Rookie Year: 1946
Shirley Spork was always a player with a keen eye for golf swing technique, leading her to become one of six inaugural members of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals’ (T&CP) Hall of Fame. Spork graduated from Eastern Michigan University, where she won the first-ever National Collegiate Championship in 1947, which was the equivalent of today’s NCAA Championship. A teacher at heart, she was the Western educational director for the National Golf Foundation (NGF) for seven years and taught golf in the early 1950s at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Typical at that time, she spent the summer months competing on the LPGA Tour and the winter months teaching golf in the California desert.
In 1959, Spork helped found the LPGA’s teaching division along with Marilynn Smith, Betty Hicks and Barbara Rotvig. The Michigan native was twice named LPGA National Teacher of the Year (1959 and 1984). She also served as the LPGA’s T&CP chairperson for eight years. But Spork could also hit the shots, finishing among the top 10 on the LPGA’s money list in 1950, placing second in the 1962 LPGA Championship and fourth in the Carling Eastern Open that year. Widely considered the LPGA’s resident “trick-shot artist,” Spork would please crowds with golf shots on command and entertain fans in clinics wherever the tour traveled.