A recent column blending Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons with North Texas State College golf brought questions to my mind and the minds of a few readers.
Here are some answers.
North Texas State College (now University) did indeed apparently win four consecutive NCAA golf championships (1949-52), becoming the first team to do so in the modern era. That team included Joe Conrad, Billy Maxwell, Don January and Marion “Sonny” Hiskey; however, at least one published author inaccurately states that “Babe” Hiskey was on the 1952 team.
That could only have been correct if Bryant “Babe” Hiskey had played on the ’52 team at age 14 before going on to a stellar career both at the University of Houston and later as a professional.
To further confuse things, the National Association of Collegiate Athletics lists North Texas State as winner of its national titles in 1952, ’54 and ’55, with Marion Hiskey, older brother of the Babe some of us know, claiming medalist honors in 1952 and 1954.
January, a Dallas native, had 10 PGA Tour wins including one major (1957 PGA) and was a star on the Champions Tour. Most recently, the octogenarian whacked his first tee shot at the Legends portion of the Insperity tournament at TPC Woodlands so far that it brought delighted gasps from the gallery. Said the laid-back-as-ever tall Texan as he strolled near the gallery ropes: “Nobody was more surprised by that than me!”
Joe Conrad was from San Antonio and won the British Amateur, which was one of the original four Grand Slam titles. Maxwell won the U.S. Amateur in addition to both the NCAA and NAIA individual titles; he also won seven times on the PGA Tour and played on the 1963 Ryder Cup team.
My research found no evidence that the Jersey Boys ever individually or collectively embraced the game of golf. For that matter, I’m pretty sure the Fab Four also never took the game seriously.
Be safe, on and off the course.