World Golf Hall of Fame

The when, where, who and how of golf's Hall of Fame

World Golf Hall of Fame
An overhead view of the World Golf Hall of Fame compound on the evening of one of its induction ceremonies. Marc Serota/Getty Images for the World Golf Hall of Fame

The World Golf Hall of Fame tells the story of golf by honoring the best golfers in our sport's history, as well as other important contributors to the game.

The Hall of Fame is part of World Golf Village, located in Florida, and is a non-profit that is managed by the World Golf Foundation (in fact, the WGF was founded in order to facilitate the Hall of Fame, although it has grown to include other initiatives such as The First Tee).

WGHOF Contact Info

Who Is Enshrined In the World Golf Hall of Fame?

The Hall elects and inducts golfers (men and women, amateur and professional) as well as individuals whose contributions to the game were primarily non-playing - architects, promoters, administrators, writers and such. See who's in the Hall:

What You'll See If You Visit the WGHOF

The World Golf Hall of Fame Museum tells the story not only of those individuals who are enshrined in the Hall, but also of the development of golf. The museum includes both permanent exhibits and rotating special exhibits.

Visitors get to know each of the members through his or her "locker," which includes information about and, often, memorabilia donated by, the member.

Many "lockers" include audio and video of the member.

The museum is full of important memorabilia and historical artifacts, from ancient golf clubs to replicas of the game's most important trophies and a replica of the Swilcan Bridge, to changing styles of dress and shoes and other evolving equipment technologies.

In addition to the museum and the history it contains, there is also an 18-hole putting course (which you can try using old hickory-shafted putters), a gift shop, a cafe and an IMAX Theater.

The World Golf Hall of Fame is part of World Golf Village, which also includes two 18-hole golf courses.

Admission fees apply; check the Hall's website for a rundown on the entrance costs.

When Did the World Golf Hall of Fame Open?

The complex that now houses the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla., opened in 1998, but there are a couple antecedents.

In 1951, the just-formed LPGA established a hall of fame for women's golf that eventually was named the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame.

And in 1974, the owners of Pinehurst Resort established a World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst, North Carolina. This version of the Hall was taken over by the PGA of America in the 1980s.

In 1994, PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman conceived of a separate hall of fame for the PGA Tour, but quickly expanded his thinking to involve other tours and organizations. Beman's idea started discussions that led to the creation of the industrywide-supported World Golf Foundation to (among other purposes) oversee a new World Golf Hall of Fame.

Construction began at the current location in 1996, and the current World Golf Hall of Fame opened on May 19, 1998. The Pinehurst hall and the LPGA Tour's hall were folded into the new World Golf Hall of Fame, and golfers who had already been elected by those previous halls were grandfathered into the new one.

Membership Categories & Requirements

There are four categories of membership in the World Golf Hall of Fame, meaning there are four different ways a golfer or golf contributor can become a member:

  • Male Competitors: Male golfers are eligible for consideration if they have a combined 15 tour wins among the PGA Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and PGA of Australasia; or they have at least two wins in majors or The Players Championship. They must be 50 or older for election (prior to 2016 the minimum age was 40).
  • Female Competitors: Female golfers are eligible with at least 15 wins among the tours that award full world ranking points or at least two wins in major championships. They must be 50 or older for election.
  • Veterans Category: Golfers whose careers took place primarily before 1975 are eligible for consideration.
  • Lifetime Achievement Category: Contributors to golf outside of players (administrators, architects, journalists, etc.)

A sub-committee examines the eligible golfers and nominated veterans and non-playing contributors, and whittles the lists down to the top nominees. A selection commission then decides which individuals gain induction.

See our FAQ on the World Golf Hall of Fame criteria for a full explanation of the membership category requirements and election process.

Elections/Inductions

New members of the World Golf Hall of Fame are inducted in a ceremony that takes place in the calendar year after their election. For example, a golfer elected in the voting that takes place in 2016 is inducted in a ceremony in 2016.

Prior to 2014, elections and inductions were annual. From 2014 forward, elections and inductions take place every other year.

The induction ceremony used to always take place at the Hall itself (or in a facility nearby). Beginning in 2015 the induction ceremony rotates among important locations (and is held in conjunction with major tournaments) around the world. The first site outside the United States was St. Andrews, Scotland, the week of the 2015 British Open.