Legends Plaza at Cedar Crest Golf Course is now home to two statues depicting golf legends Walter Hagen and Charlie Sifford. These two icons changed the game of golf and left their mark on the sport in powerful, unique ways.
Walter Hagen, “the father of professional golf,” helped bring prestige and awareness to the sport in a way that would forever alter the public perception. Charlie Sifford, “the Jackie Robinson of golf,” was the first African American to play on the PGA Tour. His perseverance and passion for the game broke down racial barriers and changed the face of golf forever.
Both Hagen and Sifford played and won at the beloved southern Dallas golf course. Hagen won the 1927 PGA Championship, and Sifford was the champion of the 1954 UGA Negro National Open. These men were legends on and off the course, and it is only fitting that they are honored and commemorated at Cedar Crest’s Legends Plaza.
On May 8, 2023, the Cedar Crest and I AM a Golfer Foundation teams hosted a press conference. They awarded scholarships to students, unveiled the two statues and held a golf outing where Charles Sifford Jr., who gave a heartfelt ode to his father at the press conference, played on the same course where his father was crowned a champion nearly 70 years before.
For Ira Molayo, general manager and director of golf at Cedar Crest Golf Course, the event was personal.
“This is such a rewarding feeling. Growing up just two miles from here and playing my first rounds of golf here with my mom, to be able to come full circle and immortalize these great men at this great golf course … it’s something I never dreamed was possible,” Molayo said. “I’m so honored to be a part of something like this, and we are not done. We are going to do so much more. This is just the beginning.”
History is being preserved at Cedar Crest Golf Course through the display of the Hagen and Sifford statues. But history is also being created. Molayo and the teams at Cedar Crest and the I AM a Golfer Foundation are pouring into the community and raising up the next generation of scholars and golfers.
Cedar Crest is truly a hidden gem, and with every scholarship awarded, story told and piece of history preserved for generations to come, the crown jewel of Dallas shines brighter.
John Wiley Price is the Dallas County commissioner for District 3. He wrote this for The Dallas Morning News.
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