Henry Gilford Picard: November 28th, 1906 to April 30th, 1997
Henry G. Picard was born on this day, November 28, 1906. Mr. Picard was very instrumental in helping Ben Hogan become a world class golfer. It is believed that the only lesson Ben Hogan ever had happened in July of 1939 from his very good friend, Mr. Henry Picard. Ben was suffering from an insufferable hook and he asked Henry if he could help. Pictured is Henry giving that lesson which propelled his career.
Henry also encouraged Ben to stay on the professional golf tour when he was just starting out in his career. Ben had yet to win a tournament and was nearly broke but Henry assured Ben that if he ever needed money that he could come to him for a loan. Ben never borrowed the money, but he did say later in his life that that kind gesture from Mr. Picard helped him to continue his golfing career.
When Henry resigned as the club professional at Hersey Country Club he made a recommendation to the Hershey Estates President, Charlie Ziegler to make Ben Hogan his successor. Mr. Ziegler telegraphed Ben to accept the position. Ben agreed to the offer at Henry Picard’s same salary of $5000/year, plus Mr. Hershey matched his tournament earnings, and gave Ben and Valerie a home when they were in Hershey. He started on March 1, 1941 and remained the club professional until June 16, 1951, the day he won the US Open at Oakland Hills. They worked out a unique contract, which worked well for both parties. Hogan’s only responsibility was to compete in tournaments as Hershey’s representative and to allow his name and picture in advertising. He wasn’t required to spend time away from the practice range by mingling with the members, giving lessons, running the pro shop, or working with the greenskeeper. Many of the local residents didn’t even know he was the head pro. But the hiring of Hogan helped make Hersey a national destination for golf.
Ben dedicated his first book “Power Golf”, published in 1948 to Henry because of these kind gestures.
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