You may know that the USGA Golf Museum contains artifacts such as the Moon Club, Bob Jones’ putter “Calamity Jane II,” and Ben Hogan’s 1-iron, but you may not know that our collection includes artifacts from cultural icons, movie stars, and sports and political heroes, as well as photography, films and a world-class library.
As 2020 begins, we’re looking back on some of the Museum’s most interesting and impactful acquisitions over the last decade. Check out this list of our favorites and the year they joined our diverse collection:
Francis Ouimet’s USGA Championship Gold Medals (2019)
As a 20-year-old Boston amateur, Francis Ouimet defeated Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a historic playoff for the 1913 U.S. Open, inspiring a generation of working-class players to take up the game. The three USGA gold medals won by Ouimet for his victories in the 1913 U.S. Open and the 1914 and 1931 U.S. Amateurs had been on loan to the Museum since 1984. When the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund decided to sell the medals in support of its scholarship program, Museum supporter Don Wilson generously donated the funds for the USGA to purchase them. The medals officially entered the collection in 2019 and remain on permanent display.
For more on the medals and Mr. Wilson’s donation, see the following link: Generous Donation Keeps Medals at USGA Golf Museum
Gary Woodland’s Wedge from the 2019 U.S. Open (2019)
Several iconic U.S. Open shots have occurred on the oceanside par-3 17th hole at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, and Gary Woodland’s gutsy chip from the green at the 2019 championship was no exception. Woodland’s creative shot allowed him to save par and retain his two-stroke lead over defending champion Brooks Koepka on the way to winning his first major title. Woodland donated the wedge he used to the Museum following his victory.
For highlights from Woodland’s final round, see the following link: 2019 U.S. Open: Gary Woodland's Final Round
Amelia Earhart’s Golf Clubs and Bag (2011)
Known for her exploits in aviation, her activism for equal rights for women, and her mysterious disappearance, Amelia Earhart courageously broke barriers in society, politics and flight. Earhart was athletic and adventurous from an early age, and she played golf at Lakeside Golf Course in Burbank, Calif., where she lived in the 1930s. Earhart was also a close friend of four-time USGA champion Babe Didrikson Zaharias, and the Museum acquired Earhart’s golf bag, monogrammed headcovers and clubs from the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Foundation in 2011.
For more on Earhart and her artifacts in the collection, click the following link: Amelia Earhart: More Than an Aviator
The Jack Nicklaus Room (2015)
Since the creation of the 1,200-square-foot Jack Nicklaus Room in 2015, visitors to the USGA Golf Museum in Liberty Corner, N.J., can experience many of the iconic artifacts that celebrate the life and career of the 18-time major champion, in partnership with the Jack Nicklaus Museum. Though not an acquisition, the room is an important addition to the Museum and a fitting tribute to the eight-time USGA champion. The exhibits highlight character traits that made Nicklaus the game’s greatest major champion, using over 80 personal mementos, equipment, art, championship footage and exclusive interviews.
For images of the Jack Nicklaus Room, see the following link: Jack Nicklaus Room Opening
“Happy Gilmore” Putter, No. 1/1000 (2012)
Sometimes great golf moments occur on the silver screen. In 2012, the Museum acquired one of the hockey stick putters used during filming of the 1996 cult classic, “Happy Gilmore,” starring Adam Sandler. We can almost hear him saying, “Just tap it in. Just tap it in. Give it a little tappy.”
Golf and the Olympics: Then and Now (2016)
In 2016, golf returned to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904. The Museum acquired items from both the modern and historic events, including the trophy Francis C. Newton received as a semifinalist in the 1904 men’s tournament at Glen Echo C.C. in St. Louis, Mo., and the hat worn by Inbee Park during the second round of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where Park won the women’s gold medal representing the Republic of Korea.
For more on golf at the 1904 Olympics, visit the following link: USGA Museum to Display Egan's 1904 Olympic Golf Medals