For the first time in the 1935 season, Edna Saenger beat Schifferdecker 80.
On Monday, August 5, 1935, Saenger shot the lowest round for the ladies shooting 39 back to back for a 78. A year earlier, she had won the Louisiana Women’s Amateur – a title she would win three times.
In 1936 Saenger won the Fort Worth Women’s Invitational (now known as the Texas Women’s Open). Her name will be etched in Texas golf history along with other extraordinary golfers who have won the tournament like Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Betsy Rawls. Zaharias and Rawls would win the Texas Open multiple times.
Two days after Saenger’s record at Schifferdecker, Joplin Globe sports scribe Porter Wittich proclaimed, “One of the worst beatings our 18-hole municipal course has ever suffered from a foursome was suffered on Wednesday (7 August 1935) when two Springfield pro cracks took on a couple Joplinites in a 36-hole match – the finish that saw the par ripped to pieces, knocked down in a gun derby (oh my sound, seriously), hit for a loop or use the phrase you want. The fact is that the four linkmen hit 24 shots from perfect figures over 36 holes of golf because I know every shot counted because there was about a penny in play on each hole and no putts were conceded.
Skipping Wittich’s hyperbole, Springfield pros Herman Keizer shot rounds 66-68 and Hayden Newton 68-68. Joplin’s Lloyd Wadkins scores were 67-68 and Paul Smith finished his two rounds with a 69 and a 70. During the game, Wadkins hit a 300-yard drive on the No. 11 527-yard par five (now No. 3) and followed with a beautiful four-footed 3-iron. He made the eagle putt.
With the end of 1935, members of the Schifferdecker Golf Committee recommended that green fees be increased from 25 cents to 35 cents. Leslie S. Mckee, chairman of the golf committee, reported that a deficit of over $3,000 had been accumulated for the year.
Additionally, a men’s dress code was instituted at Schifferdecker in the spring of 1935. The new rules stated that men were no longer permitted to golf shirtless. In addition, men were forbidden to wear shorts. The new code was simple: shirts and long pants required.
On April 21, 1935, The New York Times published an editorial regarding golf and its competition with church attendance on Sundays. Playing golf on the Sabbath was not always seen as positive. During the 1920s, there were a few scattered examples of state legislators attempting to pass bills banning Sunday golf.
In 1935, the golf shot heard around the world belonged to Gene Sarazen on the final day at the Augusta National Course. According to the story, Sarazen’s ball lay on the No. 15 fairway approximately 250 yards from the hole. He chose a 4 wood and took out a lucky ring and rubbed it on his caddy’s head for good luck.
Sarazen remarked, “I charged into the shot with every ounce of strength I could muster.” The boring low-level shot cleared the water hazard, hit the green and rolled into the cup for an extremely rare double eagle two.
“The Shot” was the adrenaline rush Sarazen needed to bind Craig Wood. Sarazen prevailed the following day by winning a 36-hole play-off to win the second Masters.
Also in 1935, Mildred Didrikson, recognized as the greatest female athlete of her time, toured nationally with Gene Sarazen. Nicknamed “Babe” for hitting home runs in baseball games on a sand pitch, Didrikson showed off her athletic ability by smashing shots from 250 yards. Will Grimsley in his book Golf Its History People & Events details: “One of his tricks was to throw his ball, step back a few yards, then stroll and hit the ball without breaking stride.”
Trick shots aside, Babe has won more than 30 professional golf tournaments on the women’s pro circuit. She was the first silver winner in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951. She won three Women’s Opens in 1948, 1950 and 1954.
Additionally, Babe won the British Ladies Tournament in Gullane, Scotland. During the tournament, he was asked, “How do you get such huge distance on your workouts?”
The good-natured Texan replied, “I just loosened my belt and let the ball have it!”
Babe was a major asset to women’s golf. She was a great ambassador for the game. Golf was good for Babe too. It was on the golf course that she met the love of her life, George Zaharias. In 1938, during an exhibition match, Babe was paired with the 300-pound professional wrestler known as “The Crying Greek from Cripple Creek”. Before long, the two were married.
Babe was one of the founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 1949. She was a legend in professional golf as a three-time Hall of Famer and member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, Hall of fame in world golf and the PGA Hall of Fame.
Another interesting development of 1935 was the premier of a new golf ball. MIT graduate Phillip W. Young founded a rubber company in 1910 with two friends. They called their company Peabody, Young & Weeks. The company was located in Acushnet, Massachusetts before moving to New Bedford, MA.
Fast forward to 1932, Young was playing a round of golf with his dentist. On the last hole, Young missed a short putt. He claimed the misfire was due to an unbalanced ball. Young then had his dentist friend x-ray the balloon to see if there were any irregularities in the internal composition.
The x-ray film showed that the inner core was indeed off center. Young sampled other balls and found that they were consistently made with off-center cores, which would lead to erratic shot and bad putting. This exercise inspired Young to produce his own line of golf balls.
He spent the next three years perfecting his ball. In 1935, his company developed a machine capable of winding a rubber string evenly around a rubber core by placing it at the dead center of the golf ball. He named the ball “Titleist” noting that it was the “winner” of his quest to create the best ball.
In 1935 the first ball was made with the famous Titleist script. Company officials were looking for a logo when Helen Robison, an office secretary, wrote the word Titleist on a piece of paper. It is his cursive calligraphy that continues to be celebrated today as one of golf’s most recognized signatures.