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August 24, 1996

Serious golfers and those who merely dabble at the game all seem to enjoy tournaments. Most such events are designed to make the competition fun and to enable rank amateurs to compete on an almost even footing with the pros. Through the years, the Perry Golf & Country Club has had its share of memorable tournaments on its lush, nine-hole grass greens. Many out-of-towners have visited the Perry links to take part.

One of these events was held on a June weekend in 1964 and it drew a sizable field of golfers. One of them was Wally Wallis, who at the time was a sports writer for The Daily Oklahoman and The Oklahoma City Times. Wally's specialty was golf. He wrote a column, titled "Golf Shop," and it was one of the papers' most popular features. After participating in the Perry tournament that year, he devoted an entire column to lauding our local course. Among other things, he related that it was designed by the late Perry Maxwell, architect of some of the most prestigious layouts in the U.S.

Another topic Wally discussed was a unique tournament that started here shortly after the end of World War II. W. K. Leatherock, editor and publisher of The Perry Daily Journal at the time, created the tournament as a means of spreading Perry's fame throughout the state, hoping to attract new businesses and new residents to the community. Participation was limited to working newspapermen and radio and TV broadcasters, and they flocked to the Perry Golf & Country Club to take part.

Local merchants and others cooperated by donating hefty prizes for the journalists to take home. One year, when new cars were still scarce because of wartime shortages, a brand new Chevrolet was offered to anyone making a hole in one. The car was provided courtesy of O. J. Moore, the Perry Chevy dealer at the time. Fortunately, for him, no one scored an ace that year.

Describing the newsmen's tournament in his 1964 column, Wally commented, "There never was -- nor will there ever be -- one like it." The objective of the tournament was achieved to Mr. Leatherock's satisfaction after three or four years, and so it was discontinued, much to the sorrow of the state's radio and print newshounds. Wally recalled some of the previous tournaments in his column:

"Ken Miller, a Tulsa radio newscaster at the time, won a Shetland pony in one of the tourneys, and Maxwell McCurdy, the fine Purcell newspaperman, won a heifer in another. It took some doing, but they hauled their prizes home in the back seats of their automobiles.

"And once Oklahoma City television newsman Bruce Palmer and your Ol' Pro (Wally) posted $20 appearance bonds for a 6 a.m. starting time to play against Harold Scovill and O. J. Moore. There were no forfeitures! All members of the foursome were on time."

Returning to the 1964 weekend tournament, Wally continued: "Right now, Charley O'Loughlin is club president. He works 14 days every week, seven for his oil well servicing company and seven for Perry Country Club. 'We've got a tournament started again, reports Doss Pruet, chairman of the event, 'and we're going to keep it going.' You better believe it. Perry folks are like that. What they start, they finish."

And that's a look back at some of the memorable tournaments held at the Perry Golf & Country Club. With that same kind of determination, the membership is now involved in building a new clubhouse and doing other things to make the facility more attractive to local golfers and visitors. Nearby clubs have done the same thing, and it's necessary to be competitive for membership. I'm anxious to see the new building on our local course and I share the hope of its members that the layout will continue to draw those who love the game from a broad area. Good luck to the Country Club.