a member at Cedarbrook. He had won three PGA Tour events in Texas during that past February. Marston was the current U.S. Amateur champion. The day was cool, wet and windy. Kirkwood led the scoring with a pair of 73s but he and Marston were defeated 6&4.
Now that all of
South Jersey was part of the Philadelphia Section the tournament chairman,
the Section Championship should be played at one of the new member’s club. The
championship was scheduled for the second Monday in May at the Linwood Country
Club. The defending champion and former Section president Bob Barnett,
who had left the Section in early 1923 to be the professional at the Chevy Chase
Club in the Middle Atlantic Section, was on hand for a practice round on Sunday.
Leo Diegel, who was also working in the Washington D.C. area, was with
Barnett. Diegel was invited to enter the tournament but he declined.
Barnett wasn’t able to defend his title, as his father died the night before
the tournament started. For the first time in a Philadelphia professional
tournament the players were paired in threes instead of twos. With the change in
the boundaries Atlantic City Country Club professional
was now a
Section member. He used his local knowledge to win the championship.
seemed to be
the only one who wasn’t bothered by the rain which began in the morning and
intensified in the afternoon. His (73-75) one-day six-over-par total of 148 beat
out the second place finisher Morrie
by five strokes.
posted a 73 in the morning to tie
for the low
the first hole of his afternoon round
second shot overran the green and finished in a hole that was being dug for the
installation of a flagpole. He took a seven on the hole and never recovered.
third and fourth.
was paired with
seemed to be a
good luck charm. In 1922 he was paired with
when he won and
in 1923 he was paired with Barnett
he won. Taking the Section Championship to the Jersey shore was not a popular
move as only about twenty-five pros entered. The host pro at Linwood was
Henry Williams, Sr.
the father of Henry Williams, Jr., who would later win the Section
championship three times and be the runner-up in the 1950 PGA Championship.
1924 Section Champion
In late May qualifying for the U.S. Open was held off site for the first time.
Qualifying was at two locations, one in the east and one in the west. The low 40
and ties at each site earned entry into the championship and the medalist won
$200. The western site was in Chicago. The Philadelphia pros were among 166
players who tried to qualify at the eastern site in Worchester, Massachusetts.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (152),
Cyril Hughes (154),
Clarence Hackney 154), Charlie Hoffner
(156), and George Griffin, Sr.
(156), who was back in the Philadelphia area as the professional at the Green
Valley Country Club, were the successful qualifiers from the Philadelphia
The U.S. Open was held at the Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit in the
first week of June. For the first time steel-shafted putters were approved for
tournament play but the other clubs still had to have wooden shafts. The winner
was Cyril Walker of Englewood, New Jersey with four steady rounds of 74, 74, 74
and 75 for 297. Bobby Jones finished second at 300 and Bill Mehlhorn was
next at 301. Walter Hagen, Bobby Cruickshank and Macdonald Smith tied for fourth
with 303s. Clarence Hackney (309) tied for
13th and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (315)
tied for 22nd. Charlie Hoffner
and Cyril Hughes tied for 40th at
323. George Griffin, Sr. withdrew after the
third round. First prize was $500.
Three days after the U.S. Open concluded on the first Saturday of June,
Oakmont Country Club hosted the Pennsylvania Open. The tournament had been
extended from 36 to 72 holes and the entry fee had been increased to $10. First
prize had grown from $200 to $500 and the total purse was $960. Emmet French
beat out Jock Hutchison (307) who was now in Chicago and Oakmont’s
professional Charles Rowe (307) by three strokes. French’s rounds were
78, 77, 74 and 75 for a total of 304. Peter O’Hara finished fourth at 309.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr., still living in
the Philadelphia area but playing out the Rockwood Hall Golf Club in New York
finished fifth with a 310 total.
The Shawnee Open was held at the Shawnee Country Club & Buckwood Inn in mid
June, four days after the Pennsylvania Open ended. The tournament was scheduled
for 72 holes in two days but two of the pros had to play an 18-hole playoff to
determine a winner. Chicago’s Willie Macfarlane and Detroit’s Leo Diegel
were tied at the end of regulation play with nine-under-par 287 totals. That
same day they went back out for an 18-hole playoff. Diegel said to be a
great twilight player won easily with a five-under-par 69. Diegel’s tournament
rounds were 71, 73, 72 and 71. Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
finished third missing the playoff by one stroke and Mike Brady was next
with a 292. Ray Derr’s total was
one-under-par but he missed the money by one stroke, as there were only six
money places. The host professional was Willie Norton.
In the fourth week of June Walter Hagen won the
British Open for a second
time. The two-day Open championship was held at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in
Hoylake, England. Hagen (301) put together rounds of 77, 73, 74 and 77 to edge
out Ernest Whitcombe (302) by one stroke. Frank Ball and Macdonald Smith tied
for third whit 304 totals.
The Section held a pro-lady championship at the Tredyffrin Country Club on
the last Monday of June. It was reported to be the first pro-lady tournament in
the history of golf. Frank Coltart and Mrs.
Florence Vanderbeck, the 1915 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, won with a 75.
Charlie Hoffner and his partner finished second
with a 79. The teams led by Jack Campbell
and George Peters tied for third with 80s.
Thirty-five teams competed in the selected drive-alternate stroke tournament.
The entrance fee for the team was $5, which was divided into cash prizes for the
professionals and silver trophies for the ladies. After the tournament was over
and the ladies had all departed the professionals went back out and played an
18-hole sweepstakes round.
In the second week of July the Met Open was held at the Engineers Country
Club. Mike Brady put together rounds of 77, 72, 71 and 72 for a total of 292 to
take the title and the $500 first prize. Willie Macfarlane was next at 294 and
Johnny Farrell finished third with a 295. Leo Diegel and Jack Forrester
tied for fourth with 299s.
The Philadelphia Open played in mid July was reduced to one day after the
first day at the Atlantic City Country Club was rained out. The first day
started out fine and the players all completed their morning rounds. They had
lunch and started their second rounds. Joe Kirkwood,
Sr., who led by three strokes with a 72 in the morning, was on the
eighth hole when heavy rain and gale force winds hit the course. There was so
much water on the greens that some of the players were using their mashies on
the greens instead of putters. Kirkwood and
his playing partner headed for the clubhouse where they were informed that they
would be disqualified if they did not continue play. They told the GAP Committee
that they would have to disqualify the whole field as everyone had stopped play.
Only a few players played through the storm and finished the second round.
One of those was Ray Derr who
came in with an afternoon 73, which put him in the clubhouse at 152, one ahead
of the host professional Clarence Hackney.
Rather than disqualify most of the field the GAP decided to cancel all of the
play from the first day and start fresh the next day. The next day
Kirkwood who had won tournaments all over
the world grabbed the Philly Open title. Kirkwood
put together two rounds of 71 to post a two-under-par 142 that beat out
Hackney (145) by three strokes.
Kirkwood one-putted fifteen times as he posted
identical nines of 33 going out and 38 coming in each of the two rounds.
Atlantic City Country Club member Maurice Risley (147) was the low amateur as he
finished in third place, five strokes out of first and
Maurie Tallman ended up in fourth place at 152. Five pros won money.
The Section members qualified for the PGA Championship on the third Monday in
August at the Philmont Country Club’s new North Course. The host pro,
Charlie Hoffner, led the field by four
strokes with a score of 148. George Sayers
(152), Joseph Seka (153),
Ray Derr (153),
John Edmundson (154) and Frank Coltart
also advanced to the championship site. Coltart
(156) finished in a tie for sixth and had to win a nine-hole playoff
that same day over Johnny Rowe (156), now
the professional at the Aronimink Golf Club and Bala Golf Club’s professional
Bob Grant (156).
Coltart earned the last spot with a 39 in the playoff on the extra
At Asbury Park in the third week of August Clarence
Hackney became the first golfer from South Jersey to win the New
Jersey Open. He took home most of the money as he won the preliminary pro-am and
the next day he won the Open. Hackney’s
three-under-par 143 nipped George Fotheringham of the Norwood Club for
the $200 first prize, by one stroke.
Bill Mehlhorn won the Western Open at the Calumet Country Club near
Chicago in the first week of September. Mehlhorn began with a 76 and came back
the second day with a 70 to take a one-stroke lead. The next day Mehlhorn turned
in a 74 and a 73 for a 293 that won out over Al Watrous by eight strokes.
Finishing third and fourth were amateurs Chick Evans and Eddie Held with totals
of 302 and 303. Jack Burke, Leo Diegel and Al Espinosa tied for fifth at
304. First prize was $500 from a total purse of $1,500. The Calumet club hosted
all of the contestants and the press at a dinner at the conclusion of the
championship. Mehlhorn would later be the first professional at the
Brandywine Country Club when it opened in 1947.
For the first time a second qualifier was held at the site of the PGA
Championship to determine the 32 starters in the match play. The year before 64
players had been accepted from the sectional qualifying and they went directly
into the match play rounds. There had been two defaults as two professionals
failed to show up at the tournament site. The PGA staged the on site qualifying
rounds to make sure that there would be no byes in the first round. The
championship was held at the French Springs Golf Club in French Lick, Indiana
during the third week of September. Charlie
Hoffner qualified in eighth place with a 143, which was just
three strokes above the medalist Johnny Farrell’s (68-72) 140.
