Founders of LPGA to be Inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame

As the World Golf Hall of Fame celebrates the Class of 2024, let’s take a closer look at the forgotten founders of the LPGA who will finally be honored for their contributions. The story of the LPGA founders is one of resilience, determination, and passion for the game of golf.

The LPGA was born out of a phone call and a dream. In the winter of 1949, Fred Corcoran found himself in Florida for an organizational meeting that included legends like Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, and Babe Didrickson Zaharias. Despite facing indifference from potential sponsors, the women persevered, and the LPGA was officially formed.

The inaugural season in 1950 saw pioneers like Betty Jameson, Helen Hicks, and Sally Sessions pave the way for future generations of female golfers. The tour relied on amateurs like Polly Riley to fill out its fields, as being known as a female professional wasn’t fashionable at the time.

The early days of the LPGA were filled with challenges, but the founders persisted. Shirley Spork, Opal Hill, and Bettye Danoff were among those who made sacrifices and broke barriers to establish a place for women in professional golf. Their dedication and passion for the game laid the foundation for the success of the tour.

The Hall of Fame of Women’s Golf was established in 1950, and now, nearly 75 years later, the 13 brave women who founded the LPGA will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame under the contributor category. Their legacy and impact on the sport will be celebrated posthumously at the induction ceremony on June 10, 2024, at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.

The stories of these forgotten founders, from Alice Bauer to Marlene Bauer Hagge, are a testament to the power of perseverance and determination. Their journey from humble beginnings to the highest honor in golf is a story that deserves to be told and remembered for generations to come.