Austin titles he won:
Mens City Championship 1944
Firecracker Open 1946 & 51
Harvey Penick Invitational 1948
Mention the name Dudley Kruger to anyone who was around when he played golf in Austin and you’ll likely get a laugh, a shake of the head, and a comment along the lines of “what a player” or “what a character”.
Dudley Krueger was a memorable figure in the Austin Golf scene for several decades. Besides being a fine player, Dudley created memories for all with his likeable character, jive talk, trick shots and love of the game. Click on the following audio file to hear Bill Gainer’s and Billy Clagett’s recollections of Dudley Kruger. Gainer, Clagett on Dudley Krueger
As a player Dudley was known as a long hitter, a fine ball striker and excellent wedge player. He also had a fondness of hitting trick shots or unusual shots such as teeing his ball up on coke bottles or playing shots left handed. His contemporaries of the time included Walter Benson, George Seaholm Jr. and Tom Miller Jr. All of these players were dominant players in their time. The point here is that Krueger played against excellent competition and compiled a fine record.
It is noteworthy that most of the bigger titles in Austin were played in a match play format up until stroke play took over as the preferred format. The city championship would take a month to six weeks to play out. There was a qualifying round to determine what flight players would be in and then matches began and would be played mostly on weekends, with each round of matches gaining in attention and media coverage.
Matches generally started in late July or early August and ended in late August or early September. Because of this format and the resulting press coverage over a period of weeks, the galleries would often be quite large for the semi-finals and finals of the city championship and the Firecracker Open, known at the 4th of July Tournament at that time. Although most of the city championship matches were played at Lions Municipal, they would on occasion be switched to another course in the middle of the tournament. The final match of the city championship was contested over 36 holes.
The 1944 City Championship was played against the backdrop of World War II. The war was coming to a close at the time Krueger won his only city championship. It is difficult to imagine nearly seven decades later what those times might have been like and how it affected the golf tournaments of the day. One might speculate for example on how available golf balls were at the time and how rationing might have effected transportation and the sense of community. The equipment was certainly different as modern day balls and clubs have provided players with easier to hit drivers, longer and straighter golf ball flight and better wedges.
Aside from his golfing prowess, Dudley had a style and left an impression. He was often seen wearing a narrow brimmed straw hat and smoking a cheap cigar and spitting out a non stop stream of “cool” chatter with saying that he originated such as “Kitchy Ko Ko Babe” and “Ching-a-Linged”. The chatter was infectious and golfers around town had fun bantering with Dudley and using some of the expressions he originated. Click on the following audio clip to hear Billy Clagett’s comments on Dudley’s Jive talk. Clagett on Dudley Krueger.
Troubled with some learning challenges Dudley worked for the U.S. Post Office until the Civil Service Exam was instituted. He was unable to pass that exam because of his inability to read. That prompted a change in his employment and he went to work as a janitor for the University of Texas and worked there until he retired
His work schedule allow him to practice during the day and work at night so he seemed ever present at Lions Municipal and later at Morris Williams Golf Course when it was built. This schedule also allowed Dudley to be present when the junior golfers were on the course in the afternoons and he often played with the junior players and tried to help with their games. He was known as a individual with a kind heart, although he did have his quirky behaviors.
Dudley never had a drivers license because of his inability to pass the drivers license test. However, he managed to get around town by riding with golfing buddies or friends and using public transportation. It never seemed to inhibit his ability to get around town or to obtain transportation to golf tournaments. He was well liked and knew a lot of people who were willing to give him rides. And in those days sharing rides was a common state of affairs because of war time pressures and because Austin was a smaller community. One Dudley’s characteristics was that he always attended the funerals of golfers he knew. He was well liked among the golfing community.
He was also known a quite a dancer. During the years when the “Bar-B-Que Circuit” was in full swing in Texas and players would go to small towns to play in golf tournaments that often included a dance, Dudley was known to be very good at boot scooting in the saw dust. And, on occasions when dances were held at Lions Municipal as part of a golf tournament or community activity, Dudley was likely to be on the dance floor
There are a lot of stories about Dudley and we hope to collect more of those stories over time from people who knew Dudley or played with him. If you have a story you would like to add to our collection, please contact us and we will make an effort to add it to the following contributions from players that knew Dudley.
Ben Crenshaw on Dudley Krueger Live at Maudie’s Mexican Food Restrauant near Muny, Crenshaw tells the story of UT Players Billy Munn and Randy Geiselman playing with Dudley Krueger and Gib Kizer at Muny. Munn is new to town and unfamiliar with Dudley. The story starts with Munn and Geiselman en route to the golf course from the UT campus.
Please feel free to relate your comments about Dudley in the comment section below or call Mike Allen at 512-796-8939 and you can record an audio file over the telephone by simply telling the story. It can then be added to these stories about Dudley.