Sacramento has proven to be a hotbed of golf for almost as long as the game is old.
Proof of that fact is the incredible legacy that the several dozen individuals inducted into Sacramento’s Golf Hall of Fame.
The First Tee of Greater Sacramento’s Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals that had an everlasting impact on the landscape of golf in and around Sacramento.
Tour players, club professionals, great amateur players and volunteers make up this unique list.
Winners have accomplishments ranging from making significant strides in introducing golf to disabled youth to bringing a whole golf course to the Sacramento area.
The people listed below have all had an incredible impact on the game of golf and we are so thankful for all they have done
Past TFTGS Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame Recipients:
2000- Ken Morton, Sr.
PGA Master Golf Professional Ken Morton Sr. began his golf career as a caddy at the Del Paso Country Club when he was 11 years old.
Later he began working part time for Del Paso C. C. Head Professional Frank Minch Sr. at the age of 16.
He attended the El Camino High School in Sacramento, California. During his senior year at El Camino he won the Nor Cal High School Individual Golf Championship.
After high school, he attended the Sacramento City College and won the California Junior College Individual Golf Championship two years later.
After college he turned professional and joined the professional team at the Haggin Oaks Golf Course working for Head Golf Professional Tom Lo Presti.
In 1971 he became Co-Head Professional with Tom Lo Presti. In 1991 Mr. Lo Presti retired and Ken became the sole owner of Morton Golf that was awarded a 10 year contract to manage and operate the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex for the City of Sacramento.
In 2001, he took in added partners and that team received a long term contract to manage and operate all 90 holes of golf owned by the City of Sacramento.
In 1983, he created with Les Streeper (who was at that time the Head Professional at the Del Paso Country Club) the Sacramento Area Youth Golf Association (SAY-Golf) which later became The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (TFTGS). He was President of SAY-Golf and later TFTGS from 1983 until 2002.
Throughout Ken’s golf pro career, he has been deeply involved in National PGA and Sectional PGA Education. He also performed Golf Course Consulting work for the PGA and was for over 20 years used as a designated expert in the development of National PGA Education Training courses for PGA Apprentices and Head PGA Golf Professionals.
He personally conducted PGA of America Seminars and Workshops for the PGA of America for over 30 years running.
Over the years he has earned more PGA National Awards for his work than any member in PGA history and in 2005 was inducted into the National PGA Hall of Fame.
He has also been inducted into the Sacramento City College Sports Hall of Fame. Over many decades he and his team have received many national awards by Golf Magazines and Allied Associations.
He and his team are considered one of the nation’s best golf retailers in America and have also earned recognition as providing one of the premiere golf instruction programs and strongest golf management companies in the country.
2001- Bob Bell
Bob Bell served in the US Marine Corps from 1955-1958, graduated from Cal State Sacramento in 1961 and completed his Juris Doctor from UOP, McGeorge School of Law in 1968.
He was a business partner in Hefner, Stark and Marois, eventually owning Bell Properties.
He held memberships at the North Ridge CC, Del Paso CC and Serrano CC. Bob played on the 1959-61 Golf Teams at Cal State Sacramento.
His love of golf led him to become the Chairman and CEO of the Raley’s Gold Rush Classic between 1990 and 2000.
He also served as a Board of Director on the Sacramento Area Golf Association (SAY-Golf), which eventually became The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, during that same period.
He served as President of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento Area Trade Organization, Sacramento International Track and Field Association, Camellia Bowl, Crocket Art Museum, and California Wildfowl Association.
He received several local service awards, which included induction into the Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame in 1991 and was named Sacramentan of the Year in 1995.
2001- Neil Belknap
Neil Belknap was the founding organizer for the The Gold Rush Classic, a golf tournament on the Champions Tour from 1987 to 2001.
It was played in Rancho Murieta, California at the Rancho Murieta Country Club (1987-1995) and in El Dorado Hills, California at Serrano Country Club (1996-2001).
The tournament raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities during its existence and The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (then known as SAY Golf) was a big beneficiary.
Belknap and his team were responsible for bringing in the best Senior Tour players in the world including eventual Gold Rush champions Tom Kite, David Graham, Jim Colbert, George Archer, Bob Charles and Orville Moody.
Sacramento will forever be grateful for his contributions to this great tournament legacy.
2002- Jimmy Yee
Jimmie Yee is a native Sacramentan, born in 1934. He attended Lincoln Elementary, Lincoln Junior High, and Sacramento High Schools prior to graduating from UC Berkeley in 1956 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
In 1957, he joined the US Army Reserves, Corps of Engineers, and was discharged at the rank of Captain in 1965.
From 1963, Yee has contributed significant time, energy, and professional expertise to public service commitments.
Last year by unanimous vote of the city council, he was appointed Mayor to serve the unexpired term of the late Mayor Joe Serna, Jr. Previously, he was elected to serve two terms as the District 4 representative on the city council.
Under his leadership, some of Sacramento golf’s greatest reinvestments happened under his watch, guiding golf to unprecedented growth in the Capital City.
2002- Carrol Canfield
Carrol Canfield was a champion of amateur public golf volunteerism.
Carrol’s hard work brought the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Golf Links Championship to the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in 1992.
