Sally Sessions

Induction Year


Inductee Type



Basketball, Golf, Tennis, Softball

One of the 13 founding members of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, North Muskegon’s Sally Sessions earned her greatest fame as an amateur and professional golfer, but she was also a gifted athlete in other sports.  Despite her diminutive stature, she was a standout basketball, softball and tennis player in high school from 1938 to 1940.  At age 16, Sally claimed a state championship in tennis in the novice division.

After graduation from North Muskegon in 1940, she enrolled at the University of Michigan.  About this time, with the encouragement of her parents and Muskegon Country Club professional Lee Kosten, Sally began to concentrate on the game of golf and almost overnight became the top female golfer in the Muskegon area.  But she continued to participate in tennis and softball.  Sally’s athletic skills and competitive spirit earned her the rare feat of winning the City of Muskegon tennis and golf championships in the same year (1942) – in fact on the same day.  However, golf soon became her primary focus.  By the age of 18, she was already a serious contender for the women’s state championship, winning the Michigan Jr. Golf Championship in 1941 and finishing among the leaders in 1942. She continued to win numerous tournaments in the West Michigan area during the WWII years and her ranking among the nation’s top women golfers rose steadily.

In 1946, she finally prevailed as women’s state champion, besting archrival Mary Agnes Wall at the Detroit Country Club in the final round.  Her confidence soaring, she entered major national tournaments the following year, including the US Women’s Open at Greensboro, NC.  Still an amateur, she finished runner-up to Betty Jameson. Soon afterward, she won the Mexican Women’s Open against a top field of contenders.  In 1947, she made golf headlines by becoming the first woman to break men’s par at Pinehurst, NC Country Club with a sizzling 69 in the women’s division of the club’s Christmas tournament.

Sessions turned professional in January 1948 and joined the small group of women golfers that gave birth to the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).  Although she failed to win any major LPGA events during her brief pro career, Sally was always a serious contender. She finished in a tie for 10th in the 1948 Women’s Open, won by the legendary Babe Didrickson Zaharias.  Sally’s last important finish on the LPGA tour was a fifth place in the 1949 Tam O’Shanter All-American.  Soon afterward, small paydays and the first stages of leukemia forced her to abandon her golfing career.  She took a position with the public school system in Detroit, where she remained up to her untimely death at age 43.

High School

North Muskegon High School 1940


University of Michigan