Harold "Jug" McSpaden
Harold “Jug” McSpaden
Born: Monticello, Kansas Died June 1996
The late Harold “Jug” McSpaden was one of the world’s best golfers in the 1930s and 1940s, and enjoyed a long and successful career in the golf industry.
Born in Monticello, Kan., he was a club professional, professional golfer, and later a golf course architect. He became interested in golf at a young age, began working as a caddie, then received his PGA Membership as an 18-year-old in 1926. He competed in the first Masters in 1934, and in many events was partnered with PGA legend Byron Nelson, who holds the record for most PGA wins in a season.
McSpaden also set a record of his own in that same 1945 season: finishing 31 times within the top 10, which still stands as the best mark to date. Of those 31, top-10 finishes, he was runner-up 13 times. McSpaden also captured 12, top-10 finishes at major championships throughout his career (the Masters, U.S. Open, and PGA Championship). He finished runner-up in the PGA Championship in 1937 and had his best Masters finish in 1947 when he tied for fourth.
With 17 career PGA wins, McSpaden was best known for his legendary battles with Nelson. But the two were good friends, partnering up to make 110 exhibition fundraising appearances for the Red Cross and USO between 1942 and 1944.
McSpaden also became the first pro golfer to shoot 59 on a par 71 course (1939) and becoming the oldest golfer in PGA history to shoot lower than his age in a Champions Tour event when he shot an 81 at 85 years old. He would compete in the Senior PGA Championship until age 85.
After his playing career, he took up golf course architecture, became vice president of a sportswear company (the Palm Beach Company), and served as club pro at the Winchester Country Club in New York.
He was the course architect for the Dub’s Dread Golf Club in Kansas City, Kan., which once held the title in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest golf course at over 8,000 yards.
McSpaden was elected to the PGA Hall of Fame and Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 1991. He passed away in June 1996 in Kansas City.
Photo Courtesy of Dub’s Dread Golf Club