The tournament was devised as, and remains, a championship for female amateurs who play on public courses, as members of private clubs are barred from entry.
This tournament was the largest attended of any Women’s Publinx Championship in the history of the event and winner Amy Fruhwirth would go on to play ten years on the LPGA Tour, eventually winning the Friendly’s Classic in 1998.
Canfield spent countless hours donating time to the USGA, SAY Golf, the NCGA and Sacramento Golf Council.
2002- Karen Dedman
Karen Swanson Dedman grew up in Land Park and began playing golf there.
She won the Sacramento City Women’s Championship at 16, qualified for the U.S. Girls Jr. Championship twice and the U.S. Women’s Championship twice.
Upon returning to Sacramento after several years of teaching college, her strong community service ethic drew her to SAY-Golf which became The First Tee of Greater Sacramento.
As a co-founder, she spent several years on the board and was President of the Board for two years. Her leadership qualities have rallied local businesses and individuals to the cause and her generous financial donations to TFTGS have had a major impact.
She was also instrumental in gleaning a great deal of help from the United States Golf Association. She continues to be very involved with TFTGS through scholarship interviews and the Jr. Tour.
2002- Walter Strand
Strand has left a huge impact on Sacramento Golf throughout his life. In addition to being a charter member of the Sacramento Golf Club, Strand pushed for the creation of both Bing Maloney and Ancil Hoffman golf courses.
He also fought to prevent William Land Golf Course from being converted into a picnic area. He and Ken Morton, Sr., worked together to create SAY Golf. He was also the president of the Sacramento Golf Council, and a official at the state amateur for over 20 years.
2003- Stan Atkinson
Atkinson has received dozens of awards for his work as a reporter, and is well-known for his contributions back to the community.
He is co-founder and host of the Stan Atkinson Classic, coupled with the Stan Atkinson foundation, has raised over $300,000 for local charities.
He also served in the Board of Directors of the Gold Rush Classic. His contributions to the community have raised money for both youths and the community alike.
2003- Verne Callison
Born in 1918, Verne Callison had a very successful career as an amateur. He won 30 local club championships throughout his life.
In addition, he was a two-time USGA Champion, seven-time California State Fair Champion, and two-time U.S. Amateur Public Links Champion.
In fact, at age 48, Callison’s second U.S. Amatuer victory still stands today as being the oldest victor ever for that tournament.
2003- Beth Hightower
Beth Hightower was not a champion of golf through her game, but through her pen.
Hightower wrote her first sports story in 1942 for the Sports News about the exclusion of women from the baseball press boxes of the Pacific Coast League.
Later, she would get her full-time sports writing job for the Sacramento Union and would spend the better part of two decades promoting the game of golf and championing the local players that played in it.
She is still considered the pinnacle of golf writers in the Greater Sacramento nearly thirty years after her last story.
2003- Al Geiberger
Geiberger was introduced to the game of golf at an early age, and played much of his junior golf at local William Land Golf Course.
He turned professional in 1959, later winning 11 tournaments on the PGA Tour, and 10 more times on the Champions Tour, including the 1966 PGA Championship.
Despite these incredible achievements, Geiberger is most well-known as the first golf professional to shoot a 59 on tour, and is affectionally named “Mr. 59” because of it. Since then, only 2 other players have matched this feat.
2003- Tom LoPresti
LoPresti was a caddy for couses in the San Fransisco and Monterey areas such as the Olympic Club and San Fransisco Golf Club at an early age.
His official career began however, when he was hired as a Caddy Master at Del Paso Country Club in 1927.
Soon thereafter, LoPresti was hired as the Head Professional for Haggin Oaks at its opening in 1932, where he would remain until 1991.
In 1962, at age 54, LoPresti was named the PGA Professional of the Year for his all-around ability and contributions to the game of golf.
2003- Kevin Sutherland
A Sacramento native, Sutherland grew up playing local courses with his brother, David.
Sutherland qualified for the PGA Tour in 1992, and has played consistent golf ever since.
He won WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in 2002, and has had many top-10 finishes throughout his career.
He has appeared multiple times at each of the four golf majors, and finished in the T-9 at both the 2001 Open Championship and the 2007 PGA Championship.
Sutherland’s consistent play has resulted in him being one of the highest earners on the tour.
2004- Bob Eastwood
Eastwood was a longtime PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour fixture who spent most of his youth in the Sacramento Valley.
He helped his family construct Dry Creek Ranch Golf Club and would turn pro in 1969. He won several amateur tournaments in the middle 1960s.
His three wins on the PGA Tour came in the mid 1980’s and included the USF&G Classic, Danny Thomas Memphis Classic and the Byron Nelson Golf Classic.
He also had two wins on the Champions Tour both came in the same year in 1997 including the hometown victory at the Raley’s Gold Rush Classic.
2004- Jim Fitzpatrick
Jim Fitzpatrick, a native Californian, has been painting golf exclusively for over 30 years.
After thousands of hours on the range and a dedicated amateur career, Jim went to work as a golf course designer for the international firm of Harris, Thompson (Peter), Wolveridge, Fream and Storm.
Missing the Links he turned his profession to operate a golf course in Ashland, Oregon, and then spent a number of years in sales and advertising.
