Hall of Fame
Biographies of inductees in the Rockford Golf Hall of Fame, which opened in 2005.
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2006 Inductees
Dean Lind

Dean Lind may be considered Rockford's best-ever junior golfer. He was the first U.S. Junior Amateur champion in 1948 when he defeated future U.S. Open winner Ken Venturi 4-and-2 in the final a few weeks after winning the IHSA state golf title. He was also a successful college golfer at University of Michigan, where he played against Arnold Palmer among others, and helped the Wolverines win two Big Ten titles.

The four Rockford East teams he played on won two state championships and finished second twice. He won the Greater Rockford Men's Golf Classic in 1949, 1960 and 1962 and played in the 1975 U.S. Open. He was the first golf professional at The Ledges from 1965 to 1972.

(Story published in 2006)

Mary Welsh

Mary Welsh spent almost 60 years in Rockford playing, promoting, volunteering and interesting others, particularly juniors, in golf. She won the Women's Western Junior Amateur tournament in 1939 at age 17 and the Chicago Women's Victory Tournament in 1942 as well as the Greater Rockford Women's Golf Classic in 1949, 1950, 1952, 1955, 1957, 1961 and 1965.

She joined the board of directors of the Women's Western Golf Association in 1962 and was influential in bringing the WWGA Junior Championship to Rockford Country Club the following year. She also had a hand in bringing the Women's Western Amateur Championship to Rockford in 1970.

She was the WWGA president in 1971 and 1972 and remained on the board for nearly 40 years.

(Story published in 2006)

Rockford Women's Golf Association

The Rockford Women's Golf Association was formed in 1939 and has fostered golf as a competitive and recreational sport among area women ever since.

Association members began giving lessons to girls at Sinnissippi Golf Course in the 1940s and the Junior Girls Golf Tournament was a result. The association also co-sponsors the women's city tournament and holds six team-play events each season.

There are other organizations that have worked to promote golf in our area, Mary Lib Skerkoske, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005 for her efforts in organizing the association's junior program, said in a letter nominating the association, but no organization has been devoted to the game for as long.

(Story published in 2006)

Salley Wessels

Although she is from Mount Morris, Salley Wessels has been called Rockford's most decorated golfer. She has won the Greater Rockford Women's Golf Classic a record 13 times and has been runner-up nine times. She is a 20-time Rockford River District champion, has won the Rock River Classic, an eight-club tournament, 24 times and the Lincoln Highway eight-club tournament twice.

She was the 1977 Illinois state women's champion and has been the senior women's champion six times. She tied future LPGA star Nancy Lopez for medalist honors at the 1973 Western Women's Amateur Tournament at Maple Bluff in Madison, Wis.

She has also competed successfully in several U.S. Public Links, U.S. Women's Senior and Western Women's Senior tournaments.

(Published in 2006)

Steve Hare

Atwood Homestead Golf Course was still being built when Steve Hare, the only head professional the course has ever had in its 35 years, began working there. He has been a Class A PGA professional since 1971 and worked as an assistant professional at Forest Hills Country Club and a professional at Red Barn Golf Course before taking the job at Atwood Homestead.

He developed a summer golf program for juniors at Atwood and has taught thousands of juniors and adults.

(Story published in 2006)

The Hogan Family

Bob, Denny, Marty and Steve Hogan contributed a collective 78 years to serving as golf professionals at Macktown, The Ledges and Rockford Country Club.

The Jack Nicklaus exhibition in the 1960s, re-establishment of the Ledges Invitational, the Winnebago County Amateur, increased play at county courses, and successful development of strong men's associations at those courses all have a Hogan stamp on them. In addition, they freely contributed time and equipment to junior programs throughout the area.

(Story published in 2006)

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