Oct. 30, 2002
Former UCLA men's golf coach Eddie Merrins has been selected for induction into the California Golf Hall of Fame. Ceremonies are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003, at Spanish Bay Golf Course in Monterey, CA.
Other inductees include Jim Langley, the retired head professional at Cypress Point Golf Club, and Loren Roberts, an eight-time winner on the PGA TOUR.
Merrins, who recently retired as the head professional at Bel Air Country Club, has enjoyed a distinguished career as a golf professional, collegiate coach, teacher and promoter of the game.
His amateur and professional golf career has spanned more than 60 years on both coasts, and his tireless promotion of the game has aided many high school and collegiate golf programs nationwide. In addition, he is widely respected as a teacher and professional by some of the game's biggest names: Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino, to name a few.
After an outstanding collegiate career at Louisiana State University, where he earned All-America honors and finished second individually in the 1952 NCAA Championships, Merrins turned professional in 1955.
While serving as a club professional at several clubs over the next few years, including Merion Golf Club in Philadelphia, PA, Merrins won the 1961 Metropolitan PGA Championship and the Long Island Open in New York.
In 1962, Merrins was hired as the head professional at Bel Air, and continued to compete in many PGA events over the next several years.
In 1973, he published his best-selling teaching book, "Swing the Handle, Not the Clubhead," and in 1974, he was voted one of the "Top 10 Teachers in America" by the PGA.
In 1975, Merrins was named Head Coach of the UCLA men's golf team, a position he served for 15 years. He led the Bruins to three conference championships and the 1988 NCAA title. He tutored All-Americans, among others, Corey Pavin, Tom Pernice, Jr., Steve Pate, Jay Delsing and Duffy Waldorf, all of whom have enjoyed outstanding careers on the PGA TOUR.
In 1981, he founded the Friends of Golf, which has raised millions of dollars for collegiate and high school programs nationwide. FOG also has endowed all the scholarships for the UCLA men's program.
He was inducted into the National Golf Coaches Assn. Hall of Fame in 1992, the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Previous inductees to the California Golf Hall of Fame, include Pavin, the 1995 U.S. Open champion; Mark O'Meara, the 1998 Masters and British Open champion; legendary entertainer Bob Hope; golf course designers Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr.; actor Clint Eastwood and the late Bing Crosby.