In the early 80’s he returned to his passion, golf, this time as an artist painting golf scenes and players from around the world and throughout history.
Over the years, at his client’s requests, Jim has expanded & developed his talents to include fine pencil drawings and sculptures.
He has been selected to immortalize many of golf’s greatest events, finest clubs and most distinguished players with his creations.
2004- John Nakamura
Nakamura is a former Sacramento Golf Club President and has also been an active participant with the USGA and the NCGA for several decades.
He currently is a member of the U.S. Public Links Championship and the Regional Affairs committees.
He serves as the chairman for Sacramento area sectional qualifying for the U.S. Public Links Championship and is the official starter for the championship proper.
Mr. Nakamura has also served as a trustee for the Pacific Coast Golf Association and is currently a Trustee Emeritus.
Additionally, he volunteers as a Rules Chairman and Rules official for numerous other organizations throughout Northern California including the American Junior Golf Association, Sacramento Golf Council, Future Collegiate World Tour, Nevada Open Championship, Scratch Players Championship, Spanos California Tour and various other competitions.
2004- Mac McDonagh
Born in Ireland, Mac McDonagh moved to California in 1923, where he would become a talented course architect under Alister Mackenzie.
The pair constructed Cypress Point Links, as well as creating the Sacramento Golf Course, site of the present Haggin Oaks. McDonagh would then remain as the course superintendent at Haggin Oaks until the fall of 1960.
McDonagh was also the architct for Bing Maloney and contributed to other courses in the area, such as remodeling the greens at Del Paso Country Club.
2004- George Steffes
Mr. Steffes is a successful lobbyist whose campaigning for golf has had meaning in Sacramento and beyond.
Steffes first worked in Sacramento in 1963, and from 1967 to 1972 served as Director of Programs and Policy and Chief Legislative Advocate to then Governor Ronald Reagan.
In 1972, Steffes and two other partners organized the first multi-person contract lobbying firm in Sacramento history.
In 1976, he left to start his own firm, which is now one of the largest in Sacramento. He has campaigned behind the scenes for funds for The First Tee of Greater Sacramento for the better part of three decades and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization with his initiatives and events.
2004- Les Streeper
Les Streeper was the long-time Head Golf Professional at Del Paso CC, following in the big footsteps of Frank Minch, Sr. and Frank Minch, Jr.
He was beloved there at the golf club and always made sure a key focus was on junior golf.
Under his watch, the club raised countless dollars to SAY Golf for programming and scholarships and Streeper himself was a board member for a number of years.
2004- Ann Weaver
Ann Weaver was the Sacramento City Golf Manager for over a decade and it was under watch that Bartley Cavanaugh GC was launched and the Alister MacKenzie GC at Haggin Oaks was renovated to its historic charm.
Supervision of the project, which began in March 2000 and was completed in October of that same year, fell to Weaver, two decade-long GCSAA member.
2004- Scott McCarron
McCarron was born in Sacramento, California and graduated from Vintage High School in Napa, California.
He was a member of the golf team at UCLA, graduating in 1988 with a major in History.
Unlike most golfers, McCarron did not transition right away from the college to the professional ranks — he gave up golf for four years (1988–1992) to work with his father in the family clothing business.
He turned professional in 1992 and joined the PGA Tour in 1994. McCarron has had PGA Tour victories in 1996, 1997 and 2001 including the BellSouth Classic twice and the Freeport-McDermott Classic.
2005- Phil and Ray Arrino
Over the course of three decades, brothers Phil and Ray Arinno were outstanding players that excelled in nearly every amateur championship that they teed it up in.
Between the two of them, they would win an amazing seven California State Fair Golf Championships. Their amazing career records will hold up for many decades to come.
Other wins for Phil include a Sac City Jr Championship, four Sac Golf County Championships and four Sac City Championships. Ray added one Sac City Championship to his three State Fair titles.
2005- Ruben Samaniego
Samaniego was a dedicated PGA golf professional and highly respected member of the Northern California Section of the Professional Golfers’ Association (NCPGA), and most recently a member of the Southern Texas PGA Section.
He began his work in golf at San Jose Municipal Golf Course (San Jose, Calif.) following a 20-year career in retail sales and management.
While at the busy San Jose city-owned course, Samaniego founded the American Deaf Golf Education Foundation, establishing the first West Coast course to provide golf instruction in American Sign Language (ASL).
In 1993, he moved to New Orleans, La., where he continued his passion for teaching. He was involved with the New Orleans Junior Golf Association, and was appointed golf program director for the Mega City Special Olympics.
He returned to California in 1998 and served as director of golf at William Land Park Golf Course (Sacramento, Calif.), working closely with the Sacramento Area Youth Golf Association (SAY-Golf), known today as The First Tee of Greater Sacramento.
His passion for teaching often gravitated to working with juniors and golfers with disabilities.
Samaniego served as chairman of the NCPGA Physically Challenged Committee. He helped lay the foundation for FORE Golf Sacramento, Disabled Sports USA, and Sacramento’s Project Gain, programs designed for golfers with disabilities.
In 2001, he assisted in the development of the Saving Strokes Golf & Fitness Program, a program to rehabilitate stroke survivors with golf.
2005- Frank Toronto
Toronto began his career in golf as a caddy at Del Paso Country Club in 1927 at age 13.
Five years later he won his first local tournament, marking the beginning of a series of victories throughout Northern California that lasted until the 1960s.
These include winning the 1939 and 1951 State Fair Championships, winning the Sacramento City Championship 5 times in 6 years, qualifying for the US Open at Riviera in Los Angelos, plus winning many other local championships.
Volunteer Community Award- Swing at Cancer/Bob Hurst
Del Paso Country Club hosted the swing at Cancer Pro-Am which welcomed Hall of Fame Champions Kathy Whitworth, Sam Snead, Billy Casper Gene Litler, Hale Irwin, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson and many others- all run by the late Bob Hurst. The charity-minded Hurst always made sure that those organizations in need and underpriviledged children were taken care of and made numerous donations to junior golf over the course of the event’s history.
2012- Natalie Gulbis
Gulbis played in her first LPGA event as a fourteen year old amateur in 1997.
She was the top player on the local Granite Bay High School boy’s golf team and accepted a golf scholarship to the University of Arizona, teaming with fellow freshman Lorena Ochoa.
She turned professional in 2001 at 18 years of age and her first LPGA Tour win came at the 2007 Evian Masters in France. She has also played on multiple victorious U.S. Solheim Cup teams.
2012- Angie Dixon
As one of the original “Little Linkers,” Angie Dixon credits SAY Golf for developing her enthusiasm for the game.
After playing on the Varsity Boys Team at El Camino High School, Angie received a full scholarship to the University of Washington.
After graduation in 1994, Angie worked as a Teaching Professional at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex and became the golf coach for Loretto High School, a position she still holds.
Angie served as Director of Instruction at Whitney Oaks Golf Course in Rocklin for three years before joining Woodcreek Golf Club staff as a Teaching Professional and Junior Program Advisor.
As a SAY Golf team member, Angie works diligently to expand the Junior Tour, coordinate the city-wide Little Linker programs, and integrate the Life Skills curriculum into the SAY Golf programs to create a better experience for our SAY Golf juniors.
Dixon (formerly Angie Pieroni) was a decorated amateur golfer who finished in the semi-finals of the 1992 USGA Women’s Public Links Championship.
Angie has worked for The First Tee of Greater Sacramento for longer than any other employee and has run the First Tee Junior Tour (formerly known as the SAY Golf Tour) since its inception.
2012- David Sutherland
Like his brother and fellow PGA Tour alum, David Sutherland grew up playing golf at the Haggin Oaks.
David won the prestigious Western Amateur Championship and then the 2001 Utah Classic as a professional.
A veteran PGA Tour player, Sutherland competed in 215 PGA events and 83 Nationwide Tour tournaments during his 17 years on the circuit.
A native of Carmichael, Calif., Sutherland recorded eight top 10 and 32 top 25 finishes on the PGA Tour.
His best PGA finish came at the 1997 Greater Milwaukee Open where he tied for second. He also recorded a pair of third-place ties, including the 1999 Bell Canadian Open.
In addition, Sutherland competed in the British Open and the PGA Tour Championship. Sutherland was named Sacramento State’s Director of Golf prior to the 2007-08 season.
In his current capacity, Sutherland oversees both the Hornet men’s and women’s golf teams.
2012- Bob & Marilyn Hughes
Also among the honorees are long time adored volunteers, Bob and Marilyn Hughes who have dedicated over 20 years serving the youth in the Sacramento area through golf council and TFTGS events and Bodycraft Collision centers who will receive the community award for their longstanding partnership with and support of The First tee of Greater Sacramento.
Volunteer Community Award- Bodycraft Collision Center
Bodycraft Collision Centers started doing business in the Sacramento area over 25 years ago and quickly became a leader in the industry. The focus on quality and customer service made them stand above their competitors.
Over the last decade and a half, no local business has been so instrumental in raising incredible sums of money for The First Tee of Greater Sacramento. Behind the scenes, they’ve touched the lives of thousands of First Tee kids with the funding of key programs.
2013- Barbara Romack
Barbara Romack not only has one of the most illustrious amateur careers in the history of women’s golf, but is still the only amateur women’s golfer to ever be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine.
Romack won both the 1960 LPGA Tour Leesburg Open as well as the 1961 Tour Rock Cities Open, but it was her amateur career that was even more remarkable.
She won the Canadian Amateur Championship (1953) and the USGA Women’s Amateur Championship (1954) and won the California State Amateur a record four times. (1952, 1954, 1956, 1958)
Born and raised in Sacramento, Romack had a career golf record unmatched by any other woman locally.
She learned the game early on from Bing Maloney Head Golf Professional Bus Pendleton and then later from Haggin Oaks Head Golf Professional Tom LoPresti.
In 1955, her golfing prowess earned an invitation from then-President Dwight Eisenhower for lunch. Romack is now retired and living in Florida.
2013- Elliott “Bus” Pendleton
Bus Pendleton was a head golf professional fixture at William Land GC and Bing Maloney GC for nearly four decades and had an undeniable impact on local public golf.
Pendleton was born in 1907 and was an outstanding amateur player, winning the second annual California State Fair Golf Championship when it was held at the Del Paso Country Club.
