Above: Mr. Peacock and his father sitting in front of the Palm Springs International Airport. Of course, I’m wearing plaid and my father is wearing all black and gray—note my rooster toy and my father’s alligator weekend bag on the bench, along with my overcoat.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic golf tournament in California’s Coachella Valley. Mr. Peacock's father played in this golf tournament during its heyday of the 1960's. The Classic was televised for the first time in 1961, becoming a pioneer in bringing the tournament's excitement into the living rooms of golf fans around the country and a prime factor for popularizing the sport among the general public. The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic is well known for its celebrity pro-am and is part of the PGA Tour. For non-golfers, the PGA stands for “professional golfer association” and a pro-am is a tournament comprised of golf professionals paired with amateur golfers—and in this case celebrity amateurs. My father, like most golf pros, disliked playing pro-am tournaments because most amateurs aren’t very good players and the pacing of the game becomes very slow and tedious with poor players.
Here’s my father checking in at the airport (above) with his alligator weekend bag resting on the counter. His weekend bag was the real deal, genuine alligator—not embossed leather. It’s not politically correct today to wear alligator or crocodile, but it was the only “pattern” my father included in his wardrobe. Many of his bags, and most of his shoes (both golf and street), were either alligator or crocodile skin.
Above: He played with Danny Thomas (Marlo's dad) at the Bob Hope Desert Classic.
Mr. Peacock’s father played in countless celebrity pro-ams, but one of his favorite celebrity golf players was Willie Nelson (who’s an avid golfer). He played in at least 2 different pro-am tournaments with Mr. Nelson.
At the airport, with my mother (above)—dressed for traveling. I’m dressed in my overcoat with matching cap and my mom is in her trench coat with kid leather gloves, white-rimmed sunglasses, and scarf. We would accompany my father occasionally on golf tournaments—mostly the ones held at beautiful golf courses or celebrity pro-ams.
Above photo: Mr. Peacock (with chubby toddler legs), posing poolside by one of the pools at our hotel, with a rooster on wheels toy.
My parents and I would always have breakfast together on these trips, usually in the hotel restaurant. Although on this trip, I remember, we once ordered room-service for breakfast—because I wanted to try the cinnamon rolls on the room-service menu. During the first half of the day, my mom and I would watch my father play a round of golf—which is very boring for a small child. In the afternoon, she would always plan something fun.
Above photo: Renting a bike in Palm Springs—I’m dressed in all red with a plaid jacket and my mother is in some chic little outfit and white sunglasses.
We tootled around Palm Springs one afternoon on a rented bicycle that had an attached baby seat and a little wicker basket. My mother always owned a bicycle and loved riding bikes her entire life. Along our ride, we stopped off at a sidewalk snack bar (similar to the old-fashioned Lobster Roll Stands along the coastal roads on the East Coast) and got a fresh Palm Date Milkshake. I don’t know if it was the richness of the dates mixed with the ice cream or the bumpiness of riding in the baby seat, but we had to pull over during our bike ride and I threw-up. The next afternoon we hung out at the huge swimming pool that had an “island” in the middle.
As a child, I simply thought of these tournaments as part of my dad’s job. I believe golf icon and current tournament host, Arnold Palmer, won The Classic the year these photos were taken. I wish I’d kept a journal documenting all of my father’s tournaments, scores and prizes. He won numerous cars and prizes over his career, but unfortunately I don’t remember where my father placed in this particular tournament.
The Bob Hope Desert Classic (now Bob Hope Chrysler Classic) doesn’t seem as glamorous as it did in it’s early days, when my father played alongside other well dressed peacocks like Desi Arnaz, Danny Kaye, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and namesake Bob Hope. Hopefully celebrities like Oliver Hudson (son of Goldie Hawn) or Alice Cooper will dress dapperly in this years 50th anniversary tournament of the Bob Hope celebrity golf pro-am.