NCGA Golf

Summer 2018

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26 SUMMER 2018 | NCGA.ORG Providing opportunity was the passion of Lengfeld, who died in 1986 at the age of 88. In her lifetime, she organized World War I bandage-rollers as a teenage Red Cross volun- teer, started the American Women United Voluntary Services, founded the Pacific Women's Golf Association in 1947, saved what would become Peninsula Golf and Country Club from bankruptcy and convinced Gen. Omar Bradley, head of the Veterans Administration, to install pitch-n-putt courses at approximately 200 VA centers nationwide so that veterans could have recreation. The list goes on and on for Lengfeld, the beneficiary of a Jewish grandfather, Simon Foorman, who came to California in the 1840s, a pioneer on horseback with nothing but aspiration in his pockets and the will to succeed. He learned English as he tried his hand at farming in Stockton. However, he was not a good grower. His English was sufficient enough to become a station agent for Adams Express, the freight and cargo transport service, according to Lengfeld's granddaughter, Dede Meyer. Then, Foorman climbed the Sierra foothills to establish gold mining oper- ations, but as the mines petered out, Foorman's real fortune resulted from establishing a water supply system and selling rights to the burgeoning city of San Francisco. He eventu- ally moved his family there and built a home in San Mateo next to A.P. Giannini, founder of Bank of America. Lengfeld made her living as a philanthropist and humanitarian. She served on the board of directors of the Women's Golf Association of Northern California for 15 years and was president in 1941. According to Meyer, "Gram" was always in charge. "My grandmother was an amazingly charismatic woman," said Meyer by phone from her real estate man- agement office in Berkeley. "She instilled confidence. She was inspirational…She could speak to a room of women. They would totally hang on every word she said. She could say, 'Let's drive to the Golden Gate Bridge.' If she said 'jump,' they would jump." Back to the "lucky" pennies. Dr. Patricia Cornett, a hematologist at San Francisco VA Medical Center and the Diller Family Cancer Center at UCSF Medical Center, still remembers the feeling of being handed that penny on the first tee at Pebble Beach before the California Women's Championship final match in 1975, and how it helped extinguish her nerves. "She held my hand for an extra-long second. Without saying it, she was wishing me good luck. I definitely felt it," said Cornett, who went on to beat Holly Hartley, closing out the match on the 15th hole. But that was just the beginning not the end of a sensa- tional experience that week for Cornett, who at 63, has participated in more than 60 USGA championships. A man in the gallery invited her to play Cypress Point the next day. He was Jack Westland, a former Congressman fromWashington, U.S. Amateur champion and three-time Helen Lengfeld attended her share of ribbon-cuttings over the years to open facilities at veterans' and military hospitals. Dressed in dark coat and hat, of course, Helen officiated at the opening of The Swing Club at Palo Alto VA Hospital in 1960. Below right, in the painting, she is standing at Pebble Beach in 1925.

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