PGA Lifetime Member Joe Cheves comes to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame bearing credentials of worldly proportions. Since turning pro in 1938, he has enjoyed a remarkable career as a PGA golf professional.
August 27, 1999 was a record-setting day for Cheves. In a friendly foursome at Mimosa Hills Country Club in Morganton, N.C., Cheves set a PGA-confirmed world record.
He toured the 6,250 yard Mimosa Hills layout in 64 strokes (8-under), which calculated to 17 shots under his age of 81. One year earlier, Cheves had tied the world record. He first shot his age in 1982, when he was 64, and he’s bettered his age over a thousand times since.
The world records aside, Cheves’ list of golf achievements are many. A club pro for over 40 years, he took his game national on several occasions.
In 1978, at age 60, Cheves tied for first in the oldest major championship in professional senior golf, the PGA Seniors Championship. He shot 73-72-71-70 at the Magnolia Course at Disney World, tying Joe Jimenez and Manuel de la Torre. Jimenez won the ensuing playoff with birdie on the first extra hole.
Cheves played in two U.S. Opens (1953, 56), two PGA Championships (1962, 64), nine PGA Senior Championships (1969, 71, 74, 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81) and three U.S. Senior Opens (1980, 81, 84). He competed in two PGA Professional National Championships (1974, 75).
Throughout his playing career in the Carolinas PGA Section, he was one of the area’s most consistent players. In 1959, he finished runnerup in the Carolinas Open, losing in a playoff to the late P.J. Boatwright. Cheves captured his first golf title as a 17-year-old in 1935, winning the Pee Dee Amateur.
Cheves, a World War II veteran, has gotten even better with age. He is a four-time winner of the Carolinas PGA Seniors (1972, 75, 76, 83) and a three-time runnerup. In 1979, Cheves captured the Ben Hogan Staff Tournament in Texas. He won the 1993 CPGA Carolinas Senior Open at Mid-Pines at age 75.
But there’s more than playing ability that brings Cheves to this prestigious Hall. As a member of the service organization which is the PGA, he’s been a consultant, teacher, diplomat, businessman, friend, and partner, reaching legendary status in all categories.
A former CPGA Vice-President, Cheves was the 1964 Carolinas Section Golf Professional of the Year. He is a member of the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, the Carolinas PGA HOF, and the Burke County Sports HOF.
During his years as a club professional in Bennettsville, SC, Wadesboro, and Morganton, his trademarks were always his passion for the game of golf, his love to teach it and his friendly manner. To everyone who knows him, even his grandchildren and great grandchildren, he’s known simply as PRO.
The majority of Cheves’ career has been spent at Mimosa Hills, a Donald Ross-designed gem in the North Carolina foothills. He was pro there from 1951-81, and today is Pro Emeritus. He can be found most days at Mimosa, practicing, playing and teaching. He derives a deep satisfaction from seeing other people improve their golf game, especially junior players.
Cheves co-founded the American Golf Association, an organization for senior golfers in 1978. For 17 years, he journeyed across the country conducting senior amateur tournaments, before turning AGA over to his son Carter in 1995.
A native of Cheraw, SC, Cheves has called North Carolina home since 1946. He is married to the former Martha Crawford of Wadesboro, and they have two children — Carolyn & Carter, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He was born May 23, 1918.
Golf is the game of a lifetime, and for Joe Cheves, it’s the game of his life. He’s been a PRO at it.
He died in 2007 in Morganton.
by Carter Cheves
May 20, 2004
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