HISTORY OF WESTERN STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION
Western States Golf Association was founded in 1954 with a small group of golf clubs. The charter member clubs were:
- Bay Area Golf Club, San Francisco California
- Cosmopolitan Golf Club, Los Angeles California
- Los Angeles Postal Golf Club, Los Angeles California
- Paramount Golf Club, San Diego California
- Vernondale Golf Club, Los Angeles California (subsequently changed to Vernoncrest)
- Desert Mashie Golf Club, Phoenix Arizona
- Fir State Golf Club, Seattle Washington
- Leisure Hour Golf Club, Portland Oregon
Recognition of and appreciation for its founders, co-founders and prime movers of WSGA:
Vernon Gaskin of Portland Oregon was the first person to talk about the formation of such an organization. His efforts were supplemented by those of the late Bay Area Golf Club’s Captain Morris Henderson of San Francisco. Mr. Gaskin served as Area Vice President of the Pacific Northwest from 1953-1973. Mr. Gaskin retired with the honor of Honorary Vice President of the Association.
Next to appear on the scene was J. Cullen Fentress of Los Angeles California. Mr. Fentress, in his first year as President of Cosmopolitan Golf Club, participated in all of the member clubs Annual Tournaments on the West Coast. It was through this participation that the idea of the formation of a central governing body evolved. Mr. Fentress became the Founding President and served as President of WSGA from 1954-1971. Upon his retirement in 1971, the honor of President Emeritus was conferred upon him. On April 6, 1989, we were diminished by our loved one’s death, but we feel vastly enriched by the wealth of his legacy.
The first Association Championship was held in 1955 at Sharp Park Golf Course in San Francisco California. This event was hosted by the Bay Area Golf Club with Mr. Jim Stratten serving as the Tournament Chairman. Mr. Stratten was the immediate successor to Bay Area Golf Club’s President Captain Henderson who passed suddenly. WSGA began sponsorship of the Championships in 1962 and in 1963 the Championships were sponsored for the first time.
During the period of 1971-1994, the following distinguished people served as President of WSGA. Mr. Kermit Burns of Los Angeles California served during 1971-1973 and developed procedures toward the incorporation of the Association. Mr. Jahue L. Earles of Los Angeles, California served during 1973-1975 and initiated the President’s Ball. Mr. Fred Horton III of Oakland, California served during 1975-1977 and spearheaded the Association’s “HALL OF FAME”
In June of 1977, Mrs. Pearl Carey of Seaside California became the first female elected to be President of WSGA. This historical event took place at the 23rd Annual Championships in Palm Springs California. Mrs. Carey presided over the Association very efficiently for four years (1977-1981). Her major accomplishments were to rejuvenate and revise the Association’s Junior Golf and Women’s Golf programs. She increased the five area Annual Scholarships to $1,000.00 each and established an Annual WSGA Junior Golf Championship.
On June 19, 1981, the affable and articulate William “Bill” Dickey of Phoenix, Arizona was elected president of WSGA. During Mr. Dickey’s term of office from 1981-1984, several major goals were achieved. Mr. Dickey ordained a Standing Committee to establish a Computerized Handicapping System to calculate and distribute handicaps for WSGA members. He promoted a strong Jr. Golf Program and obtained the 7-UP company as a sponsor of the Junior Championship and acquired Anheuser Busch, Inc. as sponsor of WSGA’s Annual Championship.
Mr. Fred Parker took over the helm as president of WSGA in June 1984 and served one term (1984-1987). Mr. Parker kept in tune with his predecessors by emphasizing and perfecting specific goals for progress and expansion. Through Mr. Parker’s initiative, consistency and enthusiasm WSGA continued to move forward with increased membership and expanded the Annual Championships. Mr. Parker initiated efforts to increase support for college students.
Mr. Gus Robinson, a gentleman of wisdom and integrity, was elected as the 8th President of WSGA in June 1987. Mr. Robinson served for two terms (1987-1993). During this period, Mr. Robinson was very diligent and effective in performing his duties as an untiring, progressive leader. Among other accomplishments, Mr. Robinson led a constructive movement toward establishing “Tee-Cup Magazine” as the official publication of WSGA, which became a reality in 1988. He dedicated himself to illuminating the myth that there was friction between the Northern California and Southern California Areas of WSGA. Mr. Robinson was instrumental in the development of the “North/South Shoot-out” (a tournament between the women in WSGA). Although he maintained an exhilarating schedule participating in all of WSGA’s sanction tournaments, he undertook the rewriting and clarification of WSGA’S Constitution and By-Laws. Mr. Robinson exemplified a total commitment to the Jr. Golf Program. During his administration, Mr. Robinson became a member of the United States Golf Association and the winners of WSGA’s Junior Championships were invited to the Maxfli/PGA Junior Championships.
