Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Tonight’s post began as a story about a miniature golf club that Greg’s grandfather, Bill Moore, whittled when he was a young man. The story grew as the research expanded to include Grandpa Moore’s greenskeeper card and an early 1900s hickory golf club with a metal head.

I love when a story takes off!

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

A Tiny Golf Club

Bill Moore enjoyed a long association with golf. He played the sport, becoming a golfer sometime in his late teens or early twenties. And he spent years working as a greenskeeper in the Wichita, Kansas area.

As a young man, with a wife and growing family, Grandpa Bill worked as a golf course superintendent, hired by the Wichita Board of Commissioners. He oversaw several of the golf courses in the area, responsible for the greens, grounds and landscaping, designing greens, and monitoring the health and environment of the golf courses. He held this position from 1923 to the early 1940s.

Grandpa whittled the miniature golf club in June, 1920, when he was 22 years old. His interest in golf predated, and perhaps led to, his job as a greenskeeper. Late in his life, this sweet man with the dry sense of humor, gave the tiny golf club to his son Bob, who mounted the keepsake and added the little number 9 pin to it. He in turn passed the vintage club on to his son, Greg. I marvel at the exquisite detail of this whittled piece of art and I’m grateful for the info written on the frame backing.

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Meadow Lark Golf Club

Discussing the whittled club with Greg led to digging out Bill Moore’s official greenskeeper card, issued to him in 1927. The National Association of Greenskeepers of America was founded September 13, 1926 and Bill was a charter member of the organization.

The Meadow Lark Golf Course, one of the courses that Bill Moore cared for, was renamed the LW Clapp Golf Course in 1956. The 18 hole public course still exists today and is in use. Grandpa Bill carried guest cards that he could give out, that entitled the card bearer to privileges at Meadow Lark.

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Vintage Spaulding Golf Club

Ultimately, digging into the story of the little whittled golf club led me to a vintage Spaulding club that also belonged to Grandpa Bill. This old club has a hickory shaft and a narrow, metal head.

Engraved on the back of the club head is a wealth of information. I know from the words there that this is a Kro-Flite custom made club endorsed by the Professional Golfers Association. Researching online, Greg and I discovered the history of the Spaulding Sport Company that manufactured these sweet spot clubs in the early 1900s.

I enjoyed the trek into history tonight, launched by a tiny replica of a larger wooden golf club. Even more, holding the framed art and the vintage golf club resulted in reminiscing about Greg’s grandfather. We had fun piecing this story together. Several times we wished we could ask Grandpa Bill questions. Instead we relied on information online and Greg’s detailed genealogy notes.

How amazing it would be, to have an old photo of Bill Moore on the golf course, taking a swing with one of his wooden clubs. I don’t possess such a photograph. I can imagine the scene though.

Dressed in knickers, with a jaunty cap on his head, a young Bill eyes the fairway, calculating the distance to the pin and the lay of the land. He executes a perfect swing, hitting the ball solidly. No need for him to yell out “Fore!” The ball lands with a soft thump, on the edge of the green, a green that Bill Moore helped to design and now cares for. He chuckles as he strolls down the fairway.

Well done, Grandpa Bill…well done.

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

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