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Playing to win: the Hershey Open Golf Tournament

Hershey Country Club, 18th hole (formerly High Point Mansion), 1933
Hershey Country Club, 18th hole (formerly High Point Mansion), 1933

 

 

Hershey Country Club was formally established when Milton Hershey hosted a dinner party at his home, High Point, for one hundred of his friends on April 27, 1930. Preceding dinner, Mr. Hershey announced he was donating his home to the new Hershey Country Club for use as a Clubhouse. He went on to explain that the Club was to be established for the recreation and enjoyment of his friends, Hershey employees, as well as residents of the Hershey community. At this point, Milton Hershey asked his guests to lift their plates. Underneath each plate was a Hershey Country Club Charter Membership card for each guest.

 

In 1933 the Professional Golfers Association urged the Hershey Country Club to put on a tournament. Hershey Country Club accepted the idea and established an invitational Hershey Open Golf Tournament. First held in1933, the purse of $5000 rivaled that of the U.S. Open and attracted some of the game’s best players.

 

The Tournament was held for several years. The winners were:

 

1933     Ed Dudley

1934     Ky Laffoon (French Indian golf star of Denver)

1935     Ted Luther

1936     Henry Picard

1937     Henry Picard

 

In 1938 the format was changed to a Round Robin Four-Ball Invitational. That year the team of Ben Hogan and Vic Ghezzi took first place. The tournament returned to its traditional format the following year and was won by Felix Serafin.

 

PGA Tournament,  Bryon Nelson tees off while Sam Snead looks on from the sidelines.  1940

PGA U.S. Open Tournament, 1940 Byron Nelson tees off while competitor Sam Snead looks on from the sidelines.

 

The Hershey Open was not held in 1940. In its place, Hershey Country Club hosted the PGA U.S. Open.. In that tournament Byron Nelson edged Sam Snead 1-up to win the PGA Championship. The ninth and last Hershey Open Golf Tournament was held August 28-31, 1941.

 

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Hershey Open Golf Tournament, 1941

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