Ray Derr qualified in 10th
position with a 146. Hoffner lost in the
first round to Henry Ciuci 4&2 and Derr won
three matches before losing to Walter Hagen in the semifinals 8&7.
Derr won his first round match over Harry
Hampton by two-up and in the second round he defeated Bobby
Cruickshank in extra holes. After being four down with five holes to play
against Cruickshank Derr played
the last five holes in five-under-par (birdie-eagle-par-birdie-birdie) to tie
the match and then he won the match with a par on the 37th hole.
Again Derr had shown that he was
capable of some torrid streaks of golf like his last nine 31 in the 1923 Section
Championship. In the third round Derr put
out Al Espinosa 4&2 to reach the semifinals. Frank
Coltart and John Edmundson failed
to qualify. George Sayers and
Joseph Seka didn’t make the trip to French
Lick. Former Whitemarsh Valley pro Jim Barnes beat Larry
Nabholtz in the semifinal one-down and then missed a chance to win his third PGA
championship by losing for a second time to Walter Hagen in the finals. Hagen’s
margin of victory was two-up. Hagen’s prize was a check for $500 plus a gold
medal and Barnes picked up $300 along with a silver medal.
Derr won $150 for reaching the semifinals and
Hoffner won $75 for making it into the match
play. Coltart and
Edmundson each received $50 for qualifying locally and playing in the
on site qualifier. The total purse was $4,950.
The annual meeting of the PGA was held at their office on Fifth Avenue, New
York City in mid November. The Executive Committee consisting of four officers
and nine delegates representing the nine PGA Districts were present. The
President George Sargent and Secretary-Treasurer Ernest Anderson along with all
of the other officers were reelected. Jack Mackie and Stewart Gardner were the
vice-presidents at large again. There were now thirteen delegates representing
the nine Districts. Herb
Jewson represented the Philadelphia Section
and its District at the meeting. A recommendation was made to the USGA to add a
third qualifying site for the U.S. Open on the West Coast. There was also
discussion on how to make the qualifying for the PGA Championship more equitable
for the PGA members across the country. At that time the number of places that a
Section was allotted for qualifying for the PGA Championship was based on the
number of PGA members in a Section. There were now 1,000 PGA members.
Steel-shafted golf clubs were approved by the USGA for tournament play for
the coming year but they were still banned by the R&A.
1925 - More than 30 professionals attended the Section’s annual meeting on the first
Monday in February to reelect Herb Jewson
President. Dave Cuthbert was elected vice
president and Len Sheppard was reelected but
he was now the secretary as well as the treasurer.
Howard Slattery, who had moved up from assistant to head professional
in 1923 when Bob Barnett left the Tredyffrin Country Club, was appointed
chairman of the membership committee and Jewson
was chairman of the tournament committee. Former President Bob Barnett
came from Maryland to see his old friends and spoke to the delegation concerning
things that would make the association more progressive. Frank McCracken, sports
writer for the Evening Public Ledger newspaper that provided the trophy for the
Section Championship, was asked to serve on the tournament committee. A
tournament for the assistant pros with a separate division for caddy masters was
a new event on the schedule that year.
The qualifying sites for the U.S. Open were increased to three that year. The
entry fee was $5. The deadline for entries was May 1 at 6 P.M. The USGA stated
that there would be no post entries. In late May the qualifying was held at
three locations, Long Island, the Midwest, and on the Pacific Coast. There were
actually two qualifying events held in the east at the Lido Golf Club since
there were 235 players at that site. Twelve of the pros were from the
Philadelphia Section. The first day half of the field qualified for 65 spots and
the second day the other half did the same. Ties were not eliminated or played
off. On the third day the 65+ survivors from the first day played for 29 places
in the championship and the 65+ survivors from the second day played in the
afternoon for 29 places. Again ties were not eliminated. Sixty players qualified
to join thirty from the Midwest and five from the Pacific Coast along with the
defending champion. This made a starting field of 96 pros and amateurs. Only
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (151) and
Clarence Hackney (154) from the Philadelphia
Section made the grade. Macdonald Smith was the low qualifier at that site by
seven strokes with a 140.
At the U.S. Open in early June the contestants were allowed to use steel
shafts in all their clubs for the first time. It was five more years before the
R&A approved them for use in tournament play. The championship played at the
Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts ended in a tie between Willie Macfarlane
and Bobby Jones. Macfarlane won a 36-hole playoff and the U.S. Open with
75-72=147 against Jones’ 75-73=148. Macfarlane was the first player to win the
U.S. Open playing with steel shafts and he was the first to win the U.S. Open
wearing glasses. His rounds were 74, 67, 72 and 78 for a total of 291. Johnny
Farrell and Francis Quimet tied for third with 291s.
Clarence Hackney (302) finished 17th and
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (315) tied for 45th.
The Section Championship returned to the Tredyffrin Country Club and was
played in June, three days after the U.S. Open ended. A highlight of the
championship was the entry of Johnny McDermott.
Still in the mental hospital in Norristown he was playing in his first
tournament since 1915. There was only a small gallery but they were all
following McDermott. He played both rounds
but he didn’t post a score. Chevy Chase’s Bob Barnett stopped off on his
way home from playing in the U.S. Open and entered his former Section’s
championship. The former Section president and Tredyffrin professional won the
championship and possession of the Evening Public Ledger Cup for a second time.
His winning one-over-par 141 score included a 69 in the morning round that broke
the course record. In that a.m. round he had four birdies and he holed out a
mashie shot for an eagle 3 on the 14th hole. This was Barnett’s
second victory as a non-member in the Section Championship.
Jack Sawyer and
Clarence Hackney tied for second four strokes back at 145.
Frank Coltart (146) and
George Griffin, Sr. (147) finished fourth
and fifth. St. Davids Golf Club assistant Tommy
Robinson made the first hole-in-one in the young history of the
Section’s championship in his morning round. He holed his tee shot with a mashie
(# 5 iron) on the 193-yard 18th hole. Forty-two players returned a
score for the 36-holes. Howard Slattery was
the chairman of the championship and the host professional.
1925 Section Champion
Jim Barnes won the British Open during the fourth week of June at the
Prestwick, Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland. Barnes (70-77-79-74) finished
the three days with a total of 300 strokes and edged out Ted Ray (301) and
Archie Compston (301) by one stroke as they tied for second. One again Macdonald
Smith came close as he finished fourth at 303. Joe
Kirkwood, Sr. tied for 14th at 314. The Open Championship
was held over three days for the first time.
Johnny McDermott played in three more championships that summer
all in July. He entered the Philadelphia Open at the Cedarbrook Country Club and
played the first three rounds but did not complete the 72-hole event. The next
week he played all four rounds of the Shawnee Open and one week later he played
all four rounds in the Pennsylvania Open at the Merion Cricket Club. He wasn’t
in contention in any of those tournaments as his scores were in the eighties.
New York’s Johnny Farrell won out over more than 100 players in the
Philadelphia Open at Cedarbrook Country Club the first week in July. He edged
out Clarence Hackney (294) by two strokes
with an eight-over-par 292. Farrell’s rounds were 71, 75, 72 and 74.
Hackney had led the first day by two strokes
with the aid of a morning round of 70, two-under-par. After winning the
tournament in 1923 Hackney was now the
runner up for the second straight year. Leo Diegel, playing out of New
York finished third at 297 and Willie Klein was next with a 299. First prize was
$350 and there were six money prizes.
One week later in the second week of July the U.S. Open titleholder Willie
Macfarlane won the Shawnee Open at the Shawnee Country Club & Buckwood Inn. In
June he had defeated Bobby Jones in a play-off to win our national open and at
Shawnee he found himself in a tie again at the end of 72 holes. Macfarlane had
also tied for first at Shawnee the year before. The two-day tournament consisted
of two eighteen-hole rounds on the first day and another 36-holes the next day.
On the second day Macfarlane shot two 70s to go with his first day’s 70 and 73
for a tournament record of 283 and an apparent victory, but Willie Klein played
the last nine in 29 strokes to tie him. The committee decided to have an
immediate play-off that day and the two professionals teed off for another 18
holes, which Macfarlane won with a 71 against Klein’s 75. Johnny Farrell
finished third with a 285. Next came Clarence Hackney,
who led the Philadelphia Section pros by finishing fourth at 287.
There were 125 entries and the host professional was
The Shawnee Open ended on Tuesday and the Met Open began on Thursday at the
Grassy Sprain Golf Club. With a last round of 71 Gene Sarazen added the Met Open
to his U.S. Open and PGA titles. His earlier rounds of 73, 73 and 78 gave him a
295 total. None of the next eight finishers bettered 75 in the last round. Joe
Turnesa finished second at 296. The defending champion Mike Brady and Tom
Kerrigan tied for third with 297s.
The next week at the Pennsylvania Open on Merion Cricket Club’s East Course,
New York’s Joe Turnesa won going away with an eleven-over-par 291. Turnesa’s
rounds were 76, 71, 68 and 78. The last round was played in a rainstorm that
flooded the fairways. First prize was $500. Eight strokes back in second place
was amateur Woody Platt (299). Emmet French, who had worked in the
locker-room and as an assistant pro at Merion as a young man finished third with
a 306 and took the $250 second place check back to Ohio. Another out-of-town
professional, Bob Barnett, tied for fourth with
Bill Leach at 308 and they each won $75.
