A true gentleman and legendary tournament golfer in the Northwest for decades, who had spent many years dedicated to the Pacific Northwest Golf Association, Raymond “Spike” Beeber passed away on June 2, 2020. He was 91.
Born in Seattle on December 21, 1928, Spike’s family moved to Spokane in 1938 where they lived until 1946. It was in Spokane that Spike was introduced to the game, caddying for his father at Wandermere Golf Course. As a junior player at Spokane’s North Central High School, Spike made it to the final match of the 1946 National Jaycee Junior Golf Championship, bowing to eventual PNGA Hall of Famer Al Mengert in the 36-hole final match, held that year at Indian Canyon Golf Course. In those days, before the formation of the U.S. Junior Amateur, the annual National Jaycee’s event was considered the national championship for junior players.
Of his nickname, the tall, lanky Raymond says, “I don’t know where that name came from. It showed up one day when I was young, and it stuck.”
In 1954 the Beebers moved to Portland, Ore. and Spike began a career in health insurance. He joined Riverside Golf and Country Club in 1962, and after several years away from playing competitively to start a career and a young family with his wife Charlotte, he began to enter local tournaments. He would go on to win numerous regional titles, including the Royal Oaks Invitational, Oregon Coast Invitational, Mirror Pond Open, Portland City Senior Amateur, and in the late 1980s won four consecutive Oregon Seniors’ Golf Association titles. He twice qualified to play in the U.S. Senior Open, in 1982 and 1985; and twice qualified for the U.S. Senior Amateur.
The Riverside Best-Ball is one of the oldest tournaments in the region, and in 2012 the tournament’s Masters Division was named after Spike. He remained a member at Riverside until his passing.
While a member at Riverside, Spike became a PNGA Club Representative, and in 1976 was named to the PNGA Board of Directors. During those years, as PNGA vice president and member of the PNGA Championship Committee, Spike helped the PNGA select sites for championships. “I had the view that the conduct of our championships was the primary function of the PNGA.”
In 1992, Spike became the Chair of the newly-formed PNGA Publications Committee, whose goal was to eventually publish a golf magazine, as a way of uniting the region’s golf community and allied associations under the PNGA umbrella. Under Spike’s guidance and vision, the first issue of Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine was published in the fall of 1994, and would eventually become the leading regional golf magazine, direct-mailed into the homes of over 100,000 PNGA members throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.
“In the background of all this, (the magazine) is a service to the members of the Association,” Beeber said. “It’s not intended to make a lot of money, but rather just being able to communicate with the members.”
In 2019, the magazine celebrated its 25th year of publication.
Spike also served on the PNGA’s Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Award committees. He served as president of the PNGA in 1994-1995, and in 2001 received the PNGA Distinguished Service Award, the Association’s highest honor.
With Spike’s warm and friendly manner, his ability to tell stories, and his gentlemanly demeanor brought him respect and admiration from hundreds of friends and acquaintances over the decades. Spike epitomized the “perfect gentleman,” on and off the golf course.
The game in the Northwest is richer because of Spike Beeber, and now we are somewhat poorer because of his passing. He will be missed.