Beach, Ralph (1993)

About Beach, Ralph (1993)


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1902–1981. Ralph Beach’s forty years of service and commitment to the MAPGA and The PGA places him amongst the most important figures in MAPGA history. He held the presidential reins twice, once in the 1930s and again in the 1940s. The MAPGA Professional of the Year Award was awarded to him in 1959.

Originally a Virginian, Ralph spent his early years as a caddie at Washington Golf and Country Club, including carrying President Woodrow Wilson’s bag in 1916. He turned professional in 1919 by taking a job as an assistant at the Chevy Chase Club, then moved on to take the head Professional position at Blairmount CC in Altoona, Pennsylvania, during 1924. After one season there, he returned to the Washington area as the Head Professional at the Burning Tree Club, remaining for three years. While at Burning Tree Club he taught the game to President Warren G. Harding. He assumed the head PGA Professional position at The Suburban Club of Baltimore County in 1928, where he held forth until retiring in 1965.

When the MAPGA’s initial organizational meeting took place in 1925 at Columbia, Ralph Beach attended. Along with many other duties Ralph served the MAPGA as its Second Vice President in 1930, First Vice President in 1931, and President in 1932. At the member’s behest, he repeated the terms as Vice President and served as President for another two terms, 1939 and 1940. After World War II, the Baltimore contingent endorsed him as their regional vice president in 1948 and 1949. Nationally, Ralph contributed to the formation of the National Senior PGA group and served as its president in 1961 and 1962.

Noted for his beautiful swing and fine shotmaking, Ralph played as a strong competitor throughout four decades: the 1920s – 1950s. He won the 1931 Maryland Open. Ralph captured the MAPGA Section Championship twice, first in 1933 when he defeated the defending champion, Glenn Spencer. Sixteen years later at Woodholme he bested Andy Gibson, Walter Romans and John O’Donnell when he won the title at stroke play. That year he eagled the par-4 7th hole during the afternoon en route to a one-stroke victory over Walter Romans. Ralph triumphed in the Match Play Championship in 1947. Three consecutive MAPGA Senior Championships, 1953 – 1955, are on his golfing credentials as well as four consecutive MAPGA Senior Teacher’s Trophy titles, 1954 – 1957. Additional accomplishments include winning the Maryland Senior Open in 1955 and the Uplands Open Invitational Senior in 1954 and 1955 at Rolling Road.

Near misses included a playoff loss to Al Houghton in the 1933 Maryland Open; losses in the MAPGA Match Play final to Otto Greiner in 1939 and to Walter Romans in 1946, and a MAPGA Championship playoff loss to Chandler Harper in 1954.

Nationally, Ralph qualified through the Section for eight National PGA Championships: 1925, 1927, 1930, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1945 and 1949, and twice succeeded in making the match play field, 1927 and 1936. Between 1926 and 1936 he played in eight US Opens, making the cut in 1926, 1933 and 1936. His best finish, a tie for 39th at Scioto CC, occurred in 1926. He played fifteen PGA Senior Championships, making the cut seven times, and finished in a tie for third in 1953. (rev. 2003)