Bill Leach led the qualifying for the PGA Championship on the last
Monday in July at the Philmont Country Club’s North Course. He posted rounds of
73-74=147 to lead the field by four strokes. George
Griffin, Sr. finished second with a 151 and
John Edmundson was next at 154. Charlie
Hoffner and Lew Goldbeck also
passed the test for the opportunity to play in Chicago with 156s. The number of
qualifying spots that a Section was allotted was based on the number of dues
paying members a Section had on July 1 of that year.
On the second Monday in August the first Philadelphia Section assistant pro
championship was held. The Springhaven Club hosted the assistants at the
Ashbourne Country Club assistant Joe Brennan
nipped Cobbs Creek Golf Club assistant Joe Coble
(148) by one stroke. Brennan posted a
72 and a 75 for a five over par 147. Schuylkill Country Club assistant
Henry Moyer was next with a 150 and Philmont
Country Club assistant John Murphy finished
fourth at 151.
On the second Monday in August the first Philadelphia Section assistant pro
championship was held. The Springhaven Club hosted the assistants at the
Ashbourne Country Club assistant Joe Brennan
nipped Cobbs Creek Golf Club assistant Joe Coble
(148) by one stroke. Brennan posted a
72 and a 75 for a five over par 147. Schuylkill Country Club assistant
Henry Moyer was next with a 150 and Philmont
Country Club assistant John Murphy finished
fourth at 151.
In the second week of August Macdonald Smith won the Western Open for a
second time. The tournament was played at the Youngstown Country Club in Ohio.
There were 251 entries. The host professional was Philadelphia’s Emmett
French and the course measured 6,577 yards. Smith had rounds of 70, 71, 71
and 69 for a seven under par 281. He finished six strokes ahead of five
professionals, French, Leo Diegel, Walter Hagen, Johnny Farrell and
Bill Mehlhorn, who all tied for second at 287.
Berkshire Country Club hosted 57 pros and amateurs at the Central
Pennsylvania Open on the first Wednesday of September.
Ted Weisser (148), the professional at the Williamsport Country Club,
put together two rounds of 74 to nose out three other professionals by two
strokes. George Griffin, Sr., Jim Edmundson, Sr.
and North Jersey’s Danny Williams tied for second with 150s. There were
five money places plus a prize for the low morning and afternoon rounds.
In late September the PGA Championship was held at the Olympia Fields Country
Club near Chicago. Olympia Fields had four full sized golf courses. Two of the
courses were used for the qualifying that trimmed the starting field from 64 to
32 for the match play rounds. Bill Leach
(149), Charlie Hoffner (150) and
George Griffin, Sr. (154) made it through
the 36-hole on site qualifying test. The medalist was Al Watrous with a (70-70)
140. Lew Goldbeck and
failed to qualify. The three Section members all lost in the first round as
Walter Hagen won his second national PGA title in a row. All the matches were 36
holes. Leach lost to Bobby Cruickshank 4&3,
Hoffner lost to Danny Williams 4&3 and
Griffin lost to Tommy Armour 3&1. Hagen
defeated Harry Cooper 3&1 in the semi-finals and then in the finals he beat
Bill Mehlhorn 6&5 for the title. Mehlhorn beat Mortie Dutra in the
semifinals 8&6. The purse was $6,330 and the entry fee was $5.
In mid November the PGA of America’s annual meeting was held at their
headquarters on Fifth Avenue in New York again. President George Sargent and
Secretary-Treasurer Ernest Anderson were reelected. Vice Presidents Jack Mackie
and Stewart Gardner were also reelected. There were now 16 delegates
representing the Districts. As a vice president at large
Dave Cuthbert represented the Philadelphia Section and its
District at the meeting. The delegates voted to charge an entry fee for the
first time to all the professionals trying to qualify for the PGA Championship
the next year. This was done in order to double the purse for their
championship, which would make first prize $1,000 and a total purse of more than
$10,000. The entry fee of $5 assured that these numbers could be attained. That
made it the financial equal of other big tournaments at that time. They also
voted to invite several foreign professionals for the first time.
The Section’s annual meeting and election of officers was held at the Green’s
Hotel in Philadelphia on the third Wednesday of December.
Dave Cuthbert presided over the meeting as President
Herb Jewson was unable to attend due to
illness. A benevolent fund for the benefit of their members was of great
interest to the Section. The members voted to send twenty-five percent of all
entrance fees from their Section tournaments to the benevolent fund of the PGA
of America. Also it was decided to send a check for $200 from their current
funds to the PGA’s benevolent fund in appreciation of the aid that had been
extended to some of the local professionals. A decision was made to hold
tournaments on almost every Monday during the golf season.
Bill Schuebel, who conducted most of the tournaments and kept the
scoreboards, received a vote of thanks and a trophy from the
professionals. President Jewson and the
other officers, Vice President Cuthbert and
the Secretary-Treasurer Len Sheppard, were
reelected for the next year.
1926 - Roxborough Country Club’s lease had run out and the decision was made to move
from Philadelphia to Ridge Pike in Lafayette Hill. Herb
Jewson, the golf professional and green superintendent, was
given the task of designing a new course and overseeing the construction, which
was done without hiring any outside contractors. The name was later changed to
Eagle Lodge Country Club. The course was redesigned again in 1982 and the
Section Championship was played there for several years. In 2003 the course was
redesigned again and reopened as the Ace Club.
The Section’s spring meeting was on the second
Monday of April. The main topic was a team match scheduled for May against a
team of Baltimore professionals. The tournament committee of
Len Sheppard, John Edmundson and
Howard Slattery would be selecting the team.
In early May nine Philadelphia Section professionals were at the Rolling Road
Country Club in Baltimore for the match against the pros from that region. The
scoring format was the Nashua system of scoring with a point for each nine and
one point for the 18-hole match. Dave Cuthbert
was the captain. The other team members were
Charlie Hoffner, George Griffin, Sr., Johnny Rowe, Johnny Schuebel
the professional at the Lu Lu Country Club, Jack
Campbell, Howard Slattery and the brothers
Jim and John Edmundson. In the
morning they played nine singles matches and in the afternoon they played
four-ball matches. Because there were nine pros on each team
Slattery and Duncan Cuthbert played a
singles match in the afternoon as well as the morning. Duncan Cuthbert
was a former pro at the Riverton Country Club and brother of
Dave. In the morning the Philadelphia pros
won 15 ˝ of the 27 points and in the afternoon they didn’t win any of the
better-ball matches but they managed to pick up 6 ˝ points, which was just
enough for the visiting team to win by a score of 22 to 20.
Slattery defeated Duncan Cuthbert
twice, winning all six points, which made the difference in winning or losing.
1926 Section Champion
Jack Campbell was nearing the end of his playing career when he
entered the Section Championship at the Ashbourne Country Club in late May.
Twenty-three years after winning the first Philadelphia Open he won his first
Section Championship. His one-day nine over par (74-75—149) total nosed out
Jim Edmundson, Sr. (150) by one stroke for
the Evening Public Ledger Cup. One stroke further back in third place was
Leo Shea (151) the Riverton Country Club
professional. Howard Slattery and
Frank Coltart tied for fourth with 152s.
There were six money prizes and first place was worth $100. The Section’s vice
president and tournament chairman, Dave Cuthbert
was the host professional.
In the third week of June an American team of professionals was soundly
defeated by a team of British professionals at the Wentworth Golf Club in
England. Five scotch foursomes matches were played the first day and there were
ten singles matches the next day. All matches were 36 holes. The final tally was
13 ˝ for the British and 1 ˝ for the visitors.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
along with former Section members Emmet French and Jim Barnes who
were working in the Philadelphia area when the PGA was founded in 1916 were
members of the team. The other members of the American team were Walter Hagen,
Fred McLeod, Tommy Armour, Bill Mehlhorn, Cyril Walker, Al Watrous
and Joe Stein. Mehlhorn was the only one who won a match and French
got a half. Samuel Ryder, a wealthy English seed merchant sponsored the
matches, but they weren’t counted as official Ryder Cup matches even though the
New York Times called them the Ryder Cup matches.
The British Open was held in the third week of June at Lancashire, England.
Bobby Jones, who was in his prime years won the Open for the first time and
became the first amateur to win since Harold Hilton in 1897. Jones turned in
four steady rounds of 72, 72, 73 and 74 at the Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s Golf
Club. His 291 total won by two strokes over another American, Al Watrous (293).
Americans took the first four prizes as Walter Hagen and amateur George Von Elm
tied for third at 295. Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
tied for 24th at 310.
Qualifying for the U.S. Open was expanded from three sites to seventeen and
this proved to be popular, as there was a record entry of 694 pros and amateurs.
Merion Cricket Club’s East Course hosted 60 pros and amateurs for the
Philadelphia qualifying event in mid June. Philadelphia was allotted ten spots
and the Section’s pros won four of them. The other six places were won by pros
from outside the Section and amateurs. Bob Barnett came back from Chevy
Chase to lead the scoring with a 75 and a 77 for 152 which was twelve over par.
