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NORTON, MA – The Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame & Museum is pleased to announce the six individuals who will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2021. These inductees were elected in the Player, Builder, and Innovator categories.
The Class of 2021 will include Tara Joy-Connelly, Allen Doyle, Jesse Guilford, Richard D. Haskell, Harry B. McCracken, Jr., and Philip Young.
“The recognition of these six individuals is another significant occasion for Mass Golf,” said Thomas F. Bagley III, Committee Chairman of the Massachusetts Golf Hall Of Fame & Museum. “We are so blessed to have such a rich golf history, and it is exciting to welcome such a varied class of honorees. The Class of 2021 has earned their rightful place among the other golf legends already enshrined in the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame.”
The virtual induction ceremony will take place on October 14, 2021. Complete details will be released at a later date.
In the player category, Tara Joy-Connelly, Allen Doyle, and Jesse Guilford were elected.
Duxbury native, Tara Joy-Connelly, is among the winningest Massachusetts amateur golfers in history, with more than 30 statewide and New England regional titles to her name. After a stint on LPGA’s developmental tour, she regained her amateur status in 2002 and became one of the fiercest competitors in the Bay State. She won the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur title in 2003 and 2013 and won the Mass Golf Anne Marie Tobin Women’s Player of the Year nine times, more than any other individual since the award was first bestowed in 1994.
“It came as a nice surprise to be told I was being inducted into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame,” Joy-Connelly said. “It’s really quite humbling to be singled out this way. Golf has given me so many opportunities, and when I think back to all the courses played, it all started back on the 10th hole at Marshfield Country Club, shagging my own balls. And with the enthusiasm of the members and my parents, I was off to the races.”
Doyle, who grew up in Norwood and attended Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, is most heralded for turning pro at age 46 back in 1995, and then at 47 becoming the oldest rookie ever on the PGA Tour, earning his card for the 1996 season. From his hockey days, he developed an unusual stance that was short, choppy, and far away from the ball, yet still excelled as an amateur golfer. He finished runner-up in the 1969 Massachusetts Amateur and went on to make three Walker Cup teams, three World Amateur teams, and earn stroke-play medalist honors at the 1991 U.S. Amateur. When he turned 50 in 1998, he joined the Champions Tour and proceeded to win the 1999 PGA Seniors’ Championship and the U.S. Senior Open in 2005 and 2006.
“I was just one of those guys who got hooked on the game,” Doyle said. “To get a call like that and to look back to where you were when you started the game and where you developed as a young player is just a thrill.”
Guilford, who made his home in Newton, was among the earliest amateur greats to hail from Massachusetts. One hundred years ago, he won the 1921 U.S. Amateur at St. Louis Country Club by upsetting 1909 champion Robert Gardner, 7 & 6. He was also stroke-play medalist at the 1922 U.S. Amateur held at The Country Club. Nicknamed “The Siege Gun” for his monstrous drives, Guilford was a three-time champion of the Massachusetts Amateur and in 1919 became the first amateur to win the Massachusetts Open, winning it again in 1929. He also led the U.S. to Walker Cup victories in 1922, 1924, and 1926.
In the builder category, longtime friends and past Mass Golf executives, Harry B. McCracken, Jr. and Richard D. Haskell, were elected.
Haskell served as Executive Director of what was then known as the Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA) from 1969-1997, overseeing one of the largest expansions of clubs into the state golf association. He added six statewide amateur championships to the schedule and introduced the computerized GHIN Handicap system and United States Golf Association (USGA) Slope System in Massachusetts. In addition to receiving several prestigious golf association awards, including the USGA Ike Grainger Award for volunteerism, Haskell was one of the game’s preeminent historians in the Bay State, helping establish MassGolfer Magazine and leading the publishing efforts into the MGA’s centennial book “A Commonwealth of Golfers.”
McCracken spent eight decades of his life serving the game of golf in Massachusetts, New England, and beyond. Volunteering was paramount for McCracken, who also served on the Massachusetts Golf Association Executive Committee and served as president from 1984-1985. He then served as Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the New England Golf Association from 1987 until his death in 2019. He also co-founded MGA Golf Consultant, Inc., which restored downtrodden golf facilities, including Boston’s William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park and George Wright Golf Course. For his service as a volunteer, McCracken earned the prestigious USGA Joe Dey Award in 2007 and the 2013 USGA Ike Grainger Award for 25 years of service.
