Gene “ The Squire” Sarazen: A Florida Golfer
"I'm just a fellow who's been playing golf as well as he could for as long as he could and still loves the game." – Gene Sarazen, “Champion’s Story” What Gene “The Squire” Sarazen brought to the game of golf is immeasurable, and the legacy that he left behind remains immortalized to this day - Eugenio Saraceni (1902-1999).
An Illustrious Career
81 years ago at the 1935 Masters, Gene Sarazen made what is known as the “shot heard ‘round the world.” It was that shot that landed him his only Masters title, and is one of the most famous shots in the history of the game.
He was also the first golfer, and only one of five, ever to win the career grand slam: PGA Championship, U.S. Open, Masters and British Open. Throughout his career, his major PGA tour wins include: 1922 U.S. Open & PGA Championship, 1923 PGA Championship, 1932 U.S. Open & British Open and the 1933 PGA Championship.
Because of Mr. Sarazen…
Sand traps are not quite as arduous anymore. Arguably, one of the most well known achievements of Gene Sarazen’s was his invention of the modern sand wedge, with steel shaft—an idea that developed (along with his skills) from a little sand trap at the Jasmin Point Golf Course in New Port Richey, FL. He managed the course and considered New Port Richey to be his winter home. Later he wrote, the “New Port Richey course wasn't a very good one, but it did have one excellent trap, right behind my house.”
The Gene In Generous
The Gene and Mary Sarazen Foundation provides contributions to hospice facilities, Boys & Girls Scouts, SW Florida Golf Charities, Wishing Well and more. The foundation offers several different scholarships, as well. "In May, 1978, Gene received the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa from Siena College in Loudonvile, New York. The Gene and Mary Sarazen Scholarship Fund was later instituted at the suggestion of many of Gene’s close friends, business associates and admirers who wanted a way of expressing their esteem for his high personal, athletic, and intellectual ideals.” - Herb Warren
The Legacy He Left
Sam "The Slammer" Snead and Gene "The Squire" Sarazen are the eponyms after which the Slammer & Squire course at World Golf Village is named. The golf legends worked with architect Bobby Weed to design the excellent golf course. Florida First Coast of Golf is proud to be home to one of the famous courses that Mr. Sarazen helped create.
Gene Sarazen is esteemed by golf fans as one of the best players to ever grace the game. Those that knew or followed him admired the level of professionalism, innovation and charisma that he brought to the sport. He helped make golf the beloved game that it is today.