The Wewoka Golf, at 3,330 yards, is known as one of the most challenging nine-hole golf courses in Oklahoma. The course was designed by Floyd Farley, originally from Kansas City. Farley came to Oklahoma in 1931, where he filled the position of head professional at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club. At the age of 24, Farley began designing golf courses in Oklahoma. Farley built more golf courses in Oklahoma than Perry Maxwell, who was at that time considered Oklahoma's best-known golf course architect. Farley went on to build golf courses in Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Missouri as well. One of his most unique projects is the course at Wewoka, now known as the Dr. Gil Morgan Golf Course. When interviewed by Mac Bentley in 1997 for the Sunday Oklahoman, Farley stated, "There was a guy who worked for the county named Dean Snider. He was from Texas, and he came and talked to me about it. I went down there, and we stayed up all one night and laid that golf course out, put it right on paper just like we wanted it, and that's the way we built it. I stayed down there a week and got $1,500.00 bucks for it. They didn't have much money, but the sheriff was in on the deal and one day two truckloads of guys were delivered there. They'd arrest 'em, feed 'em and put 'em to work. They just arrested those guys to work on that golf course. And the county commissioner sent all the bulldozers they had, people pitched in and they got it done." Farey was assisted by Bob Dunning of Tulsa, in shaping the greens.
Opening for play on May 30th, 1949, the course was funded from money that was acquired from a $45,000 city bond issue. Much of the labor, equipment and materials used to create the course were donated by the citizens of Wewoka. In Feb 1951, four films were shown in the golf clubhouse that were an hour and twenty minutes long. Dan Langford, the club pro, showed films that featured well-known golf stars like Sam Sneed, Patti Berg, Dr. Cary Middlecoff and Babe Didrickson Zaharias. Members of the Ladies Golf Day were able to start playing after the winter weather had cleared the way for warmer spring temperatures on March 6th, 1951, and each following Tuesday. The ladies had to make their own parings for nine-hole matches. Awards were given once scorecards were turned into the clubhouse in flight one and flight two for low putts. Sometimes a luncheon would be provided for the ladies at noon after their 9 am tee time play had ended.
The Ladies Golf Association was active for many years and met regularly on Tuesday mornings for a round of golf. The ladies would have a nice luncheon to wrap up the day of play. Often, their meetings were held at the Wewoka Country Club. They also sponsored Scotch Foursomes and prizes were awarded to the winners. They held an annual Wewoka Ladies Golf Association Invitational. They assisted with many of the men's tournaments that were held at the Wewoka Public Course as well. The ladies would set up a refreshment stand for golfers to refuel during play at hole 4. They also sold 25 cent chances at the 7th hole for sharp shooting golfers. Another tournament that the women sponsored was the Ladies Golf Guest Day. This tournament brought over sixty women to the course from Guthrie, Bristow, Okmulgee, Wetumka, Holdenville and Shawnee as well as other towns. Prizes were given to the golfer making the longest drive on number one, getting on the circle on number four and seven and for the most accurate drive on number eight. In the early 2000's the ladies hosted the 2 Goys and 1 Doll golf Tournament.
One example of an unusual Scotch Foursome that the ladies group sponsored was on a Sunday afternoon in the late 1970's when the rules for the tournament were for the men to tee off from the ladies' tees and the women to tee off from the men's tees. The main attraction was on the number 1 tee box, where golfers had to sit on a white porcelain commode as they teed off. This awkward positioning produced drives from one foot to 100 yards or more, not to mention laughs and memories to last a lifetime. There was a contest on the number 9 tee box for longest drive for both men and women, and on the number 7 tee box, closest to the hole for men and women. Winners for low gross were Mark Ellis and Madeline Crouch, while Rozanne Turner and John Ramage took second place, and Janis and Randy Brooks placed third. The low net winners were Gene and Denise Stevens, while Shorty and Fay Burk took second and Mary Hague and Lefty Horton finished with third. At a picnic following the tournament, the wives told stories of all the impossible situations their husbands had put them in, either behind a tree or in a sand trap, as there were no restrooms built on the course yet. That improvement did not come until 1983!
Ladies Golf Association Luncheon, 1978
Through the years Wewoka has seen a number of talented individuals who have worked endless hours to make the golf course the best it can be. The first Caddy Master when the course first opened was T.H. "Spink" Williams Jr. He was responsible for training the original caddies, well before golf carts were available. Spink also defeated Dean Snider in a Match Play tournament in 1949. Dean had helped Floyd Farley design the course. One of the first golf pros who was hired to run the course was Dan Langford, who worked at the course in 1951.
Charlie Bland was the golf pro during the mid 1950's. He was married and had two adorable children. Dr. Tom Williams, son of Spink Williams, worked for Bland when he was in high school during the summers in 1953 and 1954. Tom and his wife Darilyn are still very involved with the golf course and oversee the planting and care of an assortment of flowering plants that help to beautify the course.
