News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Fields of Sports

July 4, 2009

Rub of the Green: Looking back at nearly 90 years of Kaperak excellence in Indiana, Illinois golf

TERRE HAUTE — For nearly 90 years the surname “KAPERAK” has signified legendary golfers who have made their marks in competition in Indiana as well as Illinois.

Mike Kaperak caddied at the Country Club of Terre Haute as a youngster. Later, as a talented player, he went on to win two Terre Haute City Golf Championships. In the mid-1940s Mike was named the head professional at Rea Park Golf Course and relinquished his amateur standing.

Mike’s younger brother, George, followed in Mike’s footsteps as he, too, caddied at Allendale and later captured two city stroke play titles of his own as well as three city match play championships. George also claimed a number of other amateur victories.

It was in the 1953 Casey (Ill.) Open that George won the amateur division and Mike took first place among the professionals. This tourney would at times attract 300 players who could play their 18 hole rounds on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Dozens of Terre Haute golfers have routinely streamed to Casey for this annual event.

To say that the Casey Open was a popular tournament would be a masterpiece of understatement, and for the Kaperak brothers to annex both the amateur and professional divisions was icing on the cake. Mike and George hosted a party that lasted into the “wee hours” at the conclusion of play.

Mike and George Kaperak were two of eight brothers. Frank, Ted and Paul played golf on a semi-regular basis although not at a level demonstrated by George and Mike. Steve, Pete and John played occasionally.

Since George Kaperak was a bachelor and Mike and his wife, Louise, had no children, it would be up to another brother, Frank, to keep alive the Kaperak legacy of outstanding golfers. Frank and his wife, Eleanor, were parents of Joe, Frank Jr., Dennis, Teddy and Tina. Dennis has three children, James, Jessica and Kalea. Both James and Jessica are Terre Haute North students who play on North’s boys’ and girls’ golf teams respectively.

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