Northern California Golf Community Mourns Loss of Quail Lodge Icon Lawson Little III
July 7, 2015
The Northern California golf community has lost a friend of the game and a friend.
William Lawson Little III, former President of Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club and the son of Hall of Famer Lawson Little II, died last week at the age of 67 while traveling in Las Vegas.
“He was a cherished soul and his death is a huge loss to (Quail Lodge),” Quail Lodge general manager Sarah Cruse told the Monterey Herald. “As the president of Quail Lodge Inc., he represented this property beautifully in every manner, with his charming personality and long-term presence on the Monterey Peninsula.”
During his 36 years at Quail Lodge Little served as both Vice President and President. In 2009, he was recognized by the California Golf Hall of Fame as ‘Ambassador for Golf’ for his advocacy of the game both on and off the course. His father, considered by many to be the greatest amateur player ever, was among the first class inducted into the California Golf Hall of Fame in 1959.
Hired by Quail Lodge founder Edgar Haber, Little’s original position at the Carmel Valley-based club was overseeing the golf cart fleet. Little later moved into the real estate division of the club, where he played an instrumental role in the development of Quail Meadows. As Vice President and President, he would also bring new events to the region, most notably The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering and The Eagle Cup. The events have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities.
Following his retirement in 2012, Little continued to serve as honorary president of Quail Lodge.
“I knew I’d retire at the end of the year and I knew I’d remember that date (12-12-12),” Little told The Herald after his retirement. “I enjoyed 36 years of a gorgeous place to work and nothing but fine people. I thought it was time for me to play a little golf. Many think that because you work at a golf course that means you play a lot.”
As a youth, Little grew up in a home—‘Fairway One’—that was located on the 1st fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links. He loved to tell stories of how “back in the day,” he and his friends would play football and baseball in the fairway when no one was on the course.
In 2008, Little donated his father’s Sullivan Award (Little II and Bobby Jones are the only golfers to ever earn the award) to the USGA to be put on display at the USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History in New Jersey. At the time, Mr. Little said the award represented the same principles of the USGA and his parents always thought it would eventually end up at the USGA.
In the mid-1950s, I was probably 8 or 9 and my (three sisters) were a little older and around that time, my dad got us together and told us what (the Sullivan Award) meant to him,” Mr. Little said in a USGA news release in 2008. “To him, it meant integrity, character and sportsmanship. As he gave us this little talk, he said, ‘I’ve won six national titles, but this is what I treasure the most because you don’t win it; you are honored by what you did and who you are.”
Mr. Little is survived by his wife, Rose, and their two children, Sarah and Chris.
A memorial service will be held at Quail Lodge’s Quail Meadows on Saturday, July 11, starting at 12:30pm. A celebration of life reception will follow at the clubhouse starting at 2:30pm.