William L. “Bill” Garner, III of Memphis, Lissa Bradford of Nashville to be inducted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
FRANKLIN, Tenn. (Jan. 29, 2024) – The Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame is excited to announce its 2024 class of inductees, which will be honored in two separate ceremonies in the coming months.
Bill Garner, PGA, of Memphis and Lissa Bradford, PGA, of Nashville will become the 55th and 56th members, respectively, to receive the game’s highest honor in the state after they were formally approved by the Tennessee Golf Foundation’s Board of Directors during annual meetings held in December.
Garner’s celebration will take place on Friday, March 15, during an induction dinner at Windyke Country Club. Bradford’s will take place on Saturday, March 30, at Belle Meade Country Club. If you would like to attend either, please contact Connie Pearce at email@example.com.
“Bill and Lissa are tremendous additions to the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame,” said Whit Turnbow, President of the Tennessee Golf Foundation. “For many years they gave themselves tirelessly to help foster generations of new golfers, and their impact on the game in Tennessee cannot be measured.”
“We welcome them to the class of 2024 and look forward to celebrating with their friends and family.”
William L. “Bill” Garner, III
Bill Garner’s love for golf formed as a teenager when he worked at Cherokee Golf Club.
After winning the Memphis Prep League Championship in 1952, he lettered for a Memphis State University golf team that included Hillman Roberts, Jr., Mason Rudolph and Ronnie Wenzler. During this time, Garner won the 1954 Memphis Public Links Championship.
Upon graduation, Garner enlisted in the United States Air Force and even won the base championship during his time of service.
Once his military duties were over, Garner returned to Memphis and in 1965 became the PGA Professional at Windyke Country Club, where just a year earlier he won the club’s first Club Championship.
This became the start of a long, distinguished career of service to the Tennessee Section PGA and the game of golf in not only Memphis, but across the state.
Garner was the first chapter vice president of the West Tennessee PGA and in 1973 was instrumental in hiring and structuring the position for Dick Horton to serve as the Executive Director for the Tennessee Section PGA. Garner later served as President of the Tennessee Section PGA from 1979-80.
Among his long list of Tennessee Section PGA recognitions, Garner is a two-time TPGA Professional of the Year (1970,1981), three-time Horton Smith Award winner (1975, 1977 and 1978) and in 2005 he received the TPGA Distinguished Career Award.
Garner has also been a strong proponent of amateur golf. Under his leadership at Windyke, the club hosted 11 Tennessee Golf Association championships between 1973 and 2000, including the 1976 and 1986 Tennessee Amateur Championships.
Melissa Hampton Bradford
Lissa Bradford has a resume in Tennessee golf that has spanned five decades.
It started with her being one of the top junior and amateur golfers in the state, but for the past 30 years she has dedicated her life of service to turning the Tennessee Golf Foundation’s junior golf program into one that is envied nationwide.
Along the way, she also served as a collegiate golf coach at Belmont University for 20 years and has been a long-time active member of the Tennessee Section PGA and PGA of America.
Bradford starred as a prep golfer at Harpeth Hall, where she won a TSSAA state championship in 1981. She then went on to have a stellar career at the University of Alabama, serving as team captain from 1984-86 and being named a Southeastern Conference Academic All-American as a senior.
Also while at Alabama, Bradford won two Tennessee Women’s Amateur championships (1983,1985) and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1983.
Upon graduation, Bradford received her PGA Class A membership in 1989 and has maintained that professional standing ever since.
Her first job as a golf professional was as the Assistant Golf Professional at Gleneagles Country Club in Texas. She also held Assistant Professional roles at Dallas Country Club and Springhouse Golf Club at Opryland Hotel. She became the Assistant Golf Professional at Belle Meade Country Club in 1990 and stayed there until she joined the Tennessee Golf Foundation in 1995. She now serves as the Senior Director of Junior Golf for the TGF at Golf House Tennessee.
From 2001-2020, Bradford also served as the head women’s golf coach at Belmont University in Nashville.
Bradford has served on numerous committees and boards throughout her career in golf, including: Growth of Game Committee for the TPGA, NCAA Women’s Golf Committee Competition Liaison, USGA Regional Associations Committee, Tennessee School for the Blind Golf Program, Special Olympics Golf rules official, PGA Magazine 41 Leaders Platform, and more.
Among some of her awards and recognitions are: 2019 PGA Kim Evans Award, 2019 Tennessee Section PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award, 2018 Harpeth Hall Athletic Hall of Fame, 1998 PGA National Junior Golf Leader Award, 1997 and 1998 TPGA Junior Golf Leader Award.
About the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
The Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame is operated by the Tennessee Golf Foundation and located at Golf House Tennessee in Franklin (400 Franklin Road). In 1991, the TGF Board of Directors established the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame to recognize men and women whose outstanding contributions have made the game of golf better in Tennessee. There are currently 54 members in the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. (https://www.tngolffoundation.org)