Brad Belk: The Ky & Ti Cleaning Story | local sports

In April 1930, a starter began to sit on the first tee of the Schifferdecker golf course.

Quartets were encouraged on Sundays. Mary Kelly opened the clubhouse snack bar where late lunches and sandwiches, dinner specials and steaks were served daily. She offered breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

On the first Sunday in September 1930, a new record was set for most green fees sold. Three hundred and ninety-seven golfers purchased 25-cent green fees totaling just under $100.

More green fees were paid in 1930 than any other year. A total of 40,000 rounds were played. It’s been a good year for the Joplin Golf Club — membership has grown to 140.

The first Horton Smith Cup matches were held in 1930, featuring many of Springfield and Joplin’s top amateur golfers. Inspired by Horton Smith, the first team competition was held in Joplin on July 23 (Wednesday) and July 24 (Thursday).

The winner’s cup was donated by Smith. The rules stated that the winning team would have custody of the trophy for one year.

The tournament format for the first day of competition consisted of two-ball foursomes. Morning games were played at Oak Hill and afternoon games at Schifferdecker. On day two, singles matches were played at Schifferdecker in the morning and Oak Hill in the afternoon.

Joplin team captain Eddie Fowks was the medalist in the 36-hole qualifying competition, shooting 72-73. The other nine members were Leonard Ott, Carl Childress, Bob Andrew, Dane Catching, Arnold Levy, Wally Vancil, Fred Gulick, Jimmy Porter and Alex W. Knight, who was the last man on the team to shoot 79-76 in the qualifying round. .

For the historic record, Joplin won the first cup in dominant fashion. Tom Talbot representing the Springfield team tied the course record at Schifferdecker with a 65. The Globe reported that local golfers Eddie Held, Ed Dudley and Ted Longworth had previously shot 65 at the municipal course.

Also in 1930, the Joplin City Park Board took over the entire operations of the municipal golf course. The Joplin Municipal Golf Association, which had been established by the Parks Board and previously oversaw the operation of the course, was disbanded.

On May 1, 1930, the Globe published an ambitious plan called the Tabor Woods Golf Course. The 18-hole public golf course, which would have cost $60,000, was to be built on a 1,000-acre residential development lot owned by Patrick Tabor. Tabor commissioned renowned golf course designer Harry B. MacMeal.

During his productive career, MacMeal would design over 60 courses. Patrick Tabor was a mine owner and operator, real estate broker and president of Tabor Investment Company. For many years his office was located on the second floor of the Miners Bank building at 4th & Joplin.

Gerald Jackson opened the Golf Bug miniature golf course at 6th & Byers in the spring of 1930. Baxter Miles designed the $3,000 putt putt course. At night, the course featured illuminating floodlights.

In July 1930, nine miniature golf courses formed the Associated Joplin Golf Courses. Some of the names of the mini-golf courses were the Nineteenth Hole, Windle’s Demi Tasse, the Put-er Club and the Jack O’Lantern.

Horton Smith had a terrific year in 1930. He finished the Tour season with four wins, five second places and five third places. Twenty-two times he has finished in the top 10. Only one player has finished with more than four wins. Gene Sarazen was player of the year with eight wins and four seconds. Ed Dudley won twice and had a second place.

Another former local golf professional made the front page of The Globe’s sports page on November 12, 1930. The headline of the story read: “Golf Firm of Ti & Ky Cleans Up, Joplin Pro Slicks City Slickers “.

The article states: “Ky Laffoon didn’t ‘join the Navy and see the world’, but he joined the Titanic Thompson and he now sees the world and lots of ‘action’, according to reports going back to Schifferdecker where the youngster formerly was won playing.These reports speak of Ti&Ky firm winning several hundred dollars.

“With each story, the amount of their winnings is increased. Take their game in Tulsa for example. Versions of how much they won in a game range from $500 to $1,300.”

The showman and promoter Thompson would approach the scam this way. He would proclaim “Now boys, I’m just a duplicate at this game and this kid (Laffoon) hasn’t played high-profile golf – don’t you think you should throw us about two? “

So how much did Ky and Ti earn? Enough to attract Laffoon from the west coast.

The Globe develops their conversation.

Ky claimed, “Listen, Ti, I want to play some of these winter tournaments on the coast and make a lot of money.”

Ti’s response, “Son, don’t talk that way. Listen to me, boy. We can clean up more money playing in the hick towns than you could earn if you finished first in every tournament held this year and the next.

It’s hard to tell fact from fiction, but it’s safe to say that Ti & Ky have won numerous bets while playing golf throughout the Midwest.

The Story of Alvin Clarence Thomas, better known as Titanic Thompson, was born in Monett, Missouri in 1892. He earned his nickname 20 years later after winning a bet he could jump over a pool table at the Del Monte Pool Lounge at 418 Main in Joplin. Thomas won the $200 bet and was given the nickname Titanic.

Chad Stebbins, in his book Joplin’s Connor Hotel, describes Thompson as a hustler who would bet on anything and “won several bets by throwing a lime, an orange, a pumpkin and a nut onto the roof of the tallest building in Joplin (Connor Hotel).

In October 1928, Thompson and associate Nate Raymond hosted a high-stakes poker game in New York. The three-day poker game involved Arnold Rothstein, nicknamed “The Brain”. Rothstein was a Gotham racketeer, crime boss, and gambler.

Raymond and Thompson “fixed” the deck of cards, which resulted in Rothstein owing Raymond $319,000. Thompson was to receive some of the money owed. Rothstein refused to pay his gambling debt. On November 5, 1928, Rothstein was shot by an unknown assailant. He died the next day.

Shortly after the fatal shooting, Thompson returned to southwestern Missouri. While in Joplin, Thompson was detained by Joplin police at the request of New York authorities. Thompson ended up testifying before a New York grand jury. He was not involved in the murder mystery. The crime was never solved.

The Titanic Thompson legend continues today. His antics in our community help color our unique historical heritage and shed more light on the early decades of the 20th century.

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