Some Notes On Perry Maxwell
A little midweek background on one of America's great architects, designer of the 2022 PGA Championship host.
On the way here to Tulsa I revisited Christopher Clouser’s The Midwest Associate: The Life and Work of Perry Duke Maxwell and after finally seeing how transformed this course is, there will be great interest in Maxwell now that we can see his ideas in full form (with all due apologies to past majors here).
I thought I’d share a few favorite anecdotes to embellish your PGA viewing the next few days and to possibly drive you to support the author who worked so hard to tell us Maxwell’s fascinating life story. And I’d also point you to Clouser’s appearance on the Fried Egg podcast that also featured a chat with architect Colton Craig.
A few highlights on the visionary behind this week’s course…
Born in Kentucky, Maxwell contracted “consumption” known today as tuberculosis and withdrew from University of Kentucky, spending the next many years traveling various areas in the Midwest and south in search of curing what ailed him.
Married his childhood sweetheart and moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma in search of warmer weather to aid in his recovery. He became respected community figure as an officer at the Ardmore National Bank and as the spearheading figure driving the creation of Ardmore Presbyterian Church.
He was an accomplished tennis player but his wife, Ray Woods, was concerned it was too strenuous and gave him a Scribner’s article about the construction of National Golf Links. At age 30 he gave up tennis and turned to golf.
In 1913 Francis Ouimet won the U.S. Open at The Country Club over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. The dramatic upset ignited a golf boom that drove Maxwell to attend the 1914 U.S. Amateur at Ekwanok also won by Ouimet. At some point the two met, became friends and Ouimet helped Maxwell pick out a full set of clubs for $9.
This is the point where I point out how those zany Golf Gods work: Maxwell’s design at Southern Hills hosts the PGA Championship the same year The Country Club hosts the U.S. Open next month. Now back to regularly scheduled programming…