News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rub of the Green

July 26, 2008

Rub of the Green: A storied course in Casey, Illinois

The Casey Country Club, located in eastern Illinois, has long been a favorite venue for Terre Haute divot diggers for more than five decades.

After Gene Verostko, with a 6 under par 29 on one nine, won the first Casey Open in 1951, the tourney routinely has attracted at least 25 to 30 players from Terre Haute each year and sometimes more.

Three Terre Haute professionals, Red Wiley, Bill Holloway and Virgil Morey, respectively served stints as Casey Country Club professionals through the years.

A unique format for the 18 hole tournament allows golfers to play their rounds on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. A total entry of more than 300 players has not been uncommon. With home cooked food in the clubhouse along with liquid refreshments, a good time always has been enjoyed by all participants, male and female.

The nine-hole course consistently has been in pristine condition, and the layout was transformed from an easy nine holes to a much sterner test a few years back. An example would be that 64 was good only for a tie for first place in 1962 whereas a 69 would qualify for a two-stroke win in 1992.

Much of the history surrounding Casey Country Club involves Don Fairfield, a friend of several Terre Haute players. Don took the professional’s job at Casey in 1954. That same year he drove to California and played the winter tour without much luck.

Back in Casey the following year, he won the Lawrenceville Open and finished runner-up in the Vincennes Open. Both tournaments were favorites of many Terre Haute golfers.

In 1955 Fairfield advanced to the quarterfinals of the National PGA Championship, which gave him a year’s exemption on tour along with an invitation to The Masters.

After resigning as C.C.C. pro, in October 1955, Don tied for first in the West Palm Beach Open, but lost to Al Besselink in a playoff.

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