Babe Zaharias 1947 exhibition match 
Woodland Golf Club, Newton Massachusetts






In 1947 Babe's agent, Fred Cororan, arranged for her to play an exhibition match at the Woodland Golf Club (former home course of the great Francis Ouimet)  in Newton Massachusetts with Woodland's club professional Francis "Andy" Doyle against two other Boston area professionals, Tom Mahan, head professional at the United Shoe Golf Club ( now Beverly Golf and Tennis Club ) and George Morrison, head professional from the former Trapelo Golf Club of Lincoln Massachusetts.  

From the moment the match began Mrs. Zaharias chatted and joked with the gallery, as well as stopping to pose for pictures with many of the youngsters.

After canning a 10 foot putt on the first hole she sent the crowd over the top on the 4th. Off the green with a "sizeable chip", the gallery tightly packed around the green, the Babe turns to the referee Ralph Hunt "Hold that pin loose, mister, hold it loose." Then with little "ado" she "stepped up and sent the ball on a plumb-line into the center of the cup."  

Exhibition match, ya' so, to Boston golf fans it was the greatest golf shot since Francis canned his birdie putt on 17 and they let everyone in the Auburndale section of Newton know. Doyle, Mahan and Morrison also knew they'd better step up because to Babe and her fans it was clear the game was on.

Come the 8th hole Babe knocked in an 8 footer for her last birdie of the match and it drew she and Doyle even with Mahan and Morrison. The remaining 10 holes were tied and after 18 holes, the match was square. Now normally an exhibition matched ended in a tie, that was it. 

However the Woodland gallery wanted more, they wanted a winner and let it be known. It didn't take Babe long to figure it out and with a broad smile and wave of the arm she said, "Let's go" and marched off the 1st tee for a playoff, followed by a wildly cheering crowd. As it turned out, Babe and Doyle lost out to Morrison and Mahan, but the Babe and Boston golf and sports fans were the winners and as an eternal bond of mutual love and admiration was formed. 

For the Babe after her 1953 cancer surgery, everything from having her golf clubs in her recovery room to her humbling at the 1953 Tam O Shanter Championship, from the comeback's 1st practice putt to the body stopping exhaustion everything was about prepping for Boston. Quoting Babe's autobiography "I really pointed for that 1954 Open."

Funny how things work sometimes, the newspaper headlines spread the word of the upcoming 1954 United States Golf Association Women's Open with a field led by 1953 champion Betsy Rawls, but it did not take long for word on the street to start spreading "Babe's coming to Salem Country Club......" 


Babe Zaharias relaxing on the porch at Woodland GC
Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones collection


1954 United States Women's Open

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