In tandem, W.C. Fownes Jr. and Emil Loeffler (above) slowly but surely remade Oakmont. (USGA Museum)
Emil Loeffler was born on June 6, 1895 at Oakmont, Pennsylvania, to Swiss immigrants Emil Loeffler, Sr. and his wife Margaret, both of whom were born in Berne, Switzerland.
Loeffler started working as a caddy at Oakmont when he was 10. He was promoted to caddiemaster in 1912 and took over as the course’s superintendent (greenkeeper) in 1916, a position he retained until 1948. He served in the infantry in World War I where he was wounded. He was a corporal in Company E, 327th Infantry, 82nd Division, serving from September 20, 1917 to May 28, 1919. Loeffler assisted in modification of Oakmont, including facilitating addition of many hazards that became a hallmark of the course. After the death of head pro Charley Rowe in 1927, Loeffler assumed that role as well. When he relinquished it in 1947, he was reportedly the highest paid pro in America. His replacement, young Lew Worsham, won the U.S. Open a month after he took charge at Oakmont.
Loeffler qualified for six U.S. Opens. His best finish was at the 1921 U.S. Open with a 10th place finish. In 1921, the PGA Championship invited the top 31 professional finishers at the 1921 U.S. Open, along with the defending champion, to the tournament and as such Loeffler was invited. Loeffler finished in a tie for 17th place with his first round loss in match play to Cyril Walker on the 37th hole. Loeffer’s best finish at the PGA Championship was a tie for 5th (quarter-final finish) in 1922.
He is credited with designing over 20 golf courses; 3 Lakes Golf Course in Pittsburgh, Beaver Valley Golf Club in Beaver Falls, Butler Country Club – Private in Butler, Butler National Golf Club in Chicora, Connoquenessing Country Club – Private in Ellwood City, Greene County Country Club – Private in Waynesburg, Hannastown Golf Club – Private in Greensburg, Harmony Ridge Golf Club in Ambridge, Highland Country Club in Pittsburgh, Hill Crest, Country Club – Private in Lower Burrell, Kittanning Country Club – Private in Kittanning, Latrobe Country Club – Private in Latrobe, Nemacolin Country Club – Private in Beallsville ,Oakmont East Golf Course – Public in Oakmont, Pleasant Valley Country Club – Private in Connellsville, Shannopin Country Club – Private in Pittsburgh, Tam O’Shanter of Pennsylvania in Hermitage, Titusville Country Club – Semi-Private in Titusville, Uniontown Country Club – Private in Uniontown, Wildwood Golf Club – Private in Allison Park, Williams Country Club – Private in Weirton, and Willow Springs Golf Course – Public in San Antonio.
- 1920 Pennsylvania Open Championship, Western Pennsylvania Open Championship
- 1922 Pennsylvania Open Championship
- 1933 Tri-State PGA Championship