News and Views

"Slammin' Sammy" Snead and The Jersey's Shore's Only PGA Championship

By Sean Fawcett

In golf, there aren't many names bigger than Sam Snead. The legend, Snead, who won a record 82 PGA Tour tournament victories, and is a World Golf Hall of Famer, got started his career right here in South Jersey when he won the 1942 PGA Championship at Seaview Country Club in Galloway. 

In May of 1942, "Slammin Sammy" as some referred to him, won his 28th professional tournament and first of his seven major championships, the 1942 PGA Championship, when he chipped in for a birdie from some 60 feet away to beat Jim Turnesa 2&1. The par 3, currently the 16th hole at The Pines Course, which measures around 200 yards, has a plaque at its tee commemorating Snead's accomplishment and personal and professional highlight.

The 1942 championship was played on a combination of Seaview's older Bay Course, which opened in 1914, and the William Flynn and Howard Toomey designed Pines Course, which opened in 1929. Snead's historic major championship triumph concluded on the Pines' 1st, 2nd and 12th through 18th holes. As we know, the Bay Course still annually hosts the LPGA's ShopRite Classic, presented by Acer. 

"The 1942 PGA Championship was played on both The Bay and The Pines," said Seaview's TROON Golf's Director of Golf Alex McGann. " It was a match-play event back then and it was played on The Bay's front-nine, and most of the back nine holes were on the Pines."

"Snead won his final match versus Jim Turnesa with what some called a miraculous chip-in from about 60 feet. The chip happened right off the green and close to the 15th's tee box. The 15th, now a par-3, was a par 4 in 1942."

In 36-hole match play, Turnesa, who would eventually go on to win the 1952 PGA Championship, went 2-for-3 against Golf's "Big 3"(Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead) in succession to finish second to Snead. Turnesa knocked off Hogan first, 2&1, in the quarterfinals before narrowly defeating Nelson 1up in 1 extra hold, who at the time, was the game's highest ranked player in the semifinals, before, and ultimately, losing to Snead. Snead had advanced to the face Turnesa by defeating 1940 Masters champion, and 3-time Green Jacket winner, and fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jimmy Demaret 3&2 in the semifinals after out-driving 1933 PGA runner-up Willie Goggin(9&8) and Ed Dudley(1-up). Snead, who was second in the 1940 and 1938 PGA Championships, would win three PGA Championships, 3 Masters (1949m 1952, 1954) and one British Open in his career. .

Immediately following his 1942 victory at Seaview, Snead began his US military service career when he joined the US Navy. The '42 PGA was the second and final major of the year(the other was The Masters). The PGA, and the other three majors, The Masters, The US Open and The British Open were suspended in 1943 because of World War II. The PGA returned in 1944 with the other three golf championships resuming play in 1946.

Snead's Hall of Fame career continued after the war and included his decades-long held  record 82 Tour triumphs, which was broken by Tiger Woods in 2019.  Snead is one of four legends that have won Tour events in four different decades, a feat recently accomplished by Lee Westwood. He remains the oldest player to ever make the cut in a major championship when he made it to the weekend rounds of the 1979 PGA Championship at 67 years old. 

"It's really incredible to have the kind of history we have with Sam Snead, here at Seaview," said McGann. " We're one of maybe a dozen public golf courses in the country, and one of only two courses here at the Jersey Shore, to have hosted a major like the PGA Championship. Having one of golf's all-time best players to have won it, and his first major, right here is really amazing. 

"When you talk about Sam Snead, you're talking about one of the five, six, or seven greatest golfers in history."

All rights reserved – 2021 Golfer’s Tee Times/www.njgolfnews.com


Maybe Next Year....

By Steve Gordon

How many golfers set a goal to shoot their age? I am going to guess not many. But as I get older (I'll be 74 on Thanksgiving Day) it has become a target although seemingly unattainable for a few years for this 12-13 handicapper.

The closest I had gotten was a 76 in a club championship round in 2017 at Makefield Highlands in Yardley. To be honest it was the first time it really crossed my mind as it was a career best 18 holes at that time. I admit to not giving it much thought after it happened even as it beat a previous best of  77 with a first ever level par front nine at the Running Deer Golf Club in Elmer, NJ golf club a year earlier.

Rounds in the 70's are very rare for me but as I have moved up to the gold/senior tees it has become more attainable, but still rare. I'd like to make a note here that more players, regardless of age, should take into account playing a proper set of tees for a variety of reasons. Foremost among them is potentially more enjoyment of playing the game.

Aside from moving to a forward tee box what changed? 

In March of this year while out in Mesquite, NV (just before the pandemic slammed into our lives) a playing partner handed me his driver near the end of a round. "Try this" he said as this pretty blue club exchanged hands. I hit it solid maybe 40 years past my name brand driver that I had just hit a so-so shot with. I didn't even swing hard. I hit it once more and to conclude this story, when I got home I traded in that well known name brand driver. 