Joe Brennan and a former National Amateur
champion from the Merion Cricket Club, Max Marston, where second with 154s. The
other Section members who qualified were Bill Leach
(156), Susquehanna Valley Country Club professional
W.R. Dickinson (156) and Lew Goldbeck
(156), now the head professional at the Bala Golf Club.
Brennan had the low round of the day, a 74.
Clarence Hackney was exempt from qualifying
because he had finished in the top 30 the year before.
The U.S. Open was held in the second week of July at the Scioto Country Club
in Columbus, Ohio. There were 147 starters and the field was cut to the low 60
and ties for the final 36-holes. Four Philadelphia Section professionals
survived the cut. Bobby Jones won by one stroke over Joe Turnesa with rounds of
70, 79, 71 and 73 for 293. Leo Diegel, Bill Mehlhorn, Johnny Farrell and
Gene Sarazen tied for third with 297s. Clarence Hackney
led the Section pros as he finished 22nd with a score of 308.
Bill Leach (312),
Lew Goldbeck (316) and Joe Brennan
(321) finished 32nd, 43rd, and 55th respectively.
W.R. Dickinson missed the cut. The
entry fee was $5.
Three days after the U.S. Open ended in Ohio another professional field of
national importance was teeing off in the Shawnee Open at the Shawnee Country
Club & Buckwood Inn. Most of the leading pros that had been at Scioto were
entered at Shawnee. Johnny Farrell won his second Shawnee Open and the $500
first prize by one stroke with rounds of 71, 69, 76 and 73 for a two-day score
of 289. Bobby Cruickshank, playing out of New York and Chicago’s Bob MacDonald
tied for second just one stroke off the winning pace. Bill Mehlhorn
finished fourth at 291. Bill Leach led the
Section professionals tying for eighth with a score of 300. The host
professional was Willie Norton.
Due to poor scheduling the Pennsylvania Open was played at the same time as
the Shawnee Open. Maybe because it was closer to Columbus, Ohio than Shawnee
there were some pros there that had been in the money at the U.S. Open but there
weren’t any pros from the Philadelphia Section entered. A Pittsburgh
professional, Johnny Rogers, won with a 289 total. Rogers tacked on a 72 and a
73 to his first day 144 score. The last round was played in a driving rain but
the four leaders all posted scores in the low 70s. Leo Diegel (292),
playing out of New York and Chicago’s Jock Hutchison (292) tied for
second three strokes back. Charles Rowe finished fourth with a 299 total.
Two days after the Shawnee Open ended the three-day Met Open was played at
the Salisbury Country Club’s No. 3 Course. The tournament ended in a tie between
Macdonald Smith and Gene Sarazen at 286. Smith’s rounds were 67, 73, 74, 72 and
Sarazen’s were 73, 70, 68 and 75. Smith and Sarazen met in an 18-hole playoff
the next day, which ended in a tie as they posted 70s. They went out in the
afternoon for another 18-holes and came back tied again, this time with 72s. Six
days later it was finally settled when Smith shot an amazing seven under par 66
against a 70 for Sarazen. First prize was $500 and a gold medal. Johnny Farrell
finished third with a 288 and Bill Mehlhorn was next at 289. The host
professional was Jack Hagen, who had been the professional at the
Philadelphia Country Club from 1903 to 1905.
The Eastern Open was next on the tournament schedule in the third week of
July. The tournament began two days after regulation play ended at the Met Open.
The Eastern Open was being played in the Philadelphia Section for the first
time. The pros didn’t have to leave the Buckwood Inn at Shawnee as the nearby
Wolf Hollow Golf Club hosted the event. The club, later called Water Gap Country
Club, put up $2,000 in prize money. On the first day of the two-day event Walter
Hagen broke the course record of 70 in both rounds as he completed the first
day’s rounds in 132 strokes. During the second round he had seven consecutive
birdies. His 12 under-par score, considered to be a world’s record, led the rest
of the field by nine strokes. The second day Hagen just missed tying the world’s
72-hole record of 274 set in 1922 by former Section member Emmet French
in the Ohio Open. Hagen’s four round score of 67, 65, 74 and 69 for a 275 was
nine strokes better than the four-under-par total of Johnny Farrell (284) who
finished second. At that time it was the lowest 72-hole score ever recorded over
a course longer than 6,500-yards. Bill Mehlhorn finished third at
289 and Maurice McCarthy was next with a 295. Joe
Brennan led the Section pros finishing 8th with a 302
total, one stroke ahead of Clarence Hackney
(303) who tied for ninth. Felix Serafin
(306) finished 11th and Charlie Hoffner
(310) ended up alone in 13th place. The host professional was
Two days after the Eastern Open ended the two-day Philadelphia Open was held
on the Philmont Country Club’s North Course. Emmet French now in Southern
Pines, North Carolina, returned to his hometown and captured his second
Philadelphia Open title with rounds of 71, 75, 76 and 70 for a 12-over-par 292.
The 70 was a course record. Huntingdon Valley Country Club amateur, Clark
Corkran (295), finished second and another Philadelphia boy, Jack Burke Sr.
(301) now in Houston, came in six strokes further back and won the second place
money by one stroke over George Griffin, Sr.
(302). French picked up a $350 check for winning the tournament
plus two more $25 checks for having the low round each day and another $50 for
setting a new course record. There were six money spots.
In the second week of August Clarence Hackney
won his third consecutive New Jersey Open at the Montclair Golf Club. He
defeated Shackamaxon Golf & Country Club’s Danny Williams in an 18-hole playoff.
They had been tied after 36-holes with 146 totals as
Hackney finished par-birdie-par to force a playoff.
Hackney’s rounds were 76 and 70. In the playoff
Hackney posted a 77 against Williams’ 78.
The committee wanted them to play an 18-hole playoff that same day but the two
pros said they were too tired having already played 36-holes that day. They were
granted a reprieve until 11 AM the next day. Johnny Golden and Joe Dante tied
for third with 150s.
Walter Hagen won his third Western Open was in Indianapolis at the Highland
Golf Club in the fourth week of August. There were 250 entries and due to very
difficult pin placements in the back of the sloping greens some players didn’t
complete their rounds the first day. The second day the cups were cut in the
middle of the greens to help the pace of play. The field was then cut to the low
60 and ties. Hagen opened up with a 75 and followed it up with rounds of 68, 66
and 70 for 279. He finished nine strokes in front of Gene Sarazen and Harry
Cooper who also shot a 66 in the third round. Jock Hutchison finished
fourth at 290.
Qualifying for the PGA Championship was at the Torresdale-Frankford Country
Club on the fourth Monday in August. The Section’s pros only had four places to
play for. The Sections has been allotted one spot for every 17 PGA members. The
president of Torresdale-Frankford put up money for the best score in each round.
The successful qualifiers were Bill Leach
who was the medalist with a 77 and a 74 for 151.
Charlie Hoffner, Joe Coble and
Leo Shea all posted 153s to take the other
three spots. Shea won the morning money with
a 73 and the afternoon money was divided between Leach
(74) and John Edmundson (74).
Coble was now at the Philmont Country Club
as Hoffner’s assistant.
In the third week of September Walter Hagen won his third consecutive PGA
Championship. The pros
had to play a second qualifier at the site of the championship, the Salisbury
Golf Links on Long Island. The club had five full 18-hole courses and the 6,632
yard No. 4 Links course was used for the championship. Hagen, who had not played
the course before, led the qualifying with a four under par (71-69) 140.
Bill Leach finished fourth in the qualifying
at 147 and Leo Shea also easily made it into
the 32-man match play field with a 149 that tied for ninth.
Joe Coble tied for the last spot with a 155 and
lost a six-man sudden death playoff for that spot.
Charlie Hoffner failed to qualify. Leach
won his first round match by beating Laurie Ayton 3&2 but he lost his
second round match to George Christ on the 38th hole.
Shea lost in the first round to Christ 3&2.
All matches were 36 holes. Hagen beat Johnny Farrell in the semifinals 6&5 and
then he beat Leo Diegel by 5&3 in the finals. Diegel got to the
finals by defeating Johnny Golden in the semifinals one-down. The host
professional was Jack Hagen, who had been the professional at the
Philadelphia Country Club from 1903 to 1905. He had designed all five
courses at the facility. The purse took a big jump that year to $11,100. First
prize was $1,000. Shea won $100 and
Leach won $150. Everyone that played in the
qualifying rounds received a check. The spectators were charged an admission
price of $2.20.
In mid November the national meeting was in New York at the PGA’s office at
366 Fifth Avenue, again. Alex Pirie was elected president to succeed George
Sargent. Ernest Anderson was reelected secretary-treasurer. There were now 23
PGA Sections and each Section was invited to send a delegate. Twenty-two
Sections sent representatives. The delegates decided to have three vice
presidents instead of one. The idea was to give the East, Middle West, and the
West Coast official representation as officers. The three vice presidents were
Willie Ogg (East), W.H. Way (Middle West) and Neil Christian (West Coast). There
were thirteen vice presidents at large who were also on the Executive Committee.
