HOT SPRINGS, Va. — Six legends of Virginia golf were inducted as part of the Inaugural Class of the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame Tuesday night during a dinner and ceremony at the Omni Homestead Resort.
Vinny Giles, Chandler Harper, Clyde Luther, Sam Snead, Curtis Strange and Lanny Wadkins were honored at the ceremony, which included guests and dignitaries from the USGA, VSGA, Middle Atlantic PGA, Middle Atlantic Golf Association and Omni Hotels and Resorts, among others.
The ceremony coincided with the launch of the virtual Virginia Golf Hall of Fame, which can be found online at virginiagolfhalloffame.com. The website features rooms and exhibits on all six inductees, along with news, information on the nine-person selection committee, and a nomination form for potential future Hall of Fame members.
Snead, Strange and Wadkins are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. They’re also members of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, as are Giles and Harper. Harper and Giles are members of the Middle Atlantic PGA Hall of Fame, and Harper holds a spot in the PGA of America Hall of Fame. Luther, a retired commercial airline pilot, is a nationally known expert on the Rules of Golf.
Snead, Strange, Wadkins and Harper all won major championships during their illustrious careers, and all four represented their country in Ryder Cup matches. Giles is renowned as one of the greatest amateurs to have ever played the game, and he’s the only man in history to have won the U.S. Amateur, British Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur championships. Among the awards Luther has won during his career as a rules official was the 2002 Joe Dey Award, given annually by the USGA to recognize meritorious service to the game.
The four living members of the Inaugural Class were present at Tuesday’s ceremony, along with members of their families. The honorees were presented framed certificates recognizing their accomplishments, along with a medallion featuring the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame logo and the date of the induction ceremony. Golf Channel’s Terry Gannon was the emcee for the event.
Jackie Snead accepted on behalf of his father Sam, who died in 2002 four days short of his 90th birthday. Strange, who counted Harper as one of his most important mentors, accepted for Harper.
Deliberations will begin for the 2017 Virginia Hall of Fame class later this year. For those interested in nominating an individual, a form to do so is available on the website. The 2017 Virginia Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Thursday, May 18 at The Country Club of Virginia in Richmond.