Burgess, Ward (1989)

About Burgess, Ward (1989)

No tribute video has been produced.

1921-2010.  Ward Burgess entered the MAPGA Hall of Fame as a consummate professional who spent nearly a quarter century serving the MAPGA. He held many positions in the Association. First, he chaired the Publicity Committee which oversaw contributions to the PGA News for three years. Then he steered the Tournament Committee in two different tours of duty. For five years he held the Secretary – Treasurer’s job. He also served as the Maryland Vice President. And he led the Senior Association as Chair or Co-Chair for 15 years. As the leader of the senior professionals, he initiated the practice of having the assistants “work” the senior events so that they could get to know the “old guard,” as well as the game. For his meritorious work the MAPGA named him their Professional of the Year in 1961.

During World War II, Ward served in the U.S. Navy aboard a sub chaser as a radio operator in the Mediterranean. His ship participated in the invasions at Anzio, Italy, and then Southern France. The Navy transferred him to the Pacific Theater where he served on the destroyer escort USS Hanna with duty in and around Tokyo, Yokahama, and Yokasuki. He was honorably discharged in 1945.

Ward turned professional in 1947 and the MAPGA elected him to membership in 1948. He worked for Johnny Bass at Clifton Park Golf Course in Baltimore for almost two years before moving to Chevy Chase Club as an assistant for Bob Barnett.

Chevy Chase club members quickly recognized the potential of the young assistant. When Bob Barnett died a few months later, they named Ward Burgess and Bill Hardy the co-head PGA Professionals. After five years, Ward became the sole head PGA Professional until his retirement in 1987.

As a player Ward Burgess first appeared on a leader board at the Assistant Professional Championship in 1948 held at Manor. He finished third behind Bobby Bowers and Severn White. He won or tied for first in pro-ams at Woodholme twice, once in 1949 and then by shooting 67 in 1954. In 1952 he won at Fort Dupont, the next year at Glenbrook and then in 1954 at Court House. In 1954 Ward and two others tied for low of the tournament, 67, in the Maryland Open at Manor. In the Pro-President Series, he and J.P. Marshall won the Pro-Official title in 1961 with a 63 at Indian Spring. He and Billy Bassler tied for first at Beaver Creek’s pro-am in 1969. He won the MAPGA Pro-Assistant Championship with Bob Murphy in 1971 when they combined for 63 at Northwest Park. The year before he and Bill Sporre had finished second at Turf Valley. Also in 1971, Ward, Dennis O’Leary, Claude King and Billy Phillips tied for first at the Country Club of Fairfax pro-am. Ward was victorious in the inaugural MAPGA Quarter Century Championship in 1974. In other senior competitions Ward won his age group in 1977 and 1979.

The MAPGA recognized Ward Burgess for his contributions to the Association’s administration, but also for innovative merchandising and teaching, and for his contributions to the success of pro-amateur tournaments over many years. (rev. 2010)