California golf loses a friend

April 16, 2009

Bob Hanna began his love affair with golf as a caddie at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., where he caddied for Walter Hagen, among others. He also met the acquaintance of Robert Trent Jones, who also caddied there.

In the early '60s, Hanna he convinced Samuel Morse, founder and chairman of Del Monte Properties Corp., to build another golf course in Pebble Beach. Jones was brought on board to design what became Spyglass Hill. Hanna, who was the executive director of the Northern California Golf Association from 1955 to 1981, also was instrumental in getting Poppy Hills Golf Club built, for which he employed Jones' son, Robert Trent Jones II.

"He was one of the most influential people in the game of golf," Ron Read, West Region director of the USGA told the Monterey Herald. "In my mind, he ranks with people like (former longtime USGA executive director and former PGA Tour commissioner) Joe Dey. Bob was the Joe Dey of regional golf. He was known and respected by everyone in the game of golf across the globe."

Hanna, 92, died on Sunday in Monterey.

UPDATE: Golf Digest's Mark Soltau sent this along, from Read: "Bob was also a fine player and once made seven-straight 3s at Pebble Beach from the seventh through 13th holes. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz commemorated the round by drawing Charlie Brown on the scorecard with a golf ball circling the card, with the inscription: 'Boy, can that Hanna putt. Signed: Charlie.'"

-- John Strege