ALTON - Alton Golf Hall of Fame Inductee Ray Morales recently discussed his golf career, his induction into the Alton Golf Hall of Fame, giving back to his hometown community, and more on Our Daily Show! on Riverbender.com.

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As an Alton native and golfer of 30 years, Morales said being in the Hall of Fame “means a lot” to him, and gave a special shout-out to his wife for her support and understanding. Ray Morales

“I was pretty surprised,” Morales said of his nomination and induction. “Being from Alton, that means a lot. [I was] born and raised in Alton and I’ve stuck around here, I’ve had a business here in Alton and my wife’s a schoolteacher here … we’ve been married 27 years and she’s been with me basically my whole golfing career, and she’s put up with a lot of long days.

“She’s really understanding about that and allows me to have my space and enjoy my passtime, so I love her a lot for that, for being so understanding.”

Morales was nominated by Tom DeMond, another Alton Golf Hall of Fame inductee. Morales said he hadn’t realized just how many golf accomplishments he had to his name from the past 30 years until DeMond asked him to write out his “golf bio.”

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Morales has played on over 100 golf courses and usually plays 20 or 30 tournaments per year, most recently the Amateur Players Tour. Over the course of his golf career, he’s also opened some local businesses - after opening the Alton Belle Casino in 1991, he golfed by day and worked by night, eventually opening his own business with Morales Tacos and sponsoring local sports teams.

As president of the Madison County Licensed Beverage Association, Morales was also in charge of putting together an annual golf tournament, which he said for the past 15 years has donated a portion of its proceeds to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.

“With my involvement in that, that was another aspect of me getting nominated to the Golf Hall of Fame,” Morales said. “I think I’ve raised over $30,000 for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in St. Louis through our golf tournaments throughout the years.”

The actual induction ceremony was held at Cloverleaf Golf Course in Alton, which supplied appetizers and a cake for the golfers. The ceremony itself lasted about an hour, with Morales giving a brief speech. He commended the event organizers and golf course staff for their work making the night special.

Morales said the best round of golf he’s ever shot was at Spencer T. Olin golf course in Alton, where he golfed a two-over-par 74 for 18 holes. Out of the many golf courses he’s played at over the years, he says Olin still stands out as his overall favorite.

“We’re very lucky here in the Metro area, we have a ton of good golf courses, especially here locally here in Alton and on the Missouri side,” he said. “I’m a member out at Spencer T. [Olin] and I would have to say that’s about my favorite, best course I like to play, just because of the condition - they do a great job out there.”

The full interview with Morales is available at the top of this story or on Riverbender.com/video.

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