The golf world came together in 1974 to form a central location to honor its greats, regardless of gender or nationality. The World Golf Hall of Fame opened in Pinehurst, N.C., to much fanfare as the first class of legends was inducted. President Gerald Ford was among the luminaries on hand to welcome the Hall’s first class, which included 13 of the game’s greatest.
Patty Berg, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Harry Vardon and Babe Zaharias were all honored in the first induction class.
In all, the Hall of Fame in Pinehurst inducted 71 new members.
On May 19, 1998, the World Golf Hall of Fame opened in its new location in St. Augustine, Fla. Several members of the inaugural class, including Palmer, Sarazen and Snead, were on the stage to welcome the first class for the new building: Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller.
The Hall of Fame is the centerpiece of World Golf Village, a unique vacation destination with two championship golf courses, high-end accommodations and several other amenities. Visitors from around the world continue to flock to the Hall of Fame and make use of the Village’s world-class facilities.
Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame works closely with the world’s leading golf organizations, including the PGA TOUR, the LPGA, the Masters, the USGA, the PGA of America, the PGA European Tour and The R&A, along with the professional tours in Asia, Australia, Japan and South Africa on a variety of initiatives.
Each of these organizations believe in the Hall of Fame’s mission and recognizes the importance of the legacy and honoring the history of golf and the legacies of those who have made it great.