Strange But True: King for a Day

Comedian Groucho Marx always loved to play golf. Unfortunately he wasn’t very good at it. In his best days he never managed to break 90.

However, one day, while playing at the Brae Burn Country club outside Boston, he got lucky. He took a mighty swipe at the ball and got a hole-in-one.

The next day, the Boston Globe reported Groucho’s feat. The newspaper also printed three photographs side by side: on either side were Bobby Jones and Walter Hagan, the greatest golfers of the era. In the middle was Groucho. Under the pictures was the caption “Groucho Joins the Immortals.”

When Groucho showed up at the Brae Burn the next day, newspaper reporters followed him around from hole to hole. Ordinarily, Groucho could handle any situation, but for some reason he was nervous. When he came to the hole that he had made in one shot, Groucho blew up completely. He hacked and whacked and clubbed away, and he finally put the ball in the hole on his 22nd shot.

The next day the Globe again printed the pictures of Bobby Jones and Walter Hagan. But in the middle, the spot where Groucho’s picture had been, there was a blank space. This time the caption read: “Groucho Leaves the Immortals.”

From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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1 Comment

  1. The recording of Groucho telling the story gets certain details wrong, such as the location of the golf course and the newspaper which ran the two stories.  This isn’t terribly surprising, considering that Groucho was quite a bit older at the time.  I’ve recorded older folks telling stories of their families and there have been a number of times when family members would listen to the recordings and mention that their parents/grandparents got part of the story wrong.  Also, there are a few sources in the interwebs which state that the hole-in-one took place near Boston.

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