Top Of The World
From a childhood spent on Savannah’s golf courses, Hollis Stacy rose to four championship wins and a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame
In every city and town in America at this time of year, there are crowds of people applauding the Class of 2012. But in one arena in St. Augustine, Florida, there were no students, only masters. The World Golf Hall of Fame held its 2012 induction ceremony in May, and among the legends in the industry, including four-time major winner Phil Mickelson, was Savannah’s own Hollis Stacy.
Like Mickelson, Stacy has won four major titles in her remarkable 26-year career in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). But being a professional golfer was not something she dreamed of when she first picked up a club at the age of ten. She had simply caught “the bug.”
“Savannah has always had great golf courses, as well as Hilton Head across the river,” Stacy says. “My brothers Tommy and John played golf a lot, and I could see they were having a ball, so I just kind of tagged along. I fell in love with it right from the start.”
The game presented Stacy with the best of both worlds—she could enjoy the solitude of honing her skills on her own or join her brothers for some strong but friendly competition.
“I loved every aspect of it,” Stacy recalls. “And the people of Savannah always showed me a tremendous amount of love when I was playing. I always felt appreciated.”
By her teenage years, it was clear that Savannah had much to cheer about. Stacy entered and won the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship tournament three years in a row. Her record of consecutive wins for this event has yet to be broken.
Stacy joined the LPGA in 1974 and went on to score several victories, including four major championships: the U.S. Women's Open championships in 1977, 1978 and 1984, and the 1983 du Maurier Classic.
“Wherever you’re playing, the pressure is the same,” Stacy says. “You know, just making a putt...I felt the same pressure making a putt in the Open as I did in the Juniors.”
“That’s the beauty of golf,” Stacy continues. “It doesn’t matter what playing bracket you’re in or what handicap you are, you always feel the same pressure to hit the ball well, and you feel the same satisfaction when you do.”
Stacy played regularly on the LPGA Tour until 2000, and then joined the Women’s Senior Golf Tour. In November 2011, she was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, one of five people in the Hall’s Class of 2012.
Though she doesn’t live in Savannah, Stacy visits her family here often, and the town’s sights and smells are never far from her mind.
“I have to tell you, wherever I go I always think of two things,” Stacy says with a laugh. “The shrimp salad sandwich at Papa’s and the chicken sandwich at Johnny Harris.”
She would even like the LPGA to come to Savannah, noting that the tour now has a global audience. Stacy wants that audience to know about the Coastal Empire.
“Savannah would be a perfect fit, and I want to come back and talk to the powers-that-be about that,” Stacy says. “I’m always thinking of my hometown.”
Fit And Flexible In Your Fifties
“I’m 58 years old, and I’ve been playing golf since I was ten,” Hollis Stacy says. “There’s not one joint that’s not affected for a golfer.”
Though she has adjusted her game to her age, Stacy still holds high expectations of herself on the golf course, and that discipline is reflected in her exercise and diet routine.
“Stretching is very important for me now,” Stacy says. “I need to stretch my shoulders, arms, and especially my hips. The power in my swing is generated by the hip turn going through the ball.”
“I don’t play as much, but I still walk a lot and exercise three times a week,” Stacy says. “I try to stay as flexible as possible.”
“I also try not to eat too many bad things,” Stacy says, laughing. “Though it’s impossible to never eat anything bad. I am from Savannah after all.”
Top photo courtesy of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Bottom photo courtesy of the World Golf Hall of Fame.