Bio of English Golfer Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward was an English golfer who began winning pro tournaments in the 1930s, and had his biggest wins from the mid-1940s through the early 1950s. He also represented Team Great Britain & Ireland in three Ryder Cups and was the first back-to-back winner of the Harry Vardon Trophy.

Full name: Charles Harold Ward

Date of birth: September 16, 1911

Place of birth: Birmingham, England

Date and place of death: August 2001 in Devon, England

Ward's Biggest Wins

  • 1933 Midland Professional Championship
  • 1934 Midland Professional Championship
  • 1937 West of England Professional Championship
  • 1945 Daily Mail Tournament
  • 1947 Daily Telegraph Foursomes Tournament (partnered by Ronnie White)
  • 1948 Silver King Tournament (tie with Jimmy Adams)
  • 1948 Yorkshire Evening News Tournament
  • 1948 R A Brand Tournament
  • 1948 Daily Telegraph Foursomes Tournament (partnered by Gerald Micklem)
  • 1949 Spalding Tournament
  • 1949 North British-Harrogate Tournament
  • 1949 Dunlop Masters
  • 1950 Daily Mail Tournament
  • 1950 Midland Professional Championship
  • 1951 Dunlop Tournament
  • 1951 International Professional Mixed Foursomes
  • 1951 Lotus Tournament
  • 1953 Midland Professional Championship
  • 1955 Midland Professional Championship
  • 1956 PGA Close Championship
Ward also won the biggest tournament for British seniors (and one of few that existed at the time), the PGA Seniors Championship, in 1965.

In the Majors

Ward never played in The Masters, U.S. Open or PGA Championship. His first appearance in The Open Championship was in 1932, his last in 1965. From 1946 through 1951, Ward finished outside the Top 6 in the Open just once.

His best finish was solo third in the 1951 British Open after closing with a 68. Ward tied for third in the 1948 British Open after sharing the first-round lead; tied for fourth in 1946 and 1949, and tied for sixth in 1947. Outside of that stretch, Ward had no other Top 10 finishes, but did have four other Top 20 showings in the Open.

More About Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward was short off the tee, but, to quote Peter Alliss, he "made up for his lack of length off the tee by concentrated short-game practice. He was particularly good with the wedge from 50 yards in and also, unusually, a specialist in chipping with a 4-iron."

The authors of The Encyclopedia of Golf (1975) (affiliate link) stated of Ward:

"Wiry and short of figure, he had a lightning swing and used a high tee and a straight-faced driver, but he was bound to suffer in length by comparison with the power golfers beginning to come into prominence. He had to rely mainly on his short game, in which he developed great accuracy with the short chip. ... He also missed fewer putts than most from six feet in."
Ward spent many years as the touring pro at Little Aston Golf Club near Sutton Coldfield, England, north of Birmingham (where he was born). And he was frequently sought out there as an instructor of the short game.

Ward began gaining notice in English golf tournament circles with his first significant wins, the Midland Professional Tournament in 1933 and 1934 (he won it three more times later on). But his career was put on hold by World War II.

During wartime, Ward was stationed at a Royal Air Force base on the grounds of a golf course in Torquay, Devon. Ward had been employed at the course before the war; during the war he worked in an RAF rehabilitation center built there. Its short course was still playable, however, and Ward worked on his short game there when not on duty.

When World War II ended, Ward won the first tournament played in pro golf's return to Britain, the Daily Mail Tournament in September 1945. For his effort, Ward, who had not yet left the service, was punished by the Royal Air Force when he was late returning to his base.

Ward was one of the leading British golfers from 1945 through the early 1950s. In his Daily Mail Tournament title defense in 1946, he was runner-up. He won the event again the last time it was played, in 1950, beating Bobby Locke and Ossie Pickworth in a playoff (see video above).

He won the Silver King Tournament (in a tie with Jimmy Adams) in 1948, and was runner-up two other times (1946, 1949). He won the won the Dunlop Masters (aka British Masters) in 1949, beating John Burton in a playoff, and was second in 1950.

In 1948 and 1949, Ward became the first golfer to win the Harry Vardon Trophy in back-to-back years. That trophy is presented today by the European Tour to its season-long points champion. For many years it went to the tour's money leader. Before the European Tour was founded in the early 1970s, the British PGA presented to the trophy to the Order of Merit winner, and in the 1940s, when Ward won it, it went to the scoring average leader. Christy O'Connor Sr. was the only other golfer to win the Vardon Trophy in consecutive years prior to the formation of the European Tour.

Ward's last big win prior to senior status came in his mid-40s at the 1956 PGA Close Championship, the tournament that grew into what is called today the BMW PGA Championship, the biggest event (outside of The Open) on the European Tour. Ward defeated Eric Brown in a playoff, and finished second the following year.

Ward was a member of the Great Britain & Ireland team in three Ryder Cups, in 1947, 1949, 1951. In six matches, his only win was a 1951 foursomes match in which he partnered Arthur Lees to victory against Ed Oliver and Henry Ransom of Team USA. In those three Cups, it's important to note, Team GB&I earned only 8.5 points total — an average of fewer than three points per Cup. In singles play, Ward lost to Oliver in the 1947 Ryder Cup; lost to Sam Snead in the 1949 Ryder Cup; and lost to Ben Hogan in the 1951 Ryder Cup.

Before Ward's tournament days were completely over, he had one more significant victory in him, the 1965 PGA Seniors Championship. That victory got him into the World Senior Championship against Snead, the American Senior PGA Championship winner. In their Ryder Cup singles match in 1949, Snead had beaten Ward, 6 and 5. In the World Senior Championship, Ward took Snead to extra holes before the American emerged the winner on the 37th hole.

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