Herb Jewson was there for the
Philadelphia Section and as a vice president at large. The PGA Championship was
awarded to a southern city, Dallas, for the first time. The delegates were told
that the British PGA was sending a team of professionals the next summer to play
the American professionals. Samuel Ryder, who had underwritten the expenses of
the professionals for the matches, played that June, had offered a trophy
similar to the Walker Cup for the professional teams to compete for. There were
now 1,548 PGA members.
At the Section’s fall meeting Herb
Jewson was elected president for a fourth
consecutive year on the third Monday in December. The meeting was at the Green’s
Hotel in Philadelphia. After a two-year trial period the members abolished the
combined office of secretary-treasurer and there were elections held for each
office. Dave Cuthbert was elected vice
president for a third consecutive year, Len Sheppard
was elected treasurer again and Leo Shea
was elected secretary. It was decided to again stage the pro-am and the
pro-lady championships. The plans were to have a larger than ever tournament
schedule the next year. Several members suggested changing the Section
Championship to match play from the present stroke play format. The reason given
for this was that their national championship was played at match play so the
Section Championship should be played with the same format.
1927 - In late May the Section Championship was played at the par 72
Concord Country Club, formerly known as the Brinton Lake Club. With the help of
a hole-in-one and a course record 71 in the morning round
Joe Coble won the championship and possession of the Evening
Public Ledger Cup. Coble’s afternoon score
was 77, which gave him a 148 total. Coble,
now the head professional at the Philmont Country Club, had won the U.S. Public
Links Amateur Championship in 1924 playing out of Cobbs Creek.
Bill Leach finished second two shots back
with a six over par 150. Leo Shea and
Alex Tait, the professional at the
Wilmington Country Club, tied for third with 154s. Concord added money to the
purse and provided a free lunch for the 40 entries and all visitors. Ten
professionals finished in the money. The host professional was
1927 Section Champion
The Met Open was played in
the fourth week of May at the Wykagyl Country Club. Johnny Farrell won by one
stroke over Bobby Cruickshank (297) with rounds of 75, 72, 73 and 76 for a score
of 296. Mike Brady (304) finished third one stroke in front of Leo Diegel
(305) and Billy Burke (305).
Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts hosted the first official Ryder Cup
match on June 3rd and 4th. Captained by Walter Hagen, and
with the help of Leo Diegel, the Americans won by a wide margin.
Diegel would later be a Section member. On the second day of the matches
Diegel defeated Ted Ray, the British captain, by the count of
7&5 in the singles match. The final tally was 9 ˝ for the American team and 2 ˝
for the team from Great Britain.
Won twice on the PGA Tour
Philmont Country Club hosted the qualifying for the U.S. Open on the first
Monday in June. There were only two less entries (58) than the previous year but
there were only seven spots, three less than the year before. Philadelphia
Section pros won five of the spots. Berkshire Country Club head professional
Al Heron led by four strokes with a 74 and a
72 for 146. Charlie Hoffner, who had left
Philmont in early May to become the professional at the new Ocean City Golf Club
in New Jersey finished second at 150. Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
(153), Bill Leach (154) and
Wyoming Valley Country Club assistant professional
Felix Serafin (154) also qualified.
Clarence Hackney and his assistant
Harry Hampton were exempt because they had
finished in the top 30 in the U.S. Open the previous year.
The British Open and the U.S. Open were held at almost the same time as the
British began one day ahead of our Open. The tournament was held at the Royal &
Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, Scotland in the middle of June. Bobby Jones
defended his title as he won for the second straight year. Jones’ (68-72-73-72)
285 score won by six strokes over Aubrey Boomer (291) and Fred Robson (291), who
tied for second. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (293) and
Ernest Whitcombe (293) tied for fourth.
Tommy Armour won the U.S. Open at the Oakmont Country Club, which began in
mid June, one day after the start of the British Open. After tying Harry Cooper
with a score of 301 Armour won the title in an 18-hole playoff with a 76 against
Cooper’s 79. Armour’s rounds were 78, 71, 76 and 76 for 301. Gene Sarazen (302)
finished one stroke back in third place and Emmett French was fourth with
a 304 total. Harry Hampton, who worked in
the Section only that one year, tied for seventh setting the pace for the
Section’s professionals at (308). Charlie Hoffner
(323) finished 48th. First prize was $500 and Armour received an
extra $200 for the playoff. Felix Serafin
made the cut right on the number with a 163 but was disqualified when he was
late for his starting time the next day. Clarence
Hackney, Bill Leach and Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
missed the cut. Al Heron withdrew after
The annual Shawnee Open began four days after the U.S. Open and drew another
strong field of 130 entries from all over the United States. Johnny Farrell, the
winner, led from start to finish. He turned in a tournament record 68-70, the
first day. He followed that up the next day with 72 and a 69 and he took home
the $500 first prize as his 279 total gave him a ten-stroke victory. Willie
Macfarlane (289) edged out Bill Mehlhorn (290) by one stroke for the
second money. Bobby Cruickshank finished fourth with a 291.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. finished one stroke out of
the money as he tied for seventh with a 296 and Charlie
Hoffner tied for tenth at 297. Tommy Armour, the new U.S. Open
champion, finished well out of the money. The host professional was
Two days after the Shawnee Open the pros were at the Wolf Hollow Golf Club
for the Eastern Open. Johnny Farrell came home a winner again with a 287 total.
Farrell’s rounds were 70, 75, 73 and 69. Willie Macfarlane (291) ended up in
second place four strokes back and the defending champion Walter Hagen tied
Leo Diegel for third at 292. The low Section member was
Charlie Hoffner who tied for sixth with a
297 total. Clarence Hackney tied for 11th
at 301. The host professional was George Haak.
In mid July Johnny Farrell won the Pennsylvania Open with a thirteen over par
total of 293. Farrell’s rounds were 73, 74, 70 and 76. The tournament was held
at the Philmont Country Club’s North Course.
Bill Leach, Charlie Hoffner and
Emmett French, now in Southern Pines, North Carolina, tied for second one
stroke back with 294s. The last round was played in the rain and no one shot
better than 73. Leach led after the second
and third rounds but a last round 78 ended his chance to win his first major
tournament on the local level.
Two days later Johnny Farrell won the Philadelphia Open at the newly opened
Rolling Green Golf Club. Farrell had now won his seventh tournament in five
weeks and four were in Pennsylvania. Farrell’s rounds were 79, 74, 68 and 75 for
a 296. New York’s Joe Turnesa (301) came in second, five strokes back.
Charlie Schneider, Rydal Country Club head
professional, and Emmett French the defending champion tied for third at
The Western Open was played at the Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago
in the second week of September. There were 270 entries and it worked because
Olympia Fields had four golf courses of which two were used. The first two days
the players took turns playing the #1 and #4 courses. After two rounds the field
was cut to the low 64 players and ties. Walter Hagen took the lead on #1 course
with a first round 70 and followed that up with a 67 on the #4 course in the
second round to take a six stroke lead. On the final day Hagen shot a 69 on #4
in the morning round to lead by nine shots and came back with a conservative 75
on #1 in the afternoon. His 281 score gave him a fourth Western Open title by
four strokes over Bill Mehlhorn (285) and Al Espinosa (285). Laurie Ayton
finished fourth at 286. Twenty players won checks.
Qualifying for the PGA Championship was held at the Philmont Country Club’s
North Course in mid September. The championship was being held in Dallas and
many of the Section members thought it was too far to travel. The Section was
only allotted four places in the tournament due to the small number of entries.
Leo Shea led by four strokes with rounds of
74 and 77 for a score of 151. Lew Goldbeck
was next at 155. The other two spots went to Joe Coble
and Jack Leach who tied with 158s.
Leach was the teaching professional at the Tavistock Country Club
where his brother Jim was the head
After missing a year the second Central Pennsylvania Open was held on the
third Monday in October. The par 76 Berkshire Country Club hosted the
tournament. Bill Leach (148) played
consistent golf with a 75 in the morning and a 73 during a rainy afternoon. That
earned him a three-stroke win over Leo Shea
(151). There was a tie for third at 152 between the host pro
Al Heron and George
When the PGA Championship was held in the first week of November only one of
the Section’s four members who had qualified six weeks earlier showed up at the
Cedar Crest Country Club in Dallas, Texas. Leo Shea,
who was the only Philadelphia Section member who had made the trip to
Dallas, failed to qualify. Joe Coble, Lew Goldbeck
and Jack Leach weren’t there. Walter
Hagen, who was exempt, led the qualifying with a (72-69) 141 even though he
didn’t play a practice round. He had played the course several years before.
From there he went on to win the title for the fourth straight year, beating Joe
Turnesa in the finals one-down. Hagen beat Al Espinosa in the semifinals on the
37th hole and Turnesa got to the finals by defeating Johnny Golden in
the semifinals 7&6. The purse took another sizable increase to $15,441. All the
matches were 36 holes.
In late November the PGA of America’s annual meeting was in Detroit after
being held in New York for many years. The meeting was held at the Detroit
Leland Hotel. Alex Pirie was reelected president. The office of
secretary-treasurer was divided into two offices. Joseph Mitchell was elected
secretary and Jack Mackie was elected treasurer. The vice presidents were Willie
Ogg, W.H. Way and J.A. Patterson. Only 17 of the 23 PGA Sections were
represented. Herb Jewson and
Dave Cuthbert were in attendance
representing the Section and its District as two of the 17 vice presidents at
large. 17 Sections were represented. A motion was made and passed that the
expenses for one delegate to the meeting would be paid by the association. There
were now 1,817 members.
