A Chronicle of the
Philadelphia Section PGA and its Members
by Peter C. Trenham
November 21, 1922 to 1929
1921 The Philadelphia Section was one of 2 new PGA Sections and Bob Barnett was elected as its first president.
1922 The first Philadelphia PGA Section Championship was won by Charlie Hoffner at the Tredyffrin Country Club.
1923 Clarence Hackney won the Philadelphia Open by 13 strokes at Pine Valley and then he won the Canadian Open.
1924 Joe Kirkwood, Sr. won three PGA Tour tournaments in Texas and Ray Derr reached the semi-final of the PGA.
1925 The first Philadelphia Section assistant pro championship was held at The Springhaven Club.
1926 Atlantic City Country Club’s Clarence Hackney won his third consecutive New Jersey Open.
1927 Philmont Country Club’s Joe Coble won the Section Championship at the Concord Country Club.
1928 Overbrook Golf Club’s Bill Leach was in second place with 18 holes to play at the U.S. Open and finished sixth.
1929 Ed Dudley, a member of the Ryder Cup Team, was the new professional at the Concord Country Club
At 10 a.m. 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 as the temporary 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.
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 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 the association.
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. There was considerable discussion as to who would be eligible to play in the Section tournaments. It was decided that only PGA members could enter the Section Championship, but the other events would be open to all comers. A membership committee was appointed with Herbert Jewson chairman. Jim Edmundson, Sr. and Tony Natale were on his committee. 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, Edmundson, 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.
Back to Top
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.
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, which they referred to as the association championship. Monday June 12 was decided upon as the date with the format being stroke play. The tournament was unique, as it would be the first time that a PGA Section had held a Section championship. A minimum purse of $250 was agreed on. A portion of the money put up by the tournament sponsors was going to be spent on a dinner that evening for the contestants and any other PGA members who wished to attend. 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. Percy Sanderson, who wrote sports for the Evening Public Ledger described the cup as large enough to hold two gallons of champagne. 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. There was no entry fee. The host club put up $250 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 Bob Barnett, 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. Several golf companies chipped in to help with the prize money.
In the picture above are the professionals and some of their guests at the first Philadelphia PGA Championship. Len Sheppard, who is second from the right on the front row, wrote the names of the people pictures, 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 the front of them in the white shirt and tie. Percy Sanderson, golf writer for the Public Ledger newspaper, and his wife are in the back row on the right.
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, at which time the Section members elected officers for the coming year. Bob Barnett was elected president again. Frank Coltart was made vice president and Stanley Hern, who was back in Philadelphia from Atlanta and had opened a golf retail store called the Golf Specialty Shop, 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.
The playoff for the Section Championship was held two days later on June 14th and Charlie Hoffner became the first winner of the Philadelphia Section Championship, shooting a 77 against an 80 for Jack Campbell. Before the playoff took place the two pros had decided to split the top two prizes of $100 and $75.
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 Public Ledger.
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 put up another $200 for a dinner they hosted 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 (150) and Charlie Hoffner (150). Six other pros won money. Jack Gray, the manager of the Spalding office, gave each contestant three Spalding golf balls. First prize was $100.
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 Emmett 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 for 147. Gene Sarazen won the championship with rounds of 72, 73, 75 and 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.
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 Charlie Hoffner.
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 were formerly employed in the Philadelphia area, Emmett 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 Willie Norton.
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. Johnny Rowe, the professional at the Stenton Country Club, picked up the sixth spot with a total of 155. Jim Edmundson, Sr., Merchantville Country Club professional Matt Duffy and Philadelphia Cricket Club professional Bill Robinson took the last three spots with 156s.
A few days after qualifying for the PGA Championship, the Section was informed that there were eight spots available for their national championship, instead of the nine they thought they had. That necessitated a playoff to eliminate one person. An 18 hole playoff was scheduled for Whitemarsh Valley Country Club on the second Thursday of August. The three professionals who had tied for the last three qualifying places met in the playoff. Jim Edmundson, Sr. posted a 78 and William Robinson an 84 to capture the two spots. Matt Duffy had two bad holes on the front nine which left him too far behind to catch Robinson. As it turned out, Bill Leach didn’t make the trip to Pittsburgh, so Duffy got in as the first alternate.
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 Emmett 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 Emmett French.
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 Charlie Hoffner. 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 medal.
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.
Back to Top
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 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.
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., a winner of the 1907 and 1908 Irish Opens, 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 Dave Cuthbert (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 Edmundson’s brother John, 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.
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 Cyril Hughes (159), Walter Ward (155) the professional at the Woodbury Country Club, Charlie Hoffner (163) and Eugene McCarthy (163), the Green Valley Country Club professional.
When the championship got under Cyril 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. Jock Hutchison finished third at 302 and Jack Forester was fourth at 303. Eugene McCarthy (326) tied for 46th and Walter Ward (345) finished 61st. Charlie 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 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 LuLu 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 Willie Norton.
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&1 and 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.
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 71 and 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. Four years earlier in 1909 many of the members had left to form the Cedarbrook Country Club. Stenton Country Club closed for good at the end of the next year.
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.
Back to Top
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. George Peters was elected vice president and he served as the tournament chairman. Len Sheppard a pro-golf salesman was elected secretary and Vin O’Donnell was reelected treasurer. Peters 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 Johnny McDermott 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, who had moved to the United States the year before 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 South Jersey was part of the Philadelphia Section the tournament chairman, George Peters, decided that the Section Championship should be played there. The championship was scheduled for the second Monday in May at the Linwood Country Club. New Section member, Clarence Hackney, the professional at nearby Atlantic City Country Club, used his local knowledge to win the championship. Hackney’s (73-75) one-day six-over-par total of 148 beat out the second place finisher Morrie Talman (153) by five strokes. Jim Edmundson, Sr. (157) and Lew Goldbeck (159) finished third and fourth. Hackney was paired with George Peters. Peters seemed to be a good luck charm. In 1922 he was paired with Charlie Hoffner when he won and in 1923 he was paired with Bob Barnett when he won. Barnett did not defend his title, as his father died the night before the tournament started. 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.
