The 10 Famous Golfers in the 1920s

Golf has been around for centuries, and the 1920s were no exception. This decade saw some of the most talented and well-known golfers ever play the game. From Walter Hagen to Bobby Jones, the 1920s produced some of the most successful and iconic golfers in history.

If you’re a fan of golf or just interested in learning more about its history, then you won’t want to miss this article. We’ll take a closer look at some of the most famous golfers in the 1920s and find out what made them so successful.

10 Famous golfers in the 1920s

The 1920s were a golden age of golf when the sport was beginning to become a popular pastime with the rise of the middle class. The decade saw the emergence of some of the most famous golfers in history, who helped shape the game and the way it is played today.

Here are the top 10 most famous golfers in the 1920s:

Player NamePlaying Year
Bobby Jones1923 – 1930
Walter Hagen1916 – 1956
Gene Sarazen1920 – 1973
Jim Barnes1912 – 1931
Leo Diegel1921 – 1938
Jock Hutchison1907 – 1936
Jess Sweetser1920 – 1932
Cyril Tolley1911 – 1936
Ernest Holderness1940 – 1950
Johnny Farrell1927 – 1937

1. Bobby Jones

Bobby Jones
Full NameRobert Tyre Jones Jr.
Nick NameBobby Jones
Date of BirthMarch 17, 1902
DiedDecember 18, 1971
Place of BirthAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
ProfessionAmerican Professional Golf
NationalityUnited States
Relationship StatusMarried
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight165 lb (75 kg; 11.8 st)

He was dominant in the 1920s, winning numerous tournaments and setting records that still stand today.

What made Jones so special was his unique swing. He developed a “follow-through” swing that helped him gain incredible distance with each shot. This, combined with his natural talent and determination, made him virtually unbeatable.

He was five times (1924, 1925, 1927, 1923, and ), the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, and 1930), British Open three times (1926, 1927, and 1930; he was the first amateur to win), and British Amateur in 1930. In five Walker Cup tournaments between American and British amateur teams, he won 9 of 10 matches. In 1934 he helped start the annual Master’s Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

Bobby Jones’s achievement:

  • World Golf Hall of Fame    1974
  • James E. Sullivan Award    1930
  • Georgia Tech Athletic
  • Hall of Fame    1958
  • Georgia Tech Engineering
  • Hall of Fame    1997

2. Walter Hagen

Walter Hagen
Full NameWalter Charles Hagen
Nick NameSir Walter, The Haig
Date of BirthDecember 21, 1892
DiedOctober 6, 1969
Place of BirthRochester, New York
ProfessionAmerican Professional Golf
NationalityUnited States
Relationship StatusMarried
Height5 ft 10.5 in (1.79 m)
Weight185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)

Walter Hagen was one of the most colorful characters in golf history–and one of the best players. Nicknamed “Haig,” he was a master of matchplay, meaning he could beat an opponent by angering him.

A caddy since he was 9, Hagen won the first of his 11 major golf championships at age 21 – the 1914 US Open. He won that tournament again in 1919; British Open (Open Championship) in 1922, 1924, 1928, and 1929; and the US Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Championship in 1921 and 1924–27. He captained the US Ryder Cup teams in 1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, and 1937.

Walter Hagen’s achievement:

  • Masters Tournament T11: 1936
  • PGA Championship Won: 1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927
  • U.S. Open Won: 1914, 1919
  • The Open Championship Won: 1922, 1924, 1928, 1929
  • World Golf Hall of Fame    1974

3. Gene Sarazen

Gene Sarazen
Full NameEugenio Saraceni
Nick NameThe Squire
Date of BirthFebruary 27, 1902
DiedMay 13, 1999
Place of BirthHarrison, New York, U.S.
ProfessionAmerican Professional Golf
NationalityUnited States
Relationship StatusMarried
Height5 ft 5+1⁄2 in (166 cm)
Weight162 lb (73 kg; 11.6 st)

Gene Sarazen is considered one of golf’s Golden Age golfers. He was the first player to complete a career Grand Slam and is credited with inventing the modern sand wedge. He was also one of the most popular players of his time, appearing in numerous endorsements and advertising campaigns.

