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MYSTERIES

During the course of our research for the PERRY MAXWELL ARCHIVES, many mysteries and unresolved questions have emerged.  Rather than ignoring these matters because they don't fit neatly into the timeline, we have listed them here in hopes that they will spur further investigation which, with any luck, brings greater clarity.  We encourage anyone with relevant information to bring it to our attention. 

Pawhuska Golf & Country Club - Some internet sites credit Maxwell with the design of the 9-hole sand green Pawhuska Golf & Country Club course (now known as Buffalo Hills Golf Course) in Pawhuska, Oklahoma in 1919.  However, the source of their information is not clear and we haven't unearthed any independent evidence supporting such attributions.  On the contrary, the only compelling details we have found to date about the creation of the Pawhuska course are in the July 4, 2014 Pawhuska Journal-Capital [https://www.pawhuskajournalcapital.com/sports/rebirth-pawhuska-golf-club.html] which, while proclaiming Maxwell as the designer, quotes an early December, 1919 article in the Osage Journal that “M. Brown, golf professor of Muskogee, was in the city the first of the week inspecting the grounds at the Country Club and pronounced them perfect for golf links.  He will be here again next week when he will take up the work of laying them out and putting them in shape.”  While we can’t rule out that Maxwell was somehow involved, given the contemporaneous account attributing Pawhuska’s design to M. Brown from Muskogee, we have not listed Pawhuska as a Maxwell course.

Bristow Country Club - Maxwell is sometimes credited with the original Bristow Country Club course in 1923, including by Chris Clouser in his book in “The Midwest Associate” (2006).  However, the April 17, 1957 Daily Oklahoman references that a “Tulsa golfer – it may have been Jack Hollaway” laid out the course.  Since we have not found any evidence supporting attribution to Maxwell and given the alternative credit given to the “Tulsa golfer”, we have not listed Bristow as a course Maxwell touched at this time.

Pennsylvania Golf Club - In his book “The Midwest Associate” (2006), Chris Clouser credits Maxwell with the design of the original Pennsylvania Golf Club course in Llanerch, Pennsylvania in 1924 based on interviews he conducted with Maxwell’s descendants.  However, an October 10, 1927 article in the Harrisburg Telegraph, notes that Dan McHenry, the club’s professional, designed the earlier course.  Accordingly, we are not listing the original Llanerch course as a Maxwell design in the absence of affirmative evidence tying him to that location.

Highland Park in Tulsa – In his book “The Midwest Associate” (2006), Chris Clouser credits Maxwell with the design of the Highland Park golf course in Tulsa in 1925.  No evidence of a course by that name has been found.  However, there is evidence of a Highland golf course in Tulsa in the 1940s and 1950s.  It is not clear whether this course dates to an earlier period or whether it was designed by Maxwell.  As a result, we have not included this course in the timeline. 

Three Tulsa Courses by 1925 – An article in the May 22, 1925 Daily Ardmoreite notes that Maxwell “has built three links in Tulsa and has done work in almost every Oklahoma city of 10,000 population and up.”  Indian Hills and Kennedy are likely two of the Tulsa courses.  However, the identity of the third course is not clear.  Highland Park, if it existed by 1925 and was in fact designed by Maxwell, is a possibility.

Lincoln Park in Oklahoma City – Multiple accounts credit Maxwell with remodeling the greens on both Lincoln Park courses.  [“The Architects of Golf” by Geoffrey S. Cornish and Ronald E. Whitten (1981); The Daily Oklahoman, May 23, 1993; “The Midwest Associate”, by Christopher Clouser (2006), Pg. 253]   While we have no reason to doubt such claims, no date is provided for this work other than Clouser, who references 1926.  Since the second course was not built until sometime after 1931, Clouser's 1926 date seems questionable.  As a result, we have not included such work in the Timeline since it is not clear when it occurred.  We also note that Maxwell is sometimes credited with designing or helping Art Jackson design the second course at Lincoln Park.  However, a January 29, 1931 Daily Oklahoman article credits Jackson alone with the design of the second 18-holes.  Accordingly, the second Lincoln Park course is not included in the Timeline in the absence of affirmative evidence connecting Maxwell.

California Courses – In “Crystal Downs Country Club” by Frederick R. Baird (1981), Walkley Ewing, the original developer of Crystal Downs, described MacKenzie’s initial visit to Crystal Downs in October 1928.  According to Ewing, MacKenzie was “accompanied by his American associate, Perry Maxwell, who had worked with him on the California projects.”  It is known that Maxwell was in California with MacKenzie in February of 1928.  [Daily Ardmoreite, February 28, 1928]  However, no information has been found clarifying what involvement, if any, Maxwell may have had on any of MacKenzie’s California designs.  Of potential interest in this regard is a March 31, 1981 letter from Press Maxwell recalling courses that his father worked on which includes Cypress Point as a redesign.

