Gloria Armstrong joins an elite group of their peers as inductees to the LPGA T&CP Hall of Fame.
The LPGA Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) Hall of Fame, established in 2000, is the highest honor given to teaching and club professional members for extraordinary membership service and leadership while contributing to the game of golf and the golf industry.
Gloria Armstrong has always been a teacher, albeit at first an unofficial one. She began on the fledgling LPGA Tour back in its beginnings from 1955-1966, becoming a member of the Teaching Division in 1958. Though she wasn’t a teacher or coach officially, several of her peers described her with the same word: “Unselfish”.
Penny Zavichas wrote, “During this era [when the LPGA Tour began], both the players and the teachers worked to assure that all would prosper.” She goes on to say that “outside of the late Ellen Griffin, you had a Gloria Armstrong out on tour being the home teacher for so many players seeking her advice which she gave so unselfishly.”
One of the LPGA Founders, Marilynn Smith wrote, “In my opinion, Gloria represents the finest in our game,” and fondly recalls her time playing with Armstrong, writing that, “I found her to be a very kind person who was always available to help us on the practice tee.”
Marlene Hagge recalls that Armstrong “took time away from her practice to unselfishly help so many of us work through the problems we were having with the game,” and fondly dubbed Armstrong “The Teacher”.
Of all of the students Armstrong helped, the greatest and most successful impact was for Pat Hurst. Hurst cites Armstrong as “one of the main reasons that [she] has been so successful in the game of golf.” They worked together for fifteen years, Armstrong always willing to give her undivided attention as Hurst picked her brain about swing techniques and what it took to play on the LPGA Tour. Most importantly, Hurst wrote that Armstrong helped her to “believe” in herself. With Armstrong’s help, Hurst would go on to win the US Junior, US Amateur, NCAA Championship, Rookie of the Year, and the Dinah Shore. As Armstrong wrote, she is the “only LPGA Teacher to have a student to accomplish [that] feat.”
Armstrong was and still is in high demand as a teacher, as Zavichas said, “I once drove 200 miles off the beaten path to take a lesson from Gloria.” Though that is not surprising. According to Susie Maxwell Berning, Armsrtong was “one of several to help start the teaching division of the LPGA.” Even today she exemplifies her love of teaching. As Cheryl Pastore wrote, “at the age of 87, she continues to grow the game by teaching junior golfers every weekend.”
“Week in and week out, she dedicates her time and effort to help young kids, like me, learn more about the game of golf,” said fifteen-year-old Alexis Tongue, who, since she was eight years old, has been a student of Armstrong’s. “Ms. Armstrong not only helps us become better golfers, but she teaches us life skills and how to be the best versions of ourselves we can be.”
Even outside of teaching directly, Armstrong has helped make great change to the game of golf in her career. In 1960, while working at Silver Pines Golf Club in California, she met Karsten Solheim who gave her one of his original Ping putters, which she used to win the Haig & Haig Tournament. According to Stacy Solheim, granddaughter of Karsten Solheim, “Karsten received feedback on his putter designs from Gloria and appreciated hearing what she had to say.” And recounts that later “Karsten received an unexpected package from her. In that package was her Ping 4A putter [the same putter she used to win the Tournament] with a nice note about how she thought Karsten might like to have the putter back after all these years, given its history.” She concluded by writing that Armstrong’s “thoughtfulness made a lasting impression on our family . . . and is a proud part of our company history.”
Armstrong has worked with many golf professionals outside of the LPGA including Gardner Dickinson, Jim Turnesa, Sam Snead, Harvey Pennick, Davis Love II, Jim Fleck, and John Jacobs.
In her service to the LPGA T&CP, she won Teacher of the Year in 1970, attained Master Life Status in 1981, was the Western Section Treasurer for eight years in the 1980s, and has been a member of the LPGA for over 60 years.
In regard to her induction into the LPGA T&CP Hall of Fame, Armstrong said, “I am so please that after four nominations that I will be recognized by my peers by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I am especially grateful for the kind words and support from Pat Hurst, Marilynn Smith, and Marlene Hagge, who have made such an impact on my career.”
After a lifetime of service to golf and her unselfish approach to teaching, Armstrong is more than welcomed into the LPGA T&CP Hall of Fame.
Past inductees to the LPGA T&CP Hall of Fame are: Peggy Kirk Bell, Marilynn Smith, Patty Berg, Shirley Spork, Betty Hicks, and Louise Suggs in 2000; Goldie Bateson, Ellen Griffin, Dede Owens, and Joanne Winter in 2001; Ann Casey Johnstone in 2004; S. Annette Thompson in 2006; Kerry Graham, Lorraine Klippel, Pat Lange, and Penny Zavichas in 2008; Patti Benson, Carol Clark Johnson, Kay McMahon, and Jane Read in 2010; Mary Dagraedt, Nell Frewin-Hays, and Nancy Quarcelino in 2012; and Shirely Englehorn and Donna White in 2014.