Source: VT Golf Magazine | Issue: Summer 1992

Synopsis: This article is about the history and evolution of the Vermont Open and how it has formed into the popular tournament in Vermont many compete in today.


    The nomadic history of the Vermont Open began in 1940 at the Burlington Country Club. It was sanctioned by the Professional Golfers Association, and sponsored by the Burlington Country Club with the help of local merchants. The purse was $3,000, big money on the professional golf circuit in those pre-World War 2 days.

    The first tournament interested name golfers, and a number of hopefuls from New England. By the end of the tournament it was the name golfers who stole the show and prize money. Mike Turnsea famous golfing family in Westchester, New York toured the 72 holes with a 284 to win the top award. Close behind were other stars like Horton Smith, Dutch Harrison, Pete Cooper, and Jim Turnsea, to name just a few. Bob Toski, a youngster from Northampton, Massachusetts, played in the first Vermont Open. He went on to win some of the greatest golfing titles in this country.

    In 1941, another attempt was made to hold the Vermont Open, but the PGA was unable to work out a date that fits into its schedule. With the onset of the war the Open went into mothballs. It was received in 1948, this time at the Rutland Country Club. The purse was only $500, but it attated 61 of the best professionals and amateurs in New England. Les Kennedy of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and Chatles Sheppard of West Newton, Massachusetts tied at the end of the 36 holes tournament with 139s. The playoff went three holes, Kennedy getting a 4 on the fire to Sheppard’s 5. Tom pierce of Rutland, seven times Vermont Amateur Champion was low amateur with 143.

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