Davenport | Inducted 1993 | Category: Club Professional
Born November 29, 1922 in Keokuk, IA Bob Fry began his career in golf at an early age. At 9, Fry began to caddy and learn the game of golf. His development, however, was halted by WWII, where Bob served as a Sergeant in the 69th Squadron, 433rd Troop Carrier Group in New Guinea and Guam. Upon his return, Bob picked up right where he left off with a runner-up finish in the 1947 Iowa Amateur.
In 1960 Bob became the head professional at the 3 municipal golf courses in Davenport (Emeis, Duck Creek, Credit Island). One of his greatest accomplishments, while a pro in the Davenport area, was being able to convince Arnold Palmer and Gary Player to come and play in an exhibition match at Emeis. This exhibition match at Emeis allowed Bob to begin the Quad Cities Open which is still currently a tournament on the PGA Tour, now known as the John Deere Classic. Because of the success of the exhibition match and the Quad Cities Open, Bob, along with Johnny Lujack, Franklin Barnard, Jim and Ray McGloughlin from John Deere, and Nic Chirekos, and others developed Crow Valley Golf Club in Bettendorf. Crow Valley was designed with the PGA Tour and Fry was able to bring the Quad Cities open to the club.
Besides the fact that he was a great promoter of the game, Bob was also a great teacher of the game. Three of his most famous students include touring pros Lonnie Nielson, Tommy Aaron, and Jim Jamieson. Lonnie Nielson had this to say of Fry, “I learned more about golf in a two-hour conversation over coffee with Bob Fry, than I learned in a lifetime of lessons and practicing.”
When the duties of a PGA Professional allowed Fry to finally play, he was able to take full advantage of his skills. Fry was a very good player and the results showed. Fry was a 5-time Iowa Section PGA Champion, and had an Iowa Open title to his credit. He played in several tour events including the Western Open, Los Angeles, Tucson, and Phoenix, while also qualifying for 6 PGA Championships. Just another statistic to add to an already fantastic playing career, Bob recorded an incredible 18 hole-in-ones in his lifetime. To sum up Bob Fry’s career Joe Phillips of Wilson Sporting Goods said this after Bob’s passing:
“Bob Fry was the epitome of a golf professional. Although an expert golfer himself, he dedicated his life to teaching golf and helping others improve their game”.
1947 Iowa Amateur Runner-Up
1967 Iowa Open Champion
1959, ’63, ’65, ’66, ’74 Iowa Section PGA Champion
1957-59 Iowa Section PGA President
1972 Iowa-Western Illinois Match Play Champion
Developed Crow Valley Golf Club and started the Quad Cities Open, now the John Deere Classic a current PGA Tour stop.
Bob Fry Tells Club Pros What's Most Important:
1. He must be a good professional instructor and know the fundamentals and mechanics of the golf swing.
2. He must be a good merchandiser and stock his shop to the satisfaction of club members.
3. He must be familiar with every phase of golf activity at his club and must understand tournament operations.
4. He must be a public relations man for his club.
5. He must have knowledge of the golf course, and the many problems connected with it.
6. He must understand the problems of the club manager and give him all possible cooperation.