29th Georgia Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
MARIETTA, Ga. - The Georgia State Golf Association honors the 2018 inductees into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame:
Stephen Hamblin, Alpharetta, Ga., is the longtime executive director of the American Junior Golf Association and has dedicated more than three decades to the overall growth and development of junior golf;
Martha Stacy Leach, Hebron, Ky., is a USGA national champion and former University of Georgia standout who has competed at the highest level from junior golf through the present;
Sonny Skinner, Sylvester, Ga., is a PGA Teaching Professional and has enjoyed a successful career on the state and national competitive circuits;
Wright Waddell, Columbus, Ga., is a lifelong amateur golfer winning on nearly every level and has devoted many years to giving back to the game
The Georgia Golf Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Ceremony will take place on Saturday, January 20, 2018, at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek.
The Atlanta Athletic Club holds a long and storied place in the history of golf in the state of Georgia, as the home club of the greatest amateur golfer of them all, Bobby Jones, along with no less than 14 other members of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. The club hosted its third PGA Championship in 2011, and most recently hosted the U.S. Amateur Championship, its sixth USGA national championship, in 2014.
Dave Ballard, chairman of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame Committee, said, "The Hall of Fame Committee of volunteers devoted time and resources to thoroughly vetting the nominations for the Hall of Fame, and we are thrilled to announce the Class of 2018 who will be inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. I appreciate all the committee members in selecting this terrific class and we look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of these worthy individuals."
Biographical information on the four inductees:
Stephen Hamblin, Alpharetta, Ga.
Stephen Hamblin of Alpharetta, Ga., is the longtime executive director of the American Junior Golf Association and has dedicated more than three decades to the overall growth and development of junior golf.
Born in Michigan in 1955, Hamblin attended Michigan State University and earned a degree in Landscape Architecture in 1980. He served as the resident golf professional at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla., from 1980 to 1983.
Hamblin then moved to Georgia to join the American Junior Golf Association - the nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. He has served as the executive director since 1984.
Under his guidance, the association has grown from 17 tournaments and 1,500 members in 1984 to more than 100 tournaments and more than 6,500 members today. One of the many milestone achievements of his tenure was the implementation of the ACE Grant, which provides financial assistance to young men and women through college scholarships.
Due to his leadership and the ability of his staff, Hamblin's former staff can be seen throughout the golf industry. Each year the AJGA helps nearly 90 interns launch their careers through administering events nationwide or working at national headquarters located in Braselton, Ga.
Hamblin serves on the executive committee of Golf 20/20, the World Golf Foundation initiative to grow the game.
Hamblin currently resides in Alpharetta, Ga., with his wife, Carol, and has four daughters and one son. Away from promoting junior golf on a worldwide scale, Hamblin is an avid fly fisherman.
Martha Stacy Leach, Hebron, Ky.
Martha Leach of Hebron, Ky., is a USGA national champion and former University of Georgia standout, who has competed at the highest level from junior golf through the present.
Born in Savannah, Ga., in 1962, Leach attended St. Vincent's Academy. As a junior golfer, she earned First Team All-American honors on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and competed in numerous events on the Georgia State Golf Association circuit, winning the 1978 Georgia Girls' Championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship that same year.
Leach attended and played golf at the University of Georgia and earned a letter in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983. In her senior season, she helped her team win the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship and finished third at the NCAA Championship in 1983. She earned All-SEC Conference recognition that year as well.
In 1991, Leach began an impressive run of success on the national circuit beginning with the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, where she advanced to the semifinals. She would go on to qualify for and compete in three other U.S. Women's Amateurs in 1995, 1996 and 2014. She has qualified for 10 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championships (1992, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), winning the 2009 event at Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club in Ocala, Fla., over 2013 Georgia Golf Hall of Fame inductee and UGA teammate Laura Coble of Augusta, Ga.
Most recently as a senior golfer, Leach has qualified for the last three U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Championships (2016, 2015, 2014). Over the course of her amateur career, she has competed in more than 60 USGA championships.
Leach's sister, Hollis Stacy, was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 1991 and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. In 1985, the Stacy family was named the 'Golf Family of the Year' by the USGA.
Sonny Skinner, Sylvester, Ga.
Sonny Skinner of Sylvester, Ga., is a PGA Teaching Professional and has enjoyed a successful career on the state and national competitive circuits.
Born in Portsmouth, Va., in 1960, Skinner attended Worth County High School in Sylvester, Ga. He was a standout on the golf team and on the football field during his high school years. Skinner attended both Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga., (1978-80) and Shorter College in Rome, Ga., (1980-82), competing on the golf team at both and winning six collegiate events.
Skinner turned professional in 1982. He went to work as an assistant professional at Valdosta Country Club in 1982 and 1983, and then served as head professional at Pine Knoll Country Club from 1984 to 1989. He joined the PGA TOUR in 1990 and then began a successful professional playing career.
He won twice on the developmental circuit, including the 1993 Nike Shreveport Open and the 1994 Nike Dominion Open. In 2001, he won his first event on the Georgia Section of the PGA schedule at the Griffin Classic.
Skinner was the first player in the history of the PGA of America to earn both the PGA Professional Player of the Year (2008) and the Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year (2010, 2011, 2012). Skinner finished as low club professional at the 2011 Senior PGA Championship.
A winner of several competitions administered by the Georgia PGA Section, Skinner has received Georgia PGA Player of the Year and Georgia PGA Senior Player of the Year honors as well multiple times.
Currently, Skinner serves as a teaching professional at River Poine Golf Club in Albany, Ga.
Wright Waddell, Columbus, Ga.
Wright Waddell of Columbus, Ga., is a lifelong amateur golfer winning on nearly every level and has devoted many years to giving back to the game of golf.
Born in Columbus, Ga., in 1962, Waddell attended Hardaway High School and later the University of Georgia. He was a member of two Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship teams (1982, 1983), and competed in four NCAA Championships during his time in Athens. For his efforts, Waddell was an All-SEC selection three times, including an All-American selection in 1983. He served as team captain in 1984 before earning a degree in Finance.
Waddell is a four-time winner of the Southeastern Amateur Championship (1989, 1994, 1996, 2000), and earned runner-up honors four additional times. On the GSGA circuit, Waddell won the Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship twice (1990, 1999) and was a two-time runner-up in the Georgia Amateur Championship. Four times he won the Georgia Four-Ball Championship (1991, 1995, 2003, 2004) with partner Carter Mize of Columbus, Ga., who himself was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2015.
In national competition, Waddell has qualified for and competed in 15 USGA championships - seven U.S. Amateurs, seven U.S. Mid-Amateurs and one U.S. Junior Amateur. His best finish was an appearance in the semifinals of the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur when it was held in his home state at Sea Island Golf Club. He has won the club championship eight times at Green Island Country Club in Columbus and once at the Country Club of Columbus.
Away from the golf course, Waddell has given back to the game by serving on the Board of Directors of the First Tee of Columbus, American Cancer Society and the Columbus YMCA. His father-in-law, Gunby Jordan, was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 1994.
The Class of 2018 was selected by the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame Committee and approved by the GSGA Executive Committee. These four inductees will bring the total number of Georgia Golf Hall of Fame members to 115.
The Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, which came under the management of the Georgia State Golf Association in 2010, is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Georgia's golf traditions, heritage, achievements and excellence. For more information on the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, please visit www.gghof.org.