As I started hitting more accurate and longer tee shots my scores got better. I wasn't breaking par or even breaking 80 but the tee shots were easier the game become more fun and the scores started to get very consistent. There is a lot to be said about playing from the fairway and hitting shorter clubs into the greens.

Still shooting my age wasn't a conscious thought but the group I played weekly rounds with as we traveled to different courses every Tuesday was seeing results. One good friend was impressed such that he occasionally asks to use my driver.

About a month ago I had a very series of rounds where the game just seemed so easy overall for me. Playing with those guys I carded a 75. A career best and at this point two shots off my age. I followed that up with a 76 the next day at the Berkleigh Golf Club in Kutztown, PA, home course of former LPGA standout Betsy King.

Since that week there have been a couple good rounds but nothing spectacular until a record points day at a local course with a different group of guys playing the Stableford format. 

My longtime golf partner and I got together again on November 7th to play Vineyards National in Egg Harbor City, NJ. We hadn't played there in a few years and lately we haven't played a lot together as he lives 3 hours and a couple states away. Traveling to meet with the COVID-19 stuff going on was limited.

Can I guess that you are thinking this story ends like when they show a highlight on a golf telecast of a golf shot in a tournament where you know the result of an incredible shot that goes in the hole? Well...not exactly.

I bogeyed the first hole then a par on the second followed by a birdie. Except for two bogeys on both front nine par 5's (a sloppy pitch on one and a ball into a penalty area on the other) the opening set of holes added up to a 2 over par 38. We set out on the back nine that started with a par. I was playing well but shooting my age wasn't a conscious thought. My partner was keeping the score card and I wasn't paying attention to score.

One bogey, two birdies and four pars later I was on the front of the 18th green in regulation with a long putt. I stroked the slightly uphill and breaking putt and it came up five feet short. I missed the par putt not making a firm stroke to take the break out and my partner screamed "You idiot." 

That three putt was closed out a 74, one shot off shooting my 73 calendar years. He was aware but it was like a no hitter in baseball, you don't talk about it. A close friend said it should count as it happened in the same month I would have turned 74. I'm not sure it works like that.

The scorecard goes into my keep sake pile as my lowest score on a full size golf course to date. The combination of that driver that fitted my swing and the proper tees for my game sure has been a benefit.

With winter weather upon us the likelihood to beat that 74 and shoot my age for the rest of this calendar year is doubtful. But as we Philadelphia sports fans are used to saying about our sports teams..."Maybe next year."


NJ PGA Announces 2020 Special Award Winners

The New Jersey Section of the PGA of America (NJPGA)announced its 2020 annual award recipients, led by Joe Kelly, PGA General Manager & Head Professional at Mendham Golf & Tennis Club who was named 2020 NJPGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest honor for a PGA Professional within the Section. Awarded for qualities of leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the NJPGA, and the game of golf, Kelly is the current President of the NJPGA who has shown relentless commitment and dedication during these challenging times to his membership at Mendham Golf & Tennis Club as well as the New Jersey PGA, its PGA Golf Professionals, and its Staff . Kelly is joined by an esteemed list of PGA Professionals who were honored in several categories as 2020 NJPGA Special Award winners. The New Jersey PGA plans to recognize the award recipients on Thursday, October 22 nd at the Celebration of Golf at Canoe Brook Country Club and at the NJPGA Fall Meeting on Monday, October 26 th at Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club.

2020 NJPGA Award Winners:

  • Golf Professional of the Year: Joe Kelly – Mendham Golf & Tennis Club – Mendham, NJ
  • Assistant Golf Professional of the Year: Justin Rohrig – Forsgate Country Club, Monroe Twp, NJ
  • Teacher of the Year: Nick Bova – Hamilton Farm Golf Club – Gladstone, NJ
  • Club of the Year: Trump National Golf Club-Bedminster – Bedminster, NJ
  • Bill Strausbaugh Award: Keith Stewart – Springdale Golf Club – Princeton, NJ
  • Professional Development Award: Jason Fiore – Forest Hill Field Club – Bloomfield, NJ
  • Merchandiser of the Year (Private): Matt McKeon – Spring Lake Golf Club – Spring Lake, NJ
  • Merchandiser of the Year (Public): Vaughan Abel – Royce Brook Golf Club – Hillsborough, NJ
  • Player Development Award: Brian Dobbie – Trump National Golf Club-Bedminster – Bedminster, NJ
  • Youth Player Development Award: Jeremy Eccles – Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club – Bedminster, NJ
  • Patriot Award: Ed Walls – Renaissance Country Club – Manchester, NJ
  • Deacon Palmer Award: Bryan DeMarco – Pine Barrens Golf Club – Jackson Twp, NJ
  • Salesperson of the Year: Dave Lewis – Titleist