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LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals: A History

 1950s  •  1960s  •  1970s  •  1980s  •  1990s  •  2000s


In 1950, the dreams and visions of 13 courageous women who wanted to play professional golf became a reality with the founding of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). 

Nine years later in September 1959, even though they were struggling to establish a year-long circuit of tournaments, this embryonic group of professionals boldly had the vision to establish the LPGA Teaching Division, which today is known as the LPGA Professionals membership.

The 13 LPGA founders are: Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Detweiler, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs and Babe Zaharias.


1950s: The Beginning:

Betty Hicks served as the first Teaching Committee chairperson from 1958-59

Betty Hicks gives a clinic.

In 1959, with Marilynn Smith serving as president, the LPGA membership voted to establish the Teaching membership. Shirley Spork, Barbara Rotvig, Betty Hicks and Marilynn Smith are the division's founding members and served on the first Teaching Committee, playing pivotal roles in creating guidelines and strategies for the LPGA Teaching membership's future growth.

 Shirley Spork
 Marilynn Smith

Marilynn Smith (left) and Shirley Spork
hold a clinic for the U.S. Arm.

 Marilynn Smith and student.