Brad Belk: Schifferdecker Golf Course Expands to 18 Holes | local sports

When the Schifferdecker Golf Course was established in 1922, two legendary American professional golfers, Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen, were making noise on the PGA Tour.

In half of the tournaments in which Sarazen participated, he either won or finished second. He became the first player to simultaneously hold the US Open and PGA Championship trophies with his two victories at Skokie Country Club in Illinois and Oakmont in Pennsylvania.

Also in 1922, Walter Hagen made headlines by becoming the first American-born British Open champion. Before his golfing career was over, Hagen would win three more British Open titles, all during the 1920s. He would also become the first golf professional to start a golf equipment business using his name.

Sarzen would later become one of only five golfers, along with Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tiger Woods, to win the Grand Slam. He will be remembered as the Associated Press Man of the Year in 1932, a fascinating commentator on the TV show Wonderful World of Golf, and for making the sand wedge an essential club in our golf bag. .

Thank you Gene, we are eternally grateful.

In his autobiography, The Walter Hagen Story, he wrote “I don’t want to be a millionaire – I just want to live like one”. His golf attire consisted of handmade suits accessorized with solid gold cufflinks.

Hagen’s butler served him champagne and oysters from the trunk of his chauffeured limo. A showman and a flamboyant personality unmatched by any other, and on the course a golf pioneer too, Hagen was the first successful pro with no attachment to any country club.

By 1927, Hagen had won four PGA titles, two British Opens and two US Opens. He celebrated his first British Open victory by presenting his check to his caddy.

Residents of Joplin got to see these extraordinary golfers in person. On separate occasions, Sarazen and Hagen have played exhibition matches in our city. Just being able to watch these legends hit shots from familiar fairways would have been a memorable experience.

The greens fee for Schifferdecker Golf Course was 25 cents in 1923. During the year the golf course received its official name. In August, the Joplin City Council proclaimed the course’s name as the Schifferdecker Park Golf Course.

Another significant event that occurred in 1923 involved the planning of nine additional holes.

In 1924 the course was extended to 18 holes. Christened on May 20, 1924, Schifferdecker became the only 18-hole grass course in the four states. The par was 71.

Most of the older holes have been placed in a different order. The front nine consisted of five of the original holes and the back incorporated the remaining four original holes.

By 1924, the popularity of golf was growing. J. Lewis Brown, editor of Golf Illustrated, said: “Increasingly, the great masses, who have been content to watch the contest on grill and diamond, are taking advantage of golf’s opportunity to be players sport rather than spectators.

Agreed. One of the true attractions of golf is active participation.

Brown further observed the appeal of golf: “Without golf no modern resort can be successful, but, once established in favor of the golfer, it proves an immediate and most attractive Mecca.

On June 16, 1925, the Joplin Golf Club at Schifferdecker Park was established. In Article 1, Section 2, the definition of organization was defined. He stated that “the purpose of the organization shall be solely to improve the game, to work in harmony with all connected with the game, and to include any golfer eligible for membership in the United States Golf Association.”

Annual dues have been set at $2.50. The club was open to any golfer who played on the municipal links. Its purpose was to promote the improvement of courses, build a new clubhouse and oversee golf tournaments. The founding members consisted of seventy-three members. In July, women were allowed to join the Joplin Golf Club.

Also in 1925, the Neosho Golf and Country Club course opened. Neosho Golf and Country Club was established in the fall of 1923.

Interested citizens purchased shares for $100 in what was known as Crystal Springs Realty Company. A hilly parcel of land was acquired and golf architect Perry Duke Maxwell was hired to lay out and direct the construction of the nine-hole course.

Maxwell is credited with designing some outstanding golf courses in the United States. This year, the PGA Championship was contested at one of Maxwell’s popular courses, Southern Hills, in Tulsa, OK.

The Neosho Club was incorporated in the spring of 1924. The grass greens were watered by a hose provided by the Neosho Ice Company. The course was located in a fully wooded area with two springs running through the property.

An attractive pergola has been built over the spring and the farmhouse on the site has been converted into a pavilion.

Schifferdecker was the site of the 1925 and 1926 Missouri State Opens. Hosting the tournament site was a great way to show off the newly completed golf course, as well as showcase some of the state’s best golfers to the south. -western Missouri.

The 1925 tournament was a two-day, 72-hole event. The 36-hole-a-day event was open to amateurs and professionals alike.

In order for the Missouri Open to take place in Joplin, $500 had to be raised locally. The entry fee was $5. A total purse of $700 has been set aside for the prize money. Members of the brand new Joplin Golf Club were asked to be the tournament scorekeepers.

Missouri State amateur champion Eddie Held defeated Oak Hill pro Ed Dudley in a sudden-death playoff. Held and Dudley were tied at 282 after 72 holes of regulation play. They were the only two players on the field to break par.

A promising golfer, Horton Smith, finished in third place.

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