Photo by Frank Prager
Rudy Scroggins, left, and his brother Joe play golf regularly together. Rudy sank a hole-in-one last month.
Rudy Scroggins has been a sports enthusiast all his life.
The Alton native grew up roller-skating and playing baseball as well as bowling. His athletic talents were well-known throughout the area. Named bowler of the year in 1958 and 1959, he averaged 170 pins per game throughout his best season, a record at the time. His single high game was a remarkable 280.
At the age of 72, Scroggins is still making his mark in another sport that he has been around and participated in his entire life – golf. He started playing golf in high school and has played the sport regularly ever since. Making it a family affair, he often plays the game with his sons and grandson as well as his brother.
Last month at the Woodlands Golf Club in Alton, Scroggins did something few manage to do at any age when he sank a hole-in-one.
“It was quite a feeling,” he says when asked what it was like. He explains he was more dumbfounded than anything. He says the achievement was the first hole-in-one the two people golfing with him ever had witnessed.
His enthusiasm for the sport is apparently contagious because what is even more remarkable is the fact the hole-in-one was the third of his lifetime and the 27th in his family. He refers to the feats as “all in the family holes-in-one.”
Scroggins’ older brother “Buckets” Scroggins, who passed away in 1996, had eight holes-in-one over his lifetime. Scroggins’ brother Joe, with whom he golfs frequently, has had 10. Scroggins’ son Allen has had one and his grandson Drew has had three. His brother’s wife, Helen, also has one as well as Joe’s son Joe Jr., making the family total an astonishing 27.
Scroggins is passionate about the sport in which he has invested a lifetime of participation. He plays three times a week and coordinates Alton’s weekly senior scramble, run by the Alton Park and Recreation Department. He and his brother Joe golf together regularly. Scroggins’ best scores have been a 31 for nine holes and a 70 for 18 holes.
He explains that he plays all year around, even in the winter. Last year he played 16 times from January to March. This year, even with frigid and brutal weather, he still played three times over that three-month period. Scroggins said he likes the individuality of the sport and the feeling of accomplishment he gets from it. He characterizes himself as a “bona fide golfing nut.”
Scroggins and his wife, Priscilla, have been married for 47 years. They have four children and eight grandchildren. He says he enjoys playing golf with them as well as with his brother.
It is never too late to participate in recreation and exercise and to experience the most rewarding moments a sport has to offer. Rudy Scroggins’ recent hole-in-one and his family’s ongoing achievements in this area are testimony to the satisfaction and excitement pursuing one’s passions can bring at any age.