Around the Southland: SCGA to Induct Burton, Novak into Hall of Fame
Brandie Burton and Joe Novak will be inducted into the SCGA Hall of Fame in a ceremony to be held on Oct. 29 in Pasadena.
Burton, a high school prodigy, built an illustrious résumé behind two San Diego Junior World Championships, the 1988 PGA National Championship and the 1989 U.S. Girl’s Junior Championship before heading to Arizona State.
As a freshman, she won six of her first seven tournaments, capped off by a Pac-10 title, an NCAA Team Championship and a No. 1 U.S. collegiate ranking. After participating on the U.S. Curtis Cup team in 1990, she would forgo her amateur status and quickly earn LPGA Rookie of the Year in 1991 after eight top-10 finishes.
In 1993, the San Bernardino native cemented her legacy by birdieing the first playoff hole of the du Maurier Classic to defeat Hall of Famer Betsy King for her first major victory. At the same event in 1998, Burton defeated 10-time major winner Annika Sörenstam by 1 stroke to claim her second major title.
In all, she competed in five Solheim Cups, recorded 88 top-10s and was the youngest female golfer to surpass $1 million in career earnings.
Novak, the author of an extreme life arc, went from cleaning golf clubs for $50 a month in the small mining town of Butte, Montana, to helping mold one of the most prestigious private clubs in Southern California.
Novak was the glue to Bel-Air CC’s troubles during the Great Depression and World War II. He would meet with federal officials to seek solutions and prevent closure.
Though his hard work and support for Bel-Air CC never stopped, he assumed leadership as the PGA of America president from 1949–1951. The first president elected from the Pacific Coast was an ideal ambassador for golf professionals across the country. He was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 2005.
Novak wrote four books about golf, and started the Bel-Air CC award-winning newsletter “CHIPS” in 1929, writing it himself for 50 years until 1979.
All the while, Novak kept his own game in shape. Prior to his tenure at Bel-Air CC, he won the 1925 NorCal Professional Championship and was runner-up in the California Professional Championship.