BOB WEST ON GOLF — Ray Moore made lasting impact on area golf

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Southeast Texas lost a golfing icon and one of the most classy gentlemen to ever tee it up in these parts, with the passing of 90-year-old Ray Moore last Friday.

Moore, a long-time Beaumont attorney, was best known in recent years for being the co-owner and operator of Idylwild Golf Club near Sour Lake. With the former Pinewood Country Club in dire straits, Moore and Ronnie Pfleider teamed up to purchase and upgrade it.

The name change to Idylwild was Moore’s idea after he and his wife, Mary, had taken a vacation to Idyllwild, California and fallen in love with it. They did drop one of the L’s from the spelling.

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Among Moore’s biggest splashes with Idylwild was securing a professional golf tournament called the Senior Series for a time in the mid-90s. The Senior Series boasted some outstanding players who were just a notch below getting on the PGA Champions Tour.

One of the participants was Moore’s old army buddy and teammate on the All-Army team, Orville Moody. For those in the younger generation, Moody, aka Old Sarge, won the U.S. Open when it was played at Houston’s Champions Golf Club in 1969.

“Ray Moore was a special guy who loved the game of golf as much as anybody I’ve ever seen,” said Pfleider. “Hurricane Harvey nearly wiped us out and some other storms hit us hard but we always managed to get it back open. It was Ray’s pride and joy.”

Moore grew up in Beaumont, was a standout junior golfer, played golf at Lamar when it was a two-year school in the late 1940s, then received a scholarship to play at SMU. He sharpened his game while playing on the All-Army team and wound up in the cushy job of teaching generals.

According to many accounts, Moore was good enough to play the PGA Tour, but the pursues were so small he didn’t feel he could make a decent living. For example, there was a PGA Tour stop at Tyrrell Park in Beaumont in 1961 and 1962. First place paid $2,800.

“I watched him play,” said veteran area club pro Ed Campbell. “There is no doubt in my mind he could have made it on the tour. But he did what he had to do to support his family. I know one thing for sure. You would be hard pressed to meet a nicer guy that Ray.”

Amen to that from a writer who had the joy of playing golf with Moore, and getting to know him fairly well. The rounds we shared at Idylwild and, occasionally Beaumont Country Club, were a treat. And I’m betting Bruce Lietzke has already welcomed Ray to the great golf course in heaven with open arms.

Services for Moore are set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at Wesley United Methodist Church on Major Drive in Beaumont. Later in the day friends of Moore will gather at Idylwild to swap stories.

CHIP SHOTS: Here’s wishing a belated happy birthday to my all-time favorite female athlete, Babe Zaharias. Babe, who passed away on Sept. 27, 1956, would have celebrated her 111th birthday June 26. I’m guessing she could have probably still shot par.

After going back over her myriad of amazing accomplishments, I have narrowed to two choices the events I would like to climb into a time machine and go back to watch. Either the 12-stroke 1954 U.S. Women’s Open win while wearing a colostomy bag, or the 1932 Olympic performance where she won two gold medals and a silver.

A triple bogey 7 on his 16th hole the first day kept Andrew Landry from making the cut last week at the Travelers Championship. However, for a guy making his first PGA Tour start in 14 weeks, Andrew had a lot of positives in shooting 74-67.

Though he missed the cut by three shots, the second day 67 was impressive. Landry will be back in action this week at the John Deere Classic. He’s three years removed from an outright third in the Illinois toureny, after rounds of 65-65-67-69.

The Monday Senior 50 Plus game featured a best 3 ball format. Tying the front at even was the team of Dwayne Morvant, Don MacNeil, Keith Marshall and Richard Malone and the fivesome of Kenny Robbins, Ted Freeman, Tony Trevino, Charlie Perez and Darrell Mouille.

On the back, plus 6 won for the team of Ed Holley, James Smith, Harrell Guidry and Dale Carter. Closest to the pin winners were Jim Cady (No. 2, 8 feet, 4 inches), Morvant (No. 7, 3-11) and No. 12 (3-11) and Ron LaSalle (No. 15, 5-10).

In the Super Saturday 2 ball at Zaharias, the team of James Shipley, Cap Hollier, Derrick Wolf and Randy Trahan tied the front with minus 4 and won the back with minus 3. Also minus 4 on the front was the team of LaSalle, Harry Green, Larry Johnson and Rufus Reyes.

Closest to the pin winners were Earl Richard (No. 2), Price Youngs (No. 7), LaSalle (No. 12) and Lonnie Mosley (No. 15)

The Friday 2 ball saw a tie at minus 4 on the front between the team of Keith Mullins, Glenn Judice, Brian Grant and Rufus and the foursome of Doug LeBlanc, Rusty Hicks, Art Turner and Keith Marshall. Minus 4 was a winner on the back for the team of Cody Jeanes, Dalton Shields, Larry Reece and Mouille.

Closest to the pin winners were Dwayne Benoit (No. 2, 4-3), Ron Mistrot (No. 7, 8-1), Shields (No. 12, 5-8 and Mullins (No. 15, 27-10) . .

The Wednesday Zaharias Dogfight was played in an all points count format. Winning with 32 points was the team of Rusty Hicks, Judice, John House and Reyes. Teams captained by LaSalle and Holley tied for second with 28 points.

Closest to the pin winners were Hicks (No. 2, No 12) and Steve Wisenbaker (No. 7).

Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.