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October 09, 2017 by Joselyn

Arizona Golf Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Class

Arizona Golf Hall of Fame Welcomes 2017 Class of Five

The Arizona Golf Hall of Fame Committee recently announced the five inductees for the 2017 Class, three modern candidates selected by the Voting Delegates, and two Legacy candidates by the Selectors Committee. The Legacy division recognizes those in Arizona who have made contributions to golf but, because it occurred many years ago, their impact is not known to the modern voters and their significance has gone unnoticed. 

The dinner and induction ceremony will be held Tuesday, Nov. 21. Please contact Alex Tsakiris at alex@azgolf.org or Liz Durnan at ldurnan@azgolf.org for information and an invitation.

Bill Coore, Architect

A native North Carolinian, Bill played much of his early golf at the Donald Ross courses of Pinehurst and the Perry Maxwell designed Old Town Club in Winston-Salem.

A 1968 graduate of Wake Forest University, Bill began his professional design and construction career with the firm of Pete Dye and Associates. Under Dyes’ guidance he was introduced to the elements of creative design and physical construction.

Bill formed his own design company in 1982 and then partnered with Ben Crenshaw in 1986. Their design philosophy was the same – admiration and respect for the classic golf courses of the “Golden Age of Architecture” with influences from Alister Mackenzie, Charles Blair MacDonald, Donald Ross, Perry Maxwell and Albert Tillinghast.

For Bill, five factors influence his design style the most: the land, the course’s concept, the owner’s needs and desires, the clientele, and his previous projects (so as to keep designs interesting and to avoid redundancy). He and Crenshaw try to choose sites that lend themselves to classic design and require minimal moving of dirt, helping them produce strategically captivating and artfully executed courses.

The team currently has five courses in the Top-100 in the U.S. according to both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest: Sand Hill GC in Mullen, Neb.; Friar’s Head in Baiting Hallow, New York; Bandon Trails in Bandon, Ore.; Old Sandwich in Plymouth, Mass.; and Streamsong (Red) in Fort Meade, Fla. Two of them, Sandhills and Friar’s Head, are in the top-25 in the world.

Bill’s contribution to golf in Arizona include the O’odham and Piipaash courses at Talking Stick and the Saguaro course at We-Ko-Pa.

Shawn Emerson, Superintendent

Shawn is a second-generation superintendent following in the footsteps of his dad and 2012 Hall of Famer, Bill Emerson. He spent his teen years in Massachusetts learning the trade from his dad where he managed turf at several high-end clubs. He moved to Arizona in 1982 with his family and worked for numerous golf courses from 1982-87 including Mountain Shadows, Stone Creek and TPC Scottsdale.

Shawn graduated from the University of Arizona in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy. His coursework was taught by 2006 Hall of Famer, David Kopec.

He was a Superintendent at Desert Mountain Golf Club from 1990-94. In 1997 he returned to Desert Mountain and has been their Director of Agronomy ever since. During his career, Shawn hosted 11 Senior PGA tour events (Tradition and Schwab Cup), seven Arizona Opens, four Southwest Amateurs, two State Amateurs (men and women), USGA Qualifiers, and USGA national championships.

Under Shawn’s tutelage, Desert Mountain has trained and mentored 75 golf course superintendents and assistants that have moved on to other jobs within the turf industry.

Shawn has served on the Cactus and Pine Board of Directors and as President of the Cactus and Pine Foundation. He also speaks on a regional and national level, representing the turf industry and promoting Arizona golf.

Betsy King, LPGA Professional

Betsy started on the LPGA Tour in 1977 and played for 28 years. She was one of its most popular stars from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. From 1984 through 1989, Betsy won a total of 20 LPGA events, more wins than any other golfer in the world, male or female, during that time period. She also won six major championships including

  • ANA Inspiration (Nabisco Dinah Shore) – 1987, 1990, 1997
  • U.S. Women’s Open – 1989, 1990
  • Women’s PGA Championship – 1992

Betsy played on five U.S. Solheim Cup teams and was the victorious captain of the 2007 U.S. team. Her successful playing career earned her many accolades including Player of the Year three separate times. She sits at No. 14 in LPGA history for officials wins with 34.

In 1995 she became the 14th member of the LPGA Hall of Fame and the first to cross the $5-million barrier in career earnings. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the same year.

Betsy became a winter resident in Arizona in the 1980s and moved here full-time in 2007, the same year she founded Golf Fore Africa. She has always been involved with charitable causes, and through Golf Fore Africa she works to raise funds for African communities to aid with economic development, education, health, clean water, and children’s issues. She still competes on the Legends Tour and runs “Vision of Hope” LPGA Pro-Am to benefit Golf Fore Africa.

LEGACY DIVISION

Kathy Cornelius, LPGA Professional

At age 13, a summer junior golf class at Lake Worth Golf Club gave Kathy a taste of the game which became her lifetime love.

Kathy played on the men’s golf team at Florida Southern College. She was runner-up in the National Collegiate Championship in both 1951 and 1953. In 1953 she decided to turn professional with the encouragement of her husband, PGA professional Bill Cornelius.

During her rookie year on the LPGA Tour in 1956, Kathy wasted no time making a name for herself. She won three LPGA tournaments, setting a 72-hole scoring record with her win at the St. Pete Open. She teamed with Bev Hanson to win the Hot Springs 4-Ball Tournament, and two weeks later she won the 1956 U.S. Women’s Open at Northland Country Club in Duluth, Minn. In 1961 she won the Tippecanoe Open on the LPGA Tour and set another scoring record with a 54-hole total 203.

Kathy’s LPGA Tour career spanned from 1956 to 1982. Along with a successful playing career, Kathy and Bill had two daughters, Karen and Kay. Kay had an outstanding junior career and with her win at the 1981 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Kathy and Kay became the only mother-daughter USGA Champions, a record which still stands today. 

Cliff Whittle, PGA Section Professional

The 1961 Rocky Mountain PGA Section Professional of the Year, Cliff was an accomplished player who won several important tournaments early in his career, including the San Juan Open, Nevada Open, Utah Open, Idaho Open and the Rocky Mountain PGA Championship in 1957.

Cliff’s inspiration continues in the youth of today with the Cliff Whittle Cup, an event that honors his achievements and influence and provides opportunities for young people to play golf and have fun within a development league played at a number of different Valley facilities.

President of the Southwest Section PGA from 1975-77, Cliff was instrumental in establishing the growth and financial future for the section. He was a strong believer that every PGA Professional should know how to teach and play the game at a high level. His passion for education prompted his involvement as an instructor at both Business Schools 1 and 2 of the PGA Apprentice Program.

Cliff served as host of the first PGA National Club Professional Championship in 1968 in Scottsdale. Until his death in January 2009 he was a free-spirited PGA Professional who believed greatly in the men and women who served the game every day.