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HISTORY

Top 10 Artifacts Acquired by the USGA Golf Museum and Library in 2023

By Katie Boyce, Victoria Nenno, Stacy Schiff

| Dec 18, 2023 | USGA Golf Museum and Library

Dwight Eisenhower's golf cart photographed at USGA Headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Each year, the USGA Golf Museum and Library adds to its illustrious collection chronicling the game’s history. Every new artifact, whether from 100 years ago or from this year’s championships, increases opportunities for future generations to connect with important figures and milestone moments. The list from 2023 uniquely demonstrates the Museum’s expanding reach and its longstanding commitment to collecting artifacts that showcase the game’s diverse history. 

Several of these special items will be on display at the USGA Golf Museum and Library in Liberty Corner, N.J., and the new USGA Experience set to open in Pinehurst in the first half of 2024.  

Artifacts from the 2023 U.S. Open

Each year, competitors at the U.S. Open recognize the Museum’s mission to preserve and celebrate golf history by donating artifacts to the USGA. The 123rd U.S. Open at Los Angles (Calif.) Country Club was no different, where historic moments were etched into history and immediately put on display for fans. 

After Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele both posted 62s in Round 1, breaking the record for the lowest single-round score in a U.S. Open, they each donated their gloves worn during play. In Round 2, after both made aces on No. 15, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Matthieu Pavon donated the golf balls used to make their holes-in-one. 

These four items were put on display in the onsite USGA Museum Experience, where thousands of fans at LACC could view the newest additions to the Museum’s collection. 

In addition, 2023 U.S. Open champion, Wyndham Clark, donated the shoes and shirt he wore during the final round.  

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Collection of artifacts from the 2023 U.S. Open. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Equipment used by Ted Rhodes, ca. 1945

Despite enduring racial discrimination and fighting for the right to make a living as a professional golfer, Ted Rhodes proved he was one of the nation’s top competitors at the 1948 U.S. Open. The first African American to compete in the championship since 1913, Rhodes made headlines after posting a 1-under-par 70 in the first round, leaving him three strokes out of the lead. Though Ben Hogan would go on to win, and Rhodes ultimately finished T51, his performance demonstrated great courage and talent on golf’s grandest stage. 

Rhodes’ daughter Peggy White and granddaughter Tiffany White donated four clubs, two headcovers and a golf bag used by Rhodes, courtesy of the Ted Rhodes Foundation. His putter is now on permanent display in the Museum’s main galleries, connecting visitors with Rhodes’ contributions to golf and the American civil rights movement.  

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Golf club and head cover used by Ted Rhodes, ca. 1940s. (USGA)

Fay Crocker’s Scrapbook, ca. 1950

In 1955, Uruguay’s Fay Crocker became the first foreign-born U.S. Women’s Open champion. Compiled by Crocker, this scrapbook features a handmade folder in which Crocker kept items related to the Campeonato de Damas 1942 Jugado en Los Links de Saenz Peña. The material includes 22 photographs signed by her contemporaries (players such as Mickey Wright and Louise Suggs), newspaper clippings reporting on her career in both English and Spanish, a telegram and her 1946 copy of El Golfer Argentino, which is adorned with an image of Crocker herself on the cover. 

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Fay Crocker scrapbook photographed at USGA Headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Kiara Romero’s Lucky Horseshoe, 2023 U.S. Girls’ Junior

The lucky horseshoe of 2023 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Kiara Romero serves as a personal representation of her victorious week at the U.S. Air Force Academy Eisenhower Golf Club’s Blue Course in Colorado Springs, Colo. The incoming University of Oregon freshman carried the charm in her bag throughout six intense matches against high-profile competitors, including Gianna Clemente, Lauren Kim and Rianne Malixi. 

Romero’s good luck charm joins several others in the Museum collection carried by champions in competition, including three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ treasured Texas license plate and 1916 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open winner Charles “Chick” Evans’ ivory billiken.

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Kiara Romero's lucky horseshoe from the 2023 U.S. Girl's Junior photographed at USGA Headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

President Eisenhower’s Golf Cart, ca. 1955

The World Golf Hall of Fame donated President Dwight Eisenhower’s personal golf cart to the USGA in preparation for the 2024 reopening in Pinehurst, N.C. Now on display at the USGA Golf Museum in New Jersey, the highly stylized light blue golf cart with decorative fringe joins a robust collection of presidential artifacts dating back to President Taft, the first president to play golf.  

