William Hyndman III
Multiple Junior, Open and Senior Amateur Championships
For sheer longevity William Hyndman, III built an amateur golfing résumé, second to none, one that will never be rivaled.
In 1935, at age 19, Hyndman became the then youngest winner of the US Amateur Championship then, while winning the 1983 U.S. Senior Amateur he became the oldest person to win a USGA national championship.
During the intervening 48 years, Hyndman won numerous tournaments, played on countless local and national teams while, showcasing his skills and camaraderie around the globe.
Still, throughout such a lengthy and distinguished amateur career, Hyndman may have enjoyed nothing more than his chance to share his passion for the game with others.
Upon his passing in September of 2001, that has become the legacy Hyndman left to Philadelphia golf, the memberships at Huntingdon Valley Country Club, Pine Valley Golf Club and others, and certainly to some of the top amateur players in the area over the past 50 years.
The man born on Christmas Day, 1915, was a true gift to the area golfing landscape. This October, William Hyndman, III will be part of the inaugural class to be inducted into the Golf Association of Philadelphia Hall of Fame.
“If you every played Huntingdon Valley late in the afternoon, you had a pretty good chance of running into him,” said Jim Sullivan, Jr., the former Amateur and Silver Cross winner who grew up at Huntingdon Valley.
Hyndman, approaching 80 at the time, would often join up for nine-hole matches with Sullivan, who was approaching high school graduation back then.
Hyndman practiced nearly every day and lived across the street from the eighth hole. When a fence was erected to enclose the course, a four-foot gap was left by the green to allow Hyndman easy access.
“I don’t know if I ever beat him in any of our nine-hole matches,” Sullivan said. “We played for a soda. He never let me give him the soda, but I don’t know that he ever had to buy me one.”
Here was a man who had achieved nearly everything in amateur golf, yet received no greater pleasure than seeing others develop the love for golf as he had decades before.
“He always made sure to tell you how wonderful the game of golf had been to him,” said fellow Huntingdon Valley member Dave Brookreson, whose personal résumé includes Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur, Middle-Amateur, Joseph H. Patterson Cup, Silver Cross and Senior Silver Cross championships. “He gave back so much to the game. You’d see him out there playing with anyone, and he always offered encouragement.
“He’d never give a lesson, but if you asked him a question, he’d offer a positive comment. Those talks were a tremendous influence on me.”
For Hyndman, the turning point in his career may have come at the final of the 1955 U.S. Amateur, when he was defeated, 9&8, by Harvie Ward. Hyndman was then 39, his game only blossoming into form. Prior to that tournament, Hyndman had earned one Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship, along with four Patterson Cups, three Silver Crosses and two Crump Cup victories at Pine Valley.
It was certainly a tremendous list of achievements. Yet, following that tournament, Hyndman would take home two more Association Amateur titles, six more Patterson Cups, three more Silver Crosses, two more Crumps, two Philadelphia Open titles, two Sunnehanna Amateur Tournaments, a Philadelphia Senior Amateur, a North and South Amateur Championship, and a Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship crown.
He would be named to five Walker Cup teams, play in nine Masters Tournaments (he is the last Amateur to record a hole-in-one, that being on hole No. 12), reach three British Amateur finals and win two U.S. Senior Amateur Championship titles, first in 1973 and again in 1983.
O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., who like Hyndman has his name engraved twice on the U.S. Senior Amateur trophy, talked of a conversation he once had with Jack Nicklaus, a two-time Walker Cup teammate of Hyndman. The Golden Bear referred to Hyndman as one of the best players he had ever known.
“Bill was the leading amateur of his era,” Brewer said. “I learned a great deal from him. He just had an ability that was exceptional for an amateur.
“No matter what the shot, Bill had the creativity and the confidence to know he could do it. That’s something you see in true champions.”
Hyndman, who shot 67 at Huntingdon Valley CC at the age of 76, won his final club championship at Adios Golf Club in Florida, in 1990, giving him the rare distinction of having won clubs championships over seven different decades.
“He just got better with age,” Brookreson said. “I used to ask him how. He’d always just say, ‘Dave, I’m like a good red wine.’ He was.” And on Oct. 7 at Torresdale-Frankford Country Club during the Player’s Dinner and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the current elite of Philadelphia Amateur golf will raise a toast to one of the true champions and true gentlemen of the sport.
“The 17th hole, the Road Hole, St. Andrews, where I saw Billy Hyndman hit the greatest shot of my life.” -- Bob Jones (in reference to the 1958 World Amateur Team Championships)