Two of our favorite golf stories
By Steve Lange
• In July of 1945, while visiting Mayo Clinic for “a few days of rest and shoulder massage treatments,” legendary golfer Byron Nelson stopped in for 18 holes at the Rochester Golf and Country Club.
The game’s “greatest gentleman,” Nelson had won Masters (1937, ‘42), PGA (1940,45) and U.S. Open championships (1939) and was carrying a nine-tournament PGA winning streak (which would eventually reach 11).
In front of 1,000 fans, the 33-year-old Nelson, who had been offered a $100 War Bond if he could break the RG&CC course record, teed off with touring professional Harold “Jug” McSpaden and two locals—RG&CC Pro Wilson Crain and Soldiers Field Pro Herb Thienell.
Eighteen holes later, the scorecard read: McSpaden, 74, Crain, 75, and Thienell, 87. Nelson walked off the course with a then-record 66.
• On Aug. 22, 1982, longtime local golfer Les Fields—later of the Turkey River All Stars fame—shot a 1-under-par round of 70 at RG&CC. Which is pretty good, especially for a 54-year-old. Fields, though, carried just three clubs: a 4-wood, a 6-iron and his putter.