The Philadelphia PGA Championship was won twice by someone not a member of the Section.

The Philadelphia PGA Championship was won twice by someone not a member of the Section.

When the Philadelphia PGA was officially formed on December 2, 1921, Bob Barnett was elected president. He was 25 years old. In June 1922 he hosted their first Section Championship at the Tredyffrin Country Club in Paoli, Pennsylvania. That evening Barnett was reelected president.

In March 1923, Barnett left Philadelphia to be the professional at the Chevy Chase Club in Maryland. The Philadelphia Section members wanted the popular Barnett to continue as their president, but he said he could not run the Philadelphia Section from Maryland.

In 1925 Barnett was a founder of the Middle Atlantic PGA. He was its second president in 1926 and 1927 and was president again in 1933. He was also the Middle Atlantic’s Section champion in 1929. As the professional at Chevy Chase he gave golf lessons to Presidents W. Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding.

In 1930 the Indian Creek Country Club in Miami hired Barnett as their golf professional. He was now the professional at Chevy Chase in the summer months and Indian Creek in the winter. As the professional at those two clubs he had several assistants who went on to prominence in golf. Max Elbin, president of the PGA of America 1966-68, and Bill Strausbaugh were with him at Indian Creek. Strausbaugh went on to be one of the countries’ leading golf instructors and a PGA of America award is named for him, for his lifelong endeavor to assist golf facilities in finding the right head professional.

Lew Worsham worked for Barnett at Chevy Chase. During Worsham’s employment at Chevy Chase, Barnett made Lew practice every day and he paid all of Worsham’s tournament entry fees. Worsham won the 1947 U.S. Open along with 5 other victories on the PGA Tour.

In 1923 the Philadelphia Section’s second championship was played at the Stenton Country Club. Barnett, who was no longer a member of the Philadelphia PGA, was invited to play in the tournament, which he won. With all of southern New Jersey now being in the Philadelphia PGA, the Section’s 1924 championship was at the Linwood Country Club. Barnett was on hand to defend his title, but had to withdraw due to the death of his father on the eve of the tournament. The 1925 Section Championship was back at Tredyffrin and Barnett won the tournament for a second time. In 1926 he was in the starting field for the championship at Ashbourne Country Club, but failed to defend his title, finishing eighth. 

Barnett represented Middle Atlantic PGA for three years on the board of the PGA of America and is a member of the Middle Atlantic PGA Hall of Fame.

One thought on “The Philadelphia PGA Championship was won twice by someone not a member of the Section.

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  1. Pete; thanks for your articles. It helps me keep up on the local golf. The clubs are asking Governor Wolf to let them open for golf. You can tell that the Governor is not a golfer. What a plus this would be for the Pa., golfers.


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