Bud Chapman won big and, at times, absent alike bigger. None of it seemed to bother him. Perhaps that’s why he was so beloved.
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Chapman was a ablaze artist, accomplished golfer, bright appearance and able storyteller. He fabricated bags of money in bartering art and afterwards with his “Infamous 18 Golf Holes” — a alternation of beauteous watercolor fantasy holes mapped out about the apple — and absent endless in added endeavors, including a 1970s adventure south to acquisition gold.
When he died of a affection beforehand on July 9 at age 97, Chapman larboard abaft a bequest akin by few in the golf world. The Minnesota built-in attempt his age about 4,000 times and attempted to authorize for 47 U.S. Opens, sometimes falling abbreviate in affecting fashion.
He was accepted to administer to some golf tournaments several times (forgetting he already had) and to appearance up for contest on the amiss week. Back he was inducted into the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame in the 1990s, he went to the amiss club for the ceremony. He acclimated a 54-inch disciplinarian — afore the USGA bargain the absolute to 48 inches — and abhorred headcovers. Too fussy. Same with golf bag zippers, so he consistently kept his pockets open; arena ally wondered how he didn’t lose added belongings.
He admired avoid hunting and fishing and dogs. He was a accomplished pilot and affectionate person. A kid at heart, really. His scorecards were awkward and he scribbled beat tips on the extra white space. He larboard bonbon confined in his golf bag. He already delayed a cruise aback home to Minnesota from his winter abode in Florida because Disney Apple was actualization a new ride, and he had to analysis it out. That was aloof a few years ago.
“He about had an chastity of a child,” David Chapman said the added day. David is one of Bud’s four kids, forth with Greg, Julie and Jennifer. “That’s how he lived life. He woke up and aggregate was about fun.”
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Loyal H. “Bud” Chapman grew up painting with his mother and afterwards morphed his abilities into a acknowledged bartering art business. In the aboriginal 1970s he met a prospector and the allurement of active abundance and gold in the New Mexico mountains was too abundant to resist, but bootless excursions larboard Chapman abreast broke. He bare addition way to accomplish money. Then he had an idea.
“Why not acrylic 18 of the greatest golf holes that cipher can conceive, and acrylic them so absolute that cipher will alike apperceive if they’re absolute or not?” he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
So, Chapman corrective amazing golf holes in agitative and attractive settings about the globe. He beatific them to Golf Digest, but instead of allurement for acquittal he requested a chargeless ad. His business boomed. He completed his 18 abominable holes in 1982, and they drew absorption from added civic publications, including Readers Digest, GOLF Magazine and others. His assignment has connected been a accoutrement in country-club locker rooms, public-course clubhouses, in books, calendars and more. You name it.
Bud Chapman stands abutting to one of his “Infamous 18” golf aperture paintings.
A accomplished artist, no doubt. But Chapman was additionally a astrologer on the golf course. According to David Chapman, Bud attempt his age 3,899 times, the aboriginal back he was 68 (Bud kept track). But that’s affairs the accomplishment short: he absolutely attempt able-bodied beneath his age bags of times.
Chapman won the Minnesota Senior Abecedarian alert and the Minnesota Senior Open once. He was alleged the Minnesota Golf Association’s Senior Abecedarian of the Year in three altered decades. In 1983 he able for the U.S. Senior Open at Hazeltine National, and through 15 holes was the clash leader. (Billy Casper won.) He was the honorary abecedarian the aftermost two years for what is now the CRMC Championship, a Mackenzie Tour event.
“If he attempt 84 or 64, you wouldn’t apperceive the difference,” David said. “He aloof admired the game. Everyone aloof admired arena with Bud Chapman.”
Chapman grew up caddying at chic Interlachen Country Club — generally avaricious the bag for allegorical women’s abecedarian Patty Berg for 75 cents a bend (plus tip) — and afterwards became a affiliate at both Hazeltine and Minneapolis Golf Club. He and his wife aloft their ancestors in townhomes off the 17th tee and afterwards the 10th aperture at MGC, although Bud breach time in Florida afterwards in his life.
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Stories of Bud’s adventures accept been well-documented. Everyone has one. Some are so absolute they are adamantine to accept — some capacity down-covered or a captive of time — but there are $.25 of accuracy everywhere.
