Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2018
By Mike Dudurich • May 29, 2018
Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.
The West Penn Golf Association’s Hall of Fame Committee proudly announces the selection of four outstanding individuals as the Class of 2018 for induction into the Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame.
Missie Berteotti, Henry C. Fownes, Emil Loeffler and Rocco Mediate are this year’s honorees as the Hall of Fame continues its mission of celebrating the game’s history in Western Pennsylvania by honoring those who have made an impact on the game, on and off the golf course.
Berteotti started playing golf at the age of 10 at Valley Brook Country Club and became hooked to the point that, even at such a young age, she knew her future was going to involve the game of golf.
She won three straight Women’s Golf Association of Western Pennsylvania titles, won back-to-back Pennsylvania State Championships in 1980-81 and reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur in 1984.
Berteotti had a successful career at the University of Miami, including earning medalist honors at the NCAA Championships.
She played 14 years on the LPGA Tour, getting her tour card on her first attempt in 1986. Her lone victory on the LPGA Tour came in 1993, winning the Ping Welch’s Classic in Boston. Over the course her career, she earned over $1 million and posted top 10 finishes in all four majors.
Berteotti segued nicely from tour professional to another of her passions: teaching. She stopped playing professionally when her son, Sam, was born. She turned her attention not only to teaching but to teaching children.
She wrote a book, “The Mental Mastery Program,” has conducted individual and group lessons, played corporate golf and pro-ams. She continues to be driven by her desire to teach mentor and develop the mindsets of young golfers.
It was the desire of Henry C. Fownes to create a golf course that could handle the new technology of the day, the demise of the gutta-percha ball and the introduction of the Haskell ball. He built his course to 6,400 yards, longer than most courses of his day.
He was in his early 40s and one of the best golfers in Pittsburgh at the time when he decided to build a more difficult course than he was used to playing.
That course would go on to become one of the most famous in the world, Oakmont Country Club. Perched on some farmland high above the Allegheny River, Fownes led a crew of men, horses, mules and scrapers that began construction on Sept. 15, 1903. Play began Oct. 1, 1904.
Oakmont’s original design featured eight par-5s, one par 6 and played to a par of 80.
It was Fownes’ first and only course design.
Oakmont’s founder and architect became the club’s first president from 1903-35. Fownes played in four U.S. Amateurs, reaching the fourth round in 1903. He won the WPGA’s Father & Son Championships with his son, W.C. Fownes.
Loeffler is another 2018 inductee with strong economic Oakmont CC ties.
He was born in 1895 in the town of Oakmont and his game progressed to the point that he had two top-10 finishes in major championships and won four other times. Loeffler qualified for six U.S. Opens.
Loeffler went from caddie at Oakmont at age to caddiemaster and then to course superintendent, a post he held until 1948. He was part of a modification process on the course and was responsible for Oakmont’s demanding playing conditions in the Fownes era, including the famed furrowed bunkers.
When head pro Charley Rowe died at 1927, Loeffler took that position and held it until 1947. Loeffler was reportedly the highest paid professional when he relinquished that position.
He won the 1920 West Penn Open and was runner-up three other times in the 1920s. Loeffler also won a pair of Pennsylvania Opens in 1920 and 1922.
His outstanding career was rounded out by the nearly 20 area golf courses on which he served as architect. That list included Alcoma, Beaver Valley, Brackenridge Heights, Churchill Valley, Hannastown, Hill Crest, Nemacolin, St. Jude and Williams.
Mediate, who grew up in Greensburg, was late coming to the game of golf. He primarily played baseball but started getting into golf in high school. He earned a scholarship to Florida Southern and teamed with Lee Janzen to produce an NCAA power.
He overcome the late start and several instances of back issues to win six times on the PGA Tour and three times on the Champions Tour. He qualified for the PGA Tour in 1985 and in 1991 became the first player to win on the PGA Tour while using a long putter.
Mediate’s most memorable experience as a professional came at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open. When he finished his final round, he led by a shot over Tiger Woods. But Woods made a 20-foot birdie putt to force a Monday playoff.
The two were tied after 18 holes and Woods won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
The induction ceremony will take place at Oakmont Country Club as part of the annual Champions Dinner in the fall. Time and date of that dinner will be announced at a later time.
About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.