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Keeping up with the Jones: It’s in your hands

By |  June 15, 2020 0 Comments
Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

My guess is you read 19th Hole first (seems everyone does that, including me), then went to see what was going on with this month’s cover story. But if you made your way to this page and haven’t read the cover story yet … I’d recommend you go there first, enjoy some lighthearted reading (pro tip, read Nellie’s part in an Irish accent like Maggie O’Hooligan in the movie), then come back to this page.

OK, you’re back! How about Ed Murray, huh? And Nellie? It made my day when she called me darlin’.

For me, our tribute to Caddyshack started a few years ago, either at a Wee One fundraiser in Chicago or a Golfdom Summit at Reunion Resort, in a conversation with Dave Schlagetter, superintendent at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, Ill. That’s when I learned the background of the Murray Brothers and Indian Hill and how Caddyshack, written by Brian Doyle-Murray, was inspired by the story of his brother Ed winning an Evans Scholars Foundation scholarship while caddying at the club.

Dave invited me to come to his club to learn more about Indian Hill, the people there, the backstory. I finally cashed in that invitation in March. Dave put me in touch with Nellie Kerrigan, longtime clubhouse manager and Dick Wagley, PGA, the longtime pro at the course, both now retired. All three are salt of the earth. It’s easy to see why Indian Hill Club holds a special place in so many people’s hearts.

Dick set me up with his friend Ed Murray, the oldest of the Murray Brothers, a member of the Caddie Hall of Fame (along with all five of his brothers) and the inspiration for Danny Noonan. Ed was a wealth of information, and we spoke about more than just Caddyshack. He told me about sitting around 25 men in green jackets, the process for interviewing for the Evans scholarship and about his time in the Air Force spying on the world from the back of an airplane. Through the years, he’s met presidents, royalty and the King, Arnold Palmer. I asked him about putting me in touch with Bill. He said he’d reach out but then laughed, “Bill’s a hard guy to pin down … he might not come to my funeral.”

Already armed with plenty of good material, our friends at Smithco heard about the project we were working on and asked if they could get involved. They sponsored the story and also put us in touch with Bob Morgan, who worked at Rolling Hills shortly after the movie came out. Bob’s stories about the course, their equipment and his perspective on how crews have changed since the movie were a welcomed addition.

Oh, and the final element, the cover? I laughed out loud when I opened the image for the first time. I’d like to take credit for it … but that was all Dave’s idea. When it comes to this issue, like Ed Murray said about Caddyshack, “I had a good time … everybody had a good time.”

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. The previous two issues of Golfdom were somewhat stressful to produce. Trying to navigate the way to properly handle a global pandemic when also dealing with an approximate two-week delay from printer to your mailbox was harrowing. I look back at the April and May issues with a tiny window of hindsight, and I feel pretty good.

And now we’re in June. The country is in the process of reopening. Some normalcy is returning (I knock on wood as I write that). After the last two months, the last two issues … it feels like the right time to crack open a trash can beer and have some fun reminiscing about the most famous movie for our industry.

It’s in the hole your hands.

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