In June 1993, Mr. Hank Marshall became the 9th president of WSGA. Mr. Marshall made a commitment to continue building the youth programs. During Mr. Marshall’s administration, WSGA’s computer equipment was updated. He organized the women’s golf program so it would function like other WSGA programs. Mr. Marshall initiated efforts to complete the revision of WSGA’s Constitution and By-laws, and set a five year plan for WSGA.
In June 1999, Mr. Gus Robinson became the 10th President of WSGA. It should be noted that this is Mr. Robinson’s second time (recycled) as WSGA President. His incumbency during this time encompassed 1999-2002. Mr. Robinson continued his commitment to the junior golf programs and, again, performed his duties as an untiring and progressive leader.
In June 2002, Mr. George Colebrook became the 11th president of WSGA and served two terms from 2002-2008. During Mr. Colebrook’s tenure as president, he stressed the importance of communication. He created and maintained a WSGA Hot-Line which enabled members to communicate directly with the President. He conducted Town Hall meetings in each of the five areas and worked closely with the Area Vice Presidents and appointed Chairpersons. Mr. Colebrook was the Editor of WSGA’s newsletter during his tenure as President and along with his appointed committee, was responsible for the latest update (2007) of WSGA’s Constitution, Bylaws, and Standard Operating Procedures. Mr. Colebrook initiated the 501c(3) status for the Association’s junior golf program (Western States Junior Golf Program). He was also responsible for WSGA receiving Hall of Fame honors from the National Negro Golf Association.
In June 2008, the second female president in WSGA’s history was installed as its 12th president serving from 2008-2011. Ms. Tamera Baxter’s platform was based upon bringing greater visibility to WSGA’s legacy, implementing an expansion plan to increase the number of member clubs, and facilitating the utilization of technology for the purpose of Promotion, Acquisition, and Retention (PAR). One of the more successful PAR initiatives was the “Gimme 4.” This initiative encouraged all member clubs to send a minimum of one (1) foursome from their respective clubs to participate in each Sanctioned tournament. This effort would ensure a greater number of participants at each tournament and increase the exposure of each hosting club. Recognizing the need to bring WSGA into the 21st Century, Ms. Baxter also implemented the redesign of the organization’s website and increased the promotion of the Association utilizing various Internet platforms including social media sites Facebook and Twitter, and developing marketing collateral. Ms. Baxter’s desire was to give the Association a facelift and facilitate the process of re-branding the organization.
In June 2011, Dr. Granville L. Brown was elected the 13th President of WSGA serving 2011-2014. Dr. Brown lives in Las Vegas, NV and a member of Valley View Golf Club and served as President of Valley View Golf Club, WSGA AVP Pacific Desert and Membership Chair prior to being elected to the office of President of WSGA. Communication and information to members is a strong initiative in role as President and he pushed for the improvement of the website as that tool. He’s a supporter of both the Junior Golf and WIG programs. Dr. Brown was very instrumental in the start of the Hall of Honor and TTHQ/Preferred Tee programs.
WSGA’s Genesis for Recognition of individual performances of duties beyond expectation:
2005 & 2008 Hall of Fame
- Mr. Alan Bennett, June 2005, member of Cosmopolitan Golf Club
- Mr. George Colebrook, Jr., June 2005, member of Desert Mashie Golf Club
- Mr. Henry Marshall, June 2005, member of Golden Gaters
- Mr. Dock Matthews, June 2008, member of Cosmopolitan Golf Club
- Mr. Albert Mayfield, June 2008, member of Cosmopolitan Golf Club
- Mr. James Redwine, June 2008, member of Sacramento Area Black Golf Club
On December 10, 1978, WSGA reached a milestone when the first Hall of Fame ceremony was held at the Broadway Federal Savings and Loan Association in Los Angeles, California.
