Kansas Golf Foundation Kansas Golf Hall of Fame - 1991
D.W. "Bill" Adams
Golf Course Superintendent
An accomplished golf course superintendent for 10 years at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wichita, and Topeka Country Club for 20 years, Adams played a vital role in bringing the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America to its current home in Lawrence, Kan. He also served as a charter member of the Kansas Turfgrass Association as well as President of the Heart of America GCSA. His remarkable impact was made quietly and efficiently. D.W. Adams died November 17, 1984, in Topeka.
Contributor to the Game
Judy Bell perhaps epitomizes more about amateur golf than any woman who has ever graced the golf courses of America. A three-time Kansas Women's Amateur, Bell won numerous major amateur championships across the country in her early ages. She served as a non-playing captain of the U.S. Curtis Cup teams in 1986 & '88. Her tenure recently expired as the first ever woman president of the United States Golf Association. Bell is a successful businesswoman in Colorado Springs.
Howard J. "Jake" Carey
Contributor to the Game
"Jake" as he is fondly known by friends, directed the Trans-Mississippi Golf Association beginning in 1950. He has been a charter member of Prairie Dunes Country Club since its opening in 1937. In 1975, he was elected to the USGA Executive Committee. As president of one of the United States largest "salt" companies, he received his law degree in 1941 from the University of Michigan. Hutchinson is home for Jake Carey until he passed away in April 2007 at the age of 89.
Harold "Jug" McSpaden
Twice named to the U.S. Ryder Cup team and one of the "Gold Dust Twins" duo along with Byron Nelson, McSpaden won 17 professional tour events in his career. He helped develop Dub's Dread Golf Course located in Piper in the 1960's after his professional days were over. A successful New York business man as well, McSpaden remained an active golfer until his death.
The Arkansas City native logged 14 professional victories. Author of the book How to Play Par Golf, Metz recovered from a near fatal automobile accident in 1936 only to then highlight his career by winning six professional championships in 1939 alone. Metz participated in the first ever Masters at Augusta National.
Legendary head golf professional who put Wichita on the golf map. Murra was an outstanding teacher and player. Murra serviced the members of Wichita C.C. for over half his life with enthusiasm and a genuine interest in others. A great trait was his ability to train his assistants to become head professionals. Mike Murra succumbed to Parkinson's disease on October 26, 1966.
“One of the most famous names in women’s golf. That is what can be said of Kansas’ native daughter, Marilynn Smith. Her popularity is unquestioned as one of the great ambassadors of the game” – Opening remarks from the 1991 Kansas Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
To all Kansas golfers, Smith’s name is held at a place of honor as an accomplished player, winning the Kansas Women’s Amateur three consecutive years and, most notably, her work as one of the 13 founding members of the LPGA in 1950.
Former LPGA player Dottie Pepper recalls Smith’s “devotion to the LPGA and its members was infectious and she will forever embody what it meant to be a founder of an organization that was built on blood, sweat, and tears of women just like her.”
The Kansas Golf Foundation has years of handwritten notes from Marilynn. These include updates about the Marilynn Smith Scholarship, which provides college scholarships to young women, and copies of the Marilynn Smith Founder’s Classic magazines to preserve. Her notes were personal and always treasured by their recipients over the years. She proved that even though she no longer lived in the state, Kansas was forever on her heart.
Her handwritten notes were not unique to the Kansas Golf Foundation.
Marilynn was living in Wichita and while Judy Bell was growing up, Marilynn was her role model. “I really looked up to her”, said Bell “because she was such a great player and person.” One year when Bell was playing in the Western Junior Amateur in Chicago, she recalls Smith was playing in an LPGA event at Tam O’Shanter, and they made sure to go watch Smith play.
They remained friends for life. “We stayed in touch over the years,” said Bell, “I’d get a Christmas card every year and other cards with handwritten notes.”
Pepper recalls her first encounter with the LPGA legend. “I met (her) at Mission Hills in 1988 as a rookie, having just qualified for the ‘Dinah’ just a few days earlier by finishing 2nd in Phoenix. She enthusiastically introduced herself on the putting green and it launched a 30 plus year friendship. We exchanged hand-written notes regularly and a response from her always came with an article about her and the early years of the LPGA.”
After 22 Professional wins, Marilynn spent her time growing the game of golf as a teaching professional. The impact she had on the game for women in Kansas and across the world will be forever remembered. Smith was inducted into the Inaugural Kansas Golf Hall of Fame along with Mike Murra, Bill Adams, Tom Watson, Harold “Jug” McSpaden, Dick Metz, Judy Bell, and Howard J. Carey Jr. Marilynn Smith died at the age of 89 on April 9, 2019, just four days before her 90th birthday.
One of the all-time greats in the history of golf, Watson dominated the game for many years. From 1977 to 1984, he won the PGA Player-of-the-Year award a record six times. He has won the British Open five times and the Masters twice. In addition, he has appeared on four U.S. Ryder Cup teams. Watson has generated over $3 million for hospital research and equipment in Kansas City and annually hosts the Children's Mercy Golf Classic. Elected in 1988 to the World PGA Golf Hall of Fame, Watson is still active on the PGA Tour.