King Sr., Claude (2001)

About King Sr., Claude (2001)

No tribute video has been produced.

Claude Keith King gained MAPGA Hall of Fame recognition for his outstanding play in the section during the 1960s and early 1970s and on the PGA Tour during the first half of the 1960s.  He won MAPGA Championships in 1967 and in 1971.  In 1971 Claude King earned the MAPGA “Player of the Year” title.  He captured the Virginia PGA Open title in 1971 and the Virginia State Golf Association Open in three consecutive years, 1961 – 1963.  Claude represented the MAPGA in their annual Schmidt Cup matches with the Philadelphia section five times, 1967 – 1971.  In 1970 his Schmidt Cup teammates voted  him the Tom Strange Memorial Sportsmanship Trophy.  He also won the Salisbury Open in 1970.  The 1976 Middle Atlantic Open trophy is his as well.  In 1967 he took the PGA National Winter Series Medal Play Championship.  In PGA Club Professional Championships he competed six times, making three cuts and finishing tied for 17th in 1969.  Claude played in three PGA Championships: 1968, 1970 and 1972.  He also played in three US Opens: 1962, 1964 and 1966, finishing 57th in 1966.

Claude King toured on the PGA circuit beginning in 1962 and continued into the fall of 1966.  Overall, his career included 96 PGA Tour events, making 80 cuts, with eight top-10 finishes and twenty finishes in the top-25.  In 1963 Claude finished 10th in the 500 Festival at Indianapolis and in 1964 he finished 5th in the Sunset – Camelis Open.  His best year on Tour occurred in 1965 when he finished 7th in the Houston Open and 8th at the Carling World Open leading to 54th place on the money list.  In a practice round at Lafayette, La., one year he shot 60 (-12) at the Oakbourne CC.

Claude Keith King was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1932.  At New Hanover High School he lettered three years in football, baseball and golf.  In 1951 he opted for a football scholarship to East Carolina College rather than signing with the Baltimore Orioles or Brooklyn Dodgers.  He started in the backfield, handled all of the kicking duties, and, at 6’1″ and 190 pounds,  was recognized as the North State Conference’s top fullback in 1953 and 1954.

Claude was named to the Little All-America team in 1954.   He also played on the college’s baseball and golf teams.  While hitting golf balls at a local driving range with the rest of the baseball team the ECC Golf Coach came over to encourage Claude to give his golf team a try. As a sophomore, he fell in love with golf and began an extremely rigid practice schedule.  Claude won conference golf titles in 1954 and 1955.

After graduating in 1955, the NFL teams called his number, but he decided on an education career. Virginia Beach High School hired him to teach English and Physical Education and to coach on the football, baseball and golf teams.  As an amateur, Claude won the Norfolk City Amateur Golf Championship in 1958.  He lost in a playoff to Jack Isaacs in the 1961 Virginia PGA Open in his last major tournament as an amateur.

In 1961 Claude King made the decision to try out the PGA Tour.  After four successful years, he attended the 1966 PGA Business School, and then with ankle and wrist injuries disrupting his tour schedule, he returned to Virginia Beach as the Head Professional at the newly developed Lake Wright Golf Course.  Claude King remained there until retiring in 1996.   (rev. 2006)