Altvater: Ohio Golf Hall of Fame inducts three greats with Toledo tiesWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
On Aug. 4 evening a group of dedicated golfers took a break from the Ohio Senior Amateur Hall of Fame Tournament at Plum Brook Country Club in Sandusky to honor four of the best golfers Ohio has ever produced.
Three members of the class of 2014 have Toledo roots. Alan Fadel has been one of the best golfers in the Toledo area for decades and has won 11 Inverness Club Championships. John Cook was born in Toledo and has had a very successful amateur and professional golf career. Frank Stranahan was a legendary golfer throughout the 1940s and 1950s, second only in amateur status to the incomparable Bobby Jones.
Stranahan was a lifelong resident of Toledo and member of the Inverness Club. While a junior golfer, he received instruction from Inverness Club head professional, Byron Nelson.
Stranahan, heir to the Champion Spark Plug fortune, remained an amateur golfer his entire career. Although he never won the U.S. Amateur, he finished runner-up in 1950. He won the British Amateur Championship in 1948 and 1950, when they were still considered major championships.
He finished runner-up in the 1947 Masters, as well as, the 1947 and 1953 British Open Championships. The “Toledo Strongman” added a top-10 finish in the 1958 U.S. Open.
He was one of the original devotees of physical fitness and even mentored Gary Player.
In all, he won a total of 26 amateur events and appeared on three Walker Cup Teams.
Playing as an amateur, he also won six tournaments on the PGA Tour from 1945-1958 and added three Ohio Open trophies to his mantle.
Stranahan, having retired to Florida, traveled to Toledo for the 2003 U.S. Senior Open held at the Inverness Club. While he stood at the back of the practice range intently watching the competitors hit balls, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer interrupted their warm-up routines to shake hands and reminisce with one of the greatest amateur golfers of all time.
Alan Fadel is a resident of Sylvania and a long-time member of Inverness.
Upon graduation from the University of South Florida, he joined the PGA Tour, spent some time as an assistant professional at Oak Hill in Rochester, New York, and was a teaching professional at Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland.
He was reinstated as an amateur in 1987 and won the 1989 and 1999 Ohio Mid-Amateur Championships. He also added an Ohio Amateur Championship in 1995.
He qualified for three U.S. Senior Opens, finished inside the Top 10 in the British Senior Amateur on two separate occasions and is a past winner of the Ohio Senior Amateur Hall of Fame Championship
Fadel has been very active in the promotion of golf throughout the state and has served on several boards of golf related organizations.
The third inductee with Toledo ties is John Cook. Cook was born in Toledo before his father took a job with Firestone and moved the family to Akron’s Firestone Country Club.
Cook eventually ended up in southern California and honed his skills under the tutelage of Ken Venturi.
Cook was a standout on the Ohio State University golf team which won the 1979 NCAA Championship.
He also won the 1978 U.S. Amateur and finished runner-up to Mark O’Meara in the 1979 U.S. Amateur. He won six other prestigious amateur tournaments and turned professional in 1979.
Cook won 11 titles on the PGA Tour in a 30-year career. He spent time in the top-10 in the world golf rankings and was a member of the 1993 U.S. Ryder Cup Team.
He has added eight more wins on the Champions Tour and has finished inside the Top 10 on the Champions Tour money list every year since 2008.
Cook is a Buckeye through and through and is very deserving of his selection for the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame.
The fourth member of the 2014 Ohio Golf Hall of Fame class is Don Nist, who grew up in the Massillon, Ohio, area and played his college golf at Ohio State.
Nist has won numerous amateur events in northeastern Ohio. In addition, he won the 1957, 1965 and 1972 Ohio Public Links Championships, qualified for the two U.S. Senior Opens and three U.S. Senior Amateur Championships.
Nist has also over-achieved off the golf course, serving one term in the Ohio House of Representatives.
The Ohio Golf Hall of Fame includes some very big names in the world of golf and the gentlemen added to that illustrious club this year reinforce the traits of sportsmanship and success that every golfer strives to attain.
Fred Altvater offers golf tips and videos at www.toledoohiogolflessons.com. Email him at BackNine@toledofree press.com or follow him on Twitter @tolohgolfr.
Tags: 1947 Masters, 1958 U.S. Open, Akron’s Firestone Country Club, Alan Fadel, Bobby Jones, British Amateur Championship, Byron Nelson, Canterbury Golf Club, Champion Spark Plug, Cleveland, Don Nist, Frank Stranahan, Gary Player, Inverness Club Championships, John Cook, Ken Venturi, Massilon, NCAA Championship, Ohio Mid-Amateur Championships, Ohio Public Links Championships, Ohio Senior Amateur Hall of Fame Tournament, PGA Tour, Plum Brook Country Club, Sandusky, University of South Florida