Hall of Famer Marlene Bauer Hadge, the last surviving member of the Women’s Professional Golfers’ Association, died Tuesday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She is 89 years old.
her death Announced by LPGA
Hadge and her sister, Alice Bauer, who was six years older, were one of the 13 golfers who founded the LPGA in 1950, when women’s golf was a largely neglected sport.
The LPGA Tour will ultimately generate a large amount of prize money. But in those early days, the Bauer sisters and big names like Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, Betty Jameson and Marilyn Smith all competed for slim wallets and headed to tournaments. I was forced to crowd in the car on the way.
With the death in April 2022 of Shirley Spork, especially known for coaching women’s golfers, Hadge is the last living founder of the LPGA.
A slender 5-foot-2 with a powerful swing, Bald’s career spanned the first 50 years of his career, winning 26 professional tournaments, including the 1956 LPGA Championship, one of the tour majors. .
She was inducted into the 2002 LPGA Hall of Fame in the Veterans category and the World Golf Hall of Fame. Her sister, Alice, has several top ten finishes in LPGA tournaments, most notably her fourth-place finish at the 1958 Women’s Open. .
Hajj eschewed the rigid long skirts that were the standard uniform for female golfers at the time in favor of shorts. She was considered a glamorous figure in the girls’ game, frequently graced the covers of magazines, and many fans paid more attention to her looks than her skills. (Remembering those days, the 1973 issue of Golf Digest featured a photo of her chipping on the green with the caption, “Marlene Hadge – good and sexy.”)
Recalling golf clinics hosted by the LPGA before tournaments, Hadge told Sports Illustrated in 2002 that Berg was the host, telling attendees, “Look at these girls.” rice field.
“She used to point at Alice and me and say, ‘Isn’t it great to be pretty and hit?'” Bald recalled.
Marlene Bauer was born on February 16, 1934 in Eureka, South Dakota, to Dave and Madeline Bauer. Her father was an avid golfer and rented a golf course in a town about an hour southeast of Aberdeen. When her Marine was 3 years old, he cut off the shaft of her golf club and began giving her lessons. She was also Alice’s tutor.
When Marlene was 10 years old, her family moved to La Quinta, California for a warmer climate that allowed her to play golf all year round. Shortly after her family arrived in California, she won the Long Beach City Men’s Junior Championship, but there was no competition for the women to match. By age 13, she had won several tournaments in California.
She entered the national stage at the age of 13, placing eighth at the 1947 U.S. Women’s Open Championship. She won her 1949 U.S. Women’s Junior Championship and was awarded the Glenna Collette Vale Trophy, named after her, one of the most prominent figures in women’s golf. Lincoln Worden, a longtime golf correspondent for The New York Times, described her at the time as “a cool little player who could hit any shot.”
A few weeks later, she scored a stunning victory in the second round of match play at the Women’s National Amateur Championship, beating six-time tournament titleholders Vale to reach the semi-finals.
The Associated Press named her Athlete of the Year and Golfer of the Year for 1949.
Bald won his first professional title at the age of 18 at the 1952 Sarasota Open. It was in 1956 that she reached her peak, when she defeated Berg in the first extra hole of her LPGA Championship at Detroit’s Forest Her Lake Her Country Her club. It was when Her win was worth her $1,350 (about $15,000 in today’s dollars). That year, she won eight tournaments, was runner-up nine times, led women’s tour earnings, and earned over $20,000.
In 1971, she set a nine-hole LPGA scoring record of 29 at the Buick Open in Columbus, Ohio, a record that remained unbroken for 13 years.
She toured until 1996, competing in four events. Her lifetime earnings were $481,023.
Hajj’s second husband, PGA Tour player and course designer Ernie Bosler, died in 2013. Her first marriage, to fellow PGA Tour player Bob Hudge, who was previously married to her sister, ended in divorce. Alice Bauer died in 2002 at the age of 74 from complications of colon cancer. Information about her survivors was not immediately available.
Despite her accomplishments, Bald was not a very familiar face to the public. In 1958, she appeared on the CBS television show Telling the Truth, where a panel of four celebrities quizzed three people who claimed to be the person whose biography had just been told. Actor Don Ameche was disqualified for seeing her. The only person who accurately identified her was actress Polly Bergen.