Richard Crawford of Birmingham, Ala., was a golfer who enjoyed competitive success at the college, amateur, state and tour professional levels, and who was also highly recognized as a club professional and first-rate teacher.
His achievements in all facets of the game, including time spent as a golf professional at Green Island Country Club in Columbus, Jennings Mill Country Club in Bogart and Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, earned him induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.
In his acceptance speech, Crawford expressed special gratitude toward fellow Hall of Famer Gunby Jordan, who hired him at Green Island.
Vicki Goetze-Ackerman of Tampa, Fla., was one of Georgia’s most decorated female golfers at the national level while growing up in Hull. She won two U.S. Women’s Amateur titles, captured the NCAA title as a freshman at the University of Georgia and represented her country four times in international team events before enjoying a long career on the LPGA.
Goetze-Ackerman dedicated her Hall of Fame induction to her parents, Gregg and Irene Goetze. She also recognized many family and friends who supported her during her career, including former University of Georgia women’s golf coach Beans Kelly.
Alfred “Tup” Holmes of Atlanta was inducted posthumously into the Hall. Holmes was an outstanding amateur golfer who made an immeasurable impact on the game by virtue of his leadership in the opening of Atlanta’s golf courses to black citizens, which became an important step for equality in the sport.
In 1951, the Holmes family filed suit against the City of Atlanta in order to play on the city’s public golf courses, and the Supreme Court ruled in their favor in 1955.
Accepting the induction on Tup’s behalf was his grandson, Hamilton Holmes, Jr. One of the evening’s more poignant moments came during Holmes’ acceptance speech when he recognized Charles Bell, a friend of the Holmes family who helped break the color barrier by playing an historic round of golf with Tup at North Fulton Golf Course on Christmas Eve, 1955. Mr. Bell, 93, traveled from Warner Robins for the induction ceremony.
Gene Sauers of Savannah was a successful junior and college golfer in Georgia and a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR spanning parts of three decades. His successful career has nearly been derailed more than once by illnesses, but he has come back time and again and is looking forward to entering the next phase as he becomes eligible for the Champions Tour in 2012.
During his acceptance speech, Sauers thanked many Savannahians who have supported him over the years, and made special mention of his wife, Tammy, who has served as his “sports psychologist and best friend.”
Twenty-one of the living Hall of Fame members attended events in their honor during the weekend and were joined by an audience of over 300 at the induction ceremony. There are now 90 members of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.