Walking Through History: Charlie Yates

Among the many notable accolades of East Lake Golf Club is its roster of champions. Known as the “Club of Champions” in golfing circles, East Lake is the only American club that is home to two winners of the British Amateur Championship.

Bobby Jones, regarded as the greatest amateur golfer of all time, won the title in 1930, while Charlie Yates captured the crown in 1938.

Mentored by Jones, Yates emerged as one of Georgia’s most dominant amateur golfers in the 1930s. He won the Georgia Amateur title in 1931 and 1932 and the 1934 NCAA Championship while studying at Georgia Tech. He competed on two Walker Cup teams and capped off his run with the British Amateur crown in 1938.

Yates competed in The Masters 11 times, earning low amateur honors a record five times. In 1935, he was playing in the group ahead of Gene Sarazen when the latter made his historic double eagle on the par five 15th hole.

Off the course, Yates was well known for his community involvement and support of charitable causes. He was named as president of the Atlanta Arts Alliance, now known as the Woodruff Arts Center, by former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., where he helped raise $20 million to build the High Museum of Art. He also served as southern regional chairman of the USO and was involved with the Atlanta Symphony, Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Atlanta.

In 1980, he was honored with the prestigious Bob Jones Award for Sportsmanship, considered to be the top honor in the game.