Bassler, Charlie (1987)
About Bassler, Charlie (1987)
No tribute video has been produced.
Charles Bassler, born and raised in Catonsville, Maryland, started in golf at 14 as a Rolling Road Golf Club caddie. In 1941, he won the club championship. During World War II, he served with the First Marines in Okinawa and Peleu. Soon after returning stateside in 1946, he turned professional as an assistant to Robert Barnett at Chevy Chase Club. Charlie was elected to membership in The PGA in 1948. He was the head PGA Professional at Rolling Road GC (1948 through 1958), Turf Valley CC (1959 and 1960), and Indian Spring CC where he remained until his retirement in 1981.
Known as a big hitter and swing stylist, “Golf Digest” featured Charlie in their initial issue in an instructional piece about driving the ball.
Charlie won the Maryland Open seven times: 1948, 1950, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1958 and 1965. He conquered the field twice in the District of Columbia Open, 1949 and 1952, both times at Indian Spring CC. Charlie defeated Roger Peacock in a playoff to win the 27-hole 1951 Annapolis Roads Open by firing 37-36-33. The 1961 and 1962 Salisbury Open titles are in Charlie’s trophy case and, most impressively, in 1962, he shot 69-68 to win by seven. In regional competition, he lost the 1969 Middle Atlantic Open to Dick Whetzle in a playoff.
Charlie regularly teed it up against national competition in the Eastern Opens in Baltimore when it was a PGA Tour stop in the 1950s at Mt. Pleasant GC. His highest finish occurred in 1953 when he, Chandler Harper, and Doug Ford ended in a three-way tie for second behind Dick Mayer. Then in 1961 and 1962, he finished 6th against the same field. The Uplands Open, South Jersey Open, and the Elizabeth City Open are all tournament victories in his list of titles.
Charlie won the MAPGA Match Play Championship five times: 1949, 1950, 1951, 1954 and 1962, including final match victories over Walter Romans twice, Bill Collins, Andy Gibson and Dick Sleichter. He also lost in the finals to Andy Gibson in 1948 and 1954 and to Walter Romans in 1952. Charlie played in the final match for five consecutive years, 1948 – 1952.
His trophy shelf also includes the MAPGA Section Championship five times: 1952, 1953, 1957, 1959 and 1960. In 1952 he won by three over Jack Isaacs and Johnny Musser at Bonnie View; a second round 66 at Woodholme in 1953 led to a second title; and the third title came in a playoff over Clare Emery at the Cascades. Only a handful of MAPGA professionals have won the Section Championship in back-to-back years, Charlie did it twice. And he is the only person to triumph in the Section Championship more than three times. Between 1948 and 1960, except for 1956, Charlie won either the Maryland Open or an MAPGA Section Championship. The last title he captured was the MAPGA Pro-Assistant Championship in 1980 with Roger Simpkins.
Charlie played in six U.S. Opens, making the cut three times: 1951(tied for 21st), 1952 (52nd), 1953 (tied for 56th). He also qualified for the 1955 U.S. Open but did not make the trip because of his wife’s illness. In thirteen National PGA Championships, Charlie played his way into the match play field six of the nine times. His best match play performance came in 1951 when he defeated Ed Furgol, Jim Turnesa (1952 PGA Champion), George Balesta, and Al Borsch, before losing to Sam Snead, the eventual winner, in the semifinals. In 1961, in stroke play, he tied for 29th at Olympia Fields. Charlie also competed in the 1952 Masters won by Sam Snead, finishing in a tie for 34th. The MAPGA began naming a Player of the Year in 1955, a title he garnered five times: 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962. It is a feat that no one has come close to matching in nearly fifty years. Charlie is in the Maryland Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 1980. (rev. 2004)