The Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame was established in 1972 by the Board of Directors of the Southern Golf Association. The following qualifications were established as criteria for nomination of an inductee, but an inductee does not have to meet every single criteria. The candidate must have: 1) Outstanding competitive career; 2) Outstanding administrative contributions; 3) Outstanding promotional contributions; 4) The candidate must have met the above criteria while a member of a Southern Golf Association Member Club. The Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame is unique in that it does not necessarily induct a member each year, nor does it select multiple inductees.
The Board of Directors of the Southern Golf Association inducted Thomas W. Barnes of Atlanta into the SGA Hall of Fame during the Southern Amateur Championship at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in July, 1988.
Tommy Barnes' involvement with the Southern Golf Association began in 1940 at the Southern Amateur, where at the time he was the SGA's Southern States Four-Ball Champion along with Gene Gailard. He would go on to repeat as the Southern States Four-Ball Champion in 1941, 1946 and 1947, four years consecutively as there were no tournaments during the years of World War II.
Highlights of his competitive career:
1934 Southern Interscholastic Champion
1938 Southern Intercollegiate Champion
1939 Low Sectional Qualifier in US for U. S. Amateur
1940 Southern States Four-Ball Champion
1941 Southern States Four-Ball Champion
1941 Georgia State Amateur Champion
1946 Southern States Four-Ball Champion
1946 Southeastern PGA Open Champion
1946 Southeastern Open Champion
1947 Southern States Four-Ball Champion
1950 1st Alternate to Walker Cup Team
In addition to the competitive achievements listed, Tommy won numerous tournaments over the years around the Atlanta area.
Administratively, Tommy is a past President of the Atlanta Golf Association, former Director of the Georgia State Golf Association, member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Golf Association from 1947-1950, and a member of the USGA Sectional Affairs Committee from 1964-1977.
He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1960 and the Georgia State Hall of Fame in 1981.
Tommy Barnes was a close friend of Bobby Jones and played the last round of golf with Jones before Jones was sidelined with his neurological disorder. He is given chief credit for preserving Jones' club, the East Lake Country Club, when he orchestrated a move among friends of Bobby Jones to buy the club from the Atlanta Athletic Club in 1967 when the ACC was moving north of Atlanta to Duluth. Had it not been for his determination to preserve this shrine to the great Bobby Jones, the East Lake Country Club might not be around today for golf historians to enjoy.