Sarazen started caddying when she was eight years old. He won the US Open in 1922 and 1932, as well as the British Open (Open Championship) in 1932. He won the Professional Golfers Association of America championship three times (1922, 1923, and 1933) and the Master’s tournament. In 1935. With that win at the Masters, he became the first player to achieve a career Grand Slam in golf. Sarajen also played on six consecutive Ryder Cup teams.

Gene Sarazen’s achievement:

  • Masters Tournament Won: 1935
  • PGA Championship Won: 1922, 1923, 1933
  • U.S. Open Won: 1922, 1932
  • The Open Championship Won: 1932
  • World Golf Hall of Fame: 1974
  • PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award: 1996
  • Bob Jones Award    1992
  • Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year: 1932

4. Jim Barnes

 Jim Barnes
Full NameJames Martin Barnes
Nick NameLong Jim
Date of BirthApril 8, 1886
DiedMay 24, 1966
Place of BirthLelant, Cornwall, England
ProfessionEnglish Professional Golf
Relationship StatusMarried
Height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)

Jim Barnes was one of the first golfers to really capitalize on his image and become a celebrity. He was known as “Long Jim” because he could hit the ball so far, and he was one of the first golfers to take advantage of that ability.

He was one of the first golfers to understand the importance of mental toughness. Burns once said, “Golf is 90% mental, 10% ability, and the other half physical.

Barnes was one of the most popular tournament winners in the first few seasons of the PGA Tour, which was also founded in 1916. He won a total of 22 times on the tour. He led the tournament in wins in four seasons: three in 1916, two in 1917 (shared with Mike Brady), five in 1919, and four in 1921.

He is also known for his bold play. He was never afraid to take tough shots, and he often came through in the clutch. He won four major championships during his career, including two US Opens and two PGA Championships.

Jim Burnes’s achievement:

  • Masters Tournament: NYF
  • PGA Championship Won: 1916, 1919
  • U.S. Open Won in 1921
  • The Open Championship Won: 1925
  • World Golf Hall of Fame    1989

5. Leo Diegel

Leo Diegel
Full Name
Leo Harvey Diegel
Nick NameEagle
Date of BirthApril 20, 1899
DiedMay 5, 1951
Place of BirthGratiot Township, Michigan
ProfessionAmerican Professional Golf
NationalityUnited States
Relationship StatusMarried
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight164 lb (74 kg; 11.7 st)

Although Diegel didn’t have the same success as some of the other golfers on this list, he was definitely a force to be reckoned with in the 1920s. Diegel was known for his unique playing style—he used a grip that was different from the standard grip, and he would often play left-handed (even though he was right-handed).

Some people think that Diegel’s unconventional style might have been what held him back from becoming one of the truly great golfers of his time. But there’s no denying that he had talent—he won two PGA Championships and finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Open four times.

Diegel’s most famous victory came at the 1928 PGA Championship, where he beat none other than Walter Hagen in a playoff. It was a pretty incredible feat, considering Hagen was one of the most dominant golfers of the time.

Leo Diegel’s achievement:

  • Masters Tournament T16: 1934
  • PGA Championship Won: 1928, 1929
  • U.S. Open T2: 1920
  • The Open Championship T2: 1930

6. Jock Hutchison

Jock Hutchison
Full NameJack Falls Hutchison
Nick NameJock
Date of BirthJune 6, 1884
DiedSeptember 27, 1977
Place of BirthSt Andrews, Fife, Scotland
ProfessionScottish Professional Golfer
Relationship StatusMarried
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)

In 1920, Jock Hutchison won the Open Championship, which is now known as The British Open. He was the first American to win the tournament in 22 years. Hutchison was born in 1887 in Glasgow, Scotland. When he was just a teenager, his family moved to the United States.

Hutchison was a very successful golfer and won many tournaments over the years. In addition to his win at the Open Championship, he also won the PGA Championship twice and was a member of the Ryder Cup team four times. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998.

Jock Hutchison’s achievement:

  • Masters Tournament 43rd: 1941
  • PGA Championship Won: 1920
  • U.S. Open 2nd/T2: 1916, 1920
  • The Open Championship Won: 1921
  • World Golf Hall of Fame    2011

7. Jess Sweetser

Jess Sweetser
Full NameJesse William Sweetser
Date of BirthApril 18, 1902
DiedMay 27, 1989
Place of BirthSt. Louis, Missouri
ProfessionAmerican Professional Golf
NationalityUnited States
Relationship StatusMarried

You may not recognize Jess Sweetser’s name, but you certainly know her accomplishments.

