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Since the First “Peanuts” cartoon debuted in 1950, the good-natured antics of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and their friends have brought laughter and comfort to generations of readers.
During its nearly half-century run, golf was a frequent theme of the comic strip. That owed much to the fact that its creator, Charles M. Schulz, had a lifelong passion for the game. He played on his high school golf team in St. Paul, Minn., and caddied the summer after graduation at his neighborhood course. Later in life, he enjoyed a weekly foursome with his friends, maintained a Handicap Index of 10, and competed in several Pebble Beach National Pro-Ams.
“Peanuts” was loved and trusted by diverse audiences – from college coeds to rock stars – and Schulz used its unique appeal as a unifying and educational tool during a time of considerable cultural change. He provided illustrations to support myriad causes, from environmental sustainability and workplace safety to Title IX legislation and encouraging female participation in sports.
Schulz partnered with the USGA on several occasions to support causes he felt increased the health benefits and enjoyment of golf. In 1982, Schulz and Hank Ketcham, creator of “Dennis the Menace,” co-designed the cover art of the March/April issue of Golf Journal in an effort to attract more young people to the game. He later illustrated an easy-to-read booklet titled, “Uncle Snoopy Wants You to Know How to Use Your Handicap” and donated sketches for a USGA campaign encouraging golfers to walk or employ caddies.
Through Schulz’s commitment to making the world, and golf, a better place, his “Peanuts” characters continue to connect readers to new subjects and impactful initiatives.
As part of one of the world’s premier collections of golf cartoons, several original golf-themed Schulz illustrations depicting “Peanuts” characters are included in the USGA Golf Museum and Library.
Victoria Nenno is the USGA's senior historian.