The golf history is only part of the story.
There have been 3 USGA Presidents who played on Stanford's golf teams (Sandy Tatum (photo on left), Grant
Spaeth (photo on the right) and Walter Driver and numerous notables in the business world. As this story unfolds you are invited to read about more than
alums from 1931 to today and contribute updated information. For 90 years the program has attracted many of the best players in the world and its many graduates continue to play prominent roles in society around the world. In fact, the 2020-21 team was the top rated incoming class including two of the top 5 junior players in the world.
The program's roots as a varsity sport
start with the completion of the highly acclaimed Stanford Golf Course, which first opened for play
on January 1, 1930. The course was designed by renowned architects, Captain George C. Thomas and William Bell (center & left with Alistair MacKenzie), the design team behind of
many of the West Coast's finest links including Riviera CC, LA CC North and Bel-Air CC. Bell when speaking of Stanford said that compared
to other their famed courses "none will be superior to the Stanford links."
The course in its first year attracted national attention with many of the nation's finest players making the trip West to play Stanford.
On December 2, 1930, a foursome made up of Horton Smith, E. Dudley, Craig Wood, and Frank Walsh played the University course. They are reported
to have said "they considered it the best test of golf on the Pacific coast ..." Also playing the course in 1930 with several leading professionals
was Walter Hagen and "the professionals rated the course as the equal of almost any course in the East."
With the Stanford course's high reputation, some of the nation's finest amateurs were attracted to Stanford to compete with the golf team,
starting with the trio of Malcolm MacNaughton (of Dole Foods fame),
Charlie Seaver and 4-time major champion Lawson Little. Another strong player, Don Edwards, became a US Congressman after his playing days ended. These early
1930s teams blew away the competition although as with many teams they competed only regionally so no national championships were competed
in. No doubt these early 1930s teams would have added several national championships if competing.
The superb golfers continued to come to Stanford, now attracted by the fact that Lawson Little and Charlie Seaver were on the team, including
future Hall of Famers Warren Berl,
Bud Brownell (course record holder with 63 for some 50 years),
Sandy Tatum, Bud Finger (later Stanford's golf coach)
and Bob Cardinal all competing on one or more of the dominant teams that won the national championship in
1941 and 1942.
The coach through these early years was Eddie Twiggs (photo on left) who would lead teams to 5 national
championships in his coaching stint from 1932 thru 1947.
After World War II with Bob Rosburg (photo on left) and Bob Cardinal, leading the way, Stanford again won the
national championship in 1946, a 5th time
in 7 seasons (allowing for a break during WWII). Stanford likely would have won again in 1948 except that Bob Rosburg was dismissed from
the team for the national championships held at Stanford --- the colorful story behind Rosburg's dismissal is told by Bob Rosburg in his
In the 1950s Stanford would produce another national championship in 1953, and a number of superb players including
Dick McElyea, Fred
Brown, Warren Dailey, John Brodie (photo on left), Grant Spaeth (photo on right), Bob Snelling, Art Schroeder and Jack Lamey. These individuals would win four conference
championships. John Brodie, an All-American quarterback while at Stanford, went on to a successful senior golf tour career after a long,
illustrious SF 49er career. The 1957 team finished 2nd in the national championships by one stroke to Houston. In 1958 and 1959 Stanford teams finished 6th and 3rd in the
national championship events.
The 1960s saw more outstanding players coming to Stanford, including All-Americans Kent Winton,
Steve Smith, Peter Choate, Jim Rheim,
Rich Harris and Sandy Adelman. In 1968 a freshman joined the golf team who went on to become one of the game's legendary figures.
During this decade the Cardinal won 3 conference championships and competed strongly in several national championships.
Tom Watson brought a solid game from Kansas City, following his father to Stanford. With powerful driving and unmatched putting he
was named an All-American in his 3 varsity years, 1969-71. Tom's success as a professional has produced a Hall of Fame golf career.
Sandy Tatum, in his video interview, shares stories about Tom Watson, his friend of 40 years.
During the 1970s there were once again many outstanding individual All-Americans in addition to Tom Watson playing for Stanford:
Doug Clarke and Mike Peck (both named to Walker Cup teams), Aly Trompas, Dave Baskins, George Pettinger, Bob Steele and Gary Vanier (photo on right).