He was the 1921 US Open champion and is considered one of the greatest of golf’s early era. He was one of the earliest inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and his swing is still studied and admired by golfers today. In 1926, Switzer won the British Amateur at Muirfield, defeating Fred Simpson, 6 and 5, in the final match.

What makes Sweetser so impressive is that he was able to win major tournaments against the best golfers in the world at the time. He was a true champion, and his skills and techniques are still revered by golfers everywhere.

Jess Sweetser’s achievement:

  • Masters Tournament T29: 1939
  • U.S. Open T14: 1920
  • U.S. Amateur Won: 1922
  • British Amateur Won: 1926
  • Bob Jones Award    1986

8. Cyril Tolley

Cyril Tolley
Full NameCyril James Hastings Tolley
Date of Birth14 September 1895
Died18 May 1978
ProfessionEnglish Professional Golf
Relationship StatusMarried

In 1922, Cyril Tolley won the Open Championship, making him one of the top golfers of the 1920s. He was known for his accurate and powerful drives, which often helped him win tournaments. Along with his success at the Open Championship, Tolley also won the French Open in 1927 and the Belgian Open in 1933.

Cyril Tolley’s achievement:

  • Masters Tournament    DNP
  • PGA Championship    DNP
  • U.S. Open    DNP
  • The Open Championship T18: 1924, 1933
  • U.S. Amateur DNQ: 1922
  • British Amateur Won: 1920, 1929

9. Ernest Holderness

Full NameSir Ernest William Elsmie Holderness
Nick NameThe Squire
Date of Birth13 March 1890
Died23 August 1968
ProfessionEnglish Professional Golf
Relationship StatusMarried

You may not have heard of Ernest Holderness, but he was a big deal in the 1920s. He won the 1923 US Open and was also the first amateur to win the event since 1893.

Holderness actually started as a caddy and then won the Western Amateur in 1916 and 1918. He also won the North and South Open Championship in 1922.

He won the 1923 US Open; Holderness also won the New York State Open in 1924 and the Metropolitan Open in 1925. He was part of the first American team to compete in the Ryder Cup, and he also played in the Walker Cup.

Ernest Holderness was certainly one of the top golfers of his time, and it’s too bad he isn’t better known today.

Ernest Holderness’s achievement:

  • 1922 The Amateur Championship
  • 1924 The Amateur Championship
  • 1925 Golf Illustrated Gold Vase

10. Johnny Farrell

Johnny Farrell
Full NameJohn Joseph Farrell
Nick NameThe Gentleman
Date of BirthApril 1, 1901
DiedJune 14, 1988
Place of BirthWhite Plains, New York
ProfessionAmerican Professional Golf
NationalityUnited States
Relationship StatusMarried
Height5 ft 10.5 in (1.79 m)
Weight160 lb (73 kg; 11 st)

Farrell was one of the top golfers of the 1920s. He was born in Brooklyn in 1904 and started playing golf when he was young.

He turned professional in 1923 and won his first tournament, the Massachusetts Open, in 1926. The following year, he won the prestigious US Open Championship.

Farrell’s career began, and he won 29 PGA Tour events. He also finished in the top 10 of major championships 11 times.

Sadly, Farrell’s career came to an abrupt end in 1937 when he was involved in a car accident. He died of his injuries only a few days later. He was only 33 years old then.

Johnny Farrell’s achievement:

  • Masters Tournament T29: 1936
  • PGA Championship 2nd: 1929
  • U.S. Open Won: 1928
  • The Open Championship 2nd: 1929


The 1920s were a remarkable decade for golf, and many legendary golfers emerged during this time. From Walter Hagen to Bobby Jones, many of the most famous golfers of the 1920s have left a lasting legacy in the sport. They revolutionized the game with their skillful play and innovative approaches.

Their accomplishments are still remembered and respected today. The impact of the top 10 famous golfers in the 1920s on the game of golf has been monumental, and their contributions are still appreciated.

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Lutfunnahar Lira is a golf writer for The News Titan. She writes about the sport, its players, and its history. She is also a die-hard fan of golf, who has been playing since she was a teenager. She shares stories that are entertaining and engaging for readers.


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