Betsy Rawls

Betsy Rawls grew up in Arlington, Texas, and did not take up golf until she was in her late teens. As a University of Texas student, Rawls sought out Austin teacher Harvey Penick.

Rawls, a physics and math major, graduated from the University of Texas Phi Beta Kappa. She learned quickly from Penick. Four years after taking up golf, Rawls won the Texas Amateur and the Women’s Trans National. In 1950 she won the Texas Amateur again and followed up with the Broadmoor Invitational. Betsy captured 55 LPGA victories and was fourth on the list of the Tour’s leading winners.

She won eight majors and led the Tour wins in 1952, 1957, 1959. Her 20-year career was highlighted in 1959 when she captured 10 titles and the Vare Trophy. She was the LPGA tournament director from 1975-81. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1987 and was named one of Golf Magazine’s “100 Heroes” in 1988.

Birthplace: Spartanburg, South Carolina

Born: May 4, 1928

Died: N/A

Ed White

Former Houstonian Ed White predated Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson as a world-class golfer. From 1933 to 1935, White was the individual Southwest Conference champion on the SWC team champions at the University of Texas. In those three years, White advanced to the national collegiate quarterfinals in 1933. He was the first NCAA champion from the state of Texas since the origin of the tournament in 1897, and the second one would not come along until the University of Houston’s Rex Baxter captured the 1957 title.

Winner of the 1935 Mexican Amateur tournament, which used to draw exceptionally strong fields from north of the border, White was also a member of the 1936 Walker Cup Team. White, who was a member of Houston Country Club and an honorary member of Brae-Burn, took long absences from golf because of outside interests.

Birthplace: Houston, Texas

Born: October 29, 1913

Died: September 18, 1999

Jacky Cupit

Now in the landscaping business in Dallas, Jacky Cupit was one of the five golfing brothers who all turned professional. In fact, he and his brother Buster teamed to finish second to the duo of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in the 1966 PGA national Two Ball Tournament.

Cupit had a stellar amateur career, winning 39 tournaments. As a collegian at the University of Houston, he was twice an All-American and played on three NCAA Championship teams for Coach Dave Williams. While still an amateur Jacky won two pro events – the Alvin Dark Open in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the Twin Cities Open in Monroe, Louisiana. Jacky earned PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors in 1961 when he won the Canadian Open and several top 10s including the 1963 U.S. Open at Brookline, where he tied Julius Boros and Arnold Palmer at the end of regulation and then finished second to Boros in the playoff. Cupit retired from tour competition in 1974 due to back problems but managed to capture three Northern Texas Section titles.

Birthplace: Longview, Texas

Born: February 1, 1938

Died: N/A

John Mahaffey

An outstanding basketball player at Kerrville High School, John Drayton Mahaffey, Jr. might have pursued that sport in college except that he weight only 117 pounds. As it turned out, Mahaffey chose golf and was at the right place at the right time when he was runner-up in the Texas State Junior Championship during the summer of 1966. Mahaffey caught the eye of UH Coach Dave Williams who felt that, “John Mahaffey’s not little. He’s just not big.”

Mahaffey played big for the Cougars, leading the team to the 1970 NCAA Championship by winning the individual title by a stroke over Lanny Wadkins of Wake Forest. John also led the Cougars to a team title in 1969. After college, John went to work as an assistant at Champions Golf Club in Houston. When Ben Hogan came early to practice for the 1971 Houston Champions International, he invited Mahaffey to join him for nine holes. Mahaffey shot a 31, Hogan, 32. Mr. Hogan was so impressed that he used his influence to get Mahaffey into the Colonial National Invitation Tournament, giving Mahaffey a taste of the career he has pursued ever since.

Despite several injuries, Mahaffey, was recognized as an exceptional striker of the ball. He won the PGA Championship and Players Championship among his 10 tour victories.He also became involved in a golf course architecture and design business.

Birthplace: Kerrville, Texas

Born: May 9, 1948

Died: N/A

Raymond Gafford

Raymond Gafford, who retired as the club Professional at Fort Worth Ridglea in 1976, played only one match as an amateur. He turned pro at age 20, first served at Ridglea from 1937 to 1950, then took a job at Dallas Northwood in 1951. He returned to Ridglea in 1954 and remained there.

Gafford was a player of national note. He participated in 14 U.S. Opens, five PGAs and two Masters Tournaments. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1950 PGA, only to lose toJimmy Demaret, and won the 18th place money in the 1951 U.S. Open. , both of which qualified him for the Masters Tournament. Gafford was the Oklahoma Open champion in 1946 and won the Southwest Open, a popular Wichita Falls Pro-Am, in 1943 and 1944, plus the Texas PGA in 1949. Gafford, who loved to teach, was proud of his star pupil, Michelle Berteotti, now on the LPGA Tour.

There is a Ray Gafford Classic at Ridglea, which has two courses, one for men and the other for the family. Gafford was president of the Texas Section in 1950 and 1951.

Birthplace: Coleman, Texas

Born: January 22, 1914

Died: February 20, 1990