Several of these players went on to play professionally.
The 1980s standouts included Tim Robinson, Don Walsworth, Jack Skilling, David Games and Carl Wagner. Robinson won All-American honors
while Wagner, Games, Walsworth and Robinson were named 1st team all conference. Rich Marik and Scott Erickson won back-to-back US Junior championships.
The 1990s found Stanford golf on the rise nationally with a number of prominent golfers, led by Tiger Woods, playing for the Cardinal.
In addition to Tiger, the names of 1990s Stanford golfers who are playing or did play professionally include Christian Cevaer, Will
Yanigisawa, Casey Martin (photo on right), Notah Begay (photo on left),
Conrad Ray (current head coach),
and Joel Kribel ( one of two 4-time All Americans at Stanford). The teams in the 199os recruited by Hall of Fame coach Wally Goodwin, led to a resurgence of the program that led Stanford back to the to of college golf.
Stanford won the
national championship in 1994, finished 2nd in 1995 (losing in a playoff) and 4th in 1996.
Tiger won the individual NCAA championship in 1996. A number
of All-Americans were produced during the decade including Woods, Martin, Begay, Kribel, Burdick, Yanigisawa and Cevaer, as well as numerous other conference accolades. In addition Coach Wally Goodwin garnered national coach of the year honors in 1994. The depth of Stanford's teams continued to improve after these legends left the Farm as many more All-Americans and players turning pro occurred in the decades that followed.
During the decade since 2000, Stanford has continued to build on its prior successes culminating in winning the
2007 national championship.
All-American selections include Zack Miller (photo on left), Matt Savage, Joseph Bramlett, Rob Grube (photo on right), Daniel Lim, Sihwan Kim, Philip Rowe and Alex Aragon. Head coach Conrad
Ray was selected national coach of the year by the Coaches Association in 2007. A number of Stanford
golfers are competing professionally from the 2000s teams and the future is bright for the Cardinal.
Since 2010 the Cardinal continued to produce outstanding teams and players as the team advanced to postseason NCAA play each season. All-Americans have included Patrick Rodgers, Andrew Yun, Cameron Wilson, David Chung, Sihwan Kim and Steve Ziegler. Of special note has been the play of Patrick Rodgers who in only three seasons on the Farm has played on two Walker Cup teams, been named First Team All-American three times, has the lowest career scoring average of 70.41 (besting Tiger Woods' previous records over two seasons) and with 11 wins is tied with Tiger on Stanford's all-time career collegiate wins list.
The 2013-14 season was one of the finest in the history of the program. The team recorded 7 stroke play wins in 12 events, including the Pac-12 Championship, NCAA Regional and NCAA Finals (stroke play portion) while finishing tied for 3rd in the national championship after a tough 3 & 2 loss to OSU in the semi-finals. The Pac-12 Championship win was the program's first in 20 years. Patrick Rodgers received the Ben Hogan Award as the nation's outstanding player and won the Pac-12 Championship among his 6 season wins (2nd only season best to Tiger Woods' 8 in 1996). Cameron Wilson was also named 1st team All-American, winning 3 times including the National Championship individual title, only the 3rd Cardinal to do so, joining Tiger Woods and Sandy Tatum. Coach Ray was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
The 2016-17 season was noteworthy as the Cardinal graduated one of college golf's greats in Maverick McNealy, another three-time All-American who not only tied Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers with 11 career wins, but also finished with the lowest Stanford career scoring average of 70.13 and the lowest single season scoring average of 69.05 in the 2014-15 season. Maverick was the 2017 winner of the Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson Awards and was named the Nicklaus Award winner and Haskins Award winner in 2014-15. McNealy played on two Walker Cup teams. Under Coach Ray's leadership, the Cardinal teams won the Pac-12 Championship three straight years from 2014 through 2016. Coach Ray was inducted into the Golf Coach's Hall of Fame in 2017.
The 9th national championship was the 2019 National Champion Team that defeated Texas in a dramatic 3-2 final at the difficult Blessings GC in Arkansas. That team was led by two senior All-Americans, Brandon Wu and Isaiah Salinda who each went 3-0 in match play and who both turned pro soon after this latest team victory. After finishing 6th in the stroke play portion, the Cardinal beat Wake Forest 3-2 in the quarterfinals, Vanderbilt 3-2 in the semis.