Deck, Bill (1998)

About Deck, Bill (1998)

No tribute video has been produced.

1925-1978. Bill Deck entered the MAPGA Hall of Fame for his contributions to the Association, for excellence in teaching, and for stellar play. He considered his most important contribution the initial handicap recording system used throughout the Middle Atlantic area which eventually spread nation-wide. The program still generates revenue for the MSGA, VSGA, and MAPGA more than thirty years later. As an officer in the MAPGA, Bill served as the Secretary (1972-1974), Treasurer (1973-1977) and a member of the Executive Committee. The MAPGA named him the 1975 Professional of the Year. During the mid 1970s, Bill Deck’s architecture of the Section’s ATP (Associated Tournament Players) series upgraded the tournaments and enhanced the payouts for the Monday and Friday pro-amateur tournaments.

A native of Washington, D.C., Bill took up golf around age 13, but didn’t become serious about it until the early 1950s during his late 20s. Athletically, he stood out as a basketball player for Eastern High School. Bill completed a year at George Washington University, but the lure of becoming a pilot brought enlistment as a Naval Air Cadet as World War ended. Unfortunately, he sustained a broken neck while wrestling in a match during basic training just after turning 21.

For the next eleven years he worked as a meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau. During this time he took a serious interest in golf. To sharpen his game, he frequented the well-known and historic gambling matches at East Potomac Park Golf Course, a public course that attracted talented golfers and hustlers.

In 1957, Bill accepted a job as an assistant to Walter Potter at the National Naval Medical Center course. In 1959, local Maryland businessman Doug Smiley formed a corporation which bought the Maenner Farm in Bowie, Maryland. They developed it into Belair CC and Bill served as the head PGA Professional at from the day it opened in 1959 until 1977. Then he moved to Hillsborough Country Club in Neshanic Station, New Jersey.

As a player, he went out on the Winter Tour twice and onto the Caribbean once during the early 1960s. Bill played in six PGA Tour events during that time and in 1965 qualified for The PGA Championship. In 1963, he won the Panama Open on the Caribbean Tour. Bill was the runner-up to Dick Mullen in the 1961 MAPGA Match Play, the Baltimore City Open. He once shot 62 at Bowie.

The 1964 MAPGA Section Championship victory highlighted his career, winning at Manor with a 71-69, even-par score. On the second day, Bill bested the leading players of his day, including Jimmy Clark from Argyle; Dick Sleichter, the defending champ; former champ Clare Emery; and Paul Haviland, a former MAPGA and Maryland Open Champion. During the second round he birdied the ninth after getting home in two, birdied the 10th, nearly holed out for eagle on the 12th, and birdied the 14th to sew up the tournament.

Throughout the mid 1960s, he, Tony Marlowe, Ward Burgess, George Pigott, Bill Clarke, and Henry Girardi called themselves the “The Big Six.” They held a standing challenge in every tournament with the three highest scorers treating the lowest scorers to a “fancy” dinner afterwards. In 1968, he won three pro-amateur tournaments. He and Larry Wise tied at Maryland Golf, but won outright at Bonnie View and at Indian Spring. He won the 1972 pro-member at Fredericksburg CC. Bill Deck is one of those rare PGA professionals who served the MAPGA as both a magnificent player and organizational leader. (rev. 2004)