On March 1, 2013 at its annual banquet, the Alabama Golf Association recognized Martha Lang with the Joe H. King Award.
King, who died in 2008, was a key person within the USGA, Southern Golf Association and AGA. In 1993, the AGA created an award in King’s name to be given periodically to amateur golfers in Alabama for their contributions to golf.
To date, there have been 16 recipients: King, Ann Upchurch, Elbert Jemison, Charley Boswell, Buddy Walker, Sam Farlow, Frank Campbell, Bob Lowry, Jackie Cummings, Art Gleason, Fred Stephens, Bee McWane Reid, Sadie Roberts, Buford McCarty, Jean Miller and Martha Lang.
Here’s a look at the latest recipient:
Martha Jones Lang
Martha Jones Lang was born in Decatur, Ala. She learned to play golf at Decatur Country Club under the tutelage of her parents, Bessie & Soney Jones. Martha played in her first Women’s Alabama Golf Association Junior Championship in 1965 and won the 9-Hole Division at 12 years of age. Martha continued to play in the Women’s Alabama Golf Association Junior Championship and won the Championship an unprecedented four years in a row from in 1967-1070.
Martha was one of the first female golfers to receive a golf scholarship at the University of Alabama under Title IX. She graduated from Alabama and won the Women’s Alabama Golf Association Championship in 1973. Martha then joined Shell Oil Company as an accountant in Texas. She was later transferred to Illinois where she met her husband to be Kenneth Lang.
Ken and Martha lived in Illinois and Louisiana. Martha continued her golf career and won the Texas State Women’s Championship and then the Louisiana State Women’s Championship an amazing 10 out of 11 years as well as the Louisiana State Mid-Amateur Championship seven times, and the Louisiana State Senior Women’s Championship three times. Martha also captured the Women’s Southern Golf Association Championship twice and the Women’s Southern Senior Championship.
During these years she also competed in many United States Golf Association Championships and won the 1988 USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. In 1992 Martha was chosen to play on the USGA Curtis Cup Team played between the United States and Great Britain & Ireland which led to her being chosen to Captain the 1996 Curtis Cup Team.
In 1999 Martha was appointed to the United States Golf Association’s Women’s Committee where she served as Chairman of the Junior Girls’ Championship and the International Team Selection Committees and served on Future Sites Committee. The USGA Women’s Committee assists in running all the USGA women’s championships and serves on the selection Committee for both the Curtis Cup, Walker Cup and the World Amateur. Martha has played in over 50 USGA Championships, including seven Women’s Open Championships, as well as having officiated at over 40 men’s and women’s championships.
In 2006, Martha and Ken moved to Alabama and became resident members of Shoal Creek. Martha won the WAGA Senior Championship in 2007 and 2009. As such, she is the only player to have won the State Junior, State Amateur and State Senior. In 2009 she was inducted into the Birmingham Golf Association’s Hall of Fame.
In 2010 Martha was selected as Chairman of the prestigious USGA Women’s Committee. As a career amateur, involved with USGA for some 20 years, she was the perfect choice. Martha accepted this challenge with humility knowing this to be a tremendous commitment of time and expertise for herself and Ken. This Chairmanship involves many months of traveling, nationally as well as internationally. Many hours each day are spent in committee meetings or officiating as a Rules Official at a championship.
Martha stated at the time, “I’ve always loved working with the USGA. Though I never aspired to this role, I’m thrilled to be named chairman.”
Martha is a USGA expert on the Rules of Golf, she has given seminars, as well as working with NCAA college tournaments, the Women’s Southern Golf Association and many local championships.
How fortunate Alabama and Birmingham is to have Martha and Ken reside in our state.