1928 - Dave Cuthbert
was elected president at the annual meeting of the Section.
The meeting was at Boothby’s Café, 1235 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, on
the third Monday of January. At this Section meeting the members decided to have
a first vice president and a second vice president. The plan was that the first
vice president would be the president the next year and the second vice
president the president the year after that. Lew
Goldbeck and Jim Edmundson, Sr.
were elected first and second vice president respectively.
Herb Jewson, who had been the president, stayed on as the
secretary and Len
Sheppard served as the treasurer again. The previous year a
sweepstakes tournament had been held at all the clubs in the Section on a set
day to raise monies for the Section tournaments and was reported to be an
unqualified success. There was some heated discussion concerning the PGA of
America’s dues increase. The Section dues had been increased from $5 to $10. It
was the same for all of the PGA Sections and it was set by a vote of all the
The first African-American
member of the PGA
That year the PGA of America accepted its first African-American member,
Dewey Brown, an assistant pro at the Shawnee
Country Club & Buckwood Inn. Born in 1898 he was employed as an assistant at
Shawnee from 1917 to 1918, 1925 to 1936 and 1946. An expert club maker, he made
a set of clubs for Chick Evans, which he used to win the 1916 U.S. Open. In 1947
he purchased a nine-hole golf course, the Cedar River Golf Course in the
Adirondacks in upstate New York. The course had a lodge for guests. By that time
he had also become a Class "A" member of the Golf Course Superintendents
Association of America and was well qualified to own his own golf course. He
owned and operated the facility until 1971.
On the third Monday in May Joe Coble, the
defending champion, and Philmont Country Club hosted the Section Championship on
their North Course. The golf course was described as being waterlogged.
Clarence Hackney won his second Section
Championship and possession of the Evening Public Ledger Cup for the year. His
one-day ten over par 72-78—150 total edged Moorestown Field Club professional
George B. Smith (151) by one stroke. A
missed a three-foot putt on the last green cost the 22-year-old
Smith a tie with
Hackney. Leo Shea finished third
at 154, one stroke ahead of Charlie Hoffner
(155) and Charles Lacey (155), the
assistant at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. There were 50 entries and 12 pros
received a check. The pros decided to be paired in threes and it took all day to
complete the two rounds.
1928 Section Champion
The Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Flourtown Course hosted the U.S. Open qualifying
on the second Monday in June. For the first time, the number of entries exceeded
1,000. Bill Leach led the five
Section qualifiers with rounds of 73 and 71 for a score of 144.
Al Heron (145),
Felix Serafin (148), Lew Goldbeck
(148) and Charlie Hoffner (148) also
The next day Joe Kirkwood, Sr. led the
qualifying for the U.S. Open at the Riverside Golf Club in Chicago. The
qualifying began on Monday and finished on Tuesday. Because of the size of the
field (178) forty of the players couldn’t complete their rounds the first day.
On Tuesday Kirkwood still had three holes
left to play. He played the holes in three over par he still finished three
strokes in front of the field with a pair of 71s for 142. There were fourteen
spots in Chicago.
The British Open was played in the second week of June at Royal St. George’s,
Sandwich, England. Walter Hagen (75-73-72-72) pulled away from Gene Sarazen
(72-76-73-73) on the 36-hole last day. Hagen’s 292 was a tournament record for
that course. Sarazen finished second at 294 and nipped Archie Compston (295) who
finished third. Percy Allis (298) and Fred Robson (298) tied for fourth.
Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago hosted the U.S. Open in the third week
of June. With 18 holes to play Bill Leach
was in second place two strokes off Bobby Jones’ leading pace.
Leach shot 80 in the last round to Jones’s
77 and finished with 299. Leach ended up in
a seven-way tie for 6th, five strokes out of a tie for first. Johnny
Farrell and Bobby Jones tied for first at 294. The next day Farrell beat Bobby
Jones by one stroke in a 36-hole playoff. Farrell was around in 70-73 for 143
against Jones’ 73-71 for 144. Farrell’s tournament rounds were 77, 74, 71 and 72
for 294. With two holes to go Roland Hancock (295) had the tournament in his
grasp but he made double bogies on both holes. He missed the playoff by one
stroke and finished alone in third place. Walter Hagen and George Von Elm tied
for fourth with 296s. Felix Serafin (307)
tied for 28th and Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
(311) tied for 41st. Al Heron,
Charlie Hoffner and Lew Goldbeck
missed the cut.
Tommy Armour, playing out of Washington D.C. won the Pennsylvania Open in early
July at the Oakmont Country Club. Armour’s rounds were 71, 77, 72 and 76 for a
296 total. Pittsburgh’s Peter O’Hara (300) finished second and P.O. Hart (308)
from West Virginia came in third. Emmet French and New York’s Tony Manero
tied for fourth with 309s.
The annual Shawnee Open was played during the second week of July. Willie
Macfarlane won his second Shawnee Open with rounds of 71, 71, 78 and 71for a
three over par total of 291. He outclassed a field of 114 golfers, which
included most of the country’s top professionals. Two of the best British
professionals, Archie Compston and Aubrey Boomer were entered and made the money
list. Leo Diegel (295) finished second four strokes back and one ahead of
Billie Burke (296). Emmet French was next in fourth place at 298.
Al Heron led the scoring for the Section
members, with a 303 total, tying for tenth and last money. The host professional
was Willie Norton.
The day after the Shawnee Open the touring pros were at the Wolf Hollow Golf
Club for the two-day Eastern Open. One of Great Britain’s leading professionals,
Archie Compston, won with rounds of 72, 73, 69 and 73 for a 72-hole total of
287. Al Heron, who had a three-stroke lead
at the halfway point and shared the lead after 54 holes, finished second at 289.
Joe Turnesa (291) and Willie Macfarlane (292) finished third and fourth.
Charlie Hoffner tied for 16th with a
304. The host professional was John Queen.
In the third week of July the Met Open was played at the Shackamaxon Country
Club. Tommy Armour added the Met Open title to his U.S. Open title with rounds
of 66, 70, 71 and 71 for 278. That tied the tournament record. Johnny Farrell
finished second at 280. Leo Diegel was next with a 284 and Tony Manero
finished fourth at 291.
North Hills Country Club hosted the Philadelphia Open in mid August. For the
fifth straight year the title left the Section. This time it went to Washington
D.C. as Tommy Armour put together rounds of 75, 75, 69 and 72 for a 292. Armour
finished three strokes ahead of the runner-up Leo Diegel (295) who was
playing out of New York. Armour’s 69 in the morning round on the second day gave
him the lead in the chase for the $250 first prize. North Jersey professional
Danny Willams finished third at 296 and Bill Mehlhorn was next with a 299.
Charlie Schneider (303) shot an even par 71
in the last round to get a three-way tie for sixth place and last money. The
eight other pros that won money were from outside the Philadelphia Section.
On the next Monday qualifying for the PGA Championship was held at the
Riverton Country Club. Again the Section had been allotted only four places.
George B. Smith set the pace with a pair of
72s for a two-over-par 144. The other three Section members to make the grade
were Clarence Hackney, Linwood Country Club
head professional Pat Doyle, and
Johnny Schuebel. They all finished the day
with 149 strokes for the 36-holes.
The Western Open was played at the North Shore Country Club near Chicago in
late August. There were almost 300 entries but the two-time defending champion
wasn’t entered. One half of the field played one day and the other half played
the next day. The field was cut to the low 150 and ties for the second round and
then there was a cut to the low 64 and ties for the final round. The tournament
boiled down to a battle between the Espinosa brothers, Abe and Al, who held the
top two spots going into the final 36 holes. Abe came out on top with rounds of
74, 69, 72 and 76 for 291. Al missed a short putt on the last green and finished
third, one stroke behind Johnny Farrell who was in with a 294. Denny Shute
and Horton Smith tied for fourth with 297s. The purse was $2,000 and the top
20 pros won money.
In the first week of October the PGA Championship was held at the Five Farms
Country Club in Baltimore, Maryland. Pat Doyle
(160) was the only Section member who qualified for the 32-man match play
field. Doyle was one of three pros who were
in a sudden death playoff for the last two spots, which only went one hole. Al
Espinosa was the medalist with 70 and a 72 for 142.
George B. Smith, Clarence Hackney and John
Schuebel didn’t pass the qualifying test.
Doyle won his first round match by defeating Mortie Dutra by 6&4 to
reach the round of 16 and then he lost one-down in the second round to
Jock Hutchison. Leo Diegel stopped Walter Hagen’s win streak, beating
him in the second round, and went on to win the championship as he defeated Al
Espinosa in the finals by 6&5. In the semifinals Espinosa eliminated Horton
Smith by 6&5 and Diegel routed Gene Sarazen 9&8. All of the rounds were
36 holes and the total purse took a big drop to $10,400.
Co-winner 1918 Philadelphia Open
Leo Shea won a 36-hole tournament at the Green Valley Country Club
on the second Monday of October. With three holes to go
Shea, Bill Leach
and Joe Brennan were tied for the lead. All
but Leach faltered on the last three holes.
