My Friend and Golf Partner

I first met Bob Poniatowski 46 years ago just a few days after I started to work for Ford Motor Company. We took up the game of golf about the same time and quickly became friends. Over the years we played in the same golf leagues, golf outings and golf trips. We both are currently playing in the same golf league and are looking forward to the spring and summer. When I decided to write Triangulate Your Golf Swing Bob was quick to encourage me and showed a willingness to help develop and prove out the ideas that I had in