Eisenhower’s high-profile political and military positions allowed him to highlight the game in a way few others could. His enthusiasm for golf motivated Americans of all ages to take up the game, and during his eight years in office, the number of golfers in the United States doubled. In 1954, with the help of the USGA, Eisenhower installed a 3,000 square foot putting green at the White House. 

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Dwight Eisenhower's golf cart. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Artifacts from the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open

For the first time in history, the USGA conducted the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Legends Michelle Wie West and Annika Sorenstam marked their final U.S. Women’s Open appearances by donating their gloves worn during their final rounds on Friday. Both gloves were added to the displays in the onsite USGA Museum Experience to further connect their on-course achievements at Pebble Beach to the championship’s rich history. The Museum also acquired In Gee Chun’s hole-in-one ball and 2023 champion Allisen Corpuz’s Hawaii-inspired golf towel.  

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Collection of artifacts from the 2023 U.S. Women's Open photographed at USGA Headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Max Togisala’s Round 2 Scorecard, 2023 U.S. Adaptive Open

At the 2023 U.S. Adaptive Open, 19-year-old Max Togisala was not only the youngest seated competitor, but he also placed first within that category and finished 17th overall. In Round 2, Togisala recorded a 2-under-par 70 on Pinehurst’s No. 6 Course, which is the lowest score in competition on a rated golf course by a player in a seated position using an assistive mobility device since the creation of the World Ranking for Golfers with a Disability (WR4GD) and its predecessor, the Ranking for Golfers with Disability (R4GD). His scorecard documents a milestone for the not only the U.S. Adaptive Open, but the adaptive golf community. 

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Max Togisala's 2023 Adaptive Open scorecard photographed at USGA Headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Eleanor W. Allen’s Scrapbook, 1923-1954

Eleanor Allen, two-time president of the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (originally the Women’s Golf Association of Boston), began collecting materials for this scrapbook 100 years ago. It contains newspaper clippings, articles, press releases and programs from prominent women’s golf events from 1923 to 1954. The material chronicles the careers of seminal female figures in the game, including Glenna Collett Vare, Marion Hollins, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk Bell, Helen Hicks, Alexa Stirling, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, and Joyce Wethered. 

Other unique items include original scorecards, photographs and a 1950 hand-written letter from to Allen from Grace Keyes, winner of the inaugural Women’s Golf Association of Boston championship at The Country Club (Brookline, Mass.) in 1900.  

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Eleanor Allen scrapbook photographed at USGA Headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

World Golf Hall of Fame Member Artifacts

In anticipation of the relocation and reopening of the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2024, the USGA Museum acquired several artifacts for the new experience in Pinehurst, N.C. Each of the more than 160 World Golf Hall of Fame members will have a locker featuring items that represent their careers and contributions, and there will be several special exhibits that celebrate other important moments in golf history. 

Artifacts acquired to further enhance these displays include President George H.W. Bush’s sand wedge, a set of Hale Irwin’s clubs and eight gold medals from various PGA Tour events won by Irwin, the golf bag and set of clubs used by Jock Hutchinson during the 1962 Masters, Sam Snead’s tombstone-shaped ball marker that reads “Here lies Sam Snead,” and several colorful record albums featuring Dinah Shore songs. 

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Items acquired for the World Golf Hall of Fame displays photographed at USGA Headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Jack Nicklaus by Andy Warhol, 1977

As a leader of the Pop Art movement, Andy Warhol captured cultural icons and consumer goods through his now-famous photographic silkscreen prints. Among those was eight-time USGA champion Jack Nicklaus. Warhol’s catalog of the 1977 photography session includes notes on Nicklaus’ appearance and its effect on the images, including the suntan lines from his golf glove and sunglasses. The pair of mauve and yellow portraits join a unique 1955 ink-drawing by Warhol of a child in traditional Dutch-style clothing playing golf. 

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Two Warhols side-by-side. (Hamilton-Selway Fine Art)