John Burkholder, MGA9 Communications
Monday, September 25, was a gorgeous day at Wildhorse Golf Club and the perfect setting for the third annual Memorial Golf Tournament, previously the Jack Akins Memorial Golf Tournament, a nine hole scramble enthusiastically supported by members of both the Wildhorse Lady Niners and the Men’s Golf Association 9 Holers.
Janie Farnsworth of the WLN coordinated this year’s Memorial Tournament originally honoring Jack Akins, an MGA9 founding member and Wildhorse Golf Course marshal and golf cart barn worker. But Jack was much more than a MGA9 founder, course marshal or cart barn worker. Jack, a graduate of Oklahoma State University, claimed he never met a person he didn’t like, and those many RR residents who knew Jack will attest to that fact. Jack regularly cruised the RR courses collecting lost golf balls to return to their original owners as Christmas presents in used egg cartons based on their ball markings. In fact according to Charlie Webb, another founding member of MGA9, Jack went so far as to occasionally drive his cart into environmentally protected areas on the courses to collect these balls. And as we all know this is a major violation of WGC rules. But Jack was doing this with the greatest of intentions, and in his mind this was the only reason he needed. In fact one day course security actually received a call from a homeowner reporting that someone was driving their golf cart in an environmentally protected area and demanded a course marshal be sent to apprehend the offender. Course security shyly informed the caller that in fact it was a marshal doing the driving. Leave it to Jack to draw people’s attention!
Based on what I’ve heard, Jack was also a great storyteller as well as practical joker. Ask any of the long-time MGA9 members like Jerry Meyer, Charlie Webb, Ron Stevens, Dick Reed or even our Club Pro David Thatcher to recall a Jack Akins story. I feel confident each of them will have one or two immediately come to mind that they will be more than happy to share. As a practical joker Jack’s fondly remembered to have played golf dressed as Miss Robson on Halloween as well as to have organized the first and only annual Polar Bear Plunge celebrating the beginning of golf season one year. The idea was to jump into the outdoor pool before your round of golf on Polar Bear day. Although it was never confirmed that Jack actually convinced other MGA9 members to join him, based on what I’ve heard about Jack I’m pretty sure that he inaugurated RR Polar Bear Day on his own that year. At least we can all grin and chuckle at that likelihood.
Getting back to this year’s Memorial Tournament, the winning team of Phil Norman, Bill Vokes, Barry Rimler and John Burkholder enjoyed their day in the sun and shared a couple of laughs along the way. Because, as you all I’m sure understand, a scramble makes for fun time on the course! And what better way to celebrate Jack Akins than to have fun!