SoCal Golf Hall of Fame Welcomes Class of 2024

View event photos here. 

The Southern California Golf Hall of Fame welcomed its Class of 2024 on Mar. 20 at Industry Hills GC. Headlined by the respective founders of two major golf equipment manufacturers, Roger Cleveland and Ely Callaway, this class of inductees showcases a collection of trailblazers, PGA professionals and decorated amateurs who’ve made a significant impact on the game of golf and helped shape its landscape in Southern California. 

The SoCal Golf Hall of Fame welcomed the following individuals:

Roger Cleveland 

Born and raised in Long Beach, Calif., Cleveland has established himself as one of the most sought-after clubmakers in the world. The first club he ever made was a reproduction of Bobby Jones’ Calamity Jane putter. He took this putter to the PGA show and sold 500 orders, which kickstarted his journey in the club-building business. 

He founded Cleveland Classics Golf Company in 1979. Initially focusing on the production of persimmon woods, Cleveland soon ventured into the production of wedges. He sold the company to a ski equipment manufacturer, Rossignol in 1990, staying on as a senior executive in club design until 1995. After leaving the company that he founded, Callaway recruited him to help design Callaway clubs. 

“It’s the people I met along the way that will be the most cherished. What a great gift to be in the golf industry meeting great people and creating everlasting friendships. It’s the experiences with them that make life so fascinating.”

Named the Chief of Golf Club Design for Callaway in 1996, Cleveland has brought his vision and craftsmanship to thousands of golfers, amateurs and pros alike throughout the years. Quite simply, he is known for making some of the best clubs in the world. His passion for club design and equipment has had a lasting effect on the landscape of golf today.   

Scott Simpson 

Born and raised in San Diego, Calif., Simpson’s playing career took off when he attended USC. As a Trojan, he garnered NCAA championship medalist honors in 1976 and 1977 before winning the Fred Haskins Award as the Collegiate Player of the Year. This recognition catapulted Simpson to top amateur in the world status, as ranked by Golf Digest in 1976. 

Simpson quickly transitioned into the professional ranks and enjoyed a PGA Tour career spanning over 27 years with seven wins, including the 1987 U.S. Open. Renowned for his memorable 18-hole playoff at the 1991 U.S. Open against Payne Stewart resulting in a runner-up finish, Simpson also boasted three Japan Golf Tour victories. 

He was a four-time Hawaii State Open champion, achieving consecutive victories in 1993 and 1994. Simpson was a member of the coveted 1977 Walker Cup, 1987 Ryder Cup and 1987 Kirin Cup teams. He also appeared on the PG Champions Tour, where he had one victory at the 2006 Walmart First Tee Open. 

“It’s a real thrill to be going into the Southern California Golf Hall of Fame. The older I get, the more I appreciate what a great game golf is. I would have never dream of anything like this. What an honor. This is truly humbling.”

Currently serving as the head coach of the University of Hawaii men’s golf team, Simpson led the team to their lowest scoring average in program history in their 2022-2023 season. An advocate and supporter of junior golf, Simpson is involved with the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association and First Tee Hawaii program.

Also recognized at the event were three posthumous inductees:

Ely Callaway 

Born and raised in LaGrange, Ga in 1919 to a family in the textile business, Callaway became a transformative force in both business and the world of golf. He enlisted in the war and became the youngest major to attain that rank in the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot. Once discharged, he had a successful career in the textile industry where he served as president of the largest manufacturers in the world. Callaway also ran a successful winery that established Temecula, Calif. as a wine-producing region. 

But after selling the company in 1981, Callaway discovered Hickory Sticks, wood clubs with steel rod reinforcement, while playing golf in Palm Springs. He proceeded to buy half ownership of the company in 1982 and by 1984, purchased the company in full, renaming it Callaway Golf Company. 

In 1986, Callaway hired billiard cue designer Richard Helmstetter, who was responsible for introducing computer-controlled manufacturing machines. Callaway’s big break came in the form of the Big Bertha driver in 1991, catered to help the average golfer and drive sales. 

In 1996, the company hired fellow So Cal Golf Hall-of-Famer Roger Cleveland as chief club designer, later launching the Callaway Golf Forged Wedges. In that same year, Callaway Golf started focusing on developing a “complete performance” golf ball under the leadership of Chuck Yash, former head of TaylorMade. Another advancement came with the acquisition of Odyssey Sports in 1997, expanding Callaway’s line of putters that led to the introduction of the Odyssey White Hot putter line in 2000. 

Under his guidance, Callaway Golf became a powerhouse in the industry, influencing how golfers around the world approached the game. The name Ely Callaway stands not just as a brand but as a testament to the influence of a visionary who forever changed the game of golf. 

Mildred (Millie) Stanley 

Born in Honolulu, Oahu Hawaii, golf initially wasn’t Stanley’s favorite sport. But after graduating college, she went on to work for the U.S. Navy in Japan as a civilian and became the only woman to play golf for a service team. 

At age 47, Stanley was recruited (on scholarship) to play at Long Beach State in the late 70’s. Following graduation, she was a volunteer coach until 1984, when she won the Western Collegiate Coach of the Year. She left a lasting legacy, setting up an endowment fund to help support scholarships for Long Beach State women golfers and was eventually inducted into the Long Beach State Hall of Fame in 1988. 

Post college, she went on to have an accomplished amateur career, having a long list of titles through winning more than 100 tournament championships. Some notable wins include five California State Senior Championships, 10 WSCGA Women’s Senior Championships and five Long Beach City Women’s Championships. Named the 1991 Southern California Female Golfer of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, she also received the WSCGA Distinguished Service Award in 1993, along with the WSCGA creation of “The Millie Stanley Cup” in her honor. 

A true advocate for both juniors and women in golf, Millie had volunteered at countless USGA and junior events across the Southland. Her trailblazing spirit has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on women's golf. 

Jack Malley

Originating from St. Louis, Mo. Malley had a remarkable golf career and legacy, serving as the first president of the SCPGA from 1924 to 1925.

Becoming the youngest club professional in the United States in 1914, Malley quickly rose to prominence with a successful career as an instructor. Alongside Norman Macbeth and renowned magazine editor Scotty Chisholm, Malley collaborated with Edward B. Tufts to champion the creation of the Los Angeles Open. Their efforts culminated in an inaugural event with a groundbreaking $10,000 purse, leaving an enduring legacy in the world of golf.

Also during his tenure in Southern California, Malley contributed his expertise to notable establishments such as Annandale CC and Midwick Club, as well as golf movies in Hollywood. His skills extended beyond the golf course, as he earned a reputation as an exceptionally adept salesman. Known for his soft-spoken demeanor, gentle mannerisms and unwavering courtesy, Malley endeared himself to all. 

View event photos here.