Class of 2017
Virginia Guilfoil Allen
Deceased (1917 - 2008)
Virginia “Ginnie” Guilfoil Allen is arguably the most dominant female golfer in Syracuse’s history.
In 1933, at age 16, the then-Virginia Guilfoil captured the first of her 19 Syracuse Women’s District Golf Association (SWDGA) titles. Known as “Ginnie” she was one of the founding members of SWDGA (1933), the organizing body for Salt City women’s golf, serving as the group’s president from 1966-67.
The Guilfoil golf game traveled. She captured the Mason-Dixon President’s Trophy in alternate years (1937, 1939 and 1941) at the Greenbrier Course in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia. In 1937 she was runner-up at the prestigious Women’s North and South Amateur held at the famed Pinehurst (NC) Country Club.
Starting in 1955, when the family joined Bellevue Country Club, she would reign as the women’s club champion for 23 consecutive years!
While a pacesetter in Syracuse women’s golf, the Syracuse University grad gained statewide recognition in 1941 when the Guilfoil name was inscribed on the NYSGA women’s trophy at the Siwanoy Golf Club in Bronxville. It would be 50 years before another Syracuse golfer (Sally Dee) would win the same title. Ginnie always wished she could have put the Allen name on the Amateur trophy (her and Phil married in 1942) and she came close a handful of times, finishing as the runner-up in 1945, 1952, 1959 and 1961.
Finally in 1970, nearly 30 years after her first NYSGA title, the Allen name was engraved on a second NYSGA award as she would win the first of her Senior Women’s titles at the Whiteface Inn Golf Course. She repeated as champion in 1975 at the same site.
As her golfing exploits accrued, so did her off-course honors. In 1959 at age 42, Virginia was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper. In 1981, Allen became a charter member of the Syracuse University Orange Plus Hall of Fame. Later, in 1986, she was the first woman presented with an honorary Letterman of Distinction Award by Syracuse University.
A year later in 1987, as a fitting tribute to her remarkable golfing career, Virginia Allen was among the inaugural class inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.
Preceded by her husband Phil in 1995, Virginia died in August of 2008 at age 91. Today she is survived by son Phil Allen, Jr. and wife Sherri; daughter Ginnie and husband Rick Russo, six grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.
Career Highlights N.Y.S. Women’s Amateur Champion – 1941 (Runner-up in 1945, ‘52, ’59, ‘61)N.Y.S. Women’s Senior Amateur Champion – 1970, ‘75Women’s North and South Amateur Championship – 1937Mason-Dixon President’s Trophy at the Greenbrier – 1937, ‘39, ‘41Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame – 1987Syracuse Women’s District Golf Association (SWDGA) Championship – 19-time winnerPresident of SWDGA – 1966-67Bellevue Country Club Women’s Club Championship – 23-time consecutive winnerNamed “Woman of Achievement” in 1959 by Syracuse Post-Standard NewspaperAwarded Syracuse University Honorary Letter of Distinction in 1986 (First woman to ever be named)Charter Membership into Syracuse University’s Orange Plus Hall of Fame – 1981