In the innovator category, Philip Young was elected.
Young, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was the inventor of the process that created the original Titleist golf ball. He perfected the machining process in 1930 creating golf balls that had the best and most consistent centered cores. Young perfected his creation by 1935, and today Titleist markets itself as the “#1 Ball in Golf”, used by more players and more champions across the world.
In 2014, the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame introduced the Ring of Honor to celebrate the individuals, golf clubs, and companies who support the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 2021 Induction Ceremony as well. Please email Jesse Menachem, Executive Director/CEO of Mass Golf, at firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn more.
The Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame was founded in 2002 with the opening of the William F. Connell Golf House & Museum, which is located on the grounds of TPC Boston in Norton. The Golf House hosts the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame & Museum as well as the offices for Mass Golf, The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund and several other allied golf organizations within the Bay State.
The Hall of Fame has had three induction classes since its opening — 2002, 2014, and 2016 — with legendary figures including Francis Ouimet, Pat Bradley, Donald Ross, Fred Wright, Margaret and Harriot Curtis, and Herbert Warren Wind among those previously enshrined.
Below are expanded biographies detailing each nominee’s impact on the game of golf in Massachusetts and beyond over the course of their careers and lives.
TARA JOY-CONNELLY (B. 1973)
Tara Joy-Connelly has earned the Anne Marie Tobin Mass Golf Women’s Player of the Year award nine times, more than any other player. She has also won 34 Massachusetts and New England women’s amateur events in a span of 26 years. Before college, Joy-Connelly excelled at Marshfield Country Club and won back-to-back Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur titles in 1989 and 1990. She attended both the University of South Carolina, where she played in the 1993 NCAA Championship, and the University of Miami, where she recorded two top-10 finishes.
Joy-Connelly played both professionally and at the amateur level after college. After winning her first Massachusetts Player of the Year honor in 1996, she played professionally on The Futures Tour, the former name of the LPGA’s developmental tour. After regaining her amateur status in 2002, she had a tremendous amount of success in Massachusetts, New England, and United States Golf Association (USGA) events. In addition to a pair of victories in the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur, she has won the Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy and Massachusetts Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship Keyes Cup seven times each. In 2009, she became only the fifth amateur ever to win the Massachusetts Women’s Open in the then 20-year history of the event.
From 2006-2019, she has qualified for every U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, advancing as far as the semifinals in 2011 and 2014. She was praised for her integrity during the 2007 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. After the second round of stroke play, she signed for a 73-148 when she actually shot 74-149, which meant disqualification. She tracked down a USGA official and pointed out the error. Though it was too late for officials to reseed for match play, they commended her for calling the penalty on herself, and she accepted a default in her first-round match.
A member of Cohasset Golf Club during her adult years, Connelly also overcame optical neuritis, swelling or inflammation of the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. After eyespots and lines turned into vision loss, she was prescribed medication to help restore her vision and eventually carry on her dominant stretch in the 2000s.
Mass Golf Anne Marie Tobin Women’s Player of the Year – 1996, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014
Massachusetts Women’s Open – 2009
Massachusetts Women’s Amateur – 2003, 2013
Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur – 1989, 1990
Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play Championship – 1997, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014
New England Women’s Amateur – 1995, 1996
ALLEN DOYLE (B. 1948)
Allen Doyle was born in Woonsocket, R.I., and raised Norwood. He was introduced to golf as a caddie at Spring Valley Country Club (now The Cape Club of Sharon) when he was 14 years old and went to high school at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury. A Ouimet Scholar, he attended Norwich University, a military school in Vermont, on a hockey scholarship but ended up playing for Norwich’s golf team during his junior and senior years.
He qualified for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship every year between 1967-1970, finishing runner-up in 1969. After Doyle served his post-graduation military commitment at Fort Gordon near Columbus, Georgia, The Peach State has been his home ever since. He went on to win 23 amateur titles, including the Northeast Amateur.
