Slow course prevents Hagen from equaling last season’s score

Courtesy of Chautauqua Institution Archives
Hole 6 of the Chautauqua Golf Course Lake Course on a Tuesday afternoon in 1926 when Walter Hagen came near tying his own record. He shot a 71 on the course.

Editor’s Note: To celebrate Chautauqua Golf Club’s centennial, the Daily each week will feature an article from our archives highlighting the club’s first year and landmark events in its history.

Walter Hagen, leading professional golfer in the world, came near tying his own record when he made a 71 on the Chautauqua Golf Club course Tuesday afternoon while playing in an exhibition foursome with four local professionals. Par for the course is 73. A putt that lipped the cup on the 18th green proved to be the fatal stroke.

This match was Mr. Hagen’s second appearance in Chautauqua. Last year, he shot a 70 when the course was in much better condition. The greens were exceptionally slow and many short putts for all players failed to find the cup.

Matched with Hagan was Innes Miller of Erie, Pennsylvania, who carded a 78. He was particularly unfortunate in his putting as several easy putts circled the cup or stopped short. Paired against them were George Underwood of Jamestown and Harry Smith of Warren, Pennsylvania. Underwood started out brilliantly and shot even par on the front nine. He had birdies on 2, 3, and 4. Hagen made birdies on 4, 5, 13, and 17.

Spectacular shots were made by Hagen, much to the delight of the 576 persons in the gallery. On No. 7, Hagen drove the ball 210 yards into the rough where the ball rested in an almost impossible lie. A small tree grew behind it adding to the difficulties in getting the ball back on the fairway. Mr. Hagen took his mashie, studied the way out carefully, and then drove the ball between two trees on to the green. He was down for a par 4.

Starting on hole 10, Hagen drove a high ball into the air directly at an airplane flying low over the course. A second thrilling shot was made on 16. Hagen hooked the ball left of the fairway into the rough, in front of a large rock, and had another bad lie. He lifted the ball out of the rough with his mashie and onto the green.

His last spectacular shot came on the 18th tee when he drove into a ditch. He recovered by hitting his ball with his niblic near the edge of the green and holed out his par putt.

Caddies were Park Benjamin of Mayville with Hagen, W.S. Fisher of Erie with Innes Miller, Harold Larson of Jamestown with George Underwood and George Calderwood of Warren, Pennsylvania, with Harry Smith.

Announcer and marshal for the match was W.G. Broadhead.