Leach posted rounds of 74 and 78 and his 152
total won by two strokes. Leach and
Brennan who was now the assistant at the Cobbs
Creek Golf Club, tied for second at 154. The days were getting short and
they finished as darkness was setting in.
The annual Central Pennsylvania Open was played at the Coatesville Country
Club on the third Monday in October. Coatesville’s head professional
Bill Cone, was tied for the lead after the
morning round at 75. In the afternoon he tacked on a 73 for 148.
Joe Brennan shot a one under par 71 to tie
Cone. Cone and
Brennan were paired together in the afternoon.
In an 18-hole playoff held at a later date Cone
wrapped up the title. Clarence Hackney
finished third at 149 and Charlie Schneider
was fourth with a 150.
The PGA’s national meeting was in Cleveland, Ohio at the Hollenden Hotel
during the third week of November. The officers (President Alex Pirie, Secretary
Joseph Mitchell and Treasurer Jack Mackie) were reelected. Willie Ogg, W.H. Way
and J.A. Patterson were reelected as the three vice presidents. The vice
presidents at large were George Sargent, Charles Burgess, Laurie Ayton and Jack
Patterson. Again two delegates represented the Philadelphia Section,
Dave Cuthbert and
Herb Jewson. As the PGA champion Leo Diegel could have been
the Ryder Cup captain, but he declined the position saying "I appreciate the
honor but I think Walter Hagen is a much better man for the job." The delegates
selected 12 professionals for the Ryder Cup Team from which Hagen could pick his
10-man team. Several companies had donated money to send the team to England.
Some money remained from the 1927 matches so there was now $7,700 in the kitty.
One of the final actions of the delegates at the meeting was to raise the dues
from $5 to $10 in order to hire a full time secretary. There were now 1,900 PGA
1929 - The Section’s annual meeting was at Boothby’s Café, 1235 Chestnut
Street Philadelphia, on the third Tuesday of January.
Lew Goldbeck was elected president and Jim
Edmundson, Sr. moved up to first vice president.
Leo Shea was elected second vice president
and Charlie Schneider was elected to the
combined office of secretary-treasurer. At this meeting the members decided they
needed their own constitution. They felt that the Section needed more than the
constitution of the national PGA. They also agreed to hold four meetings each
year and it was decided to combine the offices of secretary and treasurer again.
Len Sheppard, who had served the Section as
an officer for five years, stepped down from office. He had been the treasurer
from 1924 through 1928 and the secretary as well for one year.
Herb Jewson gave up the office of secretary.
He had been the president four years and secretary one-year.
Goldbeck appointed Philadelphia Cricket Club
professional Alex Duncan, chairman of the
On April 1st Ed
Dudley arrived in the Philadelphia Section
as the new professional at the Concord Country Club. A player of national
renown, he was a rookie member of the Ryder Cup team.
In late April the Ryder Cup matches were played at the Moortown Golf Club in
England as the British team took back the cup. The American professionals were
at a disadvantage as the matches were played with wooden shaft clubs. Starting
in 1925 the tournaments in the United States had been played with steel shafts.
The R&A, which governed tournament golf outside the United States and Mexico,
had still not sanctioned steel shaft clubs for tournament play.
Ed Dudley and Gene Sarazen were defeated
2&1in the foursomes play on the first day and Dudley
did not participate in the singles the second day. Leo Diegel who would
become a Section member in 1934 won his foursomes match as Al Espinosa’s partner
7&5. The next day on his thirtieth birthday Diegel won big in his singles
match (9&8 over Abe Mitchell). Ten thousand spectators saw the first day’s
matches and it took a half hour for the final match to play the last hole as 200
officials and 50 policemen tried to keep the fans under control. The next day
15,000 turned out to see the home-team win the cup by a margin of 7 to 5. Johnny
Golden, a naturalized citizen who had been born in Eastern Europe, was a member
of the first two Ryder Cup teams. From that time on the rules stated that the
team members had to be native-born citizens.
The British Open was held at Honorable Company golf club, Muirfield, Scotland,
soon after the Ryder Cup matches in the second week of May. The Americans turned
the tables on their hosts. At the finish they held eight of the top ten places.
Walter Hagen won by six strokes over Johnny Farrell (298) with rounds of 75, 67,
75 and 75 for 292. Leo Diegel (299) finished one stroke further back in
third place. Percy Alliss and Abe Mitchell tied for fourth with 300 totals.
Ed Dudley (310) tied for 18th.
George B. Smith
Section President Lew Goldbeck and Bala Golf
Club hosted the Section Championship on a cold rainy Monday in the third week of
May. The Section Championship was where the Section members paid their dues.
Bud Lewis had paid his dues at the first tee
and proceeded to tour the course in 69 strokes but when he turned in his card he
was in formed that he wasn’t eligible for the championship as he was working in
the lockerroom at the Llanerch Country Club and not the pro shop.
George B. Smith defeated nearly 50 Section
members to take home the Evening Public Ledger Cup for the first time. There
were ten money prizes and Dave Cuthbert got
a piece of that, tying for seventh, with the help of a hole-in-one in the
morning round. Smith posted a winning score
for the one-day tournament of four over par 69-73—142, but the title wasn’t his
until a long and drawn out question on the rules was settled. Bala Golf Club had
a local rule stating that the water hazard on the left side of the green on the
3rd hole was not a penalty if a tee shot ended up in the hazard. This local rule
was also in effect for the championship. The question on the rules took place
during the second and final round. Leo Shea,
who had posted a 73 in the morning round,
hit his tee shot toward the green on the third hole. After seeing his
drive land in the fairway on a line toward the green he couldn’t find the ball.
There was also "ground under repair" in front of the green that would not have
been a penalty if the ball were lost in that area. Shea
decided to play two balls, his original ball and a second ball, and get a ruling
after the round. Assuming his drive was in the hazard he took a free drop behind
the water hazard and made a four with the first ball. He then returned to the
tee and made a four with the second ball plus a penalty. As a result of this he
had a 68 with the first ball and a 69 or 70 with the second ball. He was thus
either the winner by one stroke, tied for first or the runner-up by one
stroke. After several meetings of the PGA Championship rules committee a
provisional playoff was held the next day, which Shea
won with a 72 against Smith’s 75.
The result was still not decided. Alec Duncan,
chairman of the Philadelphia Section’s tournament committee, announced before
the playoff began that the question on the rules had been sent to the United
States Golf Association. Duncan stated that
the PGA would abide by the USGA’s ruling. The result of the championship was
undecided until June 10th when the USGA made the ruling that the ball
was lost and Shea’s score on the 3rd hole
was a six as there was insufficient evidence that his ball had entered the
hazard or the "ground under repair". When it was finally settled
Jack Leach and Shea
tied for second with 143s. Fourth and fifth place money went to
Charlie Schneider at 145 and
Bill Green, the assistant at the St. Davids
Golf Club who posted a 146. There were ten money places.
1929 Section Champion
On the second Monday of June qualifying was held at 19 locations in the country
for the U.S. Open and the Torresdale-Frankford Country Club hosted the one in
Philadelphia. Section champion George B. Smith
and Baltimore’s Glen Spenser led the scoring with 153 as six of the
Section’s pros were among the eight qualifiers. Smith’s
rounds were 75 and 78. Jack Leach
tied George Griffin, Sr. for third at 154.
Philmont Country Club assistant Kean Donnelly,
Lew Goldbeck and an amateur, Washington
D.C.’s Roland McKenzie, earned the next three spots with 155s. Yardley Country
Club professional A.B. "Al" Nelson (156)
also qualified. Nelson locked up the last
spot in a playoff that lasted four holes. Bill Leach
the brother of Jack,
Ed Dudley and Felix Serafin,
now the head professional at the Country Club of Scranton, were exempt from
qualifying as a result of finishing in the top 30 the previous year.
Also on the second Monday of June Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
tied for second in the U.S. Open qualifying in Chicago with a 78 and a 71
for 149. Qualifying was held on the Olympia Fields Country Club’s No. 4 Course.
Jock Hutchison led with a 144. Fifteen players qualified in
W.R. Dickinson tied for eighth in the U.S.
Open qualifying rounds at Pittsburgh with a 161. Qualifying was held at
the Oakmont Country Club on the second Monday of June. Harry Cooper led the
field by eleven strokes with a 75 and a 68 for 143. There were twelve spots at
In New York Clarence Hackney tied for
fourth in the qualifying for the U.S. Open with rounds of 74 and 77 for a 151.
Qualifying was held at the Salisbury Country Club’s No. 3 and No. 4 courses on
the second Monday of June. There were 222 players competing for 28 places in the
Open. Willie Klein led by one stroke with a 66 and an 80 for 146. The pro at
Salisbury was Jack Hagen, who had been the professional at the
Philadelphia Country Club from 1903 to 1905.
