Jeff Sluman, five others inducted into Rochester District Golf Association Hall of Fame
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Jeff Sluman, Craig Harmon, Wilson Fitch, Chip Lillich, Linda Hampton, and Jean Giambronee were all inducted into the Rochester District Golf Association Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
Some of the awards were accepted on their behalves such as Sluman, who’s on the PGA Tour Champions (senior tour) right now. Sluman’s claim to fame is winning the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Tree. He also won the 1981 Monroe Invitational, in addition to a handful of other pro and amateur tournaments. He won six PGA Tour events.
Craig Harmon was Oak Hill’s head pro for 42 years, and was a 4x Western New York PGA Teacher of the Year. He comes from a storied golf family, as his father Claude won the 1948 Masters, and his brother Butch was one of the most well known golf coaches, serving as one for Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Craig explained why he liked being behind the scenes, instead of hunting for the pins.
“Teaching is a gift that we all had. Love giving it to other people. I got reminded at the PGA part of my story when all the kids came up to me, they were 12, 13, 14, 15, now they’re in their twenties. And I know that was just it was a beautiful thing,” said Harmon.
Fitch served even further behind the scenes, as a golf administrator. He spent more than 10 years on the Board of Directors, including a stint as the RDGA’s senior Rules official. He passed away in 2021 at age 94.
Lillich’s impact on the game was a bit less well-known, but he made a name for himself locally. He was an 8-time RDGA District Championship winner, the most of all-time. Lillich also won the 1977 Monroe Invitational.
Hampton began as a Physical Education teacher at Greece Arcadia High, which helped her into a role with the LPGA Tournament at Locust Hill. She held down the fort for 34 years, mostly as Tournament Director.
Finally, Giambronee is widely regarded as one of the first female sportswriters, covering golf and bowling with the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and Times Union between 1939 and 1981. She was the first women to get media credentials to the Masters and also won a few women’s tournaments at Locust Hill and Genesee Valley.