King of Clubs


King of Clubs

The Great Golf Marathon of 1938

Jim Ducibella

168 pages


March 2012


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

February 2012


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

It began as a Depression-era, winner-take-all challenge between two Chicago stockbrokers, one of them a flamboyant daredevil with more guts than money and the other with more money than sense. It erupted into a national news story, one never told in its entirety—until King of Clubs: The Great Golf Marathon of 1938. In September 1938, thirty-two-year-old J. Smith Ferebee agreed to play 600 holes of golf in eight cities, from Los Angeles to New York, over four consecutive days. The ordeal meant playing more than thirty-three rounds in just ninety-six hours. The stakes: Ferebee’s friend and former business partner Fred Tuerk agreed that if Ferebee succeeded, he would pay on Ferebee’s behalf a $20,000 mortgage on 296 acres of waterfront Virginia land. If Ferebee lost, he would surrender to Tuerk his ownership stake in the property. Brokers on LaSalle Street in Chicago piled up bets. Before long, the marathon was estimated to be worth $100,000, or well more than $1 million today. Playing despite a severe leg injury, Ferebee faced one obstacle after another, including a gambler’s brazen sabotage attempt in Philadelphia. He started the morning rounds before dawn and ended the afternoon rounds in darkness, with lighting provided by spectators’ cars, local fire departments, or flares. Remarkably, Ferebee never lost a ball. Combining the appeal of Seabiscuit and The Greatest Game Ever Played, King of Clubs will amaze and entertain readers from opening drive to final putt.

Author Bio

After twenty-nine years as a sportswriter, mostly with the Virginian-Pilot, Jim Ducibella was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in April 2010. During his career, Ducibella covered more than two hundred professional and amateur golf tournaments. Now a Web writer for the College of William & Mary, he provides columns for The Virginia Golfer magazine and is regularly featured in Boomer magazine. A contributor to Sports Illustrated, GolfWorld, Pro Football Weekly, and The Met Golfer, among others, he is the author of Par Excellence: A Celebration of Virginia Golf (2000). He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.


"Jim Ducibella has always brought humor and style to both his writing and his reporting, and King of Clubs is an example of that. There’s no doubt in my mind that those who read it will feel the same way as I do long before they finish the book."—John Feinstein, author of A Good Walk Spoiled, The Majors, and A Season on the Brink

"Jim Ducibella exhibits the same skill, insight, and attention to detail in reporting the incredible story of Smith Ferebee’s golf marathon as he displayed in two decades of covering the Washington Redskins."—Joe Gibbs, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and owner, Joe Gibbs Racing

"We live in an age of sport where we feel we have seen it all and heard it all. Not so fast, my friend! Jim Ducibella has unearthed a remarkable story. If it happened today, it would be the talk of the print, broadcast, and Internet worlds! Don’t bet against Ferebee, and don’t bet against Ducibella bringing you this incredible story with a reporter’s keen eye for detail and a mesmerizing writing style that makes this a sports lover’s page-turner. Amazing golf history!"—Bob Rathbun, eight-time Emmy Award–winning play-by-play announcer, Fox Sports Net

"That special synergy between playing golf and a good wager come together in Jim Ducibella’s talented storytelling in King of Clubs. This piece of golf Americana adds to the true passion and lore of the game. It is a wonderful read!"—Amy Alcott, member of the World Golf Hall of Fame

"Jim Ducibella knows how to tell a story, and he has a great one to tell in the saga of marathon golfer Smitty Ferebee. He takes us along on the cross-country adventure, introducing several fascinating characters along the way."—Scott Donaldson, author of John Cheever: A Biography and Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days