Head Golf Professionals

  • 1918 – 1920
    Vincent “Vin” O’Donnell
  • 1921 – 1925
    James S. “Jimmie” Young
  • 1926 – 1953
    Harry “Pop” Avery
  • 1954 – 1964
    Ed DeBaufre
  • 1964
    Bill Moran
  • 1965 – 1984
    Ronnie Ward
  • 1984 – 1993
    Sam Duncan
  • 1994 – 1998
    David Startzel
  • 1998 – 2000
    Fred Riedel
  • 2001 – 2004
    David Smolsky
  • 2004 – Present
    Fred Riedel

Our History

  • Prior to 1916: Long before the golf course was established, Old Joe MacKissic tended to his farm on the land that would later become Wildwood Golf Club.
  • 1916: On December 16th, five men (William J. Jackson, William T. Martin, Jr., Henry H. Ottens, George C. Connor and J. Charles Winter) chartered and incorporated our land as “Wildwood Golf & Country Club.” They maintained this structural operation during the years of World War I.
  • 1918: In August, WG&CC hired Vincent “Vin” O’Donnell as the club’s first Golf Professional. O’Donnell oversaw the completion and opening of the homemade nine-hole golf course.
  • 1920: James “Jimmie” S. Young took over as Head Golf Professional in the spring.
  • 1921: In order to create a better governing organization for the club, ten men (Palmer M. Way, Robert C. Latimer, Ralph Carll, C. Howard Topham, Alexander McMurray, Edward Morton, William Hunt, W. Courtright Smith, Thomas S. Goslin and H. Foster Goslin) created “Wildwood Golf Club,” which featured two classes of membership: Active and Associate. Active membership was limited to ten seats, which voted on issues pertinent to the club. Associate members were unable to vote. The club operated this way until World War II.
  • 1921: That spring, Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek designed and built a new eighteen-hole golf course.
  • 1921: On December 2nd, the Philadelphia Section PGA was formed. Vin O’Donnell, Wildwood Golf & CC’s first Professional, was instrumental in its formation and became its first Secretary.
  • 1922: On July 1st at 2:00pm, the brand new eighteen-hole golf course officially opened for play. The first foursome to tee off consisted of J. Wood Platt, his brother Zimmie, George Hoffner, and Maurice Talman.
  • 1923 July 21st: On July 21st, WG&CC celebrated the Grand Opening of the new permanent club house, while Walter Hagen and Joe Kirkwood played in an exhibition match. That summer, Raymond H. Topham became the first Men’s Club Champion and Mabel Hunt became the first Women’s Champion.
  • 1924 Spring:Thomas B. Wootton won the first “Eastern States Inaugural Tournament.” It is now known simply as “The Heil.”
  • 1926: Harry “Pop” Avery became Head Golf Professional.
  • 1928: Clarence “Spike” D. Fisher won his first club championship, beginning a streak of seven consecutive titles. Mr. Fisher eventually became the WG&CC Club Champion a total of 12 times over six decades, with his last taking place in 1970.
  • 1934: Willard Goeckler wins the first William H. Bright Memorial Tournament.
  • 1935: Over Labor Day weekend, the first Wildwood Open consisted of a strong field of professionals, won by George B. Smith who shot 71-69-73-74=287.
  • 1936: In April, the second Wildwood Open was won by Ray Mangrum. After a 46-hole day, Mangrum shot 71-72-73-78=294, beating Leonard Dodson in a 10-hole play-off as darkness fell.
  • 1941: WG&CC adopted a new governing structure, featuring a twenty-member Board of Trustees; twelve seats were permanent and eight seats were elected every two years. This arrangement remained in effect until 2012.
  • 1944: Al Besselink, who later became a successful Tour Player, won the William H. Bright Memorial Trophy.
  • 1951: Arnold Palmer, a member of the Coast Guard stationed in Cape May, made several appearances throughout the summer to play and practice at WG&CC.
  • 1952: The construction of the Garden State Parkway began, causing four of the course’s original holes to be reconfigured.
  • 1953: WG&CC’s long serving Golf Professional, Harry “Pop” Avery, retired.
  • 1964: “Pop” Avery’s successor, Ed DeBaufre, passed away in an auto accident.
  • 1965: Ronnie Ward, Legendary Club Professional, was appointed as WG&CC’s Head Golf Professional.
  • 1966: Leslie Norbury won the first of his seven Club Championships.
  • 1968: Marty Furgol became WG&CC’s Teaching Professional. A member of the PGA Tour since 1947, Furgol won twice in 1951 (Houston and Western Opens) and made the 1955 Ryder Cup Team. He won five times on Tour and finished second six times. In over fifteen years on tour, Furgol finished 10th or better in 107 tournaments and finished tied for second in the 1970 U.S. Senior Open.
  • 1971: After starting as a bag boy at WG&CC just two years prior, Bob Keating became Assistant Pro under Ronnie Ward.
  • 1981: Terry Smick, southpaw, won the first of his Club Championships in the summer.
  • 1985: Billy Clement became the first Junior Member to win the Men’s Club Championship.
  • 1986: Terry Smick won the first of his ten consecutive Club Championships.
  • 1991: Bob Keating became General Manager.
  • 1991: That summer, Jeannie Grieshaber won the first of her six consecutive Women’s Club Championships.
  • 1993: Beloved Club Professional, Sam Duncan, passed away from a stroke in the fall.
  • 1995: Two “new holes” were built, which are currently the 11th & 12th holes.
  • 1999: That summer, Terry Smick won his 15th Club Championship. He was Champion for 15 of 19 years.
  • 1999: During the spring, the “new holes” were re-done, and the driving range and practice areas were completed.
  • 2000: Janet LaMonica won her first of five consecutive Women’s Club Championships.
  • 2002: Terry Smick became Assistant Professional.
  • 2004: That fall, Fred Riedel returned to WG&CC as Club Professional.
  • 2008: L.J. Georgetti won the Men’s Club Championship at age 15.
  • 2010: In the spring, John Appleget joined the Professional Staff as Teaching Pro.
  • 2010:Meghna Patel, age 13, became the first Junior Member to win the Women’s Club Championship. Alex Hicks won the Men’s Club Championship at age 17.
  • 2012: For the first time in over seventy years, the structure of the Board of Trustees changed from 20 Trustees (12 permanent & 8 elected) to a fully elected Board of seven Trustees.
  • 2012: Beloved General Manager, Bob Keating, retired after 43 years of service to Wildwood Golf & Country Club.
  • 2012: Doug Larson became Greens Superintendent, returning to WG&CC where he had grown up as a Member and was Assistant Superintendent in the early 1990s. Immediately upon Doug’s return that fall, he was greeted with Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the Jersey Shore.
  • 2016: WG&CC held a Centennial Gala on August 20 to commemorate its first 100 years.
  • 2016: Briget Pyott won the Women’s Club Tournament at age 17. Phil Heckler won 3rd consecutive Members’ President’s Cup.
The following are Members who have won the Club Championship & President’s Cup in the same year:

  • 1973 – William Moore
  • 1974 – D. Newt Yearick
  • 1977 – David Shevlin
  • 1985 – Kay Wade
  • 1991 – Terry Smick
  • 1998 – Kay Wade
  • 1999 – Terry Smick
  • 2005 – Keith Cope
  • 2007 – Francey Burke
  • 2011 – Jim Ridgway
  • 2016 – Jean Paddison
Many thanks to Robert Scully, Curator of the Wildwood Historical Society, Peter Trenham of the Philadelphia Section PGA , Joseph Bausch and many of out past and present members for their assistance in obtaining the above information.