Dan Jenkins

Dan Jenkins is the only golf writer many people have ever read. As “the” man at the Masters for Sports Illustrated for 23 years, a generation of readers depended on him to tell them what the newspapers and the television could not. His legendary golf tournament reporting for SI was done often in on fell swoop, without notes, on Sunday evenings. No timorous pecking away during the week for Jenkins; he loved the challenge of getting in – and getting it right – at the last minute.

He originated a new kind of golf writing, which incorporated informality, insight, humor and the sudden notion that golf, after all, is not brain surgery. In consecutive assignments for Golf Digest, the country’s best golf writer played 18 holes with President Bush Sr., then spent several days at Augusta National as the guest of the club’s president, Hord Hardin. Jenkins was the author of eight books, including best sellers Semi-Tough, Dead Sold Perfect and Baja Oklahoma. He captained the TCU golf teams for three years, once finished third individually in the Southwest Conference tournament, and won the National Golf Writers championship twice. Hogan, Nelson, and Jenkins were all once runner-ups in the Fort Worth City Championship – none of the three ever won it.

Birthplace: Fort Worth, TX

Born: December 2, 1929

Died: N/A

Edna C. Lapham

Mrs. Lapham was as dominant a force in her era as Texas has ever seen.  In the 1916 championship, she not only earned medalist honors, she never needed more than 12 holes to win any of her matches that year.  She continued her dominance for the next seven years – winning six championships and never losing a match (she did not participate in 1922).  In all, she won seven State Amateur Titles between 1916 and 1928.

She was President of the Women's Texas Golf Association in 1919 and represented in the State Amateur at Houston C.C., April 24-28.

Edna was a very well known in Eastern golf circles. She won the U. S. Women's Senior Championship in 1937 at Westchester CC.

Edna's husband, John H., was the son of Lewis H. Lapham, whose estate was valued very high when he died in 1936. The elder Lapham - according to his obituary - had already given away millions to family and charity when he died. His sons were Roger D. (former mayor of San Francisco) and John H. Lewis Henry Lapham was a financier and one of the founders of the Texas Oil Company.

Birthplace:  ?

Born: April 05, 1884

Died: June 15, 1967

George V. Rotan

Regarded as one of the greatest amateur players in Texas history, George graduated from Yale University after winning the NCAA championship two times. Rotan is the only five-time winner of the Texas Golf Association Amateur Championship (1912-1915, 1920). He was also a two-time TGA Senior champion (1939-1940) and won several Houston Country Club Invitational’s.

Perhaps Mr. Rotan’s biggest golfing feat was playing on the 1923 Ryder Cup Team. He was a new member to the team; however, that did not stop him from doing his best. He rallied to win the next 12 holes in order to defeat Willis Mackenzie. In 1931, Rotan founded the G.V Rotan Company, which eventually became Rotan-Mosle. The company was the first Texas Investment firm to have a seat on the NYSE. Rotan traveled extensively abroad with his wife, Charlotte, a son, and three daughters. Rotan’s son and great-grandson’s live in Houston currently and play the game.

Birthplace:  Waco, Texas

Born: July 18, 1886

Died: April 17, 1943

H. L. Edwards

If the game of golf were to flourish in the wide-open spaces of the state, to grow beyond just a sprinkling of courses in major cities, it needed someone to champion the cause. Granted many had a hand in the crusade, but there was one man in particular, H.L. “Harry Lee” Edwards, whose efforts stood head-and-shoulders above the rest. Often they would lament the fact that there was no place to play in Dallas. Now by this time H.L. was a man of means and knew how to get things done. So he did what any self-respecting golfer would do if he found himself without a club to call home – he built one. He found some land at the corner of Oak Lawn and Lemmon Avenues and built a 9-hole course , the origin of Dallas Country Club.

In addition to being a tireless promoter of the game, H.L. was also an accomplished player. During his 58-years in Dallas, he won many titles but perhaps none more satisfying than the inaugural Texas Golf Association’s State Amateur Championship held from April 19-21, 1906, at the Dallas Country Club. Edwards defeated Frank Lewis, of San Antonio, in the finals earning him the first trophy awarded by the Association he helped establish, on a course he helped found. The State Amateur trophy, presented annually to the winner of the “Championship of Texas for Men,” is named in his honor.

H.L. Edwards passed away in 1947 at the age of ninety-one. There can be little doubt that the “Father of Golf in Texas,” as he would come to be known, would be thrilled his contributions to the game have endured, allowing countless others to enjoy the game he loved so much both through the Texas Golf Association and at the clubs he helped start.

Birthplace:  England

Born: 1856

Died: 1947

Homero Blancas

No one appreciated Blanca’s obscurity more than University of Houston golf coach, Dave Williams. Blancas always had a good place to play. His father was greens keeper at River Oaks, one of Houston’s best clubs. Little Homero played the course very early or very late and caddied in between.

