Illinois PGA Hall of Fame member Dick Hart passed away recently in Covington, LA at the age of 78. Dick was a member of the PGA and was the head golf professional at Hinsdale Golf Club. For 43 years, Hart worked at Hinsdale Golf Club, which is one only 15 golf clubs in the Chicago area that were started in the 1890s and still exist today. In addition to Hinsdale, the other clubs are Chicago Golf Club, Elgin, Evanston, Exmoor, Geneva, Glen View, Homewood (now Flossmoor), Jackson Park, LaGrange, Lake Zurich, Midlothian, Onwentsia, Riverside and Skokie.
The winner of the 1965 Azalea Open, Dick Hart defeated Phil Rodgers in one of the longest playoff victories in PGA TOUR history. Hart won with a par on the eighth playoff hole.
At the 1963 PGA Championship at the Blue Course of the Dallas Athletic Club in Dallas, Texas, Hart led after both 18 and 36 holes but faded in the third and fourth rounds to finish the tournament at T-17 — his best finish in a major championship. He set the record that year for low 36-hole total in the PGA Championship, which stood until Paul Azinger broke it in 1988.
Jack Nicklaus won the first of his five PGA Championship titles in 1963, overcoming an intense heat wave in which temperatures reached over 100 degrees. At the trophy presentation, Nicklaus grasped the very hot Wanamaker Trophy with the aid of a towel.
Dick Hart was a PGA Club Pro Series champion, winning the Illinois Open and the Illinois PGA Championship three times each, and the Illinois Match Play twice. Inducted into the Illinois PGA Hall of Fame in 1990, Hart spent his final years living in Abita Springs, Louisiana near his grandchildren.