State of the Hogs: saying a fond goodbye to "Fair Park"

Here you go: … fair-park/

I really enjoyed this article Clay, brings back good memories. Thanks for doing it up right.

Clay, thanks for the farewell to the Fair Park golf course…good work.

Your dad must have been a character if he was giving it to Paul for hitting a mulligan. I don’t like mulligans and believe in playing the ball until it’s in the hole. Unfortunately, my friends and I don’t agree on this. They like to pick up 4 and 6 footers and call them good. That’s because they can’t putt, of course. The average make percentage on tour from 6 feet is not but about 50% or it used to be. These guys today are insanely great putters so that % may have gone up.

I am from Pine Bluff, but now live in Fayetteville. I played golf at Pine Bluff Country Club since 1974 and have watched as Rosswood and now Harbor Oaks disappear. Sad…

Thanks Clay. You certainly make Fair Park come to life.

They can close parks and cut jobs all they want too until they cut the abuse and waste of money it won’t matter! Last week while I was in Branson Missouri I followed
A super duty 4 wheel drive truck that was cruising through town! Little Rock police logo and the red state tag! I guess vacation is a good reason to drive public property out of state!

Great article Clay. Brought back memories of me learning to play at Jaycee in Pine Bluff. Great memories. Fun times.

Clay, you may cry real tears when Fair Park closes, but I just cried real tears reading your article.

So many memories tied into the public golf courses in LR and NLR. My dad–who died at age 61 in 1997–and I played so many rounds together on those courses. Especially on the Burns Park short 9, where I literally learned to play at age 9. There were also occasional late in the afternoon rounds with Petey and Harry King (I wonder if Harry would remember me? I should email him…and I haven’t seen Petey in years and years) who played at Camp Robinson sometimes for the same reason we did…it was dirt cheap.

I played in the 4th of July tourney several times and always declared Championship flight…and always took a beating. I don’t think I ever broke 70 in that tournament. One year I played REALLY bad and shot an 80. No so good on par 65 Fair Park. Not in the Championship flight. I may have been in last place in the championship flight that year. I can’t remember. I do remember being really embarrassed. I spent too much time trying to drive greens for an eagle chance and winding up amidst pines.

Sometimes, like the teenage knuckleheads we were, my pals and I would launch 8 irons into the stadium, and laugh and laugh when we could hear the ball rattle around. Never a thought we might hurt someone. So stupid.

Thanks for the walk through memory lane Clay. Made me cry cathartic tears. Goodbye Fair Park/Mar Memorial golf course. I wish I could play it one more time.

Another memory, finding all four balls from our group in the cup at No 14. Blind tee shot. About 260 but most of it down hill. A kid walking by would do it. And all of us wondered aloud was one of us actually owner of ace. We never claimed it. Not sure how we scored it. Was never in the tournament.

Beyond golf, other memories of Fair Park come to mind. Clay, I’m pretty sure it was your dad who in one of his columns told about Brooks Robinson’s dad hitting fly balls to him when he was a kid there at the park. Said his dad would hit from on top of one of those hills to Brooks down below…that way giving the ball maximum height for young Brooks’s practice. Must have worked…I’d say Brooks did ok for himself in his baseball career.

I came home from Pony League one night, proud that I’d played third base in the game. I usually caught. But we were breaking in a younger player that night and my brother (our coach) put me at third for one game. I bragged, “I played Brooks Robinson’s spot tonight at Lamar Porter Field.” My dad quickly corrected me. He said, “Brooks was a shortstop until pro ball. Everyone knows that if you are good as a youngster, you play shortstop.” I didn’t have the arm for short. Pete Campbell played there for our team and he had a cannon.

Haven’t read your piece on it yet, Clay. Plan to tonight.

I’ve only played Fair Park maybe 15-20 times in my life, but I’m well aware of its history. Got one of my very few eagles there. (By very few, I mean like three.) But I just hate the thought of the one course in the central part of the city disappearing. I don’t mind them closing Hindman other than I just hate losing a public course, but there’s a lot of sentimentality attached to Fair Park that Hindman doesn’t have.

I no longer play golf since back surgery a couple of years ago left my left leg gimpy. (There’s a controversy over whether I ever played it, but I’m sticking to my claim that what I did actually does count as playing golf.) However, I’m really sad to see Fair Park go.

A friend use to do that all time during the summer in the 60s. His mom worked at the stadium office at War Memorial and he’d hang out there. He and other boys would routinely put the furthest ball in the hole and kick the closest off the green then hide and watch the golfer think he’d hit a hole in one.

My grandfather had great baseball stories too. He was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers when he was a senior in college but decided to go to medical school instead. We’re talking 1907. He delivered Brooks Robinson and was his baby doctor growing up. He loved telling the story. When he delivered him and whacked him on the butt, he said you’re going to be a pro baseball player some day. My mom said he said that to every boy he delivered

I too enjoyed your fond goodbye to “Fair Park” Clay. Brought back stories from the late 50’s and the 60’s. As a former resident of the Oak Forest community on South Fillmore, I have many fond memories of walking to Razorback games from our house and down Fair Park Blvd through the golf course and into the stadium with my Dad. I also remember the snow days when a bunch of us used to take our sleds over that hill on the West side of the Stadium and wear it out! Your brother Orville Jr. was a friend of mine at LRCHS.

It was a great snow hill. There were 3-4 on different parts of the course great for sledding.

FYI, my dad was Orville Jr.

My brother is Orville III. He was nicknamed Butch at delivery by the delivery room nurse and it stuck.

Butch was SID at Arkansas during the last year’s of Coach Broyles as coach and early years of Holtz. Worked in athletic administration at Louisiana Tech, Iowa State, Arizona and Florida International. Was AD at FIU. Last 9 years of his professional career was Executive Director of Crimson Tide Marketing. It was and is the most lucrative branch of Learfield-IMG College.

Played that course many times during my med school years.We were on the green on number 14 when a ball came over the hill and stopped close to the green.We picked it up and put in the cup— we watched from the next T box while the 4;players looked every where— even across the road before one of them found in the hole— a huge celebration ensued— I have lots good memories that course at that stage of my life and hated to see was being closed.

There was a time when the greens crew put two cups in every green. You rotated the pin. They were trying to protect those common bermuda greens because heavy wear killed the grass. Too many bare spots.

I found my ball in the wrong cup at 14 once. I assumed someone put it there. Just have to ignore it and play on.

Adding up emails, texts, comments on Facebook and here, this piece has piled up the most response than anything I’ve ever written. It’s not close.

Enjoyed the article. Before I had to give it up due to lower back problems, I played many rounds of golf at War Memorial. We can argue about which ones should have been closed, but the $1.2 million deficit for four courses when the usage could easily be handled at two just no longer made sense for Little Rock. They can take one more year of that deficit and convert War Memorial into a park in a great location that can be used by far more than a few dozen golfers. The zoo could bridge over Fair Park and expand its animal collection. They could sell the property along University to Saint Vincent’s Hospital and use that income to pay for the new park and leave plenty of room for bike or hiking trails, skate board structures, soccer fields, water features, bigger fishing pond, etc.