Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
1st edition November 4, 2016
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 and succeeding at the highest level of American 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 and Babe Ruth, and a reputation as one of the finest gentlemen in the game. The book also provides a glimpse into American amateur golf during the period from 1930 to 1950. It contains a 12-page photos insert with 27 photographs.
"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."
"Very well done by a very knowledgeable golf author! Great job!"
"I'm recommending a fine book on an amateur golfing legend from Wisconsin named Ray Billows. I knew ray made a hole-in-one at the Masters and is in the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame. But through author Tom Buggy's exhaustive research I learned much about the man who was one of the great amateurs of the 1930s and 1940s and never turned pro. Buggy provides details of long ago matches with some of the biggest names of the time."