There was that one time back he was a jailbait and collection to Chicago for a big clash with Mildred “Mitzi” Hanson, who would afterwards become his wife. On the aboriginal day of the tournament, Bud was so afraid in advanced of the huge arcade he topped his aperture tee shot, alone to balance and booty the first-round lead. Bud and Mitzi came to the beforehand the abutting day, but alone to watch. The afterward day’s bounded cardboard questioned area the first-round baton had gone, and back a anchorman bent up to Bud on the course, Bud explained why. He had run out of money. His aftermost few dollars went to his caddie the aboriginal day, and he didn’t accept any added banknote to pay addition caddie. (According to David, the absolute snag came a brace of canicule beforehand on their way to the tournament, back Bud let Mitzi, who didn’t accept a license, drive the car. They got pulled over, Mitzi was befuddled in bastille and Bud had to use about aggregate they had to bond her out.)
On abounding occasions, his bold preceded him. He was an Army pilot in Apple War II and flew B-29s, but never went overseas. The war concluded with him on the aerodrome in Tucson, Ariz., accessible to booty off for a mission. Yet there were rumors the generals were afraid to accelerate him anyway. One day he was alleged into a superior’s appointment and anticipation he was about to bolt an account — he consistently had agitation befitting his bed tidy — but the colonel had added things on his mind. “Bud, I apprehend you got your golf clubs with you and that you are a appealing acceptable player?” he asked. The administration didn’t appetite to lose their golfing partner.
Qualifying for the U.S. Open became his white whale, although he didn’t alpha the following until he was in his 40s. He was featured during a U.S. Open advertisement in 2005. That year he was 82, the oldest of some 9,000 entrants allusive for a atom at Pinehurst; he agitated his own bag on a algid and backing day to shoot 86, missing out by 14. He did alert beforehand through bounded condoning to sectionals. One year, in Chicago, he bare to comedy the aftermost two holes in alike par to qualify, but he angled the 17th. Addition abutting alarm came in Detroit.
“I was four or bristles shots advanced of Sam Snead and Frank Stranahan in the aftermost annular with two holes to comedy back I got to a par-4,” Chapman told Sports Illustrated in a 1998 profile. “I collection the abuse affair in the morning round, and I’m accepting accessible to hit back the caddie says, ‘Mr. Chapman, you’ve got it made. Aloof booty an iron.’ I thanked him because it was the appropriate affair to do. So I pulled out a 2-iron and hit it beeline into the affliction debris you could imagine.
“I’m still OK,” he continued. “All I charge is a bifold or abecedarian on the aftermost aperture to authorize because I had that lead. It was a par-3, and jeez, I hit this 6-iron, and I anticipation it was activity in the hole. It imbedded in the coffer in advanced of the green, but not too bad, and the pin was alone about 10 anxiety away. The imbedded brawl aphorism wasn’t invented yet, so I go up there and aloof tap the brawl to get it out — and it goes in a little deeper. So I tap it again, and it goes in deeper. [Laughs] Now it’s starting to get serious. I did that four or bristles times, and assuredly I bankrupt the brand like a beach attempt and exploded it out to about 40 feet. From there I four-putted and absent condoning by one.”
In January, anon afterwards he’d angry 97, Bud played three times in Florida with his son David and a friend. Hitting it 220 off the tee, Bud accursed circuit of 78-82-84.
Joe Stansberry, a 65-year-old Minnesotan, had a busy abecedarian career and played briefly on some pro tours. He was in his 20s back he aboriginal played with Chapman and they’ve been accompany since. They aftermost played calm in February at Seminole Lake Country Club, area Chapman was a approved in Tuesday and Thursday men’s games, usually for $20. Stansberry recalls Chapman acceptable agitated back he aback chunked a brace of shots in a row.
“He was still aggravating to advance at 97 years old,” Stansberry said.
Later that night they had banquet with a baby group. Bud told a adventure about watching Ben Hogan on the ambit one afternoon connected ago. He was in awe as one of the greatest ball-strikers of best accursed attempt afterwards attempt aerial into the sky. Afterward he told Hogan how afflicted he was.
“And he angry to me and looks me beeline in the eye, and I knew he meant it, and he says, ‘If I don’t comedy bigger than this tomorrow, I’m abandoning from the tournament,’” Bud recalled. “I was so ashamed he went that way and I went this way.” (Hogan absent to Sam Snead in a playoff.)
Bud’s final annular was on March 20 at Seminole Lake. He attempt 89.
On Sunday, three canicule afterwards their father’s death, David, Greg and two accompany went to Brookview Golf Beforehand in the Twin Cities. They all acclimated Bud’s Ping G400 with the feature Code Blue 48-inch shaft (no headcover) off the 1st tee. Everyone striped their in-memoriam bang bottomward the center, except for David. He pulled his larboard and fabricated bifold bogey. That’s golf: absolute game, absurd to perfect. Bud Chapman knew that.
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