ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — For more than six years I worked at the World Golf Hall of Fame. I was there on opening day — May 19, 1998 — and was the last person to walk out on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, when the Hall closed for good at 1 World Golf Place.
After 25 years, the World Golf Hall is shutting down at World Golf Village and relocating to Pinehurst, North Carolina, where it was originally born in 1974.
I hadn’t been inside since before COVID-19, so I wanted to make one last trip. Admission was free and the place was hopping late Friday afternoon. I forgot how much of a treasure trove of golf memorabilia was housed there. One of my former colleagues, who joined me for “last call,” compared it to the end scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” where all the trinkets from the Hall of Famers will end up boxed in a warehouse somewhere as the new facility is expected to be about one-tenth the size at approximately 3,500 square feet of exhibit space. One of the Hall’s employees — “I’m officially unemployed five minutes ago,” he said in a moment of gallows humor —noted that some staff from the USGA would be visiting soon to determine what items they want for the Pinehurst location. The rest will be returned to the members and their families.
Check out the photos of some of the exhibits — from a replica of Alan Shepard’s makeshift 6-iron used to hit a ball on the moon to Sam Snead’s lunchbox and Lloyd Mangrum’s Purple Heart — to the bronze plaques (some are better than others).