1 hr 8 min

George Matson "Golf Shop George‪"‬ Voices of Oklahoma

    • Society & Culture

For fifty-five years George Matson answered the phone at Southern Hills Country Club as “Golf Shop George”.

George painted houses in Ireland until 1955, by which time he had saved $400, enough for passage on the SS America to New York City and a train ticket to Tulsa, where an aunt had previously immigrated.

After placing a small ad in the Tulsa World he received a call from Southern Hills Country Club and began work as a maintenance man. In 1955 he was asked to work in the golf pro shop where he spent fifty-five years with the nick name “Golf Shop George.”

Six national championships produced many fans including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus.

While you can’t help but smile when Matson begins a story, there have been serious times, such as May 17, 1981. That’s when Matson heard the gun shots that killed business man Roger M. Wheeler. Matson was the first on the scene.

George had a simple philosophy—greet people with a smile and a handshake.

Matson’s philosophy paid off at Southern Hills. As good as he was for the club, it was good for him. The club commissioned an artist to make a bronze bust of him.

For fifty-five years George Matson answered the phone at Southern Hills Country Club as “Golf Shop George”.

George painted houses in Ireland until 1955, by which time he had saved $400, enough for passage on the SS America to New York City and a train ticket to Tulsa, where an aunt had previously immigrated.

After placing a small ad in the Tulsa World he received a call from Southern Hills Country Club and began work as a maintenance man. In 1955 he was asked to work in the golf pro shop where he spent fifty-five years with the nick name “Golf Shop George.”

Six national championships produced many fans including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus.

While you can’t help but smile when Matson begins a story, there have been serious times, such as May 17, 1981. That’s when Matson heard the gun shots that killed business man Roger M. Wheeler. Matson was the first on the scene.

George had a simple philosophy—greet people with a smile and a handshake.

Matson’s philosophy paid off at Southern Hills. As good as he was for the club, it was good for him. The club commissioned an artist to make a bronze bust of him.

1 hr 8 min

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