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Sunday, May 22, 2022

A $1 bet leads to a 3-day, 42-mile golf challenge at the San Gabriel Mountains

Goofy stakes are all too common after a few beers, but in October 1954, two golf buddies came up with a stake that turned into a three-day, 42-mile challenge that culminated in the largest sand on the San Gabriel Mountains . The net of them all – the Mojave Desert.

The challenge of putting up a marathon began when 29-year-old James Rogers and 26-year-old Leonard Nash were trading friendly jabs at a bar after a hot, foggy golf game in Pasadena. After being beaten on the first course, Rogers declared, “It was luck.” Nash quickly replied, “It wasn’t.” Rogers said, “I can beat you anytime, anywhere.” “I could even beat you playing on the mountain,” Nash replied. “It’s a bet. A buck,” said Rogers, and it was on.

Newspaper accounts vary on how the bet originated, but it was a silly bet that quickly became a farce. Newspapers across the country will be covering the incident in almost a jiffy.

Rogers was an engineer from Altadena, and Nash was a plumbing contractor from Pasadena. Both were relatively good golfers who shot in the high 80s.

The fairway was to be winding asphalt lanes, between LA Canada and Palmdale, a climb of the Angeles Crest and Angeles Forest Highways. Both men drove to work in Palmdale, so they were well aware of all the dangers, such as cliffs, deep ditches, sharp turns and, of course, mountain traffic.

This photo was taken in October 1954 at the end of the first day of a disappointing 41-mile putting tournament from La Canada to Palmdale on the San Gabriel Mountains. The convertible shown in the background was one of the support vehicles that held golfers. and supplied the crew with beer, and refreshments. (Photo by Los Angeles Mirror)

Some immediate rules were agreed upon, and the date of Thursday, October 28, 1954, was set after the newspapers were betting on the issue and pressing the issue. Both men would be armed with only 1 iron, and a putter, and as many balls as needed. Balls that hit the road, and were not recoverable (in valleys, etc.) resulted in a penalty stroke.

The marathon put match began in the afternoon at the intersection of Angels Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard in La Canada. Fearless drivers passing through a busy intersection may have been surprised to see a small crowd of onlookers and support vehicles surrounding two men slapping golf balls on the road.

There was steady progress throughout the day, despite stray golf balls hitting cars or going into deep canyons hundreds of yards away from the road. As the men went up the mountain, lost balls and penalty strokes began to increase, but refreshments in the form of cold beer and snacks were never ahead of one of the support cars.

Rogers finished the first day at the intersection of Angels Crest and the Angels Forest Highway or Palmdale cutoff with scores of 177 and Nash 184. Considering the conditions of the 9.4-mile course, the score was quite impressive, with the men averaging about 93. yards per stroke.

The golfer and his teammates spent the night outside at the cutoff, and they enjoyed a hot meal and an outdoor beer party before slipping into their sleeping bags.

Day 2 began at 5:50 a.m., and the men and their loyal servants continued to grind their way through San Gabriel.

Pasadena physician John Cross was driving his convertible as an auxiliary vehicle, and so far, he has reportedly made seven trips to Pasadena to restore coolers with beer and buttermilk.

Rogers’ wife, Harriet, was also assisting with their family’s vehicle, and their 5-month-old son, Steven, was a passenger in the slow-moving parade of golfers and cars.

When interviewed for this article, Steven Rogers’ wife, Illian, said, “It was a wacky thing that Steve loved, and the tournament held a special place in his heart, knowing that his father had done something special.” has done.”

By the end of Day 2, the parade reached a camp site about 16 miles from Palmdale, and it took some satisfaction to learn that the third day would be almost all downhill. James Rogers was still in the lead on 332, but Nash was closer to 337.

Despite being behind on the scorecard, Nash was playing well, and might have made a world-record drive of over 1600 yards, if only it hadn’t been cut into a mile-deep canyon.

Day 3 and the final phase of the challenge began on Saturday, October 30, 1954. Both men had eaten 25 miles of walking on hot asphalt and chasing golf balls, and had blistered feet while chasing canyons, and neither slept particularly well in their temps by the side of the road. Camp.

At this point, stubborn persistence and beer drinking seemed like golfers were continuing on their slow journey up the mountains.

The men made good progress toward Palmdale, and by late afternoon, they were making their way down the Sierra Highway, toward the final hole at the Royal Palms Inn.

The tournament took a dramatic turn when Nash was served with a summons between strokes that Saturday afternoon. Clearly, he wasn’t paying his child support, and the soon-to-be former Mrs. Nash took advantage of knowing where he would be at a specific time.

Just before it was over, the day was made worse by a minor accident where Harriet Rogers fell from the car she was in, and needed medical attention. Apparently the injuries were not serious and the match continued.

A caravan of 50 cars and more than 2,000 spectators lined up on Main Street in Palmdale to watch the grand finale on the 18th hole, a mop bucket at the entrance to the Royal Palms Inn.

By the time the exhausted pair reached the inn, it was dark, and Rogers was leading by only 6 strokes.

Rogers took his first shot in the bucket, and missed. Drama and tension mounted, and on his fifth attempt, Rogers thrust the ball into the bucket, winning the match by 2 strokes.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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