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 Section.
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. Emmett 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.
The first of many Central Pennsylvania Opens was held at the Berkshire Country Club. Nearly 60 professionals and amateurs were entered in the 36-hole tournament. Par at Berkshire was 76. Morrie Talman handled the rainy day, with downpours at times, better than the rest of the field with rounds of 74 and 76. His two under par 150 was three strokes better than Michigan professional W. J. Damon (153). Ray Derr finished third at 155 and Wanamaker’s Department Store teaching professional J.E. Louden was next at 156. First prize from a total purse of $425 was $150. There were five money prizes along with a $25 prize for the low round of the day, which Derr picked up for his morning round of 72.
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 Morrie Talman 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 nine.
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 onsite 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’ 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 onsite 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.
Back to Top
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.
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 Willie Norton.
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). Emmett 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.
Clarence Hackney won his second straight New Jersey Open in the second week of August at the Shackamaxon Golf & Country Club. Hackney birdied the par four 36th hole after a niblick (# 9 iron) shot to the green from the rough. His two-over-par score of 74-72=146 edged out Jack Forrester (147) and Johnny Golden (147) by one stroke. E.M. Wild, an amateur, finished fourth at 148.
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 second Central Pennsylvania Open on the first Wednesday of September. Par was 76. 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. First prize from a total purse of $400 was $150 and it was paid out in gold coins. Weisser also received a gold medal for his victory.
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 John Edmundson 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.
Back to Top
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 LuLu 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 ½ 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 ½ 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.
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 ½ for the British and 1 ½ for the visitors. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. along with former Section members Emmett 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 Emmett 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 John Queen.
Two days after the Eastern Open ended the two-day Philadelphia Open was held on the Philmont Country Club’s North Course. Emmett 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.
The Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the Marble Hall Golf Club on the fourth Friday of August. Joe Brennan was the winner for a second straight year. Brennan put together rounds of 77 and 76 for a 153 total that won by six strokes. Joe Coble was second with a 159. LuLu Country Club assistant Al Zender (164) finished third and Llanerch Country Club assistant Bud Lewis (165) finished fourth. The difficulty of the greens played a part in the high scores. The total purse was $155 and the top five shared the prize money. For having the low morning round and the low afternoon round Brennan picked up two additional checks for $10 each.
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.-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.
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 the purse and provided a free lunch for the 40 entries and all visitors. Ten professionals finished in the money. The host professional was Bill Schuebel.
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 ½ for the American team and 2 ½ for the team from Great Britain.
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 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 one round.
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 Willie Norton.
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 303.
The Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club on the third Monday of August. Llanerch Country Club assistant Marty Lyons and Philadelphia Country Club assistant Clarence Ehresman ended up in a tie with 36 hole totals of 150. Lyons’ rounds were 73 and 77, while Ehresman turned in back to back 75s. An 18 hole playoff was scheduled for that next Sunday. Cobb’s Creek Golf Club assistant Danny Horgan and Jack Leach tied for third at 156. Leach was the teaching professional at the Tavistock Country Club where his brother Jim was the head professional.
On Sunday Marty Lyons won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club. He turned in an 80 against an 86 for Clarence Ehresman.
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.
After missing a year the third 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 cold 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 Griffin, Sr.
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.
Back to Top
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 Sections.
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 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. 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.
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 qualified.
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. Emmett 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 71 for 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). Emmett 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.
The Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was held at the new Valley Forge Golf Club on fourth Monday of September. When all of the 36 hole scores were turned in there was a three way tie for the title. Al Zender (74-81), Jack Leach (78-77) and Huntingdon Valley Country Club assistant Bert McDougall (80-75) and were in with 155s. An 18 hole playoff would be played at a later date. Paxon Hollow Golf Club assistant Ted Beadle, Danny Horgan and Joe Brennan tied for fourth at 158.
The playoff for the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was held at the Valley Forge Golf Club on the first Monday of October. Al Zender, Jack Leach and Bert McDougall played 18 holes. At the end the round Leach and McDougall were tied with 81s. With one hole to play, Zender held a one stroke lead over both of his opponents, but a triple bogey seven on the last hole made his final score an 83. A nine hole playoff was then held to determine a winner. In the nine holes every hole was halved except the seventh, where McDougall chipped in for a birdie four. McDougall, who had just arrived in the United States from Scotland earlier in the year to work at Huntingdon Valley Country Club, was the assistant champion.
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.
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 Shea faltered on the last three holes. Shea 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 members.
Back to Top
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 tournament committee.
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.
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 informed that he wasn’t eligible for the championship as he was working in the locker-room 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 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. 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.
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 Chicago.
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 Pittsburgh.
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 Willie Norton.
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 money places.
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 with 298s.
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. 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 was a brother of Ralph Hutchison who was an assistant to Ed Dudley at the Concord Country Club. Gene Sarazen finished third with a 284. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Frank Walsh tied for fifth at 285.
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.
Jack Leach won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship on the fourth Monday of September. Leach posted two steady rounds of 74 and 73 at the Marble Hall Golf Club. His 147 total won by five strokes over Torresdale Frankford Country Club assistant John W. Campbell (152) and Bill Green (152). Al Zender (155) and Huntingdon Valley Country Club assistant Jock MacKenzie (155) tied for fourth.
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. Along with a check Diegel received a gold medal. 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.