Photo by Diane Cox
New Alton Golf Hall of Fame members accept their awards; from left, John Fischer accepts the award for Ed Voss, Bill Malson, Ron Witcher accepts the award for Frank Travis; Wally Ozark and Tommy DeMond.
ALTON – The newest members of the Alton Golf Hall of Fame have a common bond – their love of the game.
Bill Malson, Wally Ozark, Frank Travis and the late Ed Voss were inducted into the city Golf Hall of Fame on Friday at the Rock Spring Park Course. They are the 11th group to be enshrined.
“It’s another good group and a diverse group,” HOF president John Fischer said. “The Hall of Fame is about what people have done for golf in the Alton area and they are four worthy members.”
Malson, nominated by the Association of Former Boyhood Caddies, has made a number of contributions to area golf. The Alton resident, 80, started as a caddy 69 years ago. Then he competed on the first AHS team in 1950 and graduated in 1952.
He also helped get the golf program going at the now-closed Shurtleff College. After that, Malson played competitively in local tournaments and leagues. He participated in the first Gold Medal tourney in 1954.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to me,” Malson said about being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Brother Barry Malson added, “He (Bill) taught me the game 65 years. He loved the games, lived the game and played the game.”
Lee Westbrook and Whitey Hamilton nominated Malson. “He was a golf caddy at Rock Spring Park when it was a country club,” Westbrook said. “Bill wasn’t just a player. He also learned about golf equipment and fixed clubs for other people.”
Ozark, a tireless organizer and promoter, makes things happen, said nominator Tom DeMond, the HOF vice-president.
“He has fun watching other people have fun playing golf,” DeMond said. “Wally is a heck of an organizer and communicator. It’s amazing what he has done. He knows how to pick people to work with him and make it a success.
“There isn’t a golfer he wouldn’t play with – because he gets a charge of seeing others having fun and being happy.”
Ozark, 70, added: “Golf is my passion. It means a lot to me to be honored by going into the Hall of Fame. I’ve been around the game a long time. What I’m most proud of is organizing leagues and trips. I enjoy the camaraderie of it.”
Travis, 91, of Godfrey is a familiar figure around the local course, nominator Ron Wichter said. Travis has played the game for 54 years and still can found taking his swings on local courses.
“He was the league secretary for the loyal order of the Moose District 10 and did their scheduling and scoring,” Wichter said. “He was well-liked and well-respected by all the golfers he dealt with through the years.”
Travis was in charge of coordinating golf play for Alton Lodge competition. It has members participating at the Rock Spring, Muny, Rolling Hills and Cloverleaf courses. He started his duties in 1960 and continued them through 1995.
Voss served as a golf coach at the now defunct Western Military Academy in Alton from 1958-71 and also taught and coaches at Marquette Catholic, beginning in 1986. Voss was the WMA athletics director.
“He always had the team at practice in the spring because they teed off right in front of the Alton High golf team,” nominator John Fischer said.
Fischer noted, “The feedback from the Marquette players suggested that he got involved with them almost immediately. One of the players said Ed wanted the golfers to work out their problems before he was needed to fine-tune their golf techniques. He was a very cerebral person.”