Betsy Rawls started playing golf at 17 years old. When she was 24 years old, seven years later, she won the U.S. Women's Open as her first professional victory. Rawls won the Texas Amateur in 1949 and 1950, in addition to the 1949 Trans-National and 1950 Broadmoor Invitational, before turning professional. From 1951, when she turned professional, to 1966, Rawls won at least once every year, including six times in 1952, five times in 1957 and 10 times in 1959. In 1960, Rawls won her fourth U.S. Women's Open, becoming the first person to win that tournament four times.
Rawls and Patty Berg toured the country during their professional years as representatives for Wilson Sporting Goods, conducting up to 120 golf clinics a year. Rawls served as LPGA president from 1961-1962 and became an LPGA tournament director for six years after leaving the tour in 1975. Rawls also served as the executive director and vice chairman of the LPGA Championship and was the first woman to serve on the rules committee for the U.S. Open. In 1980, she became the first woman to officiate at the men's U.S. Open.
Rawls was one of the inaugural inductees into the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame in 1967, became a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and has won several awards. Rawls received the 1980 LPGA Patty Berg Award, the 1959 Vare Trophy (low scoring average) and the 1996 USGA Bob Jones Award, the highest honor from the USGA recognizing distinguished sportsmanship in golf.