Irem Country Club – The May 4, 1931 Scranton Times-Tribune reported that P. D. Maxwell is “seated at the speakers table” at the annual golf dinner at Irem Country Club in Dallas, Pennsylvania “following the opening of the additional nine holes for play” which increased the course to 27 holes.  We assume the referenced person is Maxwell, who often went by his first and middle initials.  If so, it would seem unusual for Maxwell to speak at an event relating to the opening of an additional nine holes if he wasn’t involved in some way.  At this point, his presence is merely suspicious and, as a result, we haven’t listed Irem Country Club as a course Maxwell worked on.  However, we hope to find evidence clarifying whether or not he was involved.

Second trip to Scotland/England - Per Lawrence Journal-World, September 23, 1935, Maxwell “has made two trips to Scotland and England.”  While it is known Maxwell toured courses in Scotland and England in the fall of 1923, it is not clear when his other trip occurred.

Ledger Course in Philadelphia – The December 21, 1936 Hutchinson News mentions that Maxwell “built the beautiful Ledger course at Philadelphia.”  No evidence has been found of a golf course in Philadelphia with “Ledger” in its name.  While we suspect that this was an mistaken reference to Melrose, there remains a possibility that Maxwell designed another course in the Philadelphia area.

Shreveport Country Club – Maxwell played a golf match at Shreveport Country Club on March 27, 1937. [The (Shreveport) Times, March 28, 1937]  He commented that “with certain improvements, it could be made one of the best in the Southwest district.”  It is not clear whether there was a purpose to Maxwell's visit to Shreveport Country Club other than to play in the mentioned golf match.  We have found no other references to Maxwell at Shreveport Country Club and, accordingly, we have not listed it as a course that he worked on.  However, at this stage of his career, we are not aware of other instances of Maxwell playing in a golf match except in connection with prospective, ongoing or completed work at such course.  So we remain on the lookout for information regarding Maxwell’s visit to Shreveport Country Club and any potential connection to work there.

Wichita, Kansas Course in 1939 – The November 10, 1939 Daily Ardmoreite notes that Press Maxwell is leaving Ardmore for Wichita, Kansas “where he is associated with his father, Perry Maxwell, in building a golf course.”  The Wichita course that the Maxwells worked on has not yet been identified.

New Jersey Dream Course – In May of 1941, Maxwell described his dream of building “the perfect course” in the undulating sand dunes of the New Jersey shore, which “would make for the finest topography in the world” for a golf course.  [Ogden Standard Examiner, May 18, 1941]  His plans included “an amphibious plane base so that wealthy New Yorkers could ferry down for a round of golf and return to the city within two or three hours.”  Maxwell’s description suggests that he had already identified a site for his dream course.  But where exactly and for whom? 

 

“Finest Course in the South” – The February 11, 1945 Daily Oklahoman notes that Maxwell had just signed a contract to begin work soon at an undisclosed location which he said would be “the finest course in the south.”  The timing does not appear to fit any of Maxwell’s known projects in the South.  Construction of Lakewood had begun the year before and Bayou DeSiard was still a full three years away.  So what was this unidentified project and was it actually built?

 

Eugene Grace’s Course – The September 21, 1945 Daily Ardmoreite notes that Maxwell designed “Eugene Grace’s private golf course at Philadelphia.”  Later authors mention Eugene Grace’s estate course.  To date, no evidence has been found of a golf course on Eugene Grace’s estate.  Rather, these mentions are most likely poorly worded references to Saucon Valley, which Eugene Grace ran in autocratic fashion.  However, we can’t entirely rule out the possibility that Maxwell in fact designed a personal course for Grace.

 

Meadowbrook Country Club - According to Chris Clouser, Maxwell family members stated in interviews that Perry and Press were originally engaged to work on Meadowbrook Country Club in Tulsa in 1948 and Press built the course based on Perry’s routing after his death.  However, the club credits only Press with the design and construction of the course.  [https://www.meadowbrookcc.net/course]  Since the family’s information contradicts the club’s and has not been verified, we have list Meadowbrook as a “mystery” rather than including it in the timeline.

Oakmont – The October 20, 1963 Daily Oklahoman states that Maxwell remodeled “Oakmont rear Pittsburgh.”  No evidence has been found supporting this claim, so it is not included in the timeline.  While we are skeptical that Maxwell in fact worked on Oakmont, we also cannot rule it out.