He was co-stroke-play medalist with John Harris during the 1991 U.S. Amateur, and semifinalist in the same event in 1992. By 1994, he was considered one of the country’s best amateurs, playing on three Walker Cup teams, three World Amateur teams, and earning the 1994 World Amateur medalist.
Doyle decided to turn professional at 46, joining the Nike Tour and winning three events, including the Nike Tour Championship. That last win made Doyle, at age 47, the oldest qualifying rookie in PGA Tour history, a mark that still stands today. In 1998, he became the first player to achieve top-10 finishes on the Nike Tour, PGA Tour, and Champions Tour in the same year. Since joining the Champions Tour in 1998, Doyle has won 11 titles, including four majors. His last two major wins were back-to-back U.S. Senior Open titles in 2005 and 2006, becoming the oldest player to win it.
In 2001, he topped the PGA Tour Champions money list, posting 25 top-10 finishes that season. He then donated the entire $1 million prize to charity, including the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund. Doyle and his family manage the First Tee of Troup County in LaGrange, Georgia, with Doyle serving as Chairman of the Board and his youngest daughter, Michelle Griffith, serving as Executive Director.
Massachusetts Amateur Championship – (Runner-Up) 1969
Walker Cup – 1989, 1991, 1993
PGA Seniors’ Championship – 1999
Ford Senior Players Championship – 2001
U.S. Senior Open – 2005, 2006
JESSE GUILFORD (Born: 1895; Died: 1962)
Jesse Guilford was born in Manchester, N.H., but moved as a teenager to the Boston area where he spent most of his life.
Described as a shy, yet big, bruising fellow with tremendous distance and accuracy, Guilford first earned “The Siege Gun” moniker during the 1914 U.S. Amateur. One of his tee shots during the event carried a bunker at 280 yards. He was also dubbed “The Walter Hagen of amateurs” for his tremendous success on the national stage.
Guilford is one of three Bay Staters to win a U.S. Amateur title, joining past Hall of Fame inductees Francis Ouimet and Ted Bishop. All three individuals were members of Woodland Golf Club, and Ouimet and Guilford were often four-ball partners. Ouimet once quipped that Guilford could, “…move from power to delicacy with ease.”
In the 1921 U.S. Amateur final match, Guilford handily defeated Robert Gardner, 7 & 6, at St. Louis Country Club, and the year after earned medalist honors during the U.S. Amateur held at The Country Club.
Before that, Guilford was the first amateur competitor to win the Massachusetts Open. He was also a member of three of the first four Walker Cup teams, leading the U.S. to victory in all three.
In 2018, he was inducted into the New Hampshire Golf Hall of Fame.
Massachusetts Amateur Championship – 1916, 1921, 1924
Massachusetts Open Championship – 1919, 1929
Walker Cup – 1922, 1924, 1926
New Hampshire Amateur Championship – 1913, 1916, 1917
U.S. Amateur Championship – 1921 (runner-up 1916; medalist 1922)
RICHARD D. HASKELL (Born: 1926; Died: 2010)
Richard Haskell served as the Executive Director of what was formerly the Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA) from 1969-1997, during which time he increased membership from 172 Member Clubs to 318, which included the largest expansion of public clubs into the association.
Haskell’s lasting legacy carries on as he added six statewide amateur championships to the calendar, including the Amateur Public Links, the Mid-Amateur, and the Father-Daughter Tournament. He also introduced the association’s Player of the Year system, with the Player of the Year award named in his honor. He was also ahead of his time as he made Massachusetts one of the first states to adopt the computerized GHIN Handicap system and United States Golf Association (USGA) Slope System.
Haskell also helped create the state’s Junior Golf program and served in a key support role serving as Vice Chairman of the 1963 U.S. Open at The Country Club, his home club since 1960. He also dedicated his time to the 1988 U.S. Open and 1999 Ryder Cup, also played at The Country Club.
He also helped organize the International Association of Golf Administrators (IAGA) and served on various USGA Committees for 25 years. Among his numerous awards, he earned the IAGA’s Distinguished Service Award and the USGA Ike Grainger Award, which is bestowed to volunteers who have given 25 years of service to the Association.
