A Full Life

Shirley Englehorn, 11-time LPGA winner and longtime director of instruction at Garden of the Gods Resort, passes away at 81

By Gary Baines – 10/4/2022

Shirley Englehorn, the longtime director of instruction at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club in Colorado Springs and an 11-time winner on the LPGA Tour, passed away on Sunday at the age of 81, according to an email sent to members by Rich Parker, the PGA director of golf atKissing Camels Golf Club, part of the resort.

Englehorn had worked at Kissing Camels since the early 1990s.

“Shirley’s passion for teaching and coaching was infinite,” Parker said in his email to members. “She promoted her love of the game to our members at Kissing Camels for many years through her instruction and friendships.

“She will be missed by all those she met, mentored, and befriended.” 

All of Englehorn’s 11 victories on the LPGA Tour came in an eight-year period from 1962 to 1970, with the last win being a major — the 1970 LPGA Championship, where she defeated future World Golf Hall of Famer Kathy Whitworth in an 18-hole playoff by four strokes. It was the second time Englehorn had overcome Whitworth in a playoff.

That LPGA Championship marked Englehorn’s fourth straight win in as many events that she entered from mid-May to mid-June 1970. 

Shirley Englehorn

Englehorn overcame two serious injuries to become the player she was on the LPGA circuit — one in a 1960 horseback-riding accident during a visit to Augusta, Ga., and the Masters, and one in a 1965 auto crash. In 1968, she was given the Ben Hogan Award by the Golf Writers Association of America for her successful comeback from injuries. 

“I’m lucky to be alive,” Englehorn told Golf Channel in 2016. Among those who visited Englehorn following her equestrian accident were Hogan and Byron Nelson. “They inspired me so much,” Englehorn later said.

“She was a wonderful player and could have won many more tournaments than she did,” Whitworth said on LPGA.com. “Unfortunately, she had two incredibly bad accidents that most people probably would never recover from. She did recover though and returned to win again. She had a lot of courage.”

After the Idaho native’s competitive LPGA career ended in the late 1970s — due largely to lingering effects of her car accident, namely a compound fracture of her left ankle — she became a very respected instructor. In fact, she was inducted into the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals Hall of Fame in 2015. She was still tending to her craft after also undergoing four hip replacements.

“I love teaching as much as I loved playing the tour,” Englehorn said six years ago.