As much as anyone, Frank Lamphier Jr. helped save and resurrect the GCSAA National Championship & Golf Classic. Today, he is being mourned.
Lamphier passed away last Wednesday. Lamphier, 80, died at his home in Vermont. In 2013, Lamphier was selected for the GCSAA Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award, which is presented annually to individuals who have made an outstanding, substantive and enduring contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent profession.
In 1968, Lamphier accepted the task to save the GCSAA National Championship & Golf Classic. Originally known as the National Greenkeeping Superintendents Tournament, it began in 1938. It was interrupted from 1942-45 during World War II, resumed in 1946 through 1952, and then was held intermittently until 1963. From 1964 to 1967, though, there was no tournament.
Lamphier, who for years was superintendent at Aspetuck Valley Country Club in Bethel, Conn., led the charge to make the event viable and continuous. He oversaw the tournament through 1988, long enough to make it important again and a regular at the Golf Industry Show.
"Most of all, Frank really was on the ball. He was, in a way, a bulldog," Michael Bavier, CGCS, told GCM last year. "That was important because it would've been devastating not to have this thing. A lot of it is for the camaraderie, for the association. We should be golfers, whether we're good or bad."
Lamphier was a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst turf school. In 1957, he became the 237th individual to be certified as a ski instructor by the Professional Ski Instructors of America. In 1987, Lamphier was chosen as superintendent of the year in Connecticut.