In the third week of June Harry Cooper won the Shawnee Open. Cooper, a Ryder
Cup Team member, was playing out of Buffalo, New York. He won the two-day
72-hole tournament by four strokes over Connecticut’s Billy Burke (298), with
rounds of 74, 71, 77 and 72 for a six-over-par 294. Johnny Golden finished third
at 301. Al Heron trailed by three strokes
after 54 holes. A final round 77 cost him a chance to win but he still finished
tied for fourth with Joe Turnesa at 302. The host professional was
Bobby Jones won his third U.S. Open at the Winged Foot Golf Club in New York
at the end of June beating Al Espinosa in a 36-hole playoff. The playoff wasn’t
close as Jones put together a 72 and a 69 for 141 against 84-80=164 for
Espinosa. Jones’ tournament rounds were 69, 75, 71 and 79 for 294. Denny
Shute and Gene Sarazen tied for third at 296. Twelve Section members were in
the starting field. George B. Smith posted
four 77s for a 308 to tie for 16th. Joe
Kirkwood, Sr. (309) also finished in the money tying for 19th,
which qualified him for the 1930 U.S. Open as the low 30 and ties were invited.
Jack Leach (320) and
Bill Leach (323) made the cut but they finished out of the money.
Felix Serafin made the cut, played three
rounds and withdrew. Kean Donnelly, George Griffin,
Sr., Ed Dudley, A.B. "Al" Nelson, Clarence Hackney, Lew Goldbeck and
W.R. Dickinson missed the cut. The
purse had been increased to $5,000 up from $2,145 the year before and first
prize was $1,000.
The Pennsylvania Open was played in early July just two days after the U.S.
Open ended. Ed Dudley won his first of what
would be many championships in the Philadelphia area at the Whitemarsh Valley
Country Club on July 3rd. This was the first local event he had
entered since becoming the professional at Concord. His two-day 72-hole 293
total finished one stroke ahead of the defending champion Tommy Armour (294).
Dudley’s rounds were 67, 79, 73 and 74.
Dudley’s morning round of 67 the first day
set a course record and a Pennsylvania Open record.
Charles Lacey now the playing professional at the Pine Valley Golf
Club finished third with a 300 total. Lacey
would go on to finish 3rd in the 1937 British Open. Pittsburgh’s
Vince Eldred was next at 301. George B. Smith, Johnny
Schuebel and Tony Manero tied for fifth with 302s. There were seven
money prizes and Dudley’s first place check
was for $500.
In mid July the Butchart-Nicholls Golf Company sponsored an open tournament
at the Philadelphia Cricket Club course in Flourtown for the professionals of
the Philadelphia and Middle-Atlantic Sections. Al Heron
nosed out George B. Smith for the $300 first
place check with a pair of 72s for a two-over-par 144.
Smith needed a par on the last hole to win but he took a six and
finished one back. Even with the six on the last hole he had the low round of
the tournament, a 70, and set a new course record.
Clarence Hackney and Dan Boardman
tied for third with 148s. The total prize money was $750 and there were ten
In the third week of July Bill Mehlhorn won the Met Open at the Lido Golf
Club. Mehlhorn put together rounds of 73, 73, 74 and 68 for a 288 total to win
by three strokes over Wiffy Cox (291). Mehlhorn had won several times on the
tour but this was his first win in a major. Henry Ciuci finished third at 294.
Jim Barnes and Leo Diegel tied for fourth with298s.
Joe Brennan now the head pro at the West Chester Country Club won
the Central Pennsylvania Open on the fourth Monday of July. The host club, Galen
Hall Country Club, was 5,250 yards long and par was 66.
Brennan won with rounds of 71 and 67 for a 138 score. Only one the
92 entries equaled par in the 36-hole tournament. Ed
Dudley shot a 66 in the afternoon round but finished one stroke out
of the money. Charlie Hoffner (139) finished
one stroke back in second place and Jack Leach
(140) finished third. Joseph Seka, now the
professional at the Philmont Country Club and Bill
Leach tied for fourth with 141s. The defending champion
Bill Cone used a niblick to make a
hole-in-one on the 120-yard tenth hole. 92 professionals and amateurs were
entered and ten pros won money.
In mid August Ed
Dudley added the Philadelphia Open title to his resume at the
Merion Cricket Club’s East Course. This was the first time since 1923 that the
winner was from the Philadelphia Section. Philadelphia Country Club assistant
Clarence Ehresman led the first day with a
69 and a 74. In Ehresman’s morning round of
69 his spoon shot on the 17th hole embedded in the green. He used his
niblick to advance the ball from the buried lie and got his par.
Dudley overcame a five-stroke deficit to
George B. Smith with a last round 73 to win
the $350 first prize. Dudley’s (73, 74, 75,
73) 295 total for the two days nipped Smith
(296) and George Griffin, Sr. (296), who had
a last nine 32, by one stroke. Aronimink Golf Club professional
Joe Capello (297) started with an 81 but
then played the best golf of the field to finish fourth. The Golf Association
put up three money prizes for the Philadelphia pros in addition to the six money
places paid in the tournament. The Philadelphia Section pros took home eight of
the nine checks. The nine prizes added up to $950.
The Western Open was played at the Ozaukee Country Club near Milwaukee in the
third week of August. Again the golfers were divided up over two days for the
first round due to the large entry. After all the golfers had played one round
the field was cut to 150 and ties for the second round. Tommy Armour went wire
to wire as he opened with a 65 and was never headed. Armour followed that up
with a 71, 69 and 68 for a 273 that won by eight strokes over Horton Smith.
Armour’s seven under par 273 set a new Western Open record. Willard
Hutchison, an assistant in Chicago who would later be the professional at
the Gulph Mills Golf Club, finished third at 283. Willard Hutchison was
Ralph Hutchison’s brother. Gene Sarazen finished third with a 284.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Frank Walsh tied for
fifth at 285.
4th Section President
On the third Monday of September the Section members qualified for the PGA
Championship at the Baederwood Golf Club. Ed Dudley led the scoring with
a 72 and a 74 for 146 to grab one of the four spots.
George B. Smith finished second at 149. Baederwood put up a prize of
$25 for the golfer with the lowest score for each round, which
Dudley shared in the a.m. and the p.m.
rounds. Clarence Hackney (152) and
Dave Cuthbert (152) registered par fours on
the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat out Al
Heron (152) for the last two places in the championship.
The PGA of America’s annual meeting was held at the Ansley Hotel in Atlanta,
Georgia during the second week of November. Alex Pirie was reelected president
and Jack Pirie was elected secretary and Jack Mackie was reelected treasurer.
The vice presidents were Willie Ogg, W.H. Way, Frank Minch, Charles Hall and
John R. Inglis. The Ryder Cup Team report showed that $12,792.11 was raised to
send the team to England and the expenses had come to $13,450. The monies had
been raised from golf manufacturers, PGA Sections, amateur golf associations,
golf clubs and exhibitions played by the team members and leading amateurs
including Bobby Jones and Glenna Collett. Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and
Johnny Farrell raised the largest amount, $4,470.61 with one exhibition. Donald
Ross and Pinehurst Country Club hosted exhibitions played by Hagen, Farrell,
Horton Smith, Collett and Helen Hicks. As the decade came to an end there were
24 PGA Sections with 2,022 members. Philadelphia, the fourth largest Section,
had 138 members. The national dues were $10 and 591 members, 29 percent, were
delinquent, up from 352 the previous year. The Philadelphia Section had 40
unpaid members, which was also 29 percent. Even though there were 267 more
members than the previous year there were 124 less dues paying members. The
Sections collected the dues and the PGA President Alex Pirie urged them to drop
the members who weren’t paying their dues. Even though a large number of members
were delinquent the delegates voted to raise the dues to $50. In order for this
increase to be less burdensome the dues could be paid in three installments May
1st, July 1st, and September 1st. The dues for
the assistant professionals remained at $5. The dues increase was to be used to
hire a business administrator, three district organizers, clerical help, and
create a co-operative buying organization. Lew Goldbeck
and Charlie Schneider represented
the Philadelphia Section as delegates.
The PGA Championship was played on the West Coast for the first time in early
December. Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles hosted the championship. Fred
Morrison was the medalist by five strokes with a 71 and a 65 for 136. Three of
the four Philadelphia Section professionals who had qualified locally were there
for a second qualifying round but Clarence Hackney
didn’t appear at the first tee for his qualifying round.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr., who had been an
alternate, replaced Hackney.
Kirkwood was not the first alternate in the
qualifying at Baederwood but he was the only Philadelphia Section alternate that
was at Hillcrest waiting for the opportunity to play in the PGA. Only
Kirkwood (147) qualified for the 32-man
match play field but he lost in the first round to the medalist Fred Morrison
5&4. Ed Dudley, George B.
Smith and Dave Cuthbert failed to
qualify. Leo Diegel won the championship for the second year in a row
beating Johnny Farrell in the finals 6&4. Diegel beat Walter Hagen in the
semifinals 3&2 and Farrell defeated Al Watrous 6&5. The purse dropped again,
this time by more than 50% to $5,000. All the matches were 36 holes.
During the 1920’s many of the Philadelphia Section professionals succeeded in
finishing near the top in major tournaments. Clarence
Hackney had won the 1923 Canadian Open, Ray
Derr had made the semifinals of the 1924 PGA Championship and
Bill Leach had finished sixth in the 1928 U.S.
Open. It seemed like the competitions were preparing the pros for the national
championships as they had hoped.