It was at Del Paso where Pendleton was first introduced to golf. A native of Fort Bragg, he moved with his family to Sacramento in 1919. Shortly after arriving, he sold newspapers downtown during the week and on weekends caddied at Del Paso.
Pendleton won his first tournament in 1922, a handicap event on the old Arcade course featuring sand greens. Two years later he opened a golf shop at the old Weinstock-Lubin department store at 12th and K streets.
Pendleton took the head professional job at Land Park in 1935 and assumed additional duties as head pro at Bing Maloney when it opened in 1952. Bus paved a lot of roads for the success golf has today in the community.
He’s also helped many others go on to successful careers in golf. Some of his pupils included Al Geiberger, Barbara Romack, Judy Ghilarducci, Frank Elston and Geoff Gorman, who would become president of the Ben Hogan Golf Co. Geiberger, the first touring pro ever to shoot a 59 and a success on the Senior PGA Tour, was his most famous pupil. Pendleton passed away in 1996 at the age of 89.
2013- Irene Kaminsky
It is appropriate that the lady that people called “The Mother of Sacramento Junior Golf” be inducted along with some of her prized golfers that played in the tournaments that she ran.
Irene Kaminsky grew up a fan of the game and dedicated her long life to creating tournaments and opportunities for junior golfers to learn the game of golf. She helped create the Sacramento Golf Council and was its very first woman member, acting as the Treasurer for over two decades.
Says longtime Haggin Oaks Director of Golf, Ken Morton, Sr., “The impact and influence of Irene on junior golf here in Sacramento cannot possibly be overstated.
Her passion and ardent support for the young golfers in our community led to every significant local junior golf tournament and the creation of the Sacramento Golf Council.
It is only appropriate that the tournament she founded, the Sacramento City Junior Championship, has a trophy with her name etched on it in perpetuity.
Kaminsky passed away in the early 1980’s making it all the way into her 80’s.
2013- Ed Burt
Ed Burt got his start working for the Marksville Appeal-Democrate after he graduated high school but soon joined the Sacramento Bee staff in 1942 as a courthouse reporter.
He soon worked his way up through the general assignment and copy desks until the avid sportsman landed his dream job as the golf writer.
He remained the golf voice for the newspaper until his retirement in 1972.
During his tenure, he received special awards from the Northern California Golf Association, the Sacramento Golf Club and the McClatchy Broadcasting 25-Year Club for his service to the area and local golfers alike.
He covered every local golf event imaginable, from the Swing at Cancer (where he would later handle publicity in retirement) to interviewing Lawrence Welk about his golf game when he was here locally for an event.
Burt’s contributions to celebrating and publicizing golf in the Greater Sacramento area were immeasurable.
Probably saying it the best is a plaque Burt received from the Northern California Golf Association that read: “To Ed Burt for special recognition in sketching the game of golf and its golfers exactly as they go without prejudice to friend or foe.”
Burt passed away in 1976 at the age of 69.
2015- Frank Minch, Sr.
Frank Minch, Sr. was hired at Del Paso Country Club in 1925.
There is really no way to overestimate the positive impact and influence Frank Minch, Sr. had on the growth of Del Paso CC- he brought the Club to prominence with exhibitions featuring golfing greats such as Sir Henry Cotton, Tommy Armour and Lloyd Mangrum. .
Mr. Minch was a renowned golf instructor and was never seen without his trademark stogie clenched between his teeth.
Helped Del Paso CC host the 1957 U.S. Women’s Amateur and put the Club in the National Golf Spotlight.
After 40 years of service, Frank Minch, Sr. retired from Del Paso Country Club in 1965.
2015- Frank Minch, Jr.
Frank Minch, Jr. served as Del Paso Country Club’s Head Professional from 1965 – 1980.
Mr. Minch Jr. benefited from the legacy his father had created. The Club thrived during his tenure as professional, and Del Paso continued its relevance on the national golf stage by hosting the 1976 Women’s U.S. Amateur with Frank Minch, Jr. as Head Golf Professional.
Mr. Minch retired in 1980 and was given an honorary membership by the Club. He continued to play cards and golf at Del Paso Country Club for many years as a member of the long table.
2015- Bob Lunn
Longtime fixture of the PGA Tour in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the 1963 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion.
He turned pro in 1965 and won six times on the PGA Tour.
In 1968, he was named Most Improved Golfer of the Year by Golf Digest- winning two tournaments in a row – the Memphis Open Invitational and the Atlanta Classic.
Lunn’s best years in professional golf were 1968–72 when he appeared in the top 60 on the money list in each of those years. Won the par-3 contest at Augusta National’s pitch & putt course during the week of the 1969 Masters.
Also, Lunn played in just over four dozen events on the Champions Tour since turning 50 in 1995.
2015- Bob E Smith
Smith was one of Sacramento’s most celebrated playing touring professionals, spending 15 years on PGA tour (where he was a top 60 money winning earner ten of those years), 7 years on European tour, 5 years on Champions tour following his illustrious amateur career that culminated in winning the prestigious Western Amateur Championship and Porter Cup each two times.
Won the California State Amateur Champ 1967.
