Breaking 100 Gala Recap
HOUSTON – More than 270 people packed the ballroom at Houston Country Club on Tuesday night to pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of Women’s Golf in Texas. A yearlong campaign with several facets reached its culmination with the festive and memorable Breaking 100 Gala, presented by the Texas Golf Association.
An all-star panel of living legends provided the evening’s highlight. Icons of the game Sandra Haynie, Carol Mann, Sandra Palmer, Judy Rankin and Kathy Whitworth took part in a lively panel discussion about women’s golf. The five Hall of Famers swapped stories and shared insights on Texas’ sentinel role in piloting the women’s game from the earliest days to the modern era.
Over the past century, trailblazing women golfers from Texas fueled the meteoric growth of the women’s game not only in the United States, but across the world. Three of the original founders of the LPGA – Babe Zaharias, Bettye Danoff and Betty Jameson – won WTGA State Amateur titles in their formative years. They cut their teeth in Texas amateur golf and went on to impact the game globally. Many of the all-time greats of the game came from Texas or have strong ties to the Lone Star State.
Tuesday night’s Gala celebrated all of them.
Palmer, a two-time major champion who was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1985, told the audience she was a “True Texan” based on her love of chicken-fried steak, country music and cowboy boots. Whitworth and Haynie, two World Golf Hall of Fame members with 129 LPGA Tour wins and 10 major titles between them, needled each other throughout the night. Whitworth’s 88 victories are the most all-time for any professional. She notched her first win in 1962 after Haynie three-putted on the final hole. To the amusement of the attendees, it seems Haynie isn’t over it just yet.
Rankin, the popular Golf Channel analyst, is a two-time LPGA Tour Player of the Year who went into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000. Born in St. Louis, Rankin married a Texan in 1967 and has lived in the Lone Star State ever since. She quipped that next year marks her 50th as a resident, which should qualify her as a naturalized Texan. The dinner guests’ ovation served as approval.
The dinner, along with several parts of the program that were launched in January, raised more than $120,000 for the TGA’s suite of Women’s Initiatives, including the “Winner’s Program” and “Texas Challenge,” two junior golf development enterprises that promote excellence in golf and the classroom. Other beneficiaries include the ‘Nez Muhleman/Doris Kallina college scholarship program and Golf 101, a new program in development for introduction in 2018. The program brings together LPGA teaching pros, golf course operators and beginning women golfers to grow the game and enrich lives.
“It has been such a great honor to bring together Texas’ greatest women for this event. We had players representing seven different decades of amateur golf and more than 200 LPGA titles in the room,” said TGA Managing Director of Membership Programs and two-time WTGA State Amateur Champion Stacy Dennis, who took the lead role in organizing every part of the Breaking 100 campaign. “Golf truly builds community and that was certainly on display. It is exciting to think about what we’ll do in the next 100 years.”
The TGA is still accepting donations to help support the future of Women’s Golf in Texas. For more information, click here.
Women's Scholarship Winner Thriving in College
The TGA Foundation awarded the ’Nez Muhleman / Doris Kallina scholarship to Rakeshia Wines in 2015. The four-year scholarship provides Wines with $25,000 in college funding over four years. Rakeshia is enjoying her college experience so far and earned a 3.0 GPA in her first semester at Stephen F. Austin University, where she is studying Mass Communications.
“I like that it’s a small community and I really like the campus,” Wines said.
She said she looks forward to her multi-media class this coming semester, during which she expects to learn more about Photoshop projects.
Rakeshia also has an exciting opportunity to study abroad in Spain over the summer of 2016. Her Spanish professor recommended her for the program that places students in private homes in Spain and gives them a complete immersion in the Spanish language and culture. This trip will be the first time Rakeshia has ever been outside the United States and her first time on an airplane! When asked if she had always planned to study abroad, Rakeshia said an opportunity like this had never even occurred to her. She is the first member of her immediate family to attend college anywhere, let alone take classes in Spain. However, she was inspired by her Spanish professor who suggested she pursue the program.
“She said she thought I would be good at it and that I could do it, so I’m going to,” Rakeshia said.
Rakeshia wanted to attend college partly to set a good example for her younger brother – and after just one semester she is off to an excellent start. The WTGA Committee and TGA Foundation are proud of Rakeshia and honored to support her. To learn more about her plans for her time in Spain, visit Rakeshia’s page at www.gofundme.com/keshiatospain. To learn more about the TGA Foundation and find out how to support programs that provide opportunities for people like her, visit our website at http://www.txga.org/support/.
Betsy Rawls remembers her WTGA State Amateur victories
Before the 1949 WTGA State Championship, I had not played a lot of tournaments, having taken up the game only four years prior to that. Therefore I was not expecting much of myself and was certainly not one the favorites to win that week. The women’s state tournament has always had a very strong field, and 1949 was no exception. Polly Riley was one of the top amateurs in the country, Aniela Goldthwaite had won the state championship multiple times, and a newcomer named Betty Mackinnon was creating quite a buzz. I can’t remember much about the early matches, but somehow I got to the semi-finals to play Polly Riley. We were all square playing the 18th hole and both hit the green in regulation. Polly played first and two-putted for a par. I was left with a downhill, curving putt of about 20 feet. I told myself to stay relaxed and make a smooth stroke, and, miraculously, the putt went in. I had beaten the overwhelming favorite of the tournament, which was as much of a shock to me as I’m sure it was to the people at River Crest. The final match was against Betty MacKinnon, a very attractive and obviously talented twenty-one year old from east Texas. I’m sure Betty hit the ball better than I did that day, her swing certainly looked better; but my short game and my putting won out in a close match. Betty and I became good friends later, as we joined the staff of Wilson Sporting Goods Co. on the same day, traveled the LPGA tour and did a lot of exhibition work together. She told me that her loss of that Texas Sate Championship had devastated her. I’ve always had the feeling that the outcome of that tournament had a big impact on both of our careers – a positive one on mine and a negative one on hers, because the self-confidence and self –esteem of each of us was so effected. As a professional, Betty never lived up to her potential and retired after five years, and I went on to play for 25 years and win 55 tournaments.
What a difference a year made in my golf game, between 1949 and 1950. I had worked with Harvey Penick a lot that year after winning at River Crest and went to Brae Burn C.C. in Houston with high hopes. I knew I was swinging well when I won the preliminary four-ball event with my team from Austin, won the long drive contest, the putting contest, and was medalist in the qualifying round. I can honestly say that my golf game that week was the best it had ever been or would ever be again. I was in complete control of every shot. I don’t quite know why. I can remember what I was thinking about in the swing – taking the club a little straighter back – but why that made everything click, I don’t know. I met Polly Riley again, this time in the finals, and we had a good match, but I was not to be denied. Golf being what it is, swings change despite the efforts to keep the same feelings and produce the same results. Over the years in my career, I must have tried a hundred different moves and swing thoughts, sometimes with good results and sometimes not. But I could never recreate the magic of Brae Burn