|Original backdrop to the stage productions from 1929.|
|Lobby of theatre with Mr. Dillon|
|Ceiling and staging|
However, George L. Coleman also built a golf course, as a place for his son George to practice, and for Hollywood stars to play on when they visited the Coleman mansion on Rockdale Blvd. In the early 1920's Rockdale Country Club was built. During my childhood in the 1950's I met Ben Hogan, Patty Berg, Mickey Wright, Mickey Mantle and other great golfers and performers. These celebrities, I began to realize, all visited my home golf course thanks to the connections of the Coleman family and my father, Johnie Stapp.
|Dave Marsh, Mickey Mantle, Patty Berg, Johnie Stapp 1956|
Pondering those pieces of times gone by an epiphany occurred. I discovered my next writing challenge. It became apparent that this colorful history of a golf course built by a visionary man in the 1920's needed to be recorded--through research and through the eyes of child who witnessed part of this history. Slowly, I began to dig and sort, through the NewsArchives, notes I'd taken, and stories collected. Then one night, my puzzle pieces began to fall into place, when much like George L. Coleman I found a jewel of a story.
Ky Laffon, a champion golfer, who learned to play golf in Miami at the tutelage of Ed Dudley, spent decades crisscrossing the country playing professional golf, returning to Miami from time to time. My father willingly told stories of Ky, and I'm sure to retold some tall tales in the classroom after his visits.
It is recorded that Ky's uncontrollable temperament more than likely kept him from winning more first place trophies in professional tournaments, but it did secure his place in history through his legendary act of "club-icide." After watching his putt lip out on the 18th hole, and numerous other putts that didn't fall that day, shaking with anger he walked off the golf course carrying his putter. Reaching the trunk of his car he pulled out a gun and proceeded to shoot his putter three times, yelling in a colorful slang the entire time.
Ironically, the same weekend I visited the Coleman Theatre I also laid a personal story to rest. Thanks to John Finley, Rob Kimbrough, and others at the First National Bank of Miami, we were able to lay my father's "Pro Emeritus" stone to rest outside the Dobson Museum in Miami, Oklahoma. It originally had been placed by the putting green at the old Miami Golf and Country Club, after my father died in 1989. The putting green where many a man won and lost bets during an evening a friendly putting contests, where hundreds of people took lessons from the pro, and where famous stars once walked.
Where one story may end, another begins.