About Chandler Harper
Chandler Harper went by the nickname “Old Bones,” but in reality, he was quite young when he made his initial splash on the Virginia golf scene, winning the first of his three Virginia State Golf Association Amateur championships when he was just 16 years old. Forty years later, Harper was still winning tournaments. He took home the title in the VPGA Open in 1970.
In between, Harper had a profound effect on Virginia golf. Just ask Curtis Strange, a fellow Hall of Fame inductee who considered Harper to be a father figure after Strange’s father passed away. “I love the fact that Chandler is being remembered for his record and his place in Virginia golf,” Strange said. “He helped me tremendously from 14 years old on.”
Harper counts the 1950 PGA Championship among his seven PGA Tour victories. He won 11 Virginia Open championships, starting with his first one as an 18-year-old in 1932 and his final won in 1970 at the age of 56. Harper also served in the United States Navy and was the co-founder of Bide-A-Wee Golf Course in his hometown of Portsmouth.
Harper earned his nickname for his long, lanky frame. He was no power hitter, though. What most remember about Harper is the immaculate short game that helped him carve out a career as one of Virginia’s most decorated players.
“While I never saw him in his prime, Chandler was the quintessential short game artist and in particular, he hit some of the most amazing bunker shots I ever saw,” Virginia Golf Hall of Fame selection committee member David Partridge said. “His remarkable scoring abilities enabled Chandler to compete until well into his 50s and his 11 victories in Virginia State Opens is a record I doubt will ever be broken.”
Harper was the first pro at Elizabeth Manor Golf and Country Club in Portsmouth. He oversaw the construction of Bide-A-Wee in 1955 and was the head pro and proprietor there until his retirement in 1992. Harper also has been elected to the PGA of America Hall of Fame, the PGA Middle Atlantic Section Hall of Fame and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
He Said It…
“I wish Sam and Chandler were both with us. I love the fact that Chandler is being remembered for his record and his place in Virginia golf…He helped me tremendously from 14 years on.”
-Curtis Strange on Harper, who became his teacher and mentor after Strange’s father, Tom, died.
Year Turning Pro
PGA Tour Victories (60 top-10 finishes)
VSGA Amateur Championship (16 years old)
Achievements & Media
Special thanks to the USGA, PGA Tour, VSGA, MAPGA, WVGA and inductee family members for contributing photos and videos to this project.
Date of birth: March 10, 1914 (Portsmouth, Va.); died Nov. 8, 2004
7 PGA Tour victories, 60 top-10 finishes. Missed only four cuts in 231 career starts. Three Top-10 finishes in the Masters. Competed in 1955 Ryder Cup
Notable junior achievements: Won the 1930 VSGA Amateur Championship as a 16 year old
Amateur achievements: 1930, 1933 and 1934 VSGA Amateur Champion
Year turning pro: 1934
1930 (VSGA Amateur)
1932 (State Open of Virginia)
1933 (VSGA Amateur)
1934 (VSGA Amateur)
1938 (State Open of Virginia)
1940 (State Open of Virginia)
1941 (State Open of Virginia)
1942 (PGA: Miami Biltmore International Four-Ball (w/Herman Keiser))
1950 (PGA: Tucson Open, PGA Championship)
1952 (State Open of Virginia)
1953 (PGA: El Paso Open)
1954 (PGA: Texas Open. Other: Middle Atlantic PGA Championship)
1955 (PGA: Virginia Beach Open, Colonial National Invitation)
1960 (VPGA Open)
1967 (VPGA Open)
1968 (PGA: PGA Seniors Championship. Other: VPGA Open, VSGA Open, )
1969 (VPGA Open)
1970 (VPGA Open)