Wazzis? War Memorial Golf Course to close?

SIAP, but I just saw reports (see link below) that the City of Little Rock has voted to close the golf course at War Memorial, by the Stadium. Not trying to resurrect the GSD, but wondered how that would affect tailgating in years to come (assuming we continue to play games there).

Also interested in the perspective of golfers (like Clay) that grew up playing that circuit.

https://arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/2019 … e-heats-up

If the city owns it, they can keep it available for parking. But I do have a story to add.

I learned this week that my hunting cabin that I’ve gone to for 30 years was being sold. I can’t tell you of all the memories I had there but it was a shock when I learned of it. A lot of emotions. Then I remembered all of the fun hunting trips I took before we had the cabin. Granted I was a lot younger and could go and do, but those, too, were great memories. Now, we’ve all been talking about what we are going to do this year, where we are going to go, and it’s kind of got me all excited again. Definitely an opportunity for a new adventure.

I imagine there are a lot of folks, Clay included, with fond memories of War Memorial. My second hog football game was there. (first in Fayetteville). And, I, too, don’t want to start a debate. I simply want to say that if we move away from War Memorial, it could, maybe, create new memories we wouldn’t have otherwise had. It’s hard for me to believe that anything can be better than my hunting cabin the last 30 years, but I’m out looking and thinking everyday how to take this as an opportunity to find it.

They’ve voted to cut the budget, which includes 2 golf course closures, they haven’t decided which ones will be closed.

I’ve heard the other one to close is Hindman but that was before Rebsamen went under water.

The best of the three is Rebsamen. Hopefully it survives after the floods subside.

Yes, if War Memorial closes, it will be a sad thing. Hindman is a snake pit. Close it.

Everyone in my family calls War Memorial by the name of Fair Park Golf Course. That’s what it was originally.

My dad and his four brothers grew up as caddies at Fair Park. They lived near where the west end of Park Plaza Mall is now.

One of the every year events for me was the Fourth of July individual tournament at War Memorial. There were usually 70 to 80 who declared for championship flight for the 54 holes of stroke play. I started playing that tournament at age 16. Always declared for championship flight. Top 20 cashed. Think I cashed most of the time. Well, you got gift certificate to pro shop. I always got golf balls and my Uncle Bill (pro at riverdale) would buy them back.

One of my personal highlights came when I was 19 and I made 7 birdies (5 on par 3s) and shot 63 in the second round. That was 2-under. That got me in the final threesome pairing for the last round. Although still a few back of Stan Lee. I was covering the tournament for the Gazette.

My dad suggested that if I won (and beat Stan Lee) he’d write the story. I shot 68. Stan shot 62. I hit it in the woods a couple of times on 2 and 3 and was out of it by the 6th hole. My dad was there as I came off the No. 6 green and said, “See you at dinner. I’m going to Pleasant Valley to play with Bud Campbell. You write it.” I think I finished fifth.

I have tons of family stories about golf at Fair Park, including playing with my father and my brothers. My Uncle Frank (married to my dad’s sister Dot) was once the green’s keeper there. He was quite a bit older. Maybe 20 older than dad and had stories of sand greens there. They are not much better than sand greens now.

If they close one, I would hope Hindman. That makes more sense than WM.

It’s kind of nice to see a course in the middle of the city. I highly doubt they close Rebsaman.

My first game of golf was at Hindman at 13 years old. I scored a 129 with a par at the par 3 3rd hole.

In the 80s, IMO, Hindman was the best of the three. WM was poorly maintained and overplayed and Rebsamen was completely uninteresting, overplayed AND poorly maintained. Then they redid Rebsamen. After the renovation, Rebsamen was clearly the best.

I always liked Hindeman. Of course, I haven’t plated it since the late 90’s. Saw the FB coach at Pulaski Robinson make a hole in 1 on that last par 3 once, only time I’ve ever seen one in person.

I literally have not played Hindeman since 1981 in the state HS golf championships. I was playing for the then NLR Northeast. I think I shot at 78 if I remember correctly. I do remember LR Central beat us by a million strokes and won the state championship.
I do have clear memories of our golf “coach” at NLR NE. John Narkinsky. Coach Nark used to say “go play 9!” to the team…that was his coaching. He never even came to a golf match. He did come to state. We all almost fainted. He watched the 4 playing that day tee off…then left.

We were some well-coached dudes. Not. Ha.

Actually, though I did play to a 4 for years, I was basically self-taught…so It was just as well. I had one golf lesson in my life. From Steve Ralston at Burns Park. Dutch Harrison’s little brother Walter was my next door neighbor in Indian Hills and he took me to play alot when I was 12-14 at the Air Force base. But, he never really taught me anything…other than how to allow someone to see what you were hitting on a par 3 (when it was too much club), hitting a baby cut right at the pin…then laughing at you when you blew it over because you clubbed yourself based on what he hit (an old ploy all old-timers know…but at 14 I fell for it multiple times).

