RALPH S. CRYDER – Ralph was the Director of the City of Long Beach’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine from 1987 to 1998, and the City’s Golf operation was one of his passions. He had always had a dream of a “Festival of Golf” that would provide well run golf tournaments for every type and level of player: men, women, juniors, seniors and professionals, and he was able to reach that dream when he created the nationally acclaimed Long Beach Golf Festival, which provides competitive opportunities to hundreds of Long Beach area residents every year. Ralph was also passionate about the City’s golf courses being the best operated and maintained in the state.
According to fellow Hall of Famer Chris Neal “the City of Long Beach was lucky that Ralph was a golfer and not a sailor, because if he was Long Beach would not be known for having the finest golfing event and busiest golf course system in the country”.
DOUG IVES – Doug grew up in Long Beach and began working for the Press Telegram upon his graduation from Berkeley. When no one else wanted to take over the paper’s weekly golf column in 1967, Doug volunteered and he immediately became hooked on the game. His Thursday “PARticulars” column was a must read for nearly two decades.
In 1972, he and El Dorado GC professional Monty Blodgett created the Queen Mary Open, a professional mini-tour event that received national notoriety (future PGA Tour members who made their professional debuts in the QMO include major winners Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara, Craig Stadler and Scott Simpson). Doug also founded the Golden State Golf Tour in 1982, which served as a training ground for many aspiring young professionals throughout the southwestern United States.
LEN KENNETT – Len was the Captain of the USC golf team when he won the Southern California Intercollegiate Championship. He turned professional in 1953 and was named the head pro at the Marine Memorial GC in Oceanside. He also served in that capacity at San Gabriel CC, Los Verdes GC and Lakewood CC.
As a PGA Professional, Len’s passions included junior golf and “looking out for Joe 6-pack” by making the game affordable and enjoyable. Wherever he was the golf pro, you could expect a well run Junior Program and Junior Championship, as well as a Women’s Championship and great customer service and pricing. Even since his retirement, he will return to be the starter and personally welcome each competitor to the tee at The Len Kennett Junior Championship and Len Kennett Women’s Championships at Lakewood CC.
Len received the So Cal PGA’s Bill Bryant Award for Distinguished Service to Junior Golf in 1991, and received the SCGA’s highest honor for service to the game, The Lynn Smith Award in 2005, and he is still the only professional to be so honored.
CHRIS NEAL – Chris got involved with golf when Doug Ives asked her to help him run his Golden State Tour, where she served as the main administrator for the next 5 years.
In 1989 when American Golf needed someone to run the newly formed Long Beach Golf Festival, Chris was a natural choice. The Festival grew from three events involving about 500 players playing just over 1,000 rounds in the first year to seven events with 1,600 golfers playing over 4,000 rounds when she retired in 1998. Along with running all of the Golf Festival events in a professional and efficient manner, the players could always count on warm hospitality from Chris and all of her tournament volunteers.
Chris also volunteered on the Long Beach Golf Hall of Fame Committee, with the Long Beach State men’s golf teams’ booster club and countless volunteer activities.