Back in the year 1950, a group of female golfers came together to form the Ladies Pro Golf Association (LPGA), which still exists to this day. What you may not know is that two of the founders were from Eureka, South Dakota – sisters Marlene (Bauer) Hagge and Alice Bauer.
Marlene (Bauer) Hagge
Alice was the older of the two, who in 1942 won the South Dakota Amateur Golf championship at the age of 14. Alice would go on to place well in multiple majors, but she would never win one. The closest she came was a fourth place finish in the US Women’s Open in 1958.
Marlene had the better professional career, winning 26 LPGA tour events, including the 1956 LPGA Championship. In 1947, when she was 13, Hegge became the youngest player in history to make the cut for the US Women’s Open, which she finished in eighth that year. Two years later she was named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year, Teenager of the Year, and Golfer of the Year.
Many years later, Marlene became the first female inductee into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. Alice is a member of it today as well.
In 2002, Marlene Hagge also became a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
These two South Dakota natives, sisters, Alice and Marlene, helped pave the way for future female professional golfers in the United States.
Of the thirteen women who founded the LPGA, only two remain – Marlene Hagge (85) and Shirley Spork (92). Alice Bauer passed away in 2002.