Erv Parent's first taste of victory in tournament golf occurred in 1933. While still a student at Garfield High School in Seattle, he won the Men's Club Championship at Overlake Golf & Country Club in Bellevue. In the 36-hole final match, Erv had a 5-up lead at the half-way point. But his opponent, Pat Manns, came back strong to square the match. Parent won the title on the second extra hole.
Erv's Amateur Career
Erv Parent went on to become a champion of other, bigger events, and he made lasting contributions which bettered golf in the Pacific Northwest. Parent's tournament record speaks for itself. After being the runner-up in the event five times, he captured the Washington State Men's Amateur Championship in 1954 and 1955. When speaking of these breakthrough victories, Erv said, "It took me awhile to figure out how to win the tournament, but when I did I won two in a row." He also was the finalist in two PNGA Men's Amateur Championships in 1956 and 1966.
Through the 1950's and 1960's, Erv was widely regarded as one of the region's best amateur players. Ten times he was named to the Hudson Cup Team. Hudson Cup Matches pit the Northwest's best professionals and amateurs against each other in a Walker Cup-style competition. In 1966, Erv was voted by the professional participants as the winner of the Charles Congdon Award, which signifies the event's outstanding amateur player.
In 1961 the prestigious Walker Cup Matches came to Seattle Golf Club, where Erv was a long-time member. He chaired the event, which saw the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Deane Beman and Charles Coe on the American side roundly defeat the team from Great Britain and Ireland, 11 to 1.
In 1967 Erv played a significant role in forming the Pacific Coast Golf Association, along with Carl Jonson. He also convinced Seattle Golf Club to host the inaugural Pacific Coast Amateur Championship which, today, has developed into one of North America's premier amateur events.
In 1972 Erv turned his attention to senior golf. The 1972 PNGA Senior Men's Amateur Championship was held at Sunriver Resort in Bend, Oregon, in the last week of June. Parent hit the jackpot by carding rounds of 72-72-78, for a 222. Runner-up, for the second year in a row, was Carl Jonson with a 227. The legendary Harry Givan was third at 229.
In 1977 Parent won the Pacific Northwest Seniors' Golf Association Championship at Victoria Golf Club, besting Victoria member Bill Thompson. Thompson had considered this event his exclusive domain after winning the title four times over his home course. Parent, a former finalist in this tournament, finished Thompson off on the 17th hole, at which point he was one under par.
Making Big Contributions off the Golf Course
Parent was a great player and a wonderful emissary for amateur golf, being active in a couple of associations. Erv was a 22-year director of the Western Golf Association, which administers the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship Program. While President of the PNGA in 1955, he helped initiate the Evans Bag Tag program, which involves members at PNGA clubs contributing a small amount to the Scholarship Fund.
In recognition of his contributions to golf in the region, Erv was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame in 1995. Parent had been a member of the committee that created the Hall of Fame for the PNGA in 1978. The criteria and guidelines he and other committee members conceived in 1978 for the first induction ceremony are used in their entirety today, a testament to his wisdom and foresight.
As one who is certainly qualified to comment on Parent's contributions to Northwest golf, Edean Ihlanfeldt said at his induction ceremony: "I definitely feel this honor is long overdue. I know of the many hours he has spent to better golf in the Northwest. Erv to me has been overlooked for many years."
It was certainly fitting that the PNGA inducted Erv Parent into the PNGA Hall of Fame. The honor was bestowed on a man who did a lot – as a player and in service to the association and the game of golf.