Hole #14: In the Style of Perry Maxwell (1879-1952)
Oklahoma banker Perry Maxwell took up golf in 1909. Four years later, he began turning the family farm into Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club. He retired from banking after his wife’s death in 1919, toured Europe and Britain to study their courses, then formed a golf design company in Tulsa. Over 30 years, Maxwell designed 70 courses and remodeled 50 others. His best include Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, Southern Hills in Tulsa, Old Town in North Carolina, the original 9 at Prairie Dunes in Kansas, and a crucial addition to Colonial in Fort Worth. In the late 1920s, Maxwell became the Midwest design partner of Alister Mackenzie. They did only a few courses together, notably Crystal Downs and the University of Michigan. After Mackenzie’s death, Maxwell handled the revision of several holes at Augusta National. In 1945, he had a leg amputated, but it slowed him down only a bit. After World War II, his son Press Maxwell joined him in the business. Five years after Perry’s death, Press added a second 9 to Prairie Dunes. Even members can’t tell the newer holes from the older ones.
Our 14th combines Maxwell’s preference for long par-4’s on gracefully rolling ground, his “clamshell,” bunkering style and his most famous trademark, the wildly contoured greens that a writer of his day dubbed, “Maxwell Rolls,” a play on words of two popular automobiles of the time. In his day, fairways weren’t often irrigated, and one could roll a ball onto the green. We canted the left side of the fairway just short of the green to accomplish the same sort of shot in this age of lush fairways.