Recognized as an elite world ranking event, The Dogwood Invitational tournament consistently attracts leading amateurs from around the world. Past champions and participants have gone on to great success in the professional ranks; there are currently 72 former players on the PGA Tour; 52 on the Korn Ferry Tour and more that 45 others on professional tours around the world. Nearly one third of last year’s Masters field and half the players in The Tour Championship walked the fairways at Druid Hills before launching their professional careers. Their ranks include Major Champions Adam Scott, Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson and more.
The list of past champions also reads like a historical Who’s Who of amateur golf in the South. A few special champions names stand out in the early years of The Dogwood for their amateur excellence: Dan Yates 1942; Harvie Ward 1952 and ’53; Marvin “Vinny” Giles 1963 and ’65, and Charles “Charlie” Harrison in 1966.
Two players in particular have etched their spot in Dogwood and Amateur Golf history; Tommy Barnes and Gene Dahlbender.
Mr. Barnes was the champion of the very first Dogwood in 1941, and he took the trophy to his house another 4 times over the years in 1948, ‘49, ‘51 and ’55. Not only was he a great Dogwood Champion, his amateur golf career is one of the most regarded in Georgia golf history. Among his many career highlights were two Atlanta City Amateur championships (1935, 1937), two Southeastern Amateurs (1938, 1946), two Southern Amateurs (1947, 1949), and the Southeastern PGA Open (1946). He won the Bobby Jones Four-Ball tournament five times and won the Pan American championship in 1941 while serving in the U.S. Navy. (from Georgia Golf Hall of Fame)
Mr. Dahlbender won his first Dogwood in 1946, and went on for 6 more in ’47, ’56, ’57, ’58, and 1961 and ’62. He holds the record with those 7 wins as the most prolific champion. Dahlbender was one of the most successful amateur players of his time. In 1939, he won the Southern Interscholastic High School Championship. While attending the University of Missouri, LSU, and the University of Georgia, he compiled a stellar amateur career. Dahlbender’s tournament record includes the following: medalist in the Southern Amateur twice, winner of the 1948 Southern Amateur, six-time qualifier for the U.S. Open, and eight-time qualifier for the U.S. Amateur. He also competed in the 1949 Masters. He won the Sunnehanna Amateur twice and the Atlanta City Open seven times. In addition, he won the Southeastern Amateur twice and won the Georgia Amateur in 1962. (from Georgia Golf Hall of Fame)
The deep history of champions and players who were a part of the Dogwood provide for a storied past and bright future of greatness in golf. Please take a few minutes to review the wonderful stories of these and other champions by visiting our history section of The Dogwood Invitational and click the year by year history: https://www.thedogwood.com/history/