Ray Billows - the Cinderella Kid

By Tom Buggy
Ray Billows - the Cinderella Kid Cover

Published by Tom Buggy
1st edition December 31, 2016

About The Book
In 1935, just five years after the great Bob Jones won his Grand Slam and retired from competition, a 20-year-old amateur golfer in a struggling family left Racine, Wisconsin for a $17-a-week shipping clerk job in Poughkeepsie, New York. Ray Billows brought with him a self-taught golf game from the caddie ranks, a gritty determination, and wondrous dreams of competing at the highest level of amateur golf. He brought little else. He arrived at the prestigious Winged Foot Golf Club for the 1935 New York State Amateur Championship in a dilapidated $7 Model T Ford convertible that he intended to sleep in, and without enough money for a caddie. He left with his first significant title and a nickname "The Cinderella Kid" which captured what he was and what he had accomplished. All of Ray Billows' dreams came true, except for one that would haunt him throughout his life. This book tells his story, a story that is sprinkled with thrilling golf, wonderful success, cruel disappointment, personal highlights, humorous anecdotes with Bob Jones, the Duke of Windsor, Babe Ruth and others, and a player's reputation as one of the finest gentlemen in the game. The book also provides a glimpse into amateur golf during the period from 1930 to 1950, including players Bob Jones, Johnny Goodman, Marvin "Bud" Ward, Willie Turnesa, Jess Sweetser, Chick Evans, Charlie Yates, Frank Abbott, Johnny Fischer, Wilford Wehrle, Charlie Coe, Frank Stranahan and others. A 12-page photos insert with 27 photographs is included.

"This is a terrific little book on a man by the name of Ray Billows who is one the greatest but least known amateur golfers of his generation. Ray Billows was an amateur golfer who ultimately, among many championships he won, became a 7-time winner of the New York State amateur championship and also a three time runner-up in the United States Amateur championship, both records that stand to this day. But this is more than the story of a highly accomplished golfer, it is also the story of a young man growing up in Racine, Wisconsin who began to caddie at a young age and through a gentleman he met caddying began a career in the Hudson Valley area of upstate New York with Western Publishing. Despite any formal education Billows rose through the ranks to become a successful businessman along with being a standout golfer, husband and father. It is a feel-good story told beautifully by golf historian Tom Buggy. I highly recommend it and promise that you will not be disappointed."

"As an avid golfer growing up in Ray's home town of Racine, WI, I knew few details of Ray's life story other than that fact that he was an accomplished amateur golfer. Ray was a "poor kid" that learned to play the game as a caddie at my home club--Racine Country Club. About a year ago I became interested in leaning more. Learning his story was akin to peeling back an onion--the deeper you went the more layers you found. Tom Buggy's book peels back those layers one at a time and exposes an absolutely beautiful story about a great man who happened to be one of the finest amateur golfers of his time. The richness of this book is deserving of high praise and Tom Buggy is to be commended for his attention to detail. I would recommend this book to any golfer interested in learning about golf before the days of 350 yard drives, private jet travel with eight-figure corporate sponsorships. Kudos to the author."

About The Author
Tom Buggy is a golf historian and a past president of Dutchess Golf and Country Club in Poughkeepsie, New York. He authored the Dutchess centennial history book, Golf’s Lady of the Hudson. His other publications include The Golf Courses of Dutchess County, Dinsmore Golf Course – A Brief History, and an article about the first six golf professionals at Dutchess that was published in Through the Green, the magazine of the British Golf Collectors Society. At the time this book was written, Tom was leading a project to determine if The Edgewood Club of Tivoli is the oldest continually operated golf club in the United States. This club in Tivoli, New York was founded in 1883, primarily as a tennis club. Documented evidence of when golf was added had not yet been found. Tom is a graduate of Villanova University. He and his wife Jackie live in Hyde Park, New York.
The Golf Courses of Dutchess County
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