Historic muni Memorial Park, new host of the Vivint Houston Open, takes all comers

Historic muni Memorial Park, new host of the Vivint Houston Open, takes all comers
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Weekday greens fees are just $30, while seniors and juniors play for $15 and $10, respectively. The peak rate is $38. 

Players used to arrive at 2 a.m. on weekends to put their name on a list for one of the early tee times, which were doled out on a first-come, first-served basis.

“If you were here at 2:05, you were the fourth group out. (The tee times) would be gone by 2:30,” said Anderson.

Who are the players? Everyone and anyone.

Demaret, a World Golf Hall of Famer and three-time Masters champion, grew up as one of nine kids in a poor family. He caddied at Memorial Park as a kid. Dave Marr, winner of the 1965 PGA Championship, got his start at Memorial Park, as well. They weren’t the only big names to pass through, however.

“All of the touring pros, sports writers, gamblers and celebrities seemed to make Memorial their first stop when they hit Houston,” Bernie Riviere wrote in the book, “Memories of Memorial.”

Demaret, Byron Nelson, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby played a fundraiser there during World War II. Major winners Tommy Bolt and Jackie Burke were often at Memorial Park, as well.

Even today, NBA Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler can be seen at Memorial Park, as well as Houston Astros players like Alex Bregman and Josh Reddick. 

The everyday players are the lifeblood of the course, however. Back in the day, it was characters like Red Nose, Pie Face, Judge Peyton, Skippy Green, Runt Young and Spiz Berg, a saxophone player who was missing part of his index finger. Legend has it that a TOUR player, after being beaten soundly by some of the locals, called his partner for the next day’s match to give this warning: “I’ve got a saxophone player, a garbage man and a carpenter playing me and these guys are amateurs in name only.” 

TOUR pros may be playing Memorial Park this week, but the course belongs to the people of Houston.

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Source: PGA tour

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