Blancas played on two NCAA championship teams, was All-American twice, and shot that 62 and 55 in the summer between his junior and senior years. Blancas played an NCAA championship practice round in 1961 with another college junior, Jack Nicklaus. Blancas was an extremely low-key person who became animated and forceful on two subjects: education and golf. Homero Blancas won four PGA tour titles. He shot 61 in the second round of the 1972 Phoenix Open, which he won. He was 1965 Rookie of the Year and played on the 1973 Ryder Cup team.

Birthplace:  Houston, Texas

Born: March 7, 1938

Died: N/A

Jack Burke Sr.

Jack Burke got into golf as a young boy caddying at the Philadelphia Country Club. He became a club maker at age 15 and worked as a professional at the Delaware County Field Club, Hershey Country Club, Philadelphia Country Club, Aronimink Golf Club, and the Old York Road Country Club. In his early 20s he moved west where he held head professional positions in Iowa, Illinois, Canada and Minnesota.

As a professional in St. Paul, Minnesota he tied for second in the 1920 U.S. Open and he won the Minnesota Open four times in five years (1919-1923).

Later in the 1920s he settled down in Houston, Texas. Jack Burke Sr., was the club professional at Houston's River Oaks Country Club, and hired a young fellow named Jimmy Demaret as an assistant pro.

Many give Burke credit for being the first to bring a real knowledge of golf to Texas. Burke won the Texas PGA championship in 1936.

Burke Sr. students included Babe Zaharias, Jimmy Demaret, Jack Grout, and Jack Burke Jr.

Burke returned to his roots in 1926 to finish third in the Philadelphia Open and in 1939 at the age of 49 he qualified for the U.S. Open that was being held at the Philadelphia Country Club where he started his career. In 1941 he won the PGA Seniors' Championship. 

Burke invented the all-weather grip for golf clubs. The grip was a rubber grip with cotton cord running through it. Burke had a patent on the idea and sold the grips through the Burke Par Company as the Burke Grip. He also was the uncle of Dave Marr, the winner of the PGA Championship in 1965. 

Ben Hogan credited Burke Sr. for shaping his downswing in the book: "The Secret of Hogan's Swing" by Tom Bertrand, Printer Bowler.

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Born: 1890

Died: 1942

Jackson Bradley

Jackson Bradley was a 57-year member of the PGA. He was an accomplished player on the PGA Tour from the 1940’s to the 1960’s, qualifying for and playing in 26 U.S. Opens and PGA’s. He also played in two U.S. Senior Opens; the last one in 1987 at the age of 65.He taught golf for 60-years and was one of the most knowledgeable, accomplished instructors in the United States. He was an innovator in communications skills, being one of the first instructors in the early 60’s to use movie, sequence, and Polaroid cameras; then video cameras in subsequent years. He starred in a live TV show originating in Chicago for three years, from 1950 to 1953.

He was one of the first writers for Golf Digest from 1950 to 1957. He served on the National Tournament Committee of the PGA for seven years, from 1953 to 1962, and also served on the Rules and Teaching Committees. He worked with others on the layout, design, and construction of nine golf courses in the Houston area. He designed and held patents in one of the first metal woods in the early 1960’s. He was elected to the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1993 for a lifetime of accomplishments and outstanding contributions to the game of golf.

Birthplace: Tipton, Indiana

Born: October 26, 1921

Died: February 26, 2010

John Marvin Leonard

In the depth of the Great Depression, Marvin Leonard was convinced he should build a championship course in Fort Worth and that the course would be a host of the U.S. Open. In all of this, Leonard proved to be right. The new club, designed by architect John Bredemus, opened in 1936 and was a masterpiece. His dream came true - the U.S. Open was held there in 1941.

The visions of Leonard required imagination and money. The source of his fortune was the Leonard Brothers Department Store. The store was a huge success in the Fort Worth area. Leonard’s doctor ordered him to get out of the store and get some fresh air. In 1927, Leonard began to play nine holes everyday. He played at Glen Garden Country Club, where he occasionally employed a quiet caddy named Ben Hogan. The merchandising genius and the caddy/assistant pro would eventually become business, golf, and gin rummy partners. Leonard eventually built three Fort Worth golf courses: Colonial, Shady Oaks, and Starr Hollow.

Birthplace: Linden, Texas

Born: February 10, 1895

Died: August 27, 1970

Willie Maguire

Maguire was introduced to the golf game at Wollaston Country Club, where he started as a caddie and eventually turned pro. One of his first big breaks was when he got a winter job at Austin Country Club in 1906, where Harvey Penick was a caddie. 

Although Maguire stood only five-foot, six-inches, he was a commanding presence both on the green and in Texas golf. He served as president of the Texas Professional Golf Association for its first eight years and then served on the national PGA board.

Willie Maguire was a club professional until ill health caused his retirement on Feb. 17, 1947. Club members awarded him a silver plaque, a cash bonus, and a lifetime membership in the Houston Country Club. Even though Maguire died in 1951, many members remember him as a dedicated teacher.

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts

Born: August 26, (Before 1906)

Died: 1951