Hardin-Simmons hosts dedication ceremony for Tommy Hale Short Game Facility

September 13, 2019 Macee Hall, Staff Writer

(ABILENE, Texas)–On Sept. 12, Hardin-Simmons University hosted a dedication for the newly constructed Tommy Hale Short Game Facility. Named after HSU golf legend Tommy Hale, the facility includes a putting green, chipping green, fairway, and two sand bunkers. It provides a place for the Hardin-Simmons golf team, along with other students, faculty, staff, and alumni to hone their chipping and putting skills.

From left to right: Jackie Clark, Tommy Hale, Coach Bill Ledbetter, Joe Black, and Arlyn Scott in 1953
From left to right: Jackie Clark, Tommy Hale, Coach Bill Ledbetter, Joe Black, and Arlyn Scott in 1953

HSU ex Dr. Joe Black and his wife Susan provided the funds to name the center and chose to memorialize Black’s friend and teammate, Tommy Hale. Hale played on HSU’s golf team from 1952 to 1955 and is the only individual national champion HSU golf has had to date.

In 1952, Hale won medalist honors in the Border Conference tournament. The same year, he won second at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Tournament. The following year, Hale played on the NAIA National Championship team and took home the Individual title. In 1954, Hale led HSU’s team to rank second in the nation. His senior year, Hale led HSU once again to a second-place national finish.

Hardin-Simmons head golf coach Bart Craig began the dedication with a prayer before President Bruntmyer offered a welcome to those present, including the Hale family, the Black family, and several HSU Academic Hall of Fame members. Athletic director John Neese then offered a brief history on the life of Tommy Hale before welcoming Tommy Hale’s son, Emil Hale, to the podium.

A map of the new golf facility
A map of the new golf facility

Hale emphasized the love his father held for people and for sharing his love of golf with the people around him. Hale also commended all those involved in the construction of the center. “All great things don’t just happen like that,” he said with a snap of his fingers. “It takes lots of great people and a great vision. I am honored to not only come meet the team and to get acquainted, but to open up this facility to greatness for generations to come.”

Mike Hammack, HSU’s vice president for advancement, then recognized and thanked all donors before Black stood to describe his overwhelming joy about opening his company’s 76th golf facility. Black feels especially close to this project, as it bears the name of his long-term friend.

Tommy Hale swings his golf club in 1952.
Tommy Hale swings his golf club in 1952.

“Tommy Hale and I came here in 1951,” Black said. “We bonded with our team. You can’t do what we did in such a short amount of time without your team pulling for each other and supporting each other.”

Black continued, “He [Tommy] was a gentle man, but he was also one of the best competitors I’ve ever seen.”

President Bruntmyer then offered a few closing remarks, and Dr. George Newman gave a benediction and closing prayer. Attendees then entered the facility’s gates as Emil Hale hit the first ball on the brand-new putting green.

HSU would like to thank all who aided in the construction of the Tommy Hale Short Game Center.

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