2015- Dick Lotz
Was a longtime fixture on the PGA Tour and the Senior PGA Tour. He shot a record-breaking 59 in the final round of the 1963 Santa Clara County Golf Championship, which still stands.
In 1963, his final year as an amateur, Lotz came within one stroke of becoming the first amateur since Gene Littler in 1954, to win on the PGA Tour. Lotz played on the PGA Tour from 1964–1978.
Among his victories were three official events, the 1969 Alameda Open, the 1970 Kemper Open and the 1970 Monsanto Open.
Among the unofficial professional tournaments Lotz captured were the Chales Schultz Pro-Am Invitational, the 1972 Plantation Classic in North Carolina, the 1985 Northern California PGA Match and Medal championship, and the 1985 Blackhawk Invitational.
2016- Alice Miller
This 9-time LPGA Tour winner from Marysville played incredible college golf, capping it off with winning the 1975 AIAW National Collegiate Championship as a team at Arizona State.
She joined the LPGA in 1978 and played steadily until she broke out with her first win with the West Virginia LPGA Classic in 1983.
The mid-80’s were the best of her career, winning two events in 1984 and four in 1985, including her lone LPGA major championship, the Nabisco Dinah Shore.
A hero to many, in 1997 Miller set a new all-time record for the fastest round in an official LPGA competition in one hour, 26 minutes during the final round of the Welch’s/Circle K Championship.
She was President of the LPGA Tour in 1993.
2016- Noni Schneider
Noni Schneider is a true hometown hero.
She won an early City Championship in the Jr/Sr in 1964 and would go on to win two City Women’s Championships (1968 and 1969) as well as a County Women’s Championship in 1970.
After her collegiate career, she would go onto to play on the LPGA Tour for several years, making 89 starts, 72 cuts and 8 Top 25 finishes.
After her tour career finished, Noni went to work for Karsten Solheim and the PING company before returning home to Sacramento and teaching at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex and becoming the Head Golf Professional at Twelve Bridges Golf Course in Lincoln.
2016- Judy Ghilarducci
Judy Ghilarducci graduated from CK McClatchy HS and then would go on to win the Sacramento City Mixed Scotch Championship, the Sacramento City Women’s Championship and two Sacramento County Women’s Championships before making the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex her home for nearly three decades.
She became one of the West Coast’s most sought-after golf instructors. Her clients would come from over 100 miles away to take lessons from her and it wasn’t until her retirement in 2000 that she wasn’t a key component of the golf world here in Sacramento.
She would give over 20,000 golf lessons here in the city.
2016- Carole Jo Whitted (Callison/Skala)
Carole Jo had an outstanding amateur career, winning the Oregon Girls Junior twice (1954 and 1955) and the Oregon Womens’ Open four times (1955, 1961, 1962 and 1965) along with othe rwins.
In 1955, she won the US Girls Junior Championship. After turning professional in 1970, she would win four times on the LPGA Tour between 1973 and 1974 and marry Verne Callison, himself a Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame member and two-time winner of the US Amateur Public Links Championship.
She’d also finish in 3rd place in the Women’s PGA Championship in 1976 and have a top ten finish in the 1982 US Women’s Open.
After her tour retirement, Carole Jo and Verne would settle down and open a tavern here in Sacramento.
2016- Carol French (Slane)
She played four seasons of intercollegiate golf at Sacramento State and the Hornets claimed a national title with Carol Slane among their ranks in 1981 at a course in Sioux City, Iowa that year.
Sacramento State also won AIAW – the forerunner to NCAA women’s athletics – championships in softball and volleyball that year.
French would later join former San Jose State Spartans Patty Sheehan and Juli Inkster on the LPGA circuit.
Her LPGA debut came the same year she graduated from college (1985). She would go on to play in three U.S. Opens, once as an amateur and twice as professional.
She won four events on the Women’s Professional Golf Tour, which was the women’s golf equivalent to Triple-A baseball.
After her retirement from tournament golf, she would become a teacher/golf coach up in the Auburn where she still resides today.
2016- Rene Mondine
Mondine began his association with the Hornets as a student-athlete for the men’s golf team in 1959.
He won the Sacramento City Amateur title in 1961 and later won the Rancho Murieta Golf Club Championship twice, the Sacramento Golf Club Championship three times, the Bing Maloney Golf Club title twice, the Sacramento County Senior Amateur twice and placed third at the California State Senior Amateur in 1995.
After working as a tournament director for the LPGA and as a teaching pro, Mondine returned to Sacramento State as the men’s golf coach in 1986. He added the responsibilities as the women’s head coach with the program’s inception in 1996.
He held both positions until his retirement in July of 2004. During his 17 years at Sacramento State, the Hornet men won the Big Sky Conference team title in 1996 and 1997, and added a second-place finish in 1998.
Individually, six Hornets placed in the top five of the conference, including Robert Hamilton who was the Big Sky Tournament individual champion in 1996 and 1997.
Mondine was also named Big Sky Coach of the Year in both 1996 and 1997.
Mondine passed away in 2012 at the age of 73.
2016- Mike Macaluso
Macaluso would begin his career as an assistant golf professional under fellow Sacramento Golf Hall of Famer Bus Pendleton before becoming the first Head Golf Professional at the Ancil Hoffman Golf Course where he would stay from 1965‐1984.
