Texas Golf Association, Since 1906
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Betsy Rawls - 1949-1950 WTGA State Amateur Champion (Viewed: 2259)
Posted by Stacy Dennis on October 21, 2016 @ 8:00 am


Photo courtesy USGA

One of the two women with the most US Women’s Open titles (four) began her Hall of Fame career in Austin, Texas.  Betsy Rawls began her march to competitive dominance by winning consecutive titles in the Austin City Championship in 1947 and 1948.  She followed those with consecutive victories in the WTGA State Amateur Championship in 1949 and 1950.  As an amateur in 1950, she finished 2nd (to Texan Babe Didrickson Zaharias) in the US Women’s Open.

Rawls turned pro the following year and, as her track record would suggest, she won the US Women’s Open in her next attempt in 1951.  She won again in 1953, 1957 and 1960.  Her four victories tie her with Mickey Wright for the most all time.  In all, she won eight major championships and 55 professional events.  She is a member of the Texas, LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame, and a Past President of the LPGA.  In 2009, Betsy provided the WTGA with memories of her two State Amateur victories.  Click here to read about them in her own words.

 
 

Betsy Rawls - 1950 WTGA State Amateur Championship

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100 Texas Women is a blog with each post featuring a different notable woman from the history of Texas golf.  Follow the blog by bookmarking THIS page.  You can honor these women and invest in the next 100 years of women's golf by contributing to the Breaking 100 campaign.  All proceeds benefit the TGA Foundations' Women's Initiatives.  Learn more and support the campaign here.

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Betsy Clifford, 1978 WTGA President (Viewed: 2040)
Posted by Stacy Dennis on October 20, 2016 @ 8:00 am

Betsy Clifford (L) and Mary Ann Morrison - 1977 WTGA State Amateur Championship

In the governance of women’s golf in Texas, there are leaders and then there are institutions.  Betsy Clifford was an institution.  Before her volunteer career in women’s golf, the SMU graduate was a High School teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in her native Dallas.  Clifford played in her first WTGA State Amateur Championship in 1968 and reached the Championship Flight in 1970 and 1971.  She served as the President of the Dallas Women’s Golf Association in 1976 and was a Director for the WTGA and served as President of the Association in 1978.  She was also the 1995 Dallas Athletic Club Champion.
 
Clifford began serving golf at the national level when she first attended a USGA Rules School.  In only her second attempt, Clifford achieved the highest Rules Test score in the nation!  She is well-known in Texas and beyond for her tireless work as a volunteer rules official, having officiated at local, high school and collegiate events all over the nation.  She also officiated over 30 USGA National Championships and was recognized by the USGA with the Ike Granger Award in 2000, acknowledging 25 years of service.
Her longtime friend, Gayla Collinsworth recalls, “She was wonderful mentor to all of new golfers that had the pleasure of knowing and playing golf with her.  She was one of the BEST.”



Clifford (L) and Sue Leach - 1991 WTGA State Amateur Championship

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100 Texas Women is a blog with each post featuring a different notable woman from the history of Texas golf.  You can honor these women and invest in the next 100 years of women's golf by contributing to the Breaking 100 campaign.  All proceeds benefit the TGA Foundations' Women's Initiatives.  Learn more and support the campaign here.
 

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Cathy Holland, Belle Burney Award Winner (Viewed: 2109)
Posted by Stacy Dennis on October 18, 2016 @ 8:00 am

WTGA Directors "on the town in Tyler" - Holland Far Right

Cathy Holland first picked up a golf club more than 20 years ago, and she called it “love at first whiff.” While attending a business conference with her husband, Chris, she was told she was going to play golf with his boss’ wife - so she did. After that first trip around a par three course she was given a copy of the Rules of Golf and told to study it because there would be a quiz the next day at breakfast. According to the native of Shreveport, LA she studied and passed the quiz, and got hooked on all the aspects of golf. Since then her involvement as a volunteer has led her down many paths and into serving in multiple roles for the TGA, WTGA, and USGA.

Holland, who lives in Sugar Land, says it’s her husband Chris that has allowed her to become so involved as a volunteer. Over the course of her volunteer career, she has served the TGA, served as a Director for the WTGA, been a member of the USGA Regional Affairs Committee and coordinated all of the women’s course rating teams for the state.  She says she owes the late, great ‘Nez Muhleman and Carol Rogers many thanks for mentoring her in the Rules of Golf and Course rating, respectively, and getting her involved as a volunteer by convincing her “that golf was about more than my personal game.”

Once her husband retired she got him involved as well. Chris has also assisted with course rating coordination and as a TGA volunteer. She continues to encourage others to become involved as volunteers, advising interested participants to ask to help.  “Don’t wait to be called,” Holland suggests, adding, “study the rules, show up everywhere, and ask as many questions as you can.”

She says that one of the most rewarding aspects of being a volunteer is meeting and working with so many great people - the other volunteers, the golf professionals, and especially the players. “The Course Rating aspect of volunteering is so completely different from Rules work,” Holland said. “It is much more solitary in nature with only two or three others working with you, but the work is equally satisfying. Through study and hard work I am able to contribute to the sport. I like the way that makes me feel.”

In 2010, in recognition of her outstanding volunteer contributions to the WTGA, Holland received the Belle Burney Award.  She was also recognized by the TGA with the Bob Wells Award in 2015 – the top honor the association can bestow.

