News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rub of the Green

September 9, 2007

Rub of the Green: Columnist has many fond memories of George Kaperak

TERRE HAUTE — In thinking about the nearly 60 years that I have been acquainted with George Kaperak, there are many adjectives that apply to one of the most gracious individuals ever to hit a golf ball down a Terre Haute fairway.

George was an outstanding golfer and an excellent bowler as well. He always demonstrated a great sense of humor. It was always a treat to be in his presence. He consistently exuded an up-beat attitude, and I never heard him make a disparaging remark about another individual. These endearing qualities contributed to the fact that there were legions of friends who thought him so special.

For decades I usually began a conversation with George by asking, “George, what are you up to?” The answer was always the same. “About five five and a half.” To me he was a giant. Another of his favorite statements, especially when discussing some thorny issue, was “It seems you just can’t get ideal conditions any more.”

A number of years ago while playing in a Rea Park hunt and standing on the 10th tee, I heard someone say, “George has a chance to shoot 29 on the front nine.” I quickly ran back to No. 9 in time to observe Kappy addressing a chip shot from about two feet short of the putting surface with the pin approximately 12 feet from the back of the green. The chip rolled directly at the hole, nipped the pin ever so slightly and went down into the cup. Seven birdies and two pars contributed to a fantastic nine. Things didn’t go well on the following nine, but George had his course record 29 on the front. A record that, as far as I know, has never been equaled.

George was always generous in helping younger players. Whether it was giving them tips regarding their swings or giving them a ride to out of town tournaments, he was happy to be helpful. It was a treat to ride with him since he usually drove a new or nearly new Pontiac Bonneville. It was nice to travel in style.

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