Under his guidance, the course there at Ancil Hoffman would become one of the premier public golf courses in California, host several important local amateur championships and truly write the Sacramento County golf experience.
Mike Macaluso was a man who was known as an excellent golf instructor, an excellent business man and an excellent people person
2017- John Kelly
With a BA and MPA Degree from California State University of Sacramento, John used his background in finance to join the SAY Golf Board in 1990 which later became the First Tee of Greater Sacramento.
During his 22 year tenure, he helped raise significant funds for the organization, helped develop numerous youth development programs, was part of the team that negotiated a new relationship with the City of Sacramento to operate the William Land Golf Course to focus on youth development.
He was President of The First Tee of Greater Sacramento from 2008 to 2012.
2017- Frank LaRosa
Often referred to as the “voice of golf” in Northern California, Frank LaRosa is host of ESPN 1320’s “Golf To Go” radio show.
He is also host of “Tee Time: Golf in Northern California” produced by Sacramento’s KVIE-TV.
You will find his writing in publications such as the Northern California Golf Association’s monthly magazine, Sacramento Magazine, and more.
He was awarded the Northern California PGA’s Sports Media Person of the Year in 2005 and 2010.
In 2013, he was named Honorary Member of the NCPGA, only the 13th time the award had been bestowed.
His impact on the game has extended to many charitable organizations including The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, Northern California PGA Foundation, The George Archer Memorial Foundation for Literacy, Saving Strokes (which he was instrumental in starting) and The Morton Golf Foundation.
He is owner of Frank LaRosa & Associates Advertising and Marketing Agency.
2017- Dr. Milton Fenner
Dr. Fenner second career past medicine was clearly golf.
For decades, his involvement with junior golf events in Sacramento as a key volunteer and committee person kept them running at their highest level.
He was heavily involved in the Sacramento Golf Club for decades, acting as President of the organization. But quite possibly his biggest contribution to golf in Sacramento was a pet project that captured the history of golf in a way that had never been done before.
Dr. Fenner wrote a book entitled The History of Men’s Golf In The Sacramento Area in late 1977 that captured every major detail of every golf event in the city from 1902 to 1976.
Over 400 pages of incredibly detailed and laboriously researched events captured scores and names of events that would have most certainly been lost to the annals of time had it not been for his careful interviews and writings.
2017- Peggy Dodds
Born and raised in Sacramento, Peggy went to Sacramento High School and Sacramento Junior College.
It was at Sac City College that she took PE golf classes from (fellow SGHOF inductee) Beth Hightower.
From 1983 to the present day, she has devoted her time to running multiple junior golf events at the Sacramento City and County golf courses.
She joined the Sacramento Golf Council in 1985 and was asked to reorganize the declining junior championships and now they remain some of the crown jewel events across Northern California and beyond.
She has spent countless hours volunteering to help with additional events including Little Linkers, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento Tour events and other Golf Council events.
Her tireless devotion to juniors has created multi-generations of parents and kids who have benefitted from the work that she has done.
2017- Rob Fong
Rob Fong is a third generation Sacramentan and earned a degree in political science with Phi Beta Kappa distinction from U.C. Berkeley in 1981.
He graduated from the U.C. Davis King Hall School of law in 1984, and practiced civil litigation and business law until 2009 with the law firm of Ryan & Fong.
In 2009, Mr. Fong started RKF Consulting, his own lobbying and consulting firm.
Mr. Fong was elected to the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Trustees in 1998 and served as Board President from 2003 through April 2004.
In March 2004, he was elected to the Sacramento City Council. In 2006, he was elected to the position of Vice Mayor.
Mr. Fong was re-elected to serve a second term on the City Council in June 2008 until December 2012.
Under his guidance on the City Council, Fong helped provide the counsel and vision to put William Land Golf Course under the care of The First Tee of Greater Sacramento.
He has been a tireless fundraiser for the youth and disabled golf community here in Sacramento and now sits on the Morton Golf Foundation board.
2017- Pat McGowan
Joined the PGA Tour in 1978 and was Rookie of the Year. He won the 1984 TPS Sacramento Open.
Other top finishes include: Second in the Canadian Open, second in the Quad Cities Open, fourth in the PGA Championship.
Pat attended Brigham Young University and is an active supporter of junior golf. Pat qualified to play on the Champion’s Tour beginning in the 2005 season. Became the Director of Instruction at the Pine Needles Golf Resort upon retirement from the PGA Tour.
2017- Jim Salazar
Jim Salazar played golf and basketball in high school in Carson City, Nevada then attended American River College for two years before accepting a full ride basketball scholarship to Eastern Montana College.
At Eastern, Jim continued to play both sports and earned his Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Communications. During his summer breaks, he started working in the golf business.
First, he started as a greens crew member, then as a marshal, then as a starter and finally as an assistant professional in 1984 under Jon Wright at Lake Hills Golf Club in Billings, Montana.
Jim started his career at Sierra View Country Club in 1985 working for Bill Brooks as his first assistant and eventually became the Head Professional in 1989.
During his career, Jim has influenced the golf games of thousands of members and junior golfers.
Jim was on or chaired the Education Committee of the NCPGA from 1990 to 2000.
