by Doug Smith
September 27, 2016
Strangers To Course Taught Locals Some Things
Art Wall was stepping up to examine a 30-foot putt on the 15th hole of the Wall-Arnie Palmer vs. Ben Bishop-Toby Lyons exhibition match at Moon Brook Country Club Sunday. A galleryite stopped him and informed him his side had already won, five and four.
"That really doesn't matter," he noted. "We're not here to play a big match, we just want to play some good golf and see that everybody has a good time."
From both standpoints, Moon Brook couldn't have selected two better guests.
Neither had ever seen the course before, yet they totaled 10 birdies and five strokes under par. Those shots which went 10 feet too far or fell 10 feet short wouldn't happen if they went around again - they'd probably come in with 66s or better.
Wall, incidentally, went 18 holes in 58 a couple of years ago at the Honesdale Country Club, about a 5,700 yard layout near his home.
Both conversed with the gallery and signed autographs cheerfully - at one time Palmer, in a gesture above the call of duty, paused almost a half-minute while a shutterbug galleryite took his picture.
Wall was non-committal concerning the greens - where he took 33 putts, better than regulation but no better than average for Wall. "It all depends on the side of the hole you're on," he noted. "And I was usually on the bad side." To his everlasting credit, Art had two-inch misses on at least five holes, maybe more.
Max Robinson, serving as emcee at the pre-tourney clinic, noted the words "Arnold Palmer, Tax Money Winner, 1958" on tickets. "That's a misprint," Max informed the general public. "It should say 'Top Money Winner' and doesn't mean Arnie played Ike double-or-nothing and won."
"Arnie, you just used too much club," Lyons noted after Palmer's tee-shot on the 325-yard first rolled all the way to the back of the green. "You folks just don't know how to play this hole," Palmer lectured to the gallery when his drive on the 149-yard eighth went to the back of the green, then rolled back downhill for an easy birdie putt.
With birdies scored on 11 of the 13 holes, it was ironic the match "ended" on a hole where only one man parred and all others bogeyed. Palmer's par on the 14th made it five-and-four, all other contestants recording fives.
The Wall-Palmer schedule for the weekend and week shows being a golf pro is no bed of roses. Both played in an exhibition at Harrisburg, Pa., Saturday. Palmer was five-under, Wall one-over. Both then flew here in Palmer's private plane (remember, he was leading money-winner last year).
Wall stayed for a Moon Brook dinner, then headed for Mansfield, Ohio, and another exhibition yesterday. Last night, he headed for Minneapolis, where he said he hopes to get in two or three practice rounds prior to the PGA Tournament this weekend.
Palmer declined the dinner. "I'm going to fly home and have dinner with my wife," he said. "We haven't had supper together yet this week and this is supposed to be a vacation week for the pros."
Local interest and a sprinkling of wit are virtual "musts" in any such exhibition. Bernard "Ben" Bishop created plenty of the first while Palmer and Lyons contributed the tee-off by-play.
The crowd's sense of pride in Bishop's accomplishments was so thick it could be cut with a dull putter. Ben's been playing golf for many summers, yet he admitted to many a sleepless pre-exhibition night as he envisioned scorecards reading: "Bishop, 40-40-80."
No such thing. Transferred to another part of the country, he could have passed for a name pro. "The shakes went away right after I hit my first shot," he said, in a circumstance similar to veteran troupers' stage fright on first-night performances. He had 26 putts.
Twenty-six putts. Heck we've taken that many on six holes. Ben blasted one 30 yards out of the rough on the third when the ball was imbedded so deeply he couldn't even see the dimples in it. His 25-foot putt on the fourth should be stuffed and mounted, and Webster doesn't have a word to fit the chip Ben rolled in on the 18th.