Braemar Country Club
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Ralph Guldahl – The Gentleman of Golf
Hailed as "The Gentleman of Golf,” Braemar is honored to have as its very first golf professional, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Guldahl is one of only five players in history to win the U.S. Open in consecutive years: 1937 and 1938. After being the runner-up during the two previous years, he won the 1939 Masters at Augusta National with a record 279 score, beating Sam Snead. (He also edged out crowd favorite, Snead, for his 1937 Open victory with a record 281 score.) In 1938, Guldahl became the only man to win three consecutive Western Open titles, a record that still stands today. It was regarded as highly as the majors at that time. An ardent family man, Guldahl stopped touring in 1940 to concentrate on his Club Professional's job in Chicago and spend more time with his wife, Laverne, and son, Ralph Jr.
In addition to his accomplishments, Ralph Guldahl is known for his deliberate play and bashful nature. A towering 6'2" native of Texas, Guldahl focused on his game rather than his showmanship to the gallery or his fellow professionals. In his heyday, many commented on his habit of combing his hair before executing a shot. Ralph simply stated, "It checks my pace and helps me to retain a confident composure."
It is this same steadfast, unpretentious nature that won the esteem and affection of all Braemar Members in his historical, 28-year tenure as a brilliant instructor and director of golf. Ask any Member who played golf at Braemar Country Club between 1959 and 1987 about Ralph Guldahl, and you’ll hear praise-filled stories of his warm anecdotes, dry humor and graciousness.
27-year employee, Anita Bradford, states, "He was a gentleman to the fingertips." Executive Chef Daniel Drumlake recalls Ralph never having to ask for what he wanted for lunch. "He would just give me a grin and I would make his daily favorite." Braemar Members still enjoy Ralph's favorite to this day. His signature sandwich is one of the most popular items on the Club's Guldahl Grill Room menu.
As you enjoy the panoramic view from the Grill Room today, take a moment to gaze at the memorabilia of Ralph's achievements that grace its walls. The Golf Pro Shop also contains nostalgic items including a novelty golf book entitled "Tee to Cup." Recently restored from its original publication in 1939, this unique flip book features sequenced photographs of Ralph demonstrating golf shots with instruction, commentary and insights on the game from a 1930's perspective. And, of course, you cannot miss the life-size bronze sculpture depicting Guldahl's powerful golf swing. Perched on the edge of the hill in front of the East Course first tee, the statue and the Guldahl Grill Room serve as a permanent inspiration to continue the strong traditions and values of this great man and golf hero.
Guldahl's true love for the sport of Golf and his endearing persona made many friends at The Braemar Country Club. He is truly missed, but his memory lives on in our hearts and in the continuing tradition of our Club's rich history.
World renown, Master's and U.S. Open Champion, and Golf Director Emeritus, Ralph Guldahl is depicted in a life-sized bronze statue which stands in front of the Golf Pro Shop. His presence is felt throughout the Club and in the rich history he helped create.