With guidance from mentor Ken Morton he won the Horton Smith Award in 1995 and 2001, which recognized his outstanding contribution to continuing PGA member education.
Jim stays current with the latest trends and technologies of golf and enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion for the game with others.
2017- Don Baucom
Don’s long illustrious career as one of Sacramento’s most respected golf instructors might be highlighted by his work with fellow Sacramento Hall of Fame member and longtime PGA Tour and Champions Tour player, Kevin Sutherland, but his handprints have been all over the swings of some of Sacramento’s best players for the better part of four decades.
2017- Bill Rider
Rider has committed decades of his life to the passion of running, assisting and scoring amateur golf in Greater Sacramento.
His committee work on event such as the California State Fair Golf Championship and hundreds of different junior events through the First Tee of Greater Sacramento has been a privilege for those that he’s come into contact with- he’s an unsung hero of anyone who has played amateur golf in the region.
2017- Don Haney
Haney earned his BS from California State University-Sacramento, his MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and spent decades as a CPA here in the Greater Sacramento region.
His vision for helping start & spending countless hours as providing accounting services to both SAY Golf and its subsequent evolvement into the First Tee of Greater Sacramento cannot be overstated.
2017- Vince Mastracco
Mastracco hosted Sacramento’s longest running radio golf show in Golf Talk. Member Golf Writers of America Assoc., California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Assoc. Won International Network of Golf (ING) awards in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010.
Named by Sacramento Bee as one of 25 most influential people in area golf. California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Outstanding Journalist award 2005. NorCal PGA Section Media Person of the Year in 1999
2019- Mike Green
Mike received a golf scholarship to the University of the Pacific and then pursued playing professionally on the Space Coast Mini Tour, in Florida.
He was hired as an Assistant Professional at Del Paso Country Club in 1982, and promoted to Head Golf Professional in 1993.
He received the Private Club Merchandiser of the Year Award in 1999, and has been a contributing writer for the Play it Forward initiative.
He has been heavily involved in prestigious events such as the Swing at Cancer Pro Am, Del Paso’s Charity Golf Marathon, Del Paso’s Pro-Am Fore Kids, the 2015 U.S. Senior Open and the Del Paso Foundation.
These events, and so many others represent his commitment of Del Paso’s membership mission in giving back to the community.
2019- William Land
William Land was a quiet and self-contained man who was viewed as an active businessman in the community and who gave the city nearly half a million dollars to enhance the conditions of its citizens.
His will and probate records are larger in volume and weight than the man himself.
When he died on December 31, 1911, the 74-year-old bequest $250,000 for a public park and $200,000 for the poor of Sacramento. Land invested heavily in the Sacramento area only.
He said that he would not take money out of the city that gave him his fortune.
Though we know little of William Land the man, his legacy speaks volumes through the beautiful park and golf course that bears his name.
2019- Lanie Case
Lanie’s work in education and volunteerism in golf makes her a favorite with the group she helped create: the first and largest Special Olympics golf program in the country called The California Eagles.
Lanie helped champion special needs and those with disabilities and create a program that was often copied but never duplicated.
The program has been a model for involving children and adults with Down Syndrome and other disabilities.
In addition she’s spent nearly two decades on the Sacramento Golf Council specializing in putting on events for children.
2019- Frank Freer
Frank was committed to over 50 years to improving the game of golf in Sacramento, California.
As the longtime Tournament Director to the prestigious California State Fair Golf Championship for nearly three decades and the Chairman for the 1963 USGA Men’s National Public Links Championship, he was synonymous with quality events for some of the best players in the world.
He served on the NCGA Board of Directors (1962-1968) and the USGA Sectional Qualifying Committeeman, National Public Links (1964-1995).
Few people in American have given as much to amateur golf as Frank C. Freer. He brought organization and professionalism to every part of golf that he touched.
Known for his gentle and giving manner, Frank earned the respect and gratitude of golfers in Sacramento and throughout the United States.
2019- Ed Vasconcellos
Ed Vasconcellos started his career at Diamond Oaks Golf Course in Roseville, California back in 1969 and then would go on to spend the better part of three decades performing all parts of golf operations at the city-owned course and for the Roseville community.
Over that time, Vasconcellos oversaw dozens of major amateur events including the longtime David Oxley Memorial Junior Championship, one of JGANC’s premier events.
He worked extensively with the First Tee of Greater Sacramento on a variety of different events and is synonymous with golf in the City of Roseville.
2019- Bob Burns
Bob Burns is a lifelong northern Californian who developed an early interest in sports, history and writing.
As a sportswriter for The Sacramento Bee, he covered such events as the Olympics, Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and every local golf happening in Greater Sacramento for more than a decade.
Those early interests coalesced in The Track in the Forest, a chronicle of the 1968 U.S. Olympic men’s track team’s road to Mexico City in a year of war, assassinations and racial unrest.
His support to local amateur golf and the local golf professional community cannot be overstated.
We’re excited to hear The First Tee unveil the newest class of 2020-2021 class of worthy inductees in the coming months as the coronavirus has made it impossible to have a ceremony over the course of the last year.
Tentative plans are being made to host a ceremony to honor the next round of candidates soon. We’ll have the news here as soon as it breaks.