FORT WORTH -- An old oak tree overlooking the first tee has witnessed every round played at Fort Worth's Z Boaz Golf Course since the first drive off No. 1 in 1930.If only it could talk.Reality television would stand no chance against the characters who inhabit municipal golf courses like Z Boaz, which will close today the way it opened, with a tournament.Much has changed since that day 82 years ago. Herbert Hoover was president. Manufacturing or selling liquor was illegal in the U.S."There might have been a little gambling out here," said longtime player Marshall Price, smoking a cigar while under interrogation recently. As a member of the Miller Golf Club, he said, he's probably had a beer or two also."Liable to. Had a couple of everything out here."The famed golf course in west Fort Worth will shut its doors a little more than eight decades after B.M. Fleming, J.L. Spivey, V.C. Davey and Roy Jones were the first to "test their shots after the course was officially opened on Aug. 1," according to a newspaper account that day.After enduring years of declining revenue in an oversaturated golf market that seemingly includes a course every three miles, city leaders voted to close the course and transform the land that Mr. and Mrs. Z Boaz donated in 1928 into a multipurpose park."You just think about how many people came through here," said Daniel Galvan, 30, who played his first round of golf ever at Z Boaz about 10 years ago with his buddy Arthur Ozuna."Everything that happened the first time for me happened out here. First birdie, first par, first time under 100, first time under 90, first time under 80."A golf course topography that includes a topless club backing up to the par-4 No. 4 might well be a first too.The beginningsThe runoff in the governor's race will be a storm center in the county Democratic Convention at the courthouse at 2 p.m. Saturday. At least six resolutions aimed at Mrs. Miriam A. Ferguson and her husband, James A. Ferguson, will be offered opposing her nomination and denouncing "government by proxy." The pro-Ferguson forces are expected to counter with a resolution opposing the nomination of R.S. Sterling. ... Prohibition is certain to be endorsed at the convention. -- Aug. 1, 1930, Fort Worth Star-TelegramThe Boaz family's history in Texas corresponds almost exactly with that of modern Fort Worth, which was incorporated in 1873, the same year Peter Boaz moved his family to Birdville from Kentucky.The Boazes moved west looking for better fortune after hard times brought about by the Panic of 1873 -- the first great depression before the greatest depression under which Z Boaz opened.Peter and his wife, Martha, found it, too, with their nine children, among them Will, Hiram Abiff, Ex and Z, the youngest boy.The family later permanently settled in Benbrook, though much of the home is now under Benbrook Lake.Hiram is perhaps best known as the president of Polytechnic College -- later renamed Texas Wesleyan -- and Southern Methodist University.Z Boaz, who died in 1935, succeeded in business. He donated 136 acres to the city for use as a public park.Whether Z Boaz was a golfer isn't known, but the deed requires that the property be put to public use.The city and Boaz's wife, Telk, settled a dispute over selling the land after Fort Worth officials agreed to give her half the proceeds of any sale.That never happened. Telk Boaz died in 1970 with Z Boaz a golf course.Today, city leaders might well feel a little like the maligned Ma Ferguson in 1930.The decision this summer to close Z Boaz was met with predictable outrage and gnashed teeth by those who call "The Boaz" home to their golf games.Price, who has made Z Boaz part of his golf rounds for 42 years, said everyone who is in office and had anything to do with this decision is on his "unfavorable" list."This is just not right," he said. "Fort Worth is one of the greatest towns in this country, but I can't believe they'd do this."Cuba McKinney and Jean Lehrer, both civil service retirees from Naval Air Station Fort Worth, were likewise displeased and don't believe that city officials were genuine in hearing from those opposed to the closing.They played their last round at the course Thursday."You tell them I'm coming back to plant rattlesnakes and fire ants," the fiery McKinney said jokingly (it is believed). "If I bit anyone, they'd need a rabies shot."The two said they're not sure where they will take their games."This is my favorite golf course," said McKinney, who added that she always felt safe playing alone at Z Boaz. "I used to come out here every day when I took my granddaughter to school.An evolving courseThe course that closes today is different from the one that opened in 1930, designed by the famed John Bredemus, who also designed Meadowbrook eight years earlier and was one of the first architects of Colonial before bowing out.The newspaper boasted that Fort Worth's newest municipal course "has watered fairways and greens, a feature few country clubs boast. Water is being applied day and night. The municipal golfers of the city are going to find that scores will mount at Z Boaz. It has rolling fairways built around winding creek beds, which afford natural hazards around every hole."The course reopened in 1950 after being redesigned by Richard Plummer, according to city documents, as a par 70. The original played at 