Whetzle, Dick (2000)
About Whetzle, Dick (2000)
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1932-1985. Dick Whetzle gained MAPGA Hall of Fame recognition for his stellar play and for his service as the section’s President and Tournament Chair. He spent fourteen years out of his 26 year professional career at Woodholme (1959 – 1968) and Prince George’s CC (1968 – 1973). Dick chaired the section’s Tournament Committee from 1966 through 1968. He served as the Section President from 1971 through 1973.
Dick Whetzle, originally from Buffalo, went to Dallas when his family relocated in 1938. As with many young men, Dick started out in golf as a caddie and carried Bobby Locke’s clubs in the Columbus Invitational Golf Tournament where he received a crisp $100 bill for his efforts from Locke, the then 29-year old South African star. After graduating from Holy Rosary High School in 1951 where he starred for three years in basketball, football and baseball, Dick accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Texas. He stayed only one semester before enlisting in the Army. For two years at Camp Rucker, Alabama, his responsibility was running the golf course. While there Dick really took up the game and then began to seriously think about making golf his career.
He left the Army and enrolled at North Texas State College (NTSC) in 1954 where he made the golf team as a freshman. Dick’s amateur career included victories in the Dallas City Amateur in 1956 and the Texas State Public Links Championship that year as well. During the 1950s the professional and amateur golfers played against one another in the annual the Texas Cup. The amateurs, including Dick, Miller Barber and Jim Hiskey defeated Byron Nelson’s team made up of Nelson, Jack Burke, Tommy Bolt and Jimmy Demaret. At one time or another Dick defeated Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan in these matches. In 1957 he finished third in the Texas PGA tournament and made the cut in the Houston Open in 1958. Dick captained the NTSC golf team in 1958 and won 1st team All-America honors. In 1957 and 1958 he won the Southern Intercollegiate Championship. Dick posted a 61 at Sweetwater CC playing with Don Massengale and Charles Coody in a practice round for a local tournament which he subsequently won in 1958. In another local tournament he bested Miller Barber with a 62 leading to a 3 and 2 victory.
At 27 years old, Dick turned professional by accepting the assistant position to Carroll MacMaster at Woodholme upon the recommendation of Byron Nelson. When MacMaster unexpectedly died in October 1961, he became their Head Professional. Dick was a “PGA Approved Tour Player” and on the 1962 Winter Tour earned money in 8 of 11 tournaments. In November of 1968, Dick went to Prince Georges Country Club (now the Country Club at Woodmore) as an assistant and then in September of 1970 they appointed him their head PGA Professional where remained until 1973.
Dick Whetzle holds one of the MAPGA’s outstanding playing records. He won the 1965 Section Championship at Elizabeth Manor by four over Jack Isaacs, Maryland Opens in 1962 and 1969, Middle Atlantic Opens in 1968 and 1969, the Howard County Open in 1964, the MAPGA Match Play Championship in 1967, the Assistant’s Championship in 1961, and the Pro-Assistant Championship with Lloyd Kelley in 1966. He captured Player of the Year honors in 1965 and 1966. Dick played in four U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, and three National Club Professional Championships.
Dick Whetzle was the first Hall of Fame member to qualify as both a Player and an Administrator since the MAPGA Hall of Fame selection criteria was modified in 1993. (rev. 2006)