Pelham resident Douglas Crawford came across something interesting when cleaning out his late father’s house in 2017.
It wasn’t a map leading Crawford to his dad Bennie’s secret fortune or a slip of paper containing the number of a Swiss bank account worth millions.
No. It was something a bit more special. Something a little closer to the heart. Something with a little more sentimental value.
“He actually sponsored the ninth hole at Glen Oak Country Club in Danville and when I was cleaning out his barn, I found this marker made out of wood,” Crawford said. “It had a plaque and that the bottom of that plaque was the name of my dad’s business — Crawford Heating & Air — and his name, Bennie Crawford at the bottom.”
Bennie, who passed away in 2017, moved his family to Danville after he retired from the military in 1972 and became the golf pro and manager at Glen Oak Country Club. Needless to say, he was an avid golfer and upon finding the tee, Douglas was struck with inspiration.
He decided to build a Par-3 hole on a stretch of property next to his house in Pelham in honor of his late father.
“He was the greatest father in the world,” Douglas said. “He was a great man. He was a great mentor and he was my role model. He was a strong-willed man with a kind heart and he taught me everything I know.”
“So, when I found the flag, I thought to myself, ‘What better way to remember my dad than my building a Par-3 hole on my property. I thought what a way for not only me, but my whole entire family to remember him as well. Whenever they come over, we can have a little friendly competition and enjoy each other’s company.”
Since finding his inspiration, Douglas has cleared out the land next to his house, built the tee bot and has had a sign made in remembrance of his dad.
However, there’s one thing Douglas hasn’t gotten around to just yet.
“I’m still waiting until it gets a little bit cooler to do the green,” Douglas said, laughing.
While Bennie might have taught Douglas and his brother, Steven, and sisters Patricia Doss and Rebecca Crawford everything they know about life, he also schooled them to the tricks of the game as well. Making sure he took them to play whenever possible.
“I was about 10 years old when he taught us how to play,” Douglas said. “Then, when he started his job as the golf pro when I was 15, he put us to work there and that was my first job. I actually had to get a work permit.”
“So, he raised me up on Glen Oak’s course and taught me how to play. Of course, I did take some lessons later, but he taught me originally.”
Believe it or not, there was a time where technology was primitive and didn’t rule the world — meaning that those growing up had to find alternate ways to spend their time rather than playing on their cell phones or watching Netflix.
For Douglas and his siblings, golf, along with some of the finer aspects of country life, occupied most of their time growing up.
“All we really did in those days was play golf and go swimming in the summer. We didn’t have computers, video games, none of that stuff,” Douglas said, laughing. “That’s what we spent our time doing and that’s what he did.”
Even though Bennie has been gone for a couple of years, Douglas knows his dad is looking down on his efforts with a smile on his face.
“I think he’d be proud,” Douglas said. “He was a very soft-hearted man, and a very proud man, and I think he would be really proud we’re trying to carry on his legacy with something like this.”
The addition will also give the Crawford family something to do during the holidays besides argue politics.
“Definitely,” Douglas said, laughing. “I think it will be something they look forward to when they come over here. I’ve got a lot of golfers in my family so I think it’s something they would look forward to.”
“Not only would they look forward to the fellowship that we have during our get togethers, but also a little friendly competition as well.”