Speaking of Rebsamen…Swine is right…it was flat and boring before the renovation. But god, I have great memories from there. Playing with Paul Davis and Petey King. Bruce Jenkins was our hero. I cried an ocean when he drowned. We played for one dollar. All day. Sandwiches were…what…a buck? 2 bucks and you were set for the day in the summer. They were so good to the juniors. Other clubs and public courses could learn a thing or two about cultivating life-long golfers. They had it down.

Great memories…

I’ll probably write something about the closing of War Memorial this week. Just back from vacation. Another trip to Montana. Sadly, the trip this year – because of some tough schedules for everyone in a party of six – could not be in July like last year. So it conflicted with the CWS. I was going to head to Omaha yesterday had the Hogs won one of their first two.

This trip to Montana was billed as the perfect hit for the Salmonfly hatch on the Big Hole River. Alas, it was probably one week early. Every day the guide would tell us, it’s going to happen today and then we’d see four or five of the big bugs in the 10-mile float. That’s not enough for the fish to key on them. It’s probably going off in grand fashion about now. Salmonflies are the biggest of the fresh water bugs. They resemble a small swallow. Seriously. The fish do get excited when they are hatching.

I did catch some nice fish, including a 28-inch rainbow in the ranch reservoir. I also caught the big fish from the rivers among our six Arkies, a 20-inch rainbow on the Beaverhead. It was caught on a size 18 midge that I tied. So that’s fun, go to Montana and catch fish on your own flies that are fished here in Arkansas.

Back to the War Memorial Park closing, I get it. You can’t lose that much money and the golf course really is poor. There have been several attempts to improve it, but it has never been a good golf course.

No matter if it’s poor or not, I love the place. Just too many great memories. It’s the place where someone handed me a pencil and scorecard for the first time and said, “This counts for the team.”

That’s a different feeling. It’s one thing to keep score, as we always did in my family. It’s another thing to have the sensation that you were important for the greater good of a team. That was as a sophomore at Little Rock Central. I remember playing as the No. 1 man at Central against Matt Morrison (Catholic), Jimmy Hall (Hall) and Jay Fullerton (Northeast). I can’t recall the other guys that would make up pairings from other schools.

Those were the three I knew I needed to beat. I did sometimes, but not often. I did better when I played for the UCA team later on. I wasn’t very good as a high schooler. I hit it everywhere, but I could putt. If you have a good short game, you can survive. As a college player, I figured out that I could hit one shot, a blocked fade and keep it in play. It’s not so much who has the best swing, it’s who can find and hit their bad shots. I just learned not to have any bad misses and then be good around the greens. That translated to a lot of 74s and 75s. You make two or three birdies a round, you can have a few bogeys. I NEVER lost golf balls.

We’d get a new sleeve of balls for every college tournament. By the end of the season, my practice bag was full of new balls.

One of the good tournaments I had was the conference tournament my junior year at UCA, the last year I played college golf. I transitioned into work fulltime as the sports editor of the Log Cabin Democrat. We played at Benton Long Hills. It was also the District 17 tournament, meaning UALR and UAPB also played with us.

I was paired with UALR’s Steve Ralston the two days of the tournament. I figured that’s who I had to beat, and I did by two strokes. I think I shot 73-72.

My golf coach my first year at UCA was Wyn Norwood, a football coach for Ken Stephens. He’d later move to UALR and put together a great career as a college golf coach. Wyn worked with us and coached us. The next year, it was Cliff Horton, the former basketball coach and then the AD. He scheduled all meets the direction of Oaklawn Park. He’d drop us at the course (Benton, Little Rock or Arkadelphia), then head to Oaklawn with our meal money. If he won at the track, we’d get to stop in Little Rock for a meal. When we drove straight home, we knew the ponies had beaten him.

Back to the 73-72 as a junior, the goal was to win the individual title and go to the NAIA national as the individual winner. Our team wasn’t going to make it. The national tournament was at Pinehurst No. 2 that year. I thought that would be way cool, although I’m not sure I quite understood the stature of that course as a 21-year-old.

Coach Horton did and he wanted to make that trip with me. So for the first time, he walked the course as I played the back nine. He gave me running reports of the top players within two or three groups. He thought I was winning. Turns out, a player five groups back from Hendrix, a lefty, was shooting 65 and lapped all of us. I lost by 3 or 4 shots, I think. I did lay up on 18 as I thought I was ahead, but I doubt a birdie or eagle would have made a difference.

Official now; War Memorial’s last day is July 4th.

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/201 … arks-to-c/

I don’t know this for sure but I doubt many cities make money or break even with courses.

Having only one course doesn’t look good. Granted I haven’t followed this too closely, but I could see closing Hindman.

I probably would’ve left WM open and look at other areas of budget to cut.

First tee is also public and is fantastic. It’s a jewel. Rebsamen is good - when they are over floods. They may be fine now.

Not a traditional 18 hole course but it’s better than not having another option. The corporate sponsors helped keep it open.