Four golfers your 500 Festival Foursome Can’t Beat
The 500 Festival Chairman’s Cup is rapidly approaching (September 27) and Prairie View Golf Club is set to host the event for the fourth time. Foursomes can compete for the top score while individuals can bid on amazing prizes in a silent auction and enjoy lunch before the round. It’s a great afternoon with some of the community partners, sponsors, and friends of the 500 Festival, but it’s much more than just a golf outing.
While the competition for the Chairman’s Cup will be fun and lighthearted, the historical connections between golf and the 500 Festival go well beyond a corporate get together in the 21st century.
The 500 Festival and golf spent nearly a decade together in the 1960s. Competition was fierce and larger-than-life personas and legends of the golf game met in a clash of polar-opposite sports worlds. Golf and racing came together in the 500 Festival Open; an eight-year PGA event held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway Golf Course, now known as the Brickyard Crossing.
The 500 Festival hosted the event from 1960 to 1968. Some of the game’s best players teed off inside the oval track while caddies tended checkered flag pins. Here are four of the top names in 500 Festival golf history you’ll wish you could play like on September 27:
1. Doug Ford
Ford, a 1957 Master’s champion with 33 professional wins, captured the 500 Festival Open twice. One of those wins came head-to-head against No. 3 on this list.
2. Billy Casper
A 1970 Master’s champion and a two-time U.S. Open winner, Casper amassed 70 professional victories and won the event three times during it’s eight-year run.
3. Arnold Palmer
Palmer never won the 500 Festival Open, but he came dangerously close in 1961 before he was beaten by Ford in a sudden-death playoff hole. Arguably golf’s greatest icon, Palmer is a four-time Master’s champion and the winner of seven Majors overall.
4. Gary Player
Player stole the show in 1964. A three-time Master’s champion, U.S. Open winner, and one of golf’s most historical figures, Player once hoisted the cup for the 500 Festival Open.
Even though it’s not the same as the 60s – the winning foursome at the September 27 event won’t be thrust into comparisons of Arnold Palmer and Gary Player – the history of 500 Festival golf is one to remember.