Stubblefield revived '100 Holes of Golf'
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By Bill Kwon
By Bill Kwon
When they play the Original 100 Holes of Golf for the 26th consecutive year at Wailea later this month, I'm sure they'll observe a moment of silence for Charles Stubblefield, who died Friday at the age of 85.
Stubby, as he was known to all his golf buddies, was one of the knights of the old Columbia Inn Round Table.
He proposed the idea of reviving the "100 Holes of Golf" to some of his media friends, including Bob Sevey, Jim Hackleman, Jim Leahey and yours truly.
Playing in the original 100 Holes of Golf in 1966 were Jim Becker, Bob Herkes, now a Big Island representative, and Bill Schwallie, head golf professional at the then nine-hole Kaua'i Surf, the Garden Island's first resort golf course. Stubblefield joined them the following year and never forgot the experience.
So in 1978, as program director of KHET, Stubblefield worked up a made-for-television deal that provided good publicity for the host resort, Sea Mountain on the Big Island. The event also was held at Princeville before moving to Wailea as a permanent home in 1981.
It has been nonstop ever since for the 100 Holes of Golf, although the players now are more serious types with respectable handicaps than the hackers of old who were just out for a good time. And now it's for good cause, too, as the newcomers have raised more then $750,000 over the years for Ka Lima O Maui, a Valley Island charity.
Stubblefield's son, Larry, has taken charge of the event. And when Larry's son, Shane, a freshman at Ohio State, played in the past two 100 Holes of Golf, it became a neat third generation of Stubblefields.
Stubby's lasting distinction in local golf, though, wasn't for his golf game. At best he played to a 12-handicap at the Mid-Pacific Country Club.
Rather, it's for being the father of the only brother-sister act in the Hawai'i Golf Hall of Fame — Larry and Marga Stubblefield.
"He was always encouraging. (But) he never forced us to practice," said Marga, who played golf at the University of Hawai'i and later became the UH women's golf coach after six years on the LPGA Tour. "And he was a great caddie. Also Mom (Valerie). You couldn't have asked for better parents supporting you."
Larry, whose local tournament victories have spanned five decades, played on the PGA Tour for three years after graduating from Ohio State. He says his father's strongest influence on his golf game wasn't a hard-sell approach. It was subtler than that.
Stubby just bought a home by the third hole at the Mid-Pacific Country Club in Lanikai and let nature take its course.
"It was a wonderful way to grow up," recalls Stubblefield. "It made it possible for us to have an interest in golf."
Having two Hall of Famers in the family as a result is quite a tribute to Stubby.
"He was also a pretty good newsman before news became entertainment," said Becker, a veteran Associated Press writer and former Star-Bulletin columnist.
"He was a strong supporter of the 100 holes," adds Herkes, who thought of the idea because his brother once played that many holes in one day, walking at a public course in San Mateo, Calif.
Herkes has many memories from the event, which he had played 28 times before saying, no mas, two years ago. He remembers the time he played with Leahey when the sportscaster hit a ball in the bushes at Wailea.
"Leahey was tired and he looked like he was ready to quit. So I put another ball down and gave him a good lie. He still doesn't know I did that."
Interestingly, Leahey, Stubby and I each played the event seven times. I've had two unforgettable 100-Hole moments other than sheer exhaustion.
The first was at Princeville when I had a bet with Rick Woodson, the Honolulu Advertiser sports editor then. A pretty good golfer, Woodson had me something like 18-up when I gave him a push on the 100th hole and escaped. A malihini, he never heard of such a thing as an aloha push.
My second led to what the 100-holers still adhere to this day. It's called the "Rule of Equity."
To speed up play, putts inside the leather are given. I had asked someone to hold the flagstick when I was putting. So I rolled my putt to what I thought was a gimme range. Trouble was, the guy was standing 20 feet from the hole.
"Rule of Equity, it's only fair," Herkes intoned. So I was given the putt.
We all laughed about it afterward.
I'm sure Stubby is still laughing.