This Day in History

This Day in History (1968): Rolling Hills golfers beat Charlie Johnson

Retiring golf club president gives fellow golfers an opportunity to defeat links standout.

This Day in History (1968): Rolling Hills golfers beat Charlie Johnson

From the July 31, 1968, edition of the Sun and Flare

It was a sad event last Friday morning on the Rolling Hills Country Club links as Charles A. Johnson, past club president, trudged the final nine holes of his desert golf career in an effort to defeat some 55 fellow golfers and friends.


The spectacle was lightened somewhat by the sigh of special caddies engaged to provide Johnson with shade under a beach umbrella and to keep him cool with a palm frond fan.


The event got underway at 5 a.m. when Johnson approached the first tee with head high and stomach sagging. Selecting a wood, he stroked the ball in his familiar lunging fashion and watched unbelievingly as the ball exploded in mid-flight, leaving a trail of green smoke in its wake, finally settling to the ground under the fluttering of the Stars and Stripes. 


For playing a second ball, he incurred a two-stroke penalty. And that' the way his round went -- a penalty for putting out of turn, a penalty for making derogatory remarks about his opponents, for climbing a tee box while the foursome ahead was still on the next green. 


He was also penalized for delay of play while his picture was being taken, for playing a shot over after one of the gallery inadvertently moved his ball, and for an infrequently called rule violation covering improper dress.


As he approached the ninth and final green, he was received by a cheering crowd, most of whom were wearing their trophy of the day - a white T-shirt with big block letters spelling out: "I BEAT CHARLIE JOHNSON." 


And indeed they had.


Caption for top photo: A GLEEFUL GROUP OF GALLANT GOLFERS garbed in "I Beat Charlie Johnson" T-shirts greets the retiring past president of Rolling Hills Country Club as he gamely approaches the final green. Charlie's gross score of 37, which soared to a 52 due to "penalty" strokes, proved that the only way to beat Charlie is with a pencil.


Also on this date

2012 Swimmer Michael Phelps breaks the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the most medals won at the Olympics


2006 Fidel Castro hands over power to his brother, Raul, in Cuba


1992 The country of Georgia joins the United Nations


1987 A tornado tears through Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada, killing 27 people


1971 Apollo 15 astronauts become the first to ride in a lunar rover


1965 English author and film producer J.K. Rowling is born at Yate, Gloucestershire, England


1948 At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport is dedicated. It will later be renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport.


1945 Pierre Laval, the fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrenders to Allied soldiers in Austria


1941 Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goring orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question."


1932 The Nazi Party wins more than 38% of the vote in German elections


1874 Patrick Francis Healy becomes the first African-American inaugurated as president of a predominantly white university, Georgetown University


1856 Christchurch, New Zealand, is chartered as a city


1790 The first U.S. patent is issued, to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process


1715 Seven days after a Spanish treasure fleet of 12 ships leaves Havana, Cuba, for Spain, 11 of them sink in a storm off the coast of Florida. Centuries later, treasure is salvaged from their wreckage.


1498 On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to discover the island of Trinidad


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