Marlene Hagge and sister Alice Bauer got an early start in golf at age 3, thanks to golf pro father, Dave Bauer. In fact, their father billed them as “The Bauer Sisters” in golf exhibitions around the country in the mid-1940s.
By age 10, Marlene had won California’s Long Beach City Boys Junior Championship, and by age 13, she had captured crowns at the Western and National Junior Championships, the Los Angeles Women’s City Championship, the Palm Springs Women’s Championship and the Northern California Open.
She also made the tournament cut that year at the 1947 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, finishing eighth. The petite blonde went on to win the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, and at age 15, was named the 1949 Associated Press Athlete of the Year, Golfer of the Year and Teenager of the Year.
So it was no surprise that just before her 16th birthday, she joined the LPGA Tour in 1950 to launch her professional career. She won her first professional title at the 1952 Sarasota Open. By 1956, Bauer led the tour in earnings with nine runner-up finishes and eight tournament wins, including the 1956 LPGA Championship, which she won in a playoff against fellow LPGA founding member Patty Berg.
Bauer’s final season on the LPGA Tour was in 1996, when she competed in four tournaments, placing sixth at the Sprint Titleholders Senior Challenge. She played in that event one last time in 1997, once again finishing in the top 10 to place ninth in her final LPGA tournament appearance.
From 1952-1972, Bauer recorded 26 victories and was voted into the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame in 2002, through the Veteran’s Category ballot. One of the 13 founding members of the LPGA, Bauer will long be recognized for her longevity, playing in each of the LPGA Tour’s first five decades. The petite blonde will also be remembered as the player who brought a splash of California glamour to the LPGA Tour.
- One of 13 founders of the LPGA.
- In 2002, was voted into the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame through the Veteran’s Category in February and was officially inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Nov. 15.
- Played competitively on the LPGA Tour during each of the LPGA’s first five decades.
- In 2001, along with fellow LPGA Founder Shirley Spork, was awarded the Executive Women’s Golf Association’s Leadership Award.
- In 1997, played in the Sprint Titleholders Senior Challenge, where she placed ninth.
- In 1996, competed in just four events and placed sixth at the Sprint Titleholders Senior Challenge.
- Finished eighth, tied for fourth, third and tied for fifth in the Sprint Senior Challenge in 1995, 1994, 1993 and 1992, respectively.
- In 1986, recorded the sixth ace of her LPGA career at the Uniden LPGA Invitational.
- In 1971, set a nine-hole scoring record of 29 at the Lem Immke Buick Open in Columbus, Ohio; that record stood for 13 years before Pat Bradley and Mary Beth Zimmerman recorded 28s in 1984; in the same event, carded a career-low 65 in the first round.
- Recorded 26 victories between 1952 and 1972.
- In 1956, was the leading money winner with more than $20,000 and eight victories, including the LPGA Championship, her only major championship title, and nine second-place finishes; Hagge is the second-youngest player in LPGA history (behind Nancy Lopez) to win 10 titles (22 years, 6 months and 10 days old at the 1956 Denver Open).
- In 1952, captured her first career win at the Sarasota Open at the age of 18 and remains the youngest LPGA player ever to win an LPGA event.
- In 1950, began her LPGA career as an LPGA founder when she was only 16 years old and today remains the youngest player ever to have joined the LPGA Tour.
- Turned professional two weeks before her 16th birthday.
The California amateur circuit was Hagge’s domain in the late 1940s. At the age of 10, she won the Long Beach City Boys Junior. At the age of 13, she won the Western and National Junior Championships, the Los Angeles Women’s City Championship, the Palm Springs Women’s Championship, Northern California Open and the Indio Women’s Invitational. In 1947, at the age of 13, she became the youngest player to make the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open and finished eighth. In 1949, at the age of 15, she became the youngest athlete ever to be named Associated Press Athlete of the Year, Golfer of the Year and Teenager of the Year, and she won the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and the WWGA Junior titles.