From top: Johnny Revolta learned golf as a youth in Wisconsin before winning the 1935 PGA Championship. Manuel de la Torre was the first PGA Teacher of the Year in 1986. J.P. Hayes and Mark Wilson proudly represent the Badger State on the PGA Tour.
short season is really great. The golfer in Wisconsin will go out and play in some weather that maybe you won’t play in other parts of the country. That’s part of playing golf in the Midwest.
“The conditions of the golf courses in Wisconsin are probably as good or better than any place in the country. And I’m not talking about high-end places. You go to a public course and the conditions will be better than 50 percent of the most expensive country clubs in other parts of the country. And people just take that for granted.
“The cost for golf in Wisconsin is very,
very reasonable. You can play great golf all
over the state for 50 bucks. You can’t say
that in a lot of places. We are spoiled in
Wisconsin with the quality of the courses
The quality aspect is particularly true
with Kohler’s four courses. There’s also a
new course, Erin Hills in Erin, Wis., that
will host the 2017 U.S. Open.
“Andy got the state on the map as far as
golf goes, but so did Herb Kohler,” says
Stricker. “He put up a lot of money and a
lot of his time and took chances. Nobody
knows when they build a course how it’s
going to be perceived or liked or disliked or
whatever. He put his neck on the line, too.”
So now Wisconsin boasts as many
quality courses as its quality players. That
includes Madison’s Sherri Steinhauer, who
has victories in two majors – the 1992 du
Maurier Classic and the 2006 Women’s
British Open – as well as six others on the
92 THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF THE 2010 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Appleton’s J.P. Hayes and Menomonee Falls’ Mark Wilson each won twice on the PGA Tour. Fox Point’s Skip Kendall hasn’t won but has been a successful, longtime veteran on the Tour. Other state players who have played on the PGA Tour include Don Iverson, Bobby Brue and Tommy Veech.
Prior to North’s arrival, however, the biggest name from the state was Johnny Revolta (see story on previous page), who spent part of his boyhood in Oshkosh. Nicknamed “the Iron Master” because of his great short game, Revolta won 18 PGA Tour events as well as the 1935 PGA Championship, when he defeated Tommy Armour, 5 and 4 in the title match at Twin Hills Country Club in Oklahoma City.
One of the state’s greatest amateurs was Racine native Wilford Werhle. “He was considered by Bobby Jones as the best amateur player in America back in the mid- 1930s,” says Gene Haas, the retired executive director of the Wisconsin State Golf Association.
More recently, South Milwaukee’s Archie Dadian has won more than 100 tournaments. He was named the United States Golf Association’s public links player of the decade in the 1970s, according to Haas.
Finally, PGA Professional Manuel de la Torre made his mark in the state as a golfer and teacher. He moved to Milwaukee in 1950 and took a job at Milwaukee Country Club. He won the State Open five times and the State PGA Championship four times. But he was just as respected as a teacher – named the inaugural PGA Teacher of the Year in 1986.
LPGA golfers from the state, including Steinhauer and Fond du Lac’s Martha Nause, were among de la Torre’s students, as well as the famed Carol Mann. Tommy Aaron also was a student of de la Torre’s when he won the Masters in 1973, according to Haas.
“Jim Flick once told me that the best teacher in America was Manuel de la Torre,” Haas claims. “They all respect his method of teaching and ability to communicate with students.” ●
Rob Schultz in a sports writer for
the Capital Times in Madison, Wis.,
whose stories also appear in the
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