Hardy, Bill (1988)

About Hardy, Bill (1988)

No tribute video has been produced.

1905-1995. Bill Hardy entered the MAPGA Hall of Fame for his contributions as one of the game’s pioneers in club-making. In a career that spanned sixty-five years, his many credits include inventing one of the first swing weight scales, utilizing maple tees instead of screws to secure inserts on the wood heads and using fiberloid to cap off the grip and the top of the whipping. Bill concentrated on matched sets of persimmon woods with stain to show the grain, the club decal, and a stamped identification number. He maintained a list of each club owner’s specifications. Spalding once had him spend three days at their factory as a consultant. One of his clubs sits on display at Golf House, the headquarters of the U.S. Golf Association.

Bill was born in Baltimore, but the family moved to the Washington area around 1920. He started working at East Potomac Park GC in 1922, and then moved over to the Rock Creek course for the 1923 and 1924 season. As a nineteen year old, Bill became a golf professional and club maker for the Chevy Chase Club in May 1924, where he made clubs and served as a golf professional until 1973 (earning his PGA membership in 1937). However, he continued turning out clubs until 1989.

Sometime during the 1920s he installed heads and grips on the first steel shafts for inventor Alan Lard’s “whistlers,” wherein a metal piece wrapped inside the steel shaft created an air pocket which made a sound when swung. Lard was a member at the Chevy Chase Club. During the 1928 PGA Championship at Baltimore CC-Five Farms, Leo Diegel, the eventual winner, needed a hickory shaft driver and brassie in a hurry. Bill turned them out and delivered them to Diegel on the 10th tee during one of his matches. Later, in an act of appreciation, Leo sent Bill a set of ruby cuff links from Tiffany’s. He corresponded often with other famous club makers, notably Kenneth Smith based in St. Louis. In 65 years of practicing his trade, he made clubs for touring professionals, including Horton Smith, Bobby Cruickshank and Deane Beman, as well as celebrities, senators, diplomatic corps members, and hundreds of devoted club members.

In 1950, Chevy Chase appointed Bill and Ward Burgess co-head Professionals in the days following Robert Barnett’s death. After a few years of doing “double duty,” Bill returned to the primary task of club making.

Bill Hardy became nationally recognized and a frequent lecturer on the art of club making. He presented at the first PGA Business School in 1957. The MAPGA honored him with the 1974 MAPGA Horton Smith Award and he was subsequently selected as the National Horton Smith Trophy winner. In 1983, the Golf Collector’s Society honored him for his contributions to the game. Posthumously, in 2003, the Professional Clubmakers’ Society inducted Bill into their Clubmakers’ Hall of Fame for his lifetime of achievements.  (rev. 2004)