News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rub of the Green

October 11, 2009

RUB OF THE GREEN: Strange stories connected to golf

TERRE HAUTE — Not all things go “bump in the night,” but there are certainly some strange goings on that are connected to the world of golf.

Anthony Pioppi and Chris Gonsalves have collaborated on a book entitled “Haunted Golf, Spirited Tales from the Rough.” With a foreword by Peter Oosterhuis, this book serves up a mysterious mix of spirits and events that would certainly appear to be unfathomable to many.

One story concerns the great Henry Longhurst, an outstanding golf journalist as well as a popular golf commentator known far and wide as the best in the business.

Longhurst and Sir Douglas Bader, an English World War II hero, became the best of friends during the later years of Longhurst’s life. Bader had lost both legs in an airplane accident, but that hadn’t stopped him from making twenty-two confirmed kills while utilizing two metal prostheses.

Henry Longhurst was a scratch golfer who had been captain of his Cambridge University golf team. He also had a German Amateur golf championship in his resume.

Bader, despite playing golf without his legs, managed to bring his handicap down to four. He and Longhurst became good friends who would converse long into the night as they undertook to solve the problems of golf, politics and life, only concluding their conversations at the time their gin bottles had been emptied.

On one particular night the subject shifted to the question, “What truly lies beyond mortality?” The two friends managed to reduce the question to, “Is the grass really greener on the other side?” On July 21, 1978, Henry Longhurst died of cancer. What occurred after that is the essence of a most interesting tale that makes for spellbinding reading.


Doris Gravlin was a 30-year-old nurse who was estranged from her husband, Victor Gravlin. Although Victor wanted Doris to come back to him, the fact he was an alcoholic kept her from even considering reconciliation. After receiving a note from Victor, Doris decided to meet him.

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