One of the game’s brightest historians, he helped establish MassGolfer Magazine in 1990 and lead the publishing efforts in the MGA’s centennial book “A Commonwealth of Golfers.” He also helped publish the “The Story of Golf at The Country Club”, which in 2009 won the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award, the USGA’s highest literary honor.
USGA Ike Grainger Award for volunteerism
NEPGA George S. Wemyss Award
IAGA Distinguished Service Award
Frank H. Sellman Distinguished Service Award
Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund Distinguished Service Award
Massachusetts Golf Writers’ Silver Tee Award
HARRY B. MCCRACKEN, JR. (Born: 1925; Died: 2019)
Harry McCracken became a junior member at Charles River Country Club when he was 11 and then spent the next eight decades serving the game of golf. A fixture at Mass Golf (formerly the Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA)), New England Golf Association (NEGA), and United States Golf Association (USGA) events since 1969, when he first joined the MGA Executive Committee, he rose to the position of President of the MGA in 1984 and again in 1985.
In addition to serving as Official In Charge at numerous Championships Proper, McCracken took over as the Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the NEGA, which represents the six New England States, a position he held from 1987 until his death in 2019.
In 1982, McCracken and Bill Flynn, a 2016 Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame inductee, created MGA Golf Consultant, Inc., a venture to restore downtrodden golf facilities, including Boston’s William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park and George Wright Golf Course, which are among the courses that have been revitalized by the duo.
In 1989, he was invited to serve on the USGA Regional Affairs Committee. McCracken was honored in 1994 with Mass Golf’s most prestigious award – the Frank H. Sellman Distinguished Service Award. The USGA recognized his service when it presented him with the 2007 Joe Dey Award, which recognizes an individual’s meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. In 2013, he received the USGA’s Ike Grainger Award, which is awarded to volunteers who have given 25 years of service to the Association.
Today, Charles River Country Club annually hosts the McCracken Cup, a four-ball event named in his honor. The Harry McCracken medal is given to the stroke-play medalist during the Massachusetts Amateur, and the winner of the New England Amateur earns the McCracken Trophy.
USGA Joe Dey Award for volunteerism
USGA Ike Grainger Award For Volunteerism
NEPGA George S. Wemyss Award
Mass Golf Frank H. Sellman Distinguished Service Award
PHILIP E. YOUNG (Born: 1885; Died: 1955)
Hometowns: Dedham/New Bedford
Philip E. “Skipper” Young is the founder of Titleist, an industry leader in golf balls, equipment, and apparel. He founded the brand in 1932 as a subsidiary of the Acushnet Company, a precision molded rubber company that Young also founded in 1910. Young was raised in Dedham and went on to graduate from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering.
In 1930, Young made a significant discovery after he struggled to putt and continued to hook and slice the ball during a round of golf at The Country Club of New Bedford. His golf partner was the head of the X-ray department at a New Bedford hospital, and Young had him put the golf balls he was using under an X-ray. He discovered that though the balls were fairly round, they had oblong-shaped cores that were off-center.
Young and his company then set out to develop the most consistent and high-quality golf ball ever created, bringing on fellow MIT graduate Fred Bommer to lead the Acushnet Golf Division. They created a machine that could uniformly wind rubber string around a rubber core, making a “dead center” golf ball. To ensure the quality, they used the X-ray as a process check, and the method is still used today. After perfecting their creation in 1935, they also boosted their reputation as a superior golf ball by distributing them to golf professionals only, instead of department stores.
By 1936, Titleist displayed the Acushnet Golf Ball Demonstration Machine and brought it to the most recognized courses of the time. With professional players impressed by their creation, the company tried to get Titleist golf balls in the hands of as many golf professionals as possible. In 1949, it became the most used ball at the U.S. Open for the first time.
For over 70 years, Titleist has been the most played golf ball across the worldwide professional tours.
Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport. Made up of 90,000 golfers statewide, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Presently, more than two-thirds of the 360-member clubs are public-access facilities, while nearly one-half of member golfers are enrolled at public facilities. Mass Golf offers its member’s services including handicapping, event access, youth programming and exciting golf content.