Submitted by Bill Stanwood – Idaho Golf Enthusiast
In memory of Shirley Englehorn… A truly great professional golfer, teacher and friend to many in golf in Idaho.
Shirley Englehorn passed away Sunday, October 2, 2022, at Penrose hospital near her home in Colorado Springs. She was 81.
Shirley was a pioneer of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, who began her professional career in the era of Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Kathy Whitworth, the winningest American golf professional, man or woman.
Ms. Englehorn won 11 times on the LPGA Tour, including beating Kathy Whitworth in an 18 hole playoff to win the 1970 LPGA Championship, her only major championship. Her career was cut short by two accidents, one early in her career in a horse riding accident, and later in an automobile accident that crushed her ankle, which caused her to have it fused later in her career. She was awarded the Ben Hogan Trophy in 1968 in honor of her successful comeback to golf after the auto accident. She was hired by JC PENNEY to design golf clubs and shoes with her signature name on the product. A high honor for any professional athlete and a long way from her humble beginnings in Caldwell.
Shirley went on to win many amateur titles, including the Idaho Open, Pacific Northwest Am, Oregon Am, and the Trans Miss before turning professional in 1959. She won many prestigious awards over her long career as both a top level player on the LPGA and as a beloved Teaching Professional, winning the LPGA Teacher of the Year in 1978. She was inducted into the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall of Fame in 1991.
Shirley Englehorn graduated from Caldwell Senior High School, where she played on the Boys Golf team with some of the best amateur golfers in Southern Idaho history, including long time Purple Sage legendary player and golf course superintendent, Gordon Crockett. Shirley was enshrined in the Caldwell High sports Hall of Fame, as well as the North Idaho Hall of Fame. She won the 1967 Shirley Englehorn Invitational at Purple Sage Golf Course, beating out Kathy Whitworth, who finished second.
Shirley never forgot her roots, coming home to Caldwell to visit her parents who lived on the 3rd hole at Fairview Golf Course where she learned to play. She would come out to Purple Sage and give clinics to junior golfers, women golfers and any who cared to attend, all for free. She was a close friend to my father Keith Stanwood, PGA Head Professional. I was lucky enough to have her work with me on my short game as a high school player, and improve my game in many ways, helping greatly with my collegiate and amateur career.
Shirley Englehorn, made history in the game of golf, both amateur and professional and was an ambassador for the game her entire life. For these reasons, Shirley should be remembered for her life’s work in golf, and in women’s history month this March 2023.