Golfer Charles Robert "Charlie" Coe, born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on October 26, 1923, garnered two U.S. amateur titles and was considered one of the best golfers of his era, although he never turned professional and continued operating his family's Oklahoma City oil business. In 1941 he won the Oklahoma state championship as an Ardmore High School golfer. He played for the University of Oklahoma (OU), winning three conference championships. In 1949, a year after graduating from college, he won his first U.S. Championship in Rochester, New York. In 1958 he captured his second U.S. Championship in San Francisco but lost to a young Jack Nicklaus the next year in Colorado. He won four Trans-Mississippi titles (1947, 1949, 1952, 1956) and the Western Amateur (1950). He had a stretch of twenty-seven consecutive match-play victories. He also had strong outings in the British Amateur, the U. S. Open, and the Masters, where he owned fourteen amateur records.
Coe was also a successful businessman, his income and family, wife Elizabeth and three sons, influencing him not to turn to the travels of professional golf. Known for his intense concentration and competitiveness, he was chosen to the U.S. Walker team six times. In 1964 he received the Bob Jones Award, one of golf's most prestigious. In 1987 the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inducted him into its second class. In 1998 OU honored him with the dedication of the University of Oklahoma's Charlie Coe Golf Learning Center. Charlie Coe died May 16, 2001.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: James Achenbach, "Charlie Coe: The Last of the Great Amateurs," Golfweek (10 August 1996). Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 23 July 1987. Del Lemon, The Story of Golf in Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001).
© Oklahoma Historical Society