Another pro was Don Ivey. He was the pro at the course from 1962 through 1971 and he returned for a second run on April 1, 1977. His first line of action in 1977 was to reopen the driving range and begin lessons for individuals and groups. At that time, the Pokkecetu, the Scotch Foursome and the Ferguson Oil Company's Private Tournament were on his slate. They had just planted new "328" grass which was a finer strain of Bermuda. He also oversaw the Fred Dancey Memorial Golf Tournament which was sponsored by the Wewoka Chapter of the Oklahoma Lung Association.
During Don Ivey's lapse as pro, Ken Chesney (see photo at top right) assumed the role on April 1, 1975. He and his wife Joyce took up lease on the nine-hole course to try to make it pay its own way. The city of Wewoka sold them a two-year lease for a $1.00 per year fee. They worked hard to build the course back up. Funds were limited to finance course projects due to slim city budgets. Chesney combined the pro-shop, course and cart rentals with no increase in fees from playing. At this point in time there were 130 memberships.
Dave McKinney became the course manager after Ken Chesney left. He was only the course manager for around a year. The course was then run for one year by the Wewoka Golf Association Greens Committee. Rick Cavender and Richard Norman helped to organize this effort. Each green was cared for by different individuals from the association. At an interview with Phil Brown in July of 2013, he stated that he had hole seven under his charge. He said he stole fertilizer off of Don Ivey and his hole looked better than the others. Phil, Richard and John Norman would steal the water hoses from each other in their attempt to maintain their greens the best. The pro shop was run by H.B. Ramage and Mr. Coxey.
From 1983 to 2002 Phil Brown was the golf pro at the golf course. He retired after 18 years of service. Phil stated that the greens had a lot of crab grass in them, so they applied sand on top of the old greens, but that method did not work. Charlie Bland from Tulsa was hired to rebuild them. The Greens Committee and Dave McKinney decided to make the greens smaller. Bland was going to mix the dirt around the edge of the greens with the sand. Dr. Wayne Hotine was the head agronomist with the OSU Extension Center and the National Green Committe Chairman. He helped with the greens as well. At the time, there were thirteen individuals on the Wewoka Greens Committee. They planted bent grass and then Charlie Blands work ended. The bent grass looked good initially, but the crab grass germinated and encroached the greens. They had to poison the greens to kill it and consequently killed everything. Phil Brown and H.B Ramage reshaped the greens and added contours and replanted them and the bent grass grew beautifully. The greens committee died out when the Wewoka City Council hired Matt Watkins, a new city manager to run the town. Phil said that he was hired to be the golf pro at around the same time.
Eddie Colbert was the course manager in 2002. He grew up on the golf course and worked for Don Ivey in the 1960's. Eddie and his brother Cletus created a memorial bench for their brother which can be viewed at the front of the course. Bobby died from lung cancer January 25th, 1998. Bobby had worked at the golf course while he was in high school.
Russell Bevelhymer was the course manager at the Gil Morgan Municipal Golf Course from 2009 to 2021. Roger Henry was his Assistant Superintendent and Linda Hoover was the Pro Shop Attendant for many years before Russell's arrival and retired during his time of leadership. He once stated that he would have never survived his first Pokkecetu Tournament without Linda's invaluable expertise and experience in running the annual event. The City of Wewoka embarked in a campaign to raise funds for the golf course and many improvements were made under Russell's supervision. He then moved to McAlester to become the course superintendent at the McAlester County Club from 2021 to 2022. An opening at Oak Hills Golf and Country Club brought Russell back to Ada in the summer of 2022.
Blaine Butner became the current course manager in the summer of 2021. Within the month he had won the Pokkecetu Tournament in ship shape and Bristol fashion. Blaine previously won the tournament in 2006, 2010, 2014 and again in 2020. Blaine is from Wewoka and shot a 74 in his first round and a 70 in his second round to tie with Dax Walker of Seminole who shot a 69 for his first round and a 75 for his second round, both totaling 144 for the tournament. A “Sudden Death” shoot out was played on the first hole, where Butner parred the hole as Walker double bogeyed. Both players attended Seminole High School and East Central University. Walker was one of the last golf players at East Central University before they shut down their golf program a few years ago. The third-place winner in Championship flight was Caleb Conn of Wewoka who shot a 71 and 74 to finish the tournament with a 145. Blain Butner has played golf for most of his life. As many of life’s loves begin early, Butner started playing golf as a child. His golf coach at Wewoka High School was Travis Bruce who taught Butner the fundamentals of golf. When he passed away and his position was not filled, Butner transferred to Seminole and studied under the tutelage of Coach Ron Moddelmog. After graduating from Seminole High School, Butner played golf for OU, East Central where he studied Psychology and Sociology, and OSU where he studied Liberal Arts. Butner became employed with Quail Creek Golf and Country Club in Oklahoma City and Dornick Hills Golf and Country Club in Ardmore prior to becoming the Pro at the Dr. Gil Morgan Golf Course. He has worked diligently to get the course into good shape after record low temperatures in Oklahoma in the winter of 2021 damaged many plants and course grass.