How New Members are Elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame

World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony
The stage is lit and crowd assembled for the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2009. Marc Serota/Getty Images for the World Golf Hall of Fame

So what does a person have to do to gain induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame? What are the criteria, the requirements, for gaining consideration? And what are the categories in which a golfer or other person involved in the golf industry can earn membership?

Let's take a look at the Hall's membership categories, its nomination criteria and how new members are selected.

WGHOF Membership Categories and Eligibility Requirements

The World Golf Hall of Fame has four categories through which a person can be nominated or elected:

  • Veterans Category: Amateur and professional golfers whose careers took place primarily before 1975 are eligible. There is no minimum win total; the individual must be nominated by a member of the Selection Sub-Committee.

  • Lifetime Achievement Category: Anyone who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to golf in ways other than as a player (for example, administration, media, course design, equipment innovation, etc.) is eligible. The individual must be nominated by a member of the Selection Sub-Committee.

    Voting by the Selection Sub-Committee

    Once a player's or individual's eligibility is affirmed, how does that person get elected? The first step is with the Selection Sub-Committee, a 20-person committee consisting of:

    • 7 "institutional seats" - representatives from the World Golf Foundation Board organizations (PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, PGA of America, USGA, R&A, The Masters).
    • 13 at-large seats - this includes six World Golf Hall of Fame members, plus two representatives of the International Federation of PGA Tours, three media members and two other at-large individuals.

    The Selection Sub-Committee meets to review the list of golfers who meet the eligibility requirements of the Male and Female competitor categories; and to review any nominees in the Veterans and Lifetime Achievement categories. All living Hall of Fame members are surveyed for their recommendations, and the committee views the results of that balloting.

    (An eligible golfer who fails to receive a vote from any sub-committee members two years running is removed from future consideration.)

    After its review, the Selection Sub-Committee selects five finalists in both the Male and Female competitor categories, plus three finalists in both the Veterans and Lifetime Achievement categories.

    Those finalists are passed on to the ...

    Selection Commission

    The Selection Commission is a 16-person committee consisting of:

    • 4 co-chairs - these are World Golf Hall of Fame members, and they serve in 2-year terms.
    • 9 "institutional seats" - these are split among the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors (the chiefs of the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, USGA, R&A, PGA of America and The Masters) and two media members (the leaders of the international Association of Golf Writers and the Golf Writers Association of America).

    • 3 at-large seats - individuals, including International Federation of PGA Tours representatives, serving 2-year terms.

    The 16 members of the Selection Commission receive the sub-committee's lists of finalists in each category, and vote on each finalist.

    A finalist must receive approval from 75-percent of the Selection Commission (at least 12 of the 16 members) to win induction.

    A maximum of two people can be inducted from any given category in the same year; and a maximum of five overall can be inducted in any given year.

    The induction process takes place every other year.