Golfers who served during the war


After the 1942 Masters competition ceased for the duration of the war and Augusta National was turned over for raising cattle. They wandered the fairways and destroyed the azalea and camelia bushes. Bobby Jones enlisted and became a captain  in the Army Air Service. In 1944 he came to Europe and took an active part in the D-Daylandings in Normandy. He was by then Lieutenant Colonel and went out with the invasion force.

Other golfers who actively served were Ben Hogan, who was a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, Sam Snead in the navy and Lloyd Mangrum, who had a course record in the 1940 Masters. He won two purple hearts for active combat in the war. Byron Nelson, who was exempt on health grounds, took part with Patty Berg and Babe Zaharias in Bob Hope and Bing Crosby’s 6 week tour of the United States raising money for the war effort.

Over here Sir Henry Cotton was an officer in the Royal Air Force, and spent time off duty performing exhibition matches to raise funds for the British Red Cross.

Burhill Golf Club was requisitioned by the Ministry of Aircraft and a member of my family worked alongside scientist Barnes Wallis who was developing the “bouncing bomb” there. Up at Turnberry, the fairways bunkers and greens had been flattened to turn into RAF Turnberry. The hotel became a naval hospital. the coastline around the course was used by pilots to try out the low flying bombing technique. The Torpedo Training Unit were based around what is now the fifth hole. If you visit Trump Turnberry, look out for the memorial by the 12th green.

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