The Strange Story Of The Masked Wrestler Who Brought Park Golf To The United States


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On January 7th, 1984, Dick Beyer — AKA “The Destroyer,” AKA “Dr. X” —
wrestled an extremely bland Mike Davis on a television taping of Championship Wrestling From Florida, in one of the most head-scratching matches I’ve ever seen.

But it’s not nearly as bananas as The Destroyer/Dr. X’s second career, after he left wrestling behind him.

In this nearly seven-minute match, at no point am I ever sure exactly what kind of match this is supposed to be. Is it to get the Bitchy Resting Face Ryan Hitchcock version of Mike Davis over with only-big-toe-connecting dropkicks and thigh-gap-landing sentons? Is it meant to be a technically sound amateur mat wrestling match where only one guy does any wrestling holds? Is this some sort of bizarre reverse squash? It’s like two matches happening at the same time, and ends up being no match at all. It’s the wrestling equivalent of the Norm MacDonald joke about two sports that don’t go together.

Did both Dr. X and Mike Davis have backstage heat and they sent them out there as punishment? It’s super impressive to me that a little over a year later, one of these guys was one half of a crazy-over tag team that was tearing it up in the NWA in a tag match with the Ragin’ Bull and Magnum TA. And it isn’t the guy in the cool mask.

So whatever became of Dr. X? Well, Dr. X semi-retired in 1984, and then waited nearly three decades before he entered into his other mix-and-match sports endeavor. In 2013, he opened Destroyer Park Golf in Akron, New York. Because when you think of golf, you think of a terrifying old-school masked wrestler.

That is amazing. That is a local news report about an octogenarian masked wrestler introducing a Japanese mash-up of croquet and mini-golf to America. Beyer runs Destroyer Park Gold with his daughter, which sits on land he owns, two houses down from where he lives.

Speaking as a comedy feature filmmaker, this is a goddamn chip shot. This is the best Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn movie that never got made. Christine Taylor was born to play the role of the daughter. Tell me you wouldn’t gladly pay $15 plus parking to see Robert DeNiro walk around in a Destroyer mask for 90 minutes, you goddamn liar. Why have I never heard of this sport before?

Park Golf is a form of golf that is played in a park (you don’t say?), and was invented in Makubetsu, Hokkaido, Japan in 1983. Players of Park Golf are known as “Parkers” (you don’t say?). There are over 1300 park golf courses in Japan alone and nearly 700,000 players worldwide (you don’t say … wait, what? Holy shit, really? Awesome.)

Are we entirely sure that video above wasn’t the exposition section from the first act of Destroyer Park Golf: The Movie? If you wanted to do the indie version of this, you’d just hire Ken Jeong to be the head of the Park Golf Association of Japan for two days of principal photography so you could put him on the DVD art.

Hell, if you wanted to really go nuts, track down a copy of A Flower Blooms in Poloshiri Park (good luck) which apparently is a novel set in a park golf course. See if Ang Lee wants to go back to his roots and do a quiet drama for $500K. Cast Kelly Marie Tran as a young Vietnamese-American prodigy who uses park golf as a way to escape her demons, then shut up and take my money.

There are many, many wrestlers who retire and open their own gym or themed restaurant, but there is only one wrestler-owned-and-operated park golf course in the world. Let us revisit his final farewell match in Japan and thank god for the Destroyer’s post-career pursuits. Who wants to road trip to Akron, NY and play a round or 40 while the cameras roll? We’ll film it on 70mm and shoot it like Lawrence of Arabia meets Darkon.

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