GAP HALL OF FAME
James McHale, Jr. belongs in the pantheon of Golf Associa- tion of Philadelphia greats. For a decade after World War II, McHale was one of the country’s top ama- teurs. He represented America in two playings of the Walker Cup, set a scoring standard at the U.S. Open and was the first amateur
to win a Philadelphia Open, an event that commanded status as a de-facto PGA Tour stop.
McHale’s credentials rate him an all-time great.
The native Californian will be memorialized as
such, becoming the 12th member of the Golf As-
sociation of Philadelphia Hall of Fame. He will be
officially recognized during the Oct. 23 Player’s
Dinner at Merion Golf Club.
McHale stood 6-foot-21/2 and was a strong
man with a powerful swing. He moved to the
area in 1940 to work as an assistant to Philadelphia Country Club’s legendary pro Ed Dudley
for two years. McHale was called into military
service shortly after the outbreak of World War II
and served five years in the Army as a staff sergeant with the 17th and 101st Airborne divisions.
He made the jump with the 17th in Crossing the
Rhine, a key moment of the war.
In 1942, he married Mary Jane McCloskey,
daughter of Matthew McCloskey, a well-known
Philadelphia builder and former U.S. ambassador
to Ireland. He also applied for amateur reinstate-
ment with the USGA. He regained status after his
discharge and first joined Overbrook Golf Club
and then Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. Over
time, he and his wife, an avid golfer herself, held
additional memberships at Aronimink Golf Club
and Saucon Valley Country Club. The McHales
were close friends with iconic television person-
ality Michael Douglas and together they would
regularly tee it up at Saucon.
McHale, whose father played outfield for the
Boston Red Sox in 1908, provided a preview of
his game at the European Theater of Operations
Golf Championship in August 1945 at St. Cloud
Country Club in France. He defeated Lt. William
Campbell of Huntingdon, W.Va., in a playoff after
the two tied for low honors in regulation at 294.
In 1947, McHale blossomed. He qualified for the U.S. Open at St. Louis Country Club where he carded a 65 in the third round, including a front-nine 30. Both were record
low scores. The 65 stood for three years but the
30 for considerably longer. Arnold Palmer equaled
the mark in 1960 and both claimed ownership
until 1995 when Neil Lancaster posted a 29 at
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
The 1947 U.S. Open was when Sam Snead
Hall of Fame
BY MARTIN D. EMENO, JR. __________________