100 Texas Women is a blog with each post featuring a different notable woman from the history of Texas golf.  You can honor these women and invest in the next 100 years of women's golf by contributing to the Breaking 100 campaign.  All proceeds benefit the TGA Foundations' Women's Initiatives.  Learn more and support the campaign here.
 

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Texas Cup - Women's golf regional Ryder Cup (Viewed: 2882)
Posted by Stacy Dennis on October 15, 2016 @ 8:00 am

There has always been a little bit of a rivalry between North and South Texas.  Probably going back to the 1st WTGA State Amateur Championship in 1916, players from each region have wondered if they were better than players from the other.  Finally, in 1992 a group of players did more than just debate the topic.  They agreed to decide the question on the golf course once and for all.  The matches feature the top 12 amateurs from South and North Texas in a two-day Ryder-Cup style format.

Debra Spain, 1986 WTGA State Amateur Champion, led the inaugural South team and Carolyn Creekmore, Melissa Gotfredsson, Sandy Holdcraft and Carolyn Harper spearheaded activities in the North.  In the early years, matches alternated between Champions Golf Club in Houston and Las Colinas Sports Club in Dallas.  Mike Abbott, the first Captain for the North team helped secure the Las Colinas site and has been an avid supporter and advocate for the event.  “I thought it would be fun to have the best players in Texas competing at Las Colinas and great for our facility.”  Abbott, who has recently led the development of Blue Jack National with Tiger Woods Design, remembers the spirit of fierce competition and fellowship in the early years of the event.  “You just can’t believe the level of play and the great players who have participated.  Hall of Fame players like Toni Wiesner, Carolyn Creekmore, Robin Burke.  And some players who are not as well-known, but played their way onto the teams and would play the golf of their lives in the matches.  The competition truly brings out the best in the players.”

Another key figure in the growth of the Texas Cup matches, and women’s golf in general, was the late Harless Wade.  Wade and the Dallas Morning News were great supporters and the first sponsor for the matches.  Wade wrote features on the event and provided great coverage for women’s golf throughout the year.  “If it weren’t for Harless Wade, no one would know who any of us were”, remarked Creekmore.

The 25th Texas Cup matches will be played November 14-15 at Blue Jack National.  The North Texas team currently owns the cup after winning the 2015 matches by a slim one point margin.  After 24 years, the matches stand all square.  Both teams have won 12 times, so the debate about which Texas region claims the best players still remains undecided!

100 Texas Women is a blog with each post featuring a different notable woman from the history of Texas golf.  You can honor these women and invest in the next 100 years of women's golf by contributing to the Breaking 100 campaign.  All proceeds benefit the TGA Foundations' Women's Initiatives.  Learn more and support the campaign here.
 

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Judy Rankin-World Golf Hall of Fame (Viewed: 2387)
Posted by Stacy Dennis on October 14, 2016 @ 10:00 am

Photo courtesy USGA

Judy Rankin is a high achiever.  From her early days as a Missouri Amateur Champion in 1959 to her global recognition as one of the top analysts in the golf world, Rankin has always been found at the top of her field.  After winning her Missouri state title as a 14 year old, she would become a top national contender, claiming low amateur honors at the 1960 U.S. Women’s Open and reaching the semi-finals of the 1960 and 1961 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.  Rankin turned pro in 1962, but did not win right away, although she would more than make up for lost time. 

The Missouri native relocated to Midland, Texas after meeting and marrying a Texas Tech football hero, Walter “Yippy” Rankin in 1967.  After making Texas her home, she claimed her first professional victory in her new home state – the 1968 Corpus Christi Open.  She would add 25 more LPGA titles by the end of 1979.  In 1976 alone she won seven times and was the first woman to ever win $100,000 in a single season.  She would twice be named LPGA Player of the Year, claimed the Vare trophy three times , and served as the President of the LPGA in 1977 and 1978.  .  After many years struggling with back injuries, Rankin retired from full-time competitive golf in 1983.

After the end of her competitive playing days, Rankin embarked on a new career where (as you might expect) she would achieve global recognition for her outstanding achievements.  She started her TV commentary career in 1984, and although she recalled in a 2004 interview for Golf Digest, “I was quite sure I was going to be a miserable failure”, no one today can imagine that.  She is universally respected as much for her insightful, precise commentary as for the warmth and understanding with which she delivers it.

Rankin’s achievements as a player, commentator and ambassador for the game have been acknowledged in a myriad of honors and awards.  She is a member of the Texas Golf, Texas Sports and Texas Women’s Halls of Fame.  She is also member of the LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame, and captained the 1996 and 1998 Solheim Cup teams.  Click here for her World Golf Hall of Fame bio, and here for a complete list of her awards and honors.

Rankin has been a member of the Texas golf community for almost 50 years and will join her Texas peers Sandra Haynie, Carol Mann, Sandra Palmer and Kathy Whitworth on the Breaking 100 Gala panel.  In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Women’s Texas Golf Association, this collection of Texas’ greatest golfers will share an evening and share stories of their remarkable careers with a collection of golf fans and supporters on November 1 at Houston Country Club.  Click here to see a preview of the event.  Click here to purchase a ticket and join the celebration.
 


Photo courtesy USGA_
100 Texas Women is a blog with each post featuring a different notable woman from the history of Texas golf.  You can honor these women and invest in the next 100 years of women's golf by contributing to the Breaking 100 campaign.  All proceeds benefit the TGA Foundations' Women's Initiatives.  Learn more and support the campaign here.

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