Austin Golf History and Personal Profiles
Did you know that Louis Hancock is considered to be the father of golf in Austin? Do you know the history of Lions Municipal Golf Course? Do you know the history of Austin Country Club? Austin is rich in golf history. The people, places and events that fostered the growth of golf in Austin are many and varied. Each deserve to be acknowledged and remembered in terms of their place in the Austin golfing community.
We look forward to bringing stories of our golfing history to you and hearing those stories that you have to tell. Each of you will know a piece of our golfing history and Golf Austin invites anyone who would like to be a contributing author to contact us at GolfAustinTexas@gmail.com. If you have photographs of these players that could be contributed to the players personal profile, please contact us.
Note: The Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at the University of Texas at Austin has been collecting scrapbooks of Austin Golfers and has those scrapbooks available for public view. The center is located in the the 5th floor on the north end of Darrel K Royal/Memorial Stadium. If you like Austin Golf History, you’ll be able to enjoy looking through the scrapbooks of Tom Kite, Walter Benson, Lester Lundell, and others. Tinsley Penick and Ben Crenshaw have also made significant contributions of photographs and memorbillia. They can be reached at 512-471-4890. Some day when it’s raining and you can’t play golf, take a group of golfing friends and check it out.
Jep and Steve Wille
Jep and Steve Wille grew up playing golf in Austin. They started at Capitol City Country Club, now know as Balcones Country Club and then migrated to the municipal courses in Austin. They honed their skills at Hancock, Muny and later Morris Williams. They went on to become professionals in golf related fields and became excellent players, winning championships in Austin and central Texas. Read about their life in Austin Golf and beyond.
Randy Petri may have been the best junior player to have ever come out of Austin. That says a lot considering the records of Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite. In addition he accumulated an outstanding college career while at the University of Houston and then played on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour. Read more about this outstanding Austin golfer by clicking here.
One of the most steady and consistent faces in Austin’s golf history is Roane Puett. Over a career that has lasted nearly 60 years, Puett’s list of accomplishments holds its own against Austin’s golfing heavyweights. From cementing himself in Austin lore by playing for Harvey Penick at the University of Texas to becoming the only 5-time winner of the Men’s City Championship, Puett’s career seemed only to flourish as time went on. Read more…
Chuck Munson is one of a few select golfers to have represented the City of Austin with unwavering dedication and longevity. Growing up alongside Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, Munson spent his life playing the game with some of his best friends, and spent the vast majority of his career with his golfing buddies at his side. With his unique views on the game, and interesting theories and practices, Munson has become one of the most interesting characters on the golfing scene. Ever since he picked up his first clubs caddying for his father, Munson has represented the city with class, both on and off the course. Read more.
Austin Golf by Michael Goldwater
As part of his coursework at Concordia University, Michael Goldwater has written a paper on Austin Golf History. It is compiled from previously published works, player scrapbooks and player interviews. It provides interesting insight into the history of golf in Austin. Read more…
In the golden age of golf at the University of Texas, there were many amazing golfers that passed through the golfing program. One such player was George Machock, who attended the University from 1967 to 1971. Machock witnessed, and was an important part of, the rise of the University of Texas golf team to national prominence under Coach George Hannon. With teammates like Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, and Dean Overturf to play alongside, it is no wonder why Machock and his teammates were able to give a program with such a rich history its first national championship. Read more about George Machock at this link.
Lester Lundell has been an icon in Austin golfing circles during his entire junior, mid-amateur and senior golfing days. He won the Austin City championships at the junior, mid-amateur, and senior levels as well as winning the state junior title. That, along with winning virtually every tournament available to him on the local scene and just being “Lester”, have endeared him to all who have had the pleasure of knowing him. A long-time member of Austin Country Club, Lester now spends his golfing days at the municipal courses as a matter of choice. He still plays to a low handicap. Read More about Lester Lundell at this link.
“Generations of women have benefited from her dedication, vision and sacrifice.” These strong words were said by LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens about the late Betty Jameson. Jameson is one of the most revered female golfers in history and is someone with strong ties to the City of Austin. An inductee to the World Golf Hall of Fame and Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, Jameson was instrumental in not only spreading women’s involvement in golf, but she also opened up opportunities for women in all sports by breaking gender barriers. She set numerous records and won multiple tournaments over the course of her forty-year career. As one of the thirteen original founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Jameson solidified herself as a pioneer and role model. Read More..
