Sam Snead


Born: May 27th, 1912 in Ashwood Virginia
Died: May 23rd, 2002 (at age 89) in Hot Springs, Virginia
Nationality: American
Famous For: Being a top ranked golfer for almost 40 years
Awards: World Golf Hall of Fame, PGA Tour leading money winner, PGA Player of the Year, Vardon Trophy, PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award

Sam Snead was one of the world’s greatest golf champions. The swing he developed to win golf tournaments for nearly six decades is still archetype of not only power, but also style. His longevity in this sport proves his was an incredible talent. Snead won seven major golf championships during his career.

In more than fifty years as a very active competitor, he won eighty-two official PGA Tour golf tournaments, as well as over one hundred and forty worldwide events. His nickname was “The Slammer” because of the power of his golf shots.

Early Life

He was born in Ashwood, Virginia in May of 1912. He had five brothers and he was the youngest child in the family. Golf first interested Snead when he saw his older brother hit balls on the family’s chicken and cow farm. Soon he was making his own golf clubs from maple limbs. He used golf balls that he had found while caddying at the Homestead Hotel Course in nearby Hot Springs.

As a young boy, he liked going barefoot, and he learned how to play golf without shoes. Actually, sometimes when his golf rhythm was off, Snead would get it back when he removed his socks and shoes. He did this for nine holes during the 1942 Masters tournament. At five feet ten inches and one hundred eight-five pounds, he had the ideal physique for golf, along with being naturally gifted. In high school, Snead ran the one hundred yard dash in ten seconds flat.


Snead obtained his first pro job when he was nineteen at The Homestead. In 1935, he started working at Greenbrier, as the playing golf professional. Snead joined the PGA Tour in 1936. Snead took the PGA Tour by storm in 1937, when he won four tournaments and in 1938, he won eight times. The next year, Snead was even more successful, but he suffered a setback at the U.S. Open when he finished tied for fifth place. Snead finished second, four times over the years at the U.S. Open.

His short putting game ultimately stopped him from winning tournaments at his typical pace. In his later years, Snead’s achievements were exceptional. In 1965, when he was fifty-two, Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open which made him the oldest PGA Tour winner ever. In 1972, when Snead was sixty, he earned fourth place at the PGA Championship, and third place in 1974. Snead always believed that desire was very important in the game of golf and he once stated that he had more than anyone else.

Death and Legacy

Sam Snead passed away from a stroke in 2002, just four days before his ninetieth birthday. He had been married for several years to his wife Audrey, who died in 1990. They had two sons, Sam Jr. and Terry.

Throughout his career, he won three Masters Tournaments, three PGA tournaments and in 1946 he won the British Open. Three times, Snead led the PGA’s money list and four times he earned the Vardon Trophy. He also played on seven different Ryder Cup teams. Snead’s final major golf championship victory was certainly his most memorable. It was at the 1954 Masters, he was tied with Ben Hogan after seventy-two holes, and went on to defeat him in an eighteen hole playoff by one stroke.