King of Clubs: The Great Golf Marathon of 1938

King of Clubs: The Great Golf Marathon of 1938

by Jim Ducibella


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It began as a Depression-era, winner-take-all challenge between two Chicago stockbrokers, one of them a flamboyant daredevil with more guts than money and the other with more money than sense. It erupted into a national news story, one never told in its entirety—until King of Clubs: The Great Golf Marathon of 1938. In September 1938, thirty-two-year-old J. Smith Ferebee agreed to play 600 holes of golf in eight cities, from Los Angeles to New York, over four consecutive days. The ordeal meant playing more than thirty-three rounds in just ninety-six hours. The stakes: Ferebee’s friend and former business partner Fred Tuerk agreed that if Ferebee succeeded, he would pay on Ferebee’s behalf a $20,000 mortgage on 296 acres of waterfront Virginia land. If Ferebee lost, he would surrender to Tuerk his ownership stake in the property. Brokers on LaSalle Street in Chicago piled up bets. Before long, the marathon was estimated to be worth $100,000, or well more than $1 million today. Playing despite a severe leg injury, Ferebee faced one obstacle after another, including a gambler’s brazen sabotage attempt in Philadelphia. He started the morning rounds before dawn and ended the afternoon rounds in darkness, with lighting provided by spectators’ cars, local fire departments, or flares. Remarkably, Ferebee never lost a ball. Combining the appeal of Seabiscuit and The Greatest Game Ever Played, King of Clubs will amaze and entertain readers from opening drive to final putt.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597978361
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication date: 03/31/2012
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 1,328,847
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

After twenty-nine years as a sportswriter, mostly with the Virginian-Pilot, Jim Ducibella was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in April 2010. During his career, Ducibella covered more than two hundred professional and amateur golf tournaments. Now a Web writer for the College of William & Mary, he provides columns for The Virginia Golfer magazine and is regularly featured in Boomer magazine. A contributor to Sports Illustrated, GolfWorld, Pro Football Weekly, and The Met Golfer, among others, he is the author of Par Excellence: A Celebration of Virginia Golf (2000). He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Table of Contents

1 Some Real Money 1

2 A Ferebee Never Quits 11

3 Quantity over Quality 23

4 Believe It or Not 33

5 A Trane Arrive 41

6 Shooting Stars 53

7 A Snowballs Chance 65

8 Midwest Madness 75

9 A Dangerous Fog in Philadelphia 87

10 A Ghostly Trail 99

11 Closing the Books 111

Authors Notes 127

Source Notes 135

About the Autho 143

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King of Clubs: The Great Golf Marathon of 1938 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Deepak Menon for Readers' Favorite This factual story begins with a joint investment in a large piece of barren land by two stockbroker friends, and an early unsolicited large offer for the land. One of the friends Fred Tuerk urges sale, but the other, James Smith “Smitty” Ferebee, declines. The author reveals Ferebee's background revealing the basis of the emotional connection that Ferenbee has to the property. At this point we get to know more about Ferebee. Incredibly active with tremendous endurance, he used to routinely swim 4 1/2 miles through the sea with his father, take a 10 minute break and swim right back another 4 1/2 miles. One day, after a party at the local Golf Club which finished in the early hours of the morning, Ferebee proceeded to play an incredible 90 holes of golf at a stretch by the afternoon. Later, while Ferebee is surrounded by admirers, Tuerk challenges him to play an impossible number of rounds of golf in a short time, with their rights to their property at stake. Ferebee accepts, the bet is placed and, incredibly, Ferebee wins. The author shows his great passion and his astounding and voluminous research. In this turbulent post recession period of American history, the story reveals eye opening background descriptions of people and places. Ferebee and Tuerk continue, with their friendship and betting, leading up to one of the greatest feats of endurance in the modern era, when Ferebee takes up the challenge to play 601 holes of golf in 8 cities in 4 Days! Anyone who has played 18 rounds of golf at a stretch in midsummer heat knows that it is impossible, but then 'Smitty' was different! The story leading to the 601 hole golf marathon, to my mind, is a great and inspiring tale of human endurance. I see a glowing row of 5 stars while ranking this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago