Emery, Clare (2003)

About Emery, Clare (2003)

1925-1980. Clare Emery earned MAPGA Hall of Fame honors for his outstanding playing record and for his contributions to the game.  As a father figure to his employees, Clare assisted many of his assistants in becoming Head PGA Professionals. He was a superb teacher of the game who taught his students patience and the art of playing within their ability.  In 1960 and 1967 he won the coveted MAPGA Player of the Year title. His peers awarded him the Tom Strange Memorial Trophy in 1977 as the MVP of the Yamaha Challenge Cup Matches.

Administratively, Clare served as a Vice President-at-Large for the Middle Atlantic Section for a number of years.  Most importantly the Middle Atlantic PGA recognized him as their 1977 Professional of the Year, the Section’s highest honor for active PGA Professionals.

He served as the Head PGA Professional at Washington Golf & CC from 1954 until his death. Described as a wonderful gentleman, Clare meant many things to many people. An honorable man, known for his class and gracious demeanor, he could tell a great story and always found time to listen to the jokes and stories told by his members. The service Clare provided to his club members matched his outstanding playing ability. Regardless of how busy, he always made himself available to expand a member threesome into a fun foursome.

Born in Salt Lake City, Clare’s father was the superintendent at three municipal courses and introduced him to golf at age nine. He started working on the grounds crew at 16, then as a starter, and in 1948 turned professional. Clare moved to Woodmont CC as an assistant to George Fazio in 1950. After Fazio left Woodmont in 1950, Emery eventually moved to Congressional CC working for Wiffy Cox. Clare was elected to membership in The PGA in 1954, the same year that Washington G & CC selected him to succeed Earl Fling as their Head PGA Professional.

Clare won several Section Championships, including the 1961 MAPGA Section Championship, MAPGA Senior Championship five consecutive times (1975-1979), and the MAPGA Quarter Century Championship twice (1978,1979). In 1959, Clare won the MAPGA Pro-President with James Murphy.  He won countless Pro-Am tournaments over the years. Regionally, he captured the1951 District of Columbia Open, 1960 Howard County Open, 1960 Eastern Shore Open.

On the national scene, Clare played in seven PGA Championships (1958,1959[T-28th], 1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 [T-64th], 1974[78th]); two US Opens (1957,1967), and five Senior PGA Championships (made all five cuts and tied for 3rd in 1977). One memorable experience for Clare took place during the first round of the 1967 PGA Championship at Columbine CC in Denver…he was walking up the ninth fairway, looked up to see the leader board, and there it was right at the top, Emery – 2 under! Years later in the final round of the 1977 Senior PGA Championship, Clare fired a 67 and passed half the field as the next best score was a 70 (George Bayer) and the eventual winner, Julius Boros, shot 72. The weather conditions included numbing cold, icy rain, tremendous winds, and fog!

Furthermore, Clare competed in seven National PGA Club Professional Championships, making three cuts with his best finish at T-21st in 1973. He also qualified and competed in the first US Senior Open won by Roberto De Vicenzo at Winged Foot GC.  He competed in four PGA Tour events, making all four cuts. Clare was simply an outstanding iron player and many believe he would have made it on the PGA Tour if his putter would have behaved a bit better.

Clare suffered a fatal heart attack as he was preparing for his afternoon tee time in the Charles Town Golf Classic in West Virginia. He had just finished lunch and was trading stories with some of the MAPGA professionals who had completed their earlier round. Washington G&CC honored Mr. Emery by renaming the Club Championship Cup (donated in 1916) the Emery Cup.  (rev. 2009)