Ben Hogan


Ben Hogan grew up in the caddy yard and used to have to shag balls for the older caddies because he could not match their distance with his cross-handed grip. Pro Ted Longworth saw something in Hogan that was unmatched by the others, and in 1926 Longworth began to help Hogan. The lessons began with a grip change. Hogan would go on to win 62 tournaments, nine of those major championships, including four U.S. Opens.

Hogan, already one of the dominant players in the game was nearly killed in a 1949 car crash. Some said he would never walk again but Hogan came back to win the 1950 U.S. Open and many more tournaments, to boot. He established his own club manufacturing company in 1953. The Ben Hogan Company was also involved with starting professional golf’s second tour, The Ben Hogan Tour, now known as The Nationwide Tour, a proving ground for the future PGA tour pros.

Birthplace: Dublin, Texas

Born: August 13, 1912

Died: July 25, 1997

Byron Nelson


Byron Nelson’s first exposure to golf was a caddie job at the old Glen Garden course in Fort Worth. He later worked as a clerk at the Fort Worth and Denver railroad and turned pro in 1932 for the Texarkana Open. Nelson earned a lasting place in the record books as he posted 11 consecutive victories in 1945.

Jack Burk’s streak of four straight wins in 1952 is the closest any pro has come to Lord Byron’s magnificent victory string. Nelson’s streak started with the Miami Four-Ball in March of 1945 and ended at the Canadian Open in August. In between, Nelson won nine events. Nelson posted 18 victories that year and 54 during his illustrious career. Nelson average 68.33 in 1945 but did not win the Vardon Trophy because it was not awarded due to WWII. He did, however, win the Vardon in 1939, the same year he won the U.S. Open. Nelson also won the 1940 and 1945 PGA Championship and the Masters in 1937 and 1942. He was Ryder cup team member in 1937, 1939, and 1941. He was also a member of the PGA Hall of Fame.

Birthplace: Waxahachie, Texas

Born: February 4, 1912

Died: September 26, 2006

David "Spec" Goldman


David “Spec” Goldman won his first tournament in 1927, as the representative of Dallas’ Oak Grove GC in the city’s Publinx Championship. He defeated Texas Golf Hall of Famers –to–be Gus Moreland, who finished second, by seven shots, and Ralph Guldahl by an even wider margin. Moreland was the Stevens Park rep and Guldahl carried the Tension Park banner. When Goldman won the Brookhaven Seniors title in Dallas he became a champion in each of seven decades from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. In addition, Spec won three Super seniors events (for players 65-and-up), the last in 1979.

During a remarkable career, Spec competed in Mexico, Canada, England, Scotland and France, but he counts winning the 1955 Texas Amateur Championship as his favorite because he was an “old man” competing again the “flat bellies.” Coincidentally, one of those flat bellies, David Goldman Jr., succeeded his father as champion in 1956. Goldman played on two World Seniors Teams; one in 1967 and one in 1969-the same year he won the Western Seniors Amateur title.

Birthplace: Dallas, Texas

Born: May 31, 1909

Died: December 15, 2001

Hardy Loudermilk


Hardy Loudermilk was 30 years old when he turned pro and got a job at Coleman (Texas) Country Club. His next club job was in Jal, N.M., where he tutored 15-year-old Kathy Whitworth, who already had pro ambitions. Eight years later, Loudermilk found a home at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio. It was there that he became nationally recognized as a club professional.

From the outset, he was involved in PGA activities, first serving in all offices including the president of the South-west Section (Arizona and New Mexico.) Hardy was secretary-treasurer of the Texas Section and in line for presidency when the state was split in 1967. In 1968, he was the first president of the Southern Texas PGA and in the same year, he was National Club Professional of the Year. He also served as National Chairman of the annual PGA meeting three times.

Because of his ill health, Loudermilk retired in 1978. Hardy was an agent-dispatcher for the Greyhound Bus Line before his wife encouraged him to turn to golf professional, but he was actually introduced to golf during WWII. Loudermilk was a master sergeant in the Marine Air Force and in the same squadron as Jack Burke. Loudermilk said with a wink, “All Burke did was run the driving range and play golf with the generals.”

Birthplace: Gorman, Texas

Born: March 24, 1922

Died: October 1, 1986

Jimmy Demaret


Flashy dressing Jimmy Demaret played in 13 events in 1940 and won six of them, including his first of three Masters titles. But his banner year was 1947 when he was both the Vardon trophy winner (69.90) and leading money winner ($27,936). He was named to four Ryder Cup teams, including the 1941 team that did not compete against the British because of the war. Jimmy was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1983. He is generally acknowledged as the Father of the Senior Tour and he and Fred Raphael conceived Legends of Golf in 1978 at Onion Creek a course designed and co-owned by Demaret himself.

Demaret, a companion of movie stars, royalty, heads of state and astronauts, was a pioneer in TV golf and co-hosted, with Gene Sarazen, the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf series. He co-founded the world-famous Champions Golf Club with life-long friend Jack Burke, and lured the U.S. Open there in 1969.

A product of the Hermann Park caddie pen, Demaret played only in one tournament as an amateur, that being a match for Northside High School. He received pay for his services as an assistant pro at the early age of 14 and would go on to hold several club jobs before concentration on the life of a touring pro.

Birthplace: Houston, Texas

Born: May 24, 1910

Died: December 28, 1983

Lee Trevino


Lee Trevino is one of the most popular players in the history of the game. He was 1971 PGA Player of the Year. He won the 1971 and 1972 British Opens and six majors overall, including two U.S. Opens and two National PGAs. Winner of $200,000 or more in a single season eight times, with a $385,815 top in 1980. This was also the year he won a fifth Vardon Trophy with a scoring norm of 69.73 in 1950. Lee was member of six Ryder Cup teams and captain in 1985. He was third only to Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in career money.

He is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and Texas Sports Hall of Fame. At age 50, Trevino tore up the Senior Tour winning $1,190,518 in official money, the first senior to crack the million-dollar mark in a single season. It was more money than Greg Norman, the No. 1 money winner of the PGA Tour, earned that year. Despite bad back and knee problems, Trevino has maintained his “Merry Mex” image and his undisputed title as media favorite among the senior ranks to this day.

Birthplace: Dallas, Texas

Born: December 1, 1939

Died: N/A

Mildred Didrikson Zaharias


It was at the suggestion of legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice that Mildred Didrikson started playing golf in 1935, three years after her remarkable performance at the Los Angeles Olympic Games where she won two gold medals and a silver, breaking world records in the javelin throw and the 80-meter hurdles. Mildred, nicknamed Babe after Babe Ruth by playmates when she hit five home runs in one game. She won the 1935 River Crest International in Fort Worth. Subsequently, she was declared a professional due to her baseball and basketball earnings.

Married to professional wrestler George Zaharias in 1938, the Babe became American’s greatest women athlete, excelling in tennis, swimming, diving, roller-skating, bowling and softball. She turned pro for real in 1947 and in 1950 helped found the LPGA. She won 31 tournaments and is a member of the LPGA Hall of Fame. In 1953 the Babe was stricken with cancer and underwent surgery. She recovered enough by 1954 to win again.

The Babe, who died of cancer at age 42, was reared in Beaumont, where the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum is open daily to the public. An annual golf tournament and sports auction helps fund the museum.

Birthplace: Port Arthur, Texas

Born: June 26, 1914

Died: September 27, 1956