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Horton Smith's Legacy

Horton Smith is one of golf's greatest figures in history.  In his first year on the newly formed and emerging PGA Tour (1929) Horton would win eight of twenty-two events as well as finishing second six times.  In all, Smith won 32 total events and finished second 37 times.  Though Horton is best remembered as the winner of the first MASTERS, then called the Augusta National Invitational, Smith was also chosen for five Ryder Cup teams and was never defeated.

FACT: Horton Smith was the last man to defeat Bobby Jones in competition prior to Jones' 1930 retirement.

Horton Smith served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, and was discharged as a Captain. Directly following the war in 1946, he became the club professional here at Detroit Golf Club, where he remained until his death in 1963. Horton was president of the PGA of America from 1952 to 1954.

To this day the PGA of America presents an award in his honor at both the local and national level.


Detroit Golf Club plays proud host to the annual Horton Smith Invitational each Spring.  This event, founded in 1964 by Bill Michaels, began as an 18-hole invitational to honor the long time DGC Head Professional.  The tournament was originally limited to Club Champions of GAM private courses.  In the late 1960's, Glenn Johnson, Pete Green and Bill Albright took over stewardship for the Michigan Medal Play Championship, a tournament patterned after the Masters as an invitational based on past years tournament accomplishments.  

In 1971, DGC members Dennis Lenehan, Tom Chisholm and Phil Wigle received approval to merge the Michigan Medal Play and Horton Smith Invitational.  This proved to solidify an immensely talented field of participants each year and thus, further perpetuated the memorial to Horton Smith and his golfing heritage. 

The Horton Smith Invitational has been held at Detroit Golf Club since 1971 with the exception of one year (1989) in which the North Course was being renovated.