Nebraska Golf Hall Of Fame
- Class of 1990
- Class of 1991
- Class of 1992
- Class of 1993
- Class of 1994
- Class of 1995
- Class of 1996
- Class of 1997
- Class of 1998
- Class of 1999
- Class of 2000
- Class of 2001
- Class of 2002
- Class of 2003
- Class of 2004
- Class of 2005
- Class of 2006
- Class of 2007
- Class of 2008
- Class of 2010
- Class of 2012
- Class of 2014
- Class of 2016
William J. “Bunny” Richards
For 37 years Bunny Richards was the head golf professional at the Hillcrest Country Club. He came to Lincoln in 1946 after his discharge from the Air Force as a Staff Sergeant and remained the head pro until he retired in 1983. Prior to World War II, Bunny had been the head pro at the Manhattan Country Club in Kansas.
Richards, who dies in 1990 at the age of 71, was widely respected as a teacher — not just of the swing and mechanics of golf – but as a person who instilled respect and etiquette plus the tradition and integrity of the game in those he tutored.
Bunny took great pride in the accomplishments of the people he introduced to the game, many of whom became the outstanding golfers in the state.
“If I can teach a person the basic fundamentals and get them interested in golf, then I’ve done my part,” he often said. “The game itself will take care of the rest after they become hooked on golf.”
In 1963 and again in 1980, Richards was named Professional of the Year by the Nebraska Section of the PGA. By maintaining his membership after retirement, Bunny earned his 50-year pin from the PGA. He was also president of the Nebraska Section in 1964.
Bunny’s extreme dedication was demonstrated in 1977 when he suffered a heart attack, underwent open-heart bypass surgery and was back on the job one month later.
Four-time Nebraska women’s golf champion Phyllis Larson drove a Red Cross truck during World War I, made a hole-in-one after losing an eye to cancer and survived being struck by lighting while playing golf. She passed away at the age of 101.
Mrs. Larson won her four Nebraska championships in 1937, ’38, ’48, and ’54. Because of an illness in the family, she did not defend her championship in 1955, missing the state tournament for the first time since 1932.
A resident of Omaha for 60 years, Mrs. Larson moved to Florida in 1977. Called a “tough competitor” by many who played against her, Mrs. Larson certainly lived up to that reputation. After recovering from a broken hip at the age of 90, she returned to the links and was an active golfer until she lost her eyesight three years later.
A member of the Omaha Field Club in the early 1930’s, Mrs. Larson also belonged to the Happy Hollow Club before winning most of her golfing honors when she and her husband later belonged to the Omaha Country Club.
Married to W.O. Larson, Phyllis was a bookkeeper for the Harry Turkey Mortgage Company in the early 1900’s. Later, she and her husband operated their own real estate company.
In the early to mid 70s, before moving to Florida, Mrs. Larson was a great advocate for the junior girls in golf. She was credited with getting those in charge of the state championship to abolish the age minimum.
“I think its a young kids game,” she said in a 1975 interview. “If they can beat me, swell.”
Ben Cowdery was introduced to the game of golf at age 10 when Stanley Davies, the Omaha Field Club pro and Scottish club maker, made him a set of golf clubs.
Highlighting the golfing career that followed, Cowdery qualified for the U.S. Open — a rarity for any Nebraskan — and made it to the U.S. Amateur championship on three occasions.
After winning both the Field Club and Happy Hollow Club championships on one occasion, he captured the Omaha Country Club title ten times!
Cowdery was also the medalist in a Nebraska state amateur championships. Of the four times he entered the prestigious Tran-Mississippi tournament, he was twice a semi-finalist.
His record as a senior golfer was particularly outstanding. Cowdery entered the Nebraska State Senior championship five different years and won the event four times. He entered the World Seniors championship three times and was the medalist once and on another occasion made it to the semifinal round.
In addition, Cowdery was a member of the United States team at the World Senior Championship that won the team title.
Cowdery, the publisher of the Omaha World Herald, retired in the mid-70’s as the Chairman of the Board of the newspaper.