Augusta native Karen Ferree watched with admiration as her husband, former PGA Tour and Champions Tour winner Jim Ferree, was inducted into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 2008.
Karen, who at the time had an impressive golf résumé of her own, wondered if one day she would join Jim in the hall.
“You think about it,” said Karen, who has lived on Hilton Head Island, S.C., for the past 32 years.
It will become a reality Saturday, when the Ferrees become the first husband-and-wife inductees in the hall.
“That’s unbelievable,” she said. “That’s my favorite part because he’s my husband, he’s my best friend. He’s always supportive of me, always encourages me. He always asks me at the start of the year, ‘What’s your tournament schedule?’ ”
The induction ceremony will be held at Columbia Country Club in connection with South Carolina Golf Association Golf Day activities.
“It’s such an honor,” said the former Karen Shapiro, who grew up on Martin Lane in Augusta until she left for college. “I’m really excited.”
Karen will enter the hall with the late golf course architect George Cobb, of Greenville, S.C. Cobb has a tie to Augusta, though he never lived here. He was a golf course consultant at Augusta National Golf Club starting in the mid-1950s and was chosen to design the club’s Par-3 Course, which opened to member play in 1959. It has been the site of the Par-3 Contest on the eve of the Masters Tournament since 1960.
Ferree, 63, was nominated based on her competitive golf record, her contributions to women’s golf as a PGA of America Class A pro, an amateur star, and for her dedication to junior golf.
She was the head pro at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island, starting when it opened in 1981. She stepped down at the nationally ranked Pete Dye-designed course when she and Jim were married in 1987.
“It turned out to be wonderful for me,” said Ferree, one of the few female head pros at a major club in the country at the time. “I really enjoyed that job and the profession.”
Ferree regained her amateur status in 1993 and has been a competitive force ever since.
When she’s not playing her “six to 10” state, regional and national tournaments a year, Karen works with the WSCGA’s Junior Golf Foundation in charitable efforts and with her husband to generate revenues for youth scholarships on Hilton Head Island.
She also volunteers with the local LPGA Girls Golf program to help develop the next generation of junior girls.
Karen Ferree has multiple ties with Midland Valley Country Club in Graniteville. Her father, Horace, was a member at the club, and would take Karen and younger brother, Randy, there on weekends to play. Karen said she was 11 when she took up the game and starting playing at “the Valley.”
“That was a treat to grow up on that golf course,” she said, noting the positive influence of Sam Marsh and Orville White, who were the pros at the time. “I just fell in love with it (golf). It became a passion.”
She would have never believed she’d be married to a co-owner of the course one day. Jim Ferree held that position when they wed, though he was a nonresident owner. He and his partners sold the course in 1996.
In an emotional return to Midland Valley in 2002, Karen won the South Carolina Women’s Amateur Championship there.
During the summer weekdays as a youngster, Karen Ferree would play at Augusta Municipal Golf Course, which was operated by Red Douglas and his wife, Anne.
“God bless them,” Karen said. “There would be 60 to 75 children there each day. You could join and play all day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday before noon, Thursday and Friday for $6.83 a month.”
After all these years, how can she recall the exact figure for the dues?
“I remember it because you had to have your $6.83,” she said.