The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

September 18, 2007

Kretlow was one of the nice guys in sports

Friends and family gathered Monday to say goodbye to one of sport’s truly nice guys, as the life of Lou Kretlow was celebrated at First Presbyterian Church.

Lou died Sept. 12 at 86.

The longtime pro at Meadowlake Golf Course was an imposing figure when I first met him in the mid-1970s, and he remained so throughout the years.

If you were walking down the street and saw Lou Kretlow, you immediately would know he was an athlete. He had the build, and moved with the grace, that made that fact obvious.

And he was a good athlete. He pitched parts of 10 seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Athletics.

After baseball, Lou turned to golf. In 1961, Lou set a world record when he scored a hole-in-one on a 427-yard par 4 at Lake Hefner Golf Club in Oklahoma City.

Alsie Hyden, director of golf at Lake Hefner and an old friend of Lou’s, recalled being contacted by out-of-town journalists doing articles on Lou’s feat. They wanted to know if the hole on which Lou set the record was a sharp dogleg and if he had cut the corner to save distance.

Hyden said he assured them the hole was a straight-away hole, and Lou’s record drive had covered every inch of the 427 yards. And this was in the days of actual wooden woods and balls consisting of soft balata covers protecting spheres consisting of rubber bands wrapped tightly around steel ball-bearing or liquid centers.

“If Lou had the kind of equipment they are using now, Tiger Woods couldn’t carry Lou’s jock strap,” said Duffy Martin, another of Lou’s old friends and developer of Cedar Valley Golf Club near Guthrie.

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