Recognizing their loyal and dedicated services the Association over the years, the following members were inducted by President Pearl Carey into WSGA’s Hall of Fame:
- Mr. J. Cullen Fentress, WSGA President Emeritus
- Mr. Vernon Gaskin, WSGA Honorary Vice President
- Captain Morris Henderson, President of Bay Area Golf Club (deceased at the time of induction)
- Mrs. Mary Woodard, (deceased at the time of induction)
- Mr. James Stratten WSGA’s first General Tournament Chairman
- Mrs. Mae Crowder, WSGA Honorary Vice President
- Mr. Clifton Walker, WSGA’s first General Handicap Chairman (deceased at the time of induction)
- Mr. Felbert Cobbs, WSGA’s first Northern California Area Vice President
In complying with tradition as established by the Association, over 20 worthy members of long standing and meritorious service have been inducted into WSGA’s Hall of Fame.
- Mr. Frank Adams Sr., June 1980, member of Cosmopolitan Golf Club(deceased)
- Mrs. Lillian Fentress, June 1983, member of Vernoncrest Golf Club (deceased)
- Mr. William “Bill” Dickey, June 1985, Desert Mashie Golf Club
- Ms. L. Diane Marbury, June 1987, member of Golden Tees Golf Club
- Mr. A. B. Mansfield, June 1987, member of Metropolitan Golf Club (deceased)
- Ms. Ella Mae Reason, June 1987, member of Vernoncrest Golf Club (deceased)
- Mr. Joseph Charbonnet Sr., June 1989, member of Tee Masters Golf Club
- Mrs. Mercedes Sanford, June 1989, member of Aberdeen Golf Club (deceased)
- Mr. Lesley A. Williams, June 1989, member of Bay Area Golf Club
- Ms. Pearl Carey, June 1991, member of Ebony Seaview Golf Club (deceased)
- Mr. Joseph Gardner, June 1991, member of Cosmopolitan Golf Club
- Mrs. Alma Jackson, June 1993, member of Golden Gaters Golf Club
- Mr. Charlie Peoples, June 1993, member of Bay Area Golf Club
- Mr. William “Bill” Butler, June 1993, member of Inland Empire Golf Club
- Mr. Sylvester Marshall, June 1993, member of Leisure Hour Golf Club (deceased)
- Mr. Carol Clark, June 1996, member Golden Tees Golf Cub
- Mr. Fredrick Horton III, June 1996, member Bay Area Golf Club (deceased)
- Mr. Joe W. Boyd, June 2002, member of Cosmopolitan Golf Club
- Mrs. Argralia S. Earles June 2002, member Golden Tees Golf Club, founder Vernoncrest
- Mr. Joseph N. Robinson, June 2002, member of Desert Trails Golf Club
- Mr. Gus Robinson, June 2011, member of Tee Masters Golf Club
- Ms. Doris LaCour, June 2014, member of Tee Divas Golf Club
- Ms. Cheryl Marshall, June 2014, member of Golden Tees Golf Club
In complying with tradition as established by the Association, 5 worthy members of long standing and meritorious service have been inducted into WSGA’s Hall of Honor in 2013.
- Ms. Virginia M. Flanagin, June 2013, member of The Honors Golf Club
- Mr. Lewis Hawkins, June 2013, member of Valley View & Spears Golf Clubs
- Mr. Steve Fisher, June 2013, member of The Honors Golf Club
- Ms. Valerie McCray, June, 2013, member of Golden Tees Golf Club
- Mr. Johnny Smith, June, 2013, member of Inland Empire Golf Club
Advancement in WSGA has extended to many golf clubs located in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. WSGA is proud of the role it has played in golf since inception in 1954.
- Mr. Bill Wright of Fir State Golf Club for becoming the first African-American National Champion when he won the USGA National Public Links title.
- The financial assistance extended to Charlie Sifford prior to his joining the PGA Tour, as the Professional Golfers Association lifted its Caucasian-only clause in 1960.
- Mr. Ashley Smith (deceased) of Bay Area Golf Club, a perennial WSGA champion, also distinguished himself by winning the San Francisco, Hayward, and Oakland City Championships, and the Alameda Commuters Championships.
- Mr. Alton Duhon of Cosmopolitan Golf Club became the second African-American to win a National Championship when he won the 1982 USGA National Seniors Amateur Championship.
Tell or sign up a family member or a friend and extend to them a warm welcome and discuss with the benefits of being a member of Western States Golf Association (WSGA).