Father’s Day Golf Special

June 16, 2012

Author Feature, Oregon

In this special feature, History Press author and veteran sports writer Bob Robinson reflects on how family relationships help shape the character of athletes and his recent book Golf in Oregon: Historic Tales from the Fairway.

“A Father’s Day Tale” Bob Robinson

A Father’s Day never passes that I don’t have fond memories of my father, Paul Robinson, and the story of what he did on the day I was born in February of 1934.

After my birth in the wee hours of a chilly winter morning, he made sure everything was okay at the hospital and then headed to the Oak Knoll golf course west of Salem, Oregon. I guess it was his way of celebrating my arrival.

Anyway, despite a bad case of sleep deprivation, he proceeded to shoot the best score of his life, a two-over-par seventy four. Even though he won two Oak Knoll men’s club championships, he never was able to match or better that score. I know he tried mightily–right through the years when we frequently played the game together.

Now fast forward several years and guess what I had in mind when my wife, Donna, and I had our first child–daughter Nanette Marie. Since she also was born in the wee hours of the morning, it was a natural. I made sure there were no problems with mother and daughter and then, after a quick breakfast, I drove to Salem Golf Club to see if I could duplicate my father’s feat.

It would be fun to report that I did so, but that would be a lie. About all that I duplicated was the sleep deprivation. I didn’t play horribly but the best I could do was an eighty seven, a normal score for me and quite a bit above my best at the time–a seventy eight.

Now it occurs to me that, without intentionally doing so, I included several references to significant father-son/daughter relationships tied to the game of golf in my book: Golf in Oregon: Historic Tales from the Fairway.

It starts with the foreword by pro Peter Jacobsen as he relates the importance of his father, Erling, in getting him started in the game that became such a big part of his life.

Thinking about that reminds me of a story that Jacobsen told me about his youth when he was playing a round at Astoria Golf and Country Club with his father and brother David. On the third hole, Peter hit an errant drive and, in anger, slammed his driver into the turf. His father responded by taking him back to the clubhouse in a golf cart and insisting that he stay there until his father and brother had finished their rounds.

Jacobsen admitted that the penalty was sheer torture at the time, but that he learned a valuable lesson about temper control on the golf course that day.

Several other fine relationships are woven into other parts of the book.

Such as 1972 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Mary Budke and how her farther, Ernie, allowed her to dig a sand trap in the backyard of the family home.

Mary Budke also got her start on an Oregon public course, Riverwood in Dundee, when she was 8. Guy Hupe, the Riverwood pro, gave her early instruction. She became so hooked on the game that she even dug herself a sand bunker in the backyard of the family home in Dayton.

“I didn’t get to use that bunker much,” Budke said. “The cats took it over.”

Golf in Oregon: Historic Tales from the Fairway Bob Robinson

Such as the encouraging support that amateur Kent Myers got from his father, a school administrator.

Such as Casey Martin and the loyal following he always got from parents King and Melinda as he struggled with a disabling blood circulation problem in his right leg.

Such as my interview with Tiger Woods’ father, Earl, shortly before Tiger won his first major championship–the Masters in 1997. It became clear to me in that interview just how important Earl was in sending Tiger on the way to becoming a golf superstar.

Such as George Mack and how he guided several of his children into joining him as tournament-winning golfers.

It seems obvious that golf tends to bring fathers and their sons and daughters closer together. It certainly was that way for me.

Bob Robinson will be answering questions about Oregon sports and signing copies of his book Golf in Oregon: Historic Tales from the Fairway at various author events in the Portland area, including an evening presentation at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton July 31, 2012 at 7 pm.

Related Posts: Interview with Bob Robinson

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