Virginia Golf Hall of Fame inducts Class of 2017

RICHMOND — Donna Andrews, Keith Decker, J.C. Snead, and the late Wallace McDowell will be honored Thursday night as part of the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 induction ceremony at the Country Club of Virginia’s Westhampton Clubhouse.

Those four join the inaugural six-member class of the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame, which was inducted in May 2016 at The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs and included Vinny Giles, Chandler Harper, Clyde Luther, Sam Snead, Curtis Strange and Lanny Wadkins.

The induction ceremony and dinner will feature guests and dignitaries from the USGA, VSGA, Middle Atlantic PGA, and Middle Atlantic Golf Association, among others.

Full bios of all 10 Virginia Golf Hall of Fame inductees can be found online at virginiagolfhalloffame.com. The website features rooms and exhibits on all 10 inductees, along with news, information on the nine-person selection committee, and a nomination form for potential future Hall of Fame members.

The three living members of the Class of 2017 will be present at the ceremony, along with 2016 inductees Giles and Luther. Gary McDowell, Wallace’s son, will accept on behalf of his father. Golf Channel/NBC personality Steve Sands will emcee the event.

Andrews, who was born in Lynchburg, is the first female member of the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame. She won six times on the LPGA Tour, including a major championship in 1994 at the Nabisco Dinah Shore. She won 10 VSGA championships and twice represented the United States at the Solheim Cup. In addition, Andrews was the captain of the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team in 2007.

“I’m certainly honored to be included in this group with the inductees from this year and the ones from last year,” Andrews said. “It’s just an amazing group of golfers and even more, an amazing group of people. I’ve gotten to know most of them, and I knew a lot of the inductees from last year. It’s amazing how golf brings together people with such great character.

“It’s nice to be able to share the stage with everybody. I’m proud of everything that I did in Virginia, and I’m even more proud of the support of the family and friends I have here.”

Decker, a lifelong amateur who currently resides in Martinsville, has won a record 27 VSGA championships and will try to add to that total this weekend at the 52nd VSGA Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship at nearby Willow Oaks Country Club. Decker is the only player in the U.S.—male or female—to appear in all 12 USGA State Team Championships.

“Right now, it’s a little surreal, to be honest with you,” Decker said. “There’s been great anticipation in the last six months, since we’ve known about it. I’ve had all kinds of people come up to me. It’s a very humbling experience, and it’s the greatest honor I’ve ever received. So it means a lot to me.”

Snead, who was born in Hot Springs, is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour who has accrued more than $7 million in career winnings. Snead represented the U.S. three times in the Ryder Cup and won a major on the Champions Tour in 1995 when he bested Jack Nicklaus in a playoff to claim the title at the Ford Senior Players Championship. He joins his uncle, the legendary Sam Snead, in the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame.

“It’s a great honor,” Snead said. “I appreciate being selected and going in with some other great players. … I went to the induction last year and it was really fun. Sam was my uncle, but he was my friend too. So that was fun. It’s an honor to be in the same hall with him.”

McDowell, who retired as the VSGA’s executive director in 2000, was the essential link between the all-volunteer VSGA and the organization that now employs a 12-person professional staff—along with several independent contractors—and offers services to men, women and juniors across the Commonwealth. He was inducted into the Middle Atlantic Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2010, shortly after his death.

Deliberations for the 2018 Virginia Hall of Fame class will begin later this year, when the site and date for the 2018 ceremony will also be announced. For those interested in nominating an individual, a form to do so is available on the website.