USGA INSIDER HISTORY
Texas Golf Association Celebrates 100 Years of Women in Golf December 2, 2016 | FAR HILLS, N.J. By David Chmiel, USGA

Robin Burke and Carol Mann enjoy the TGA's 'Breaking 100' gala to celebrate a century of women in Texas golf. (Courtesy/Texas Golf Association)

Highlighted by McKinney, Texas, native Brittany Lang’s July victory in the U.S. Women’s Open, 2016 has been a year of celebration of women’s golf in the Lone Star State. On Nov. 1, the Breaking 100 Gala marked the bookend of a yearlong tribute by the Texas Golf Association to generations of women across the state who have helped grow the game worldwide over the past century.

The gala, which took place before a large crowd at Houston Country Club, featured a panel of homegrown legends – Sandra Haynie, Carol Mann, Sandra Palmer, Judy Rankin and Kathy Whitworth – who shared stories about their lives in golf. All five are in the Texas Golf Hall of Fame, with Haynie, Mann, Rankin and Whitworth members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The event featured blog posts and career highlights of 100 women who honed their games in Texas.

In addition to several aspects of the program that were launched in January, the gala raised more than $120,000 for the TGA’s  programs to help celebrate and grow women’s golf, including the “Winner’s Program” and “Texas Challenge,” two junior golf development enterprises that promote excellence in golf and the classroom.  

 

Babe Didrikson Zaharias was as skilled at promoting the women's game as she was playing it. (Courtesy/USGA Museum)

“It has been such a great honor to bring together Texas’ greatest women for this event,” said Stacy Dennis, managing director of membership programs for the TGA. “I hope it can be an example for women’s golf everywhere. To show young girls that the LPGA has deep Texas roots is a real gift. If we can build pathways like we do in Texas and like the LPGA/USGA Girls Golf program, we can connect with young girls. Through more interaction, we can keep them engaged in the game throughout their lives.”

Female golf luminaries Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Bettye Danoff and Betty Jameson are among those with roots in Texas and the LPGA. All were original founders of the LPGA and all won Women’s Texas Golf Association state amateur titles before turning pro.

Susan Wasser, assistant director of Museum Operations for the USGA, added a bit of tangible history to the event.

“I brought a small display of artifacts that depicted 100 years of women’s golf history as part of the Breaking 100 Gala celebrating a century of Women’s Golf in Texas,” said Wasser. “This event was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Women’s Texas Golf Association and yet there was so much more that was celebrated. It was so special to see the gathering of five amazing women golfers with Texas ties. They played in seven different decades and captured many USGA championships. It was a special night with special people and I was thrilled to be a small part of the experience.”

Kathy Whitworth and Judy Rankin share a moment during the festivities. (Courtesy/Texas Golf Association)

Kyle Nuss, USGA director of Regional Affairs for the South Region, said the evening was a reminder of Texas’ special place in golf – for men and women.

“It was fantastic that so many of the women who helped shape golf in Texas and throughout the nation at the onset of the LPGA Tour were involved in the Breaking 100 Gala,” he said. “The panel discussion was a wonderful reminder of why we all love and play this game and embrace the sense of community that it fosters. Collaboration among the leaders of Texas golf will continue to lead to more opportunity and access for all.”

Having a Texan win the most prestigious championship in women’s golf was a symbolic victory during a year of celebration of women’s golf in the state.

Susan Wasser, (left), assistant director of museum operations for the USGA Museum, displayed items to celebrate the occasion. (Courtesy/Texas Golf Association) 

“It’s fantastic to see Brittany Lang win the Women’s Open,” said Dennis, two-time Texas Women’s Amateur champion and 2012 semifinalist in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. “She connects the dots between today and the legendary champions in Texas women’s golf. We want girls who play golf to become women who work in golf or play recreationally for their whole lives. When golf makes a commitment to girls, we are making an investment for the next 100 years.”

David Chmiel is the manager of members content for the USGA. Email him at dchmiel@usga.org. Interested in becoming a USGA member? Click here for more information.