Louis Hancock is considered to be the father of golf in Austin and his story is unique. He learned the game of golf in Scotland and brought it to Austin. He is reputed to have given public exibitions of golf in Austin in 1898. Hancock golf course, home of the first site of Austin Country Club, is named after him. Read more..
George Hannon has contributed to the Austin golfing community in so many ways it’s hard to account for all his accomplishments. He was the head professional at Lions Municipal Golf Course as well as Morris Williams. He co-founded the Austin Junior Golf Academy and he coached the golf team at the University of Texas at Austin. He continues to teach and has made significant contributions to the careers golf professionals. Read more…
Barbara Puett, who won the Austin Women’s city championship on multiple occasions, who coached junior high golf at Lamar Junior High School, who teaches informal golf classes at the University of Texas and who has authored a book on golf ediquite has a unique story that deserves to be told. Read more
Jackson Bradley was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of fame in 1993. He played the PGA tour for approximately twenty years, competed in 26 U.S. Opens and PGA’s. He played in two U.S. senior Opens; the last one in 1987 at the age of 65. Read more…
Mention the name Dudley Kruger to anyone who was around when he played golf in Austin and you’ll likely get a laugh, a shake of the head, and a comment along the lines of “what a player” or “what a character”. He won the Austin City Championship in 1944, the Firecracker Open in 1946 and 1951, and the Austin Country Club Labor Day Tournament in 1948, now known as the Harvey Penick Invitational. Read more..
Arthur E.” Buck” Luce
Buck Luce was the dominant junior player in Texas from 1935-1939, winning the state junior title three times and finishing runner-up twice in a five year stretch when the state junior tournament was open to players under the age of 21. This two time Austin Men’s City Champion was an impressive player. Read more…
Rox Covert, a two time winner of the Harvey Penick Invitational, has been an all around athelete his entire life. He played on the Austin High School State Championship Baseball team, quarterbacked the Austin High School football team, played baseball at Texas Christian University, played football at TCU, and eventually took up running for fitness along with being a top amateur golfer in Austin and Texas. Read more
Walter Benson Jr.
Walter Benson Jr. won the Austin Men’s Championship twice, the Firecracker Open twice, and the Harvey Penick Invitational twice. He was known as a great ball striker and when asked why he was so good, he replied “I tried to make square divots with my irons”. Benson is a native Austinite with two degrees from the University of Texas in Austin. He is retired from the textbook publishing industry and still going strong at age 94. Read more
Tom Miller Jr.
Tom Miller Jr. played golf for eight decades and won the Austin City Championship twice as well as winning the Harvey Penick Invitational three times. This native Austinite learned the game from Harvey Penick and played at the municipal courses as well as Austin Country Club. Read More
Jimmy Connolly was nicknamed “The King” of Austin Golf when he won the Austin Men’s City Championship, The Firecracker Open, the Harvey Penick Invitational and the Texas State Amateur Championships all with the same year. That was in 1953. Read More
Gib Kizer was a team member of the Austin High School teams that won the state championship in 1957, 1958, an 1959. At age 18 he won Austin Men’s City Championship and the State Public Links Championship. In route to winning the City Championship he won matches against Billy Penn, Roane Puett, George Seaholm and then defeated his brother Ray Kizer in the finals. Read More
William “Bill” Penn
William “Bill” Penn was an Austin native, received two degrees from the University of Texas, played on two Texas Golf Teams that won the Southwest Conference Championship, won the Men’s City Championship four times, the Firecracker Open, the Harvey Penick Invitational, became the Executive Director of the Texas Golf Association, had tremendous wit, storytelling ability and a great sense of humor. He was one of Austin’s true gentlemen golfers. Read more
Historic Opening of Lions Municipal Golf Course
October 6, 1924, John H. Tobin, the Chairman of the Lions Club Golf Committee, sent a letter to the members of the Austin Golf & Amusement Association informing the members that the first nine holes of Lions Municipal Golf Course would open play on November 1st and that the second nine holes would open about January 1st of 1925. The purpose of the letter was to issue membership cards with dues of $1 per month for two members of the immediate family. Read this historic letter at the following link. Notice that it was typed on a typewriter and the dues were to be sent to the Littlefield Bldg. in Austin, Texas. Austin Municipal Golf & Amusement Association