71.Byron Nelson was featured in a rededication of the course.Ben Hogan, too, was a frequent visitor.It's hard to imagine that the 359-yard No. 1 (from the tips) was originally a 550-yard par 5.Or water on the short par-4 No. 17, then a dogleg.The only hazard now is the one posed to cars traveling west on Camp Bowie Boulevard. Many a slice has found its way to the unknowing, who let their displeasure be known with a blaring car horn.No. 15, site of the only other "lake" on the course at the beginning, plays about the same as it did in 1930, as does No. 16.No. 2, now a 170-yard par 3, opened requiring a good poke to make the green on the 220-yard par 3.Over the years, Z Boaz has been a place for Fort Worth's youngsters to find their game -- and a little trouble from time to time.Cole Durham recalls when his then-Arlington Heights High School classmate Jordan Scott "caught a 4-iron kind of thin."A white goose picked the wrong time to take a stroll, Durham said. Scott's ball, on the fly, struck the goose in the head."You would have thought he had shot a human being," Durham said, laughing. "He freaked. I was laughing."Scott set aside his game to tend to the goose, which was writhing in pain."I ran up to it and started rubbing it and it quit squawking around," Scott said. "It turned out to be OK."Durham said: "It got up and walked away."A sandbagger, eh?Resilience is a must at Z Boaz ... especially for the victims of hustlers.Gaining fameMary Elizabeth Owens, 17, is Fort Worth's third and youngest member of the "Ninety-nine Club," a nationwide organization of women pilots. Miss Owens earned her wings in the form of a pilot's license last Monday, less than a month and a half after taking her first lessons.-- Aug. 1, 1930Through the generations, another feature of Z Boaz has been the flyovers by B-52s and F-16s from the Air Force base at Carswell and now the naval air station. If a round of golf is any indication, they love their flying on the west side."Hold on. There should be two more," said Russell Bell, who knows a formation when he sees one.He's a retired airman with 28 years in the Air Force and 20 more at Lockheed Martin and is now a marshal at the course.Sure enough, two more jets whizzed by.There's plenty of good aviation-watching at Z Boaz, not to mention congestion in the skies.The city opened Z Boaz hoping to relieve congestion at Worth Hills, the city's first municipal course, on what is now TCU's track-and-field complex, baseball stadium, tennis center and fraternity houses, among other things.Dan Jenkins, the Fort Worth bestselling author and Sports Illustrated scribe, recorded a hit with his story in SI about his days as a kid playing Worth Hills, with all the same notable characters you will find at Z Boaz.Worth Hills, Jenkins wrote in his 1965 piece, had been "swallowed up almost four years ago by the bulldozers of progress, and in the end it was nice to learn that something could take a divot out of those hard fairways.""The Glory Game at Goat Hills" featured Weldon the Oath, a cursing postman; the hard-swinging Cecil the Parachute, who "would attack the golf ball with a whining, leaping half-turn -- more a callisthenic than a swing"; George Repellent, a mechanic; and Moron Tom, among many others."There was also the very good chance that all of us would be in one hollering, protesting, club-slinging fifteensome," Jenkins wrote.It was not a game that "Gene Sarazen or any of his stodgy friends ever would have approved of."It was a gambling game that occurred almost daily for about 15 years in the 1940s and 1950s.The game, he said, had survived snow, war, tornadoes, jobs, school and divorce.The game seemed certain at times to pay for his tuition at TCU and at other times to "guarantee a life of indebtedness.""Either way you were trapped, incessantly drawn to the Hills."In celebration of those days, Jenkins began hosting the Meatloaf Sandwich Open ... at Z Boaz.Among those participating one year was journalist George Plimpton, whose experience at the tournament was documented in Turk Pipkin's The Old Man and the Tee.Pipkin describes the round after an apparent good time the night before.Plimpton, Pipkin wrote, "showed up at the golf course with one eye about three inches lower on his face than the other, though that may have been the result of my vision, for I wasn't in much better shape.""Many of these characters still play golf with Jenkins and the golf course at Z Boaz is no less colorful than the long-since bulldozed Goat Hills track. ... When I played in the tournament the previous year, a guy in the group in front of us found an elderly man's body floating facedown in a ditch on the course."The only bodies Plimpton and I were in danger of stumbling over were each other's. ... George and I played like old men who'd been drinking as if they were young men, and that was good enough for us."It was a round not unlike many others played by Fort Worth's characters, who used the place to get away, fraternize or even make a buck with a birdie on No. 18.The more the world has changed, the more it has stayed the same, especially on the golf courses in Fort Worth.The last days, though, and a future without Z Boaz will be a tough one to swallow for many.A group on Monday sent "The Boaz" off in style with a mini-two-man tournament."Those damn greens are tiny," one said. "And too much booze."