Melvin “Chick” Harbert

A professional at Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville and a PGA Tour player, Harbert was renowned for the length of his tee shots. He is one of the few Michigan golfers to have won a major golf championship having claimed the 1954 PGA Championship. That win is especially historic because he turned back fellow Michigan golf professional and the defending national champion at the time, Walter Burkemo, who is also in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.

Harbert was at his best in the national PGA, which at that time had a match play format. Two other times he was runner-up, falling in the final match to Jim Ferrier in 1947, which was hosted in Michigan at Southfield’s Plum Hollow Golf Club, and to Jim Turnesa in 1952. Harbert battled the greats of the game and won the 1942 Texas Open in a playoff with golf legend Ben Hogan. It was one of his seven PGA Tour wins. He also played on the 1949 U.S. Ryder Cup team and was captain of the winning 1955 team.

In the Michigan PGA Section, he was a dominant player with four Michigan Open titles, and six Michigan PGA Professional Championship wins. He set the Michigan Open scoring record with a 23-under 265 in the 1948 Open at Tam O’Shanter Country Club. The mark still holds, though Berrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo tied it in winning the 2012 Michigan Open at The Orchards. Harbert claimed his first Michigan Open title in 1937 as a 22-year-old amateur. He shot an opening 63 on the way to winning at Arbor Hills Golf Club.

An Ohio native, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II and died in 1992 at age 77 in Ocala, Fla.

Last Name Harbert