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.
In 1996, Downing Gray of Pensacola, a Director of the Southern Golf Association since 1968, was inducted into the SGA Hall of Fame during Championship week at the Country Club of North Carolina. Gray, who captained the 1995 U.S. Walker Cup team, and who will repeat as captain in 1997, has had a long and distinguished record in amateur golf, not only as a player but as an administrator, as evidenced by the USGA's decision to re-appoint him to captain the 1997 U.S. Walker Cup team. The SGA was honored to be able to select Gray for this award. Walker Cup team members Buddy Marucci of Berwyn, Pennsylvania and Tim Jackson of Memphis, Tennessee were in attendance to pay tribute to Gray, with Hall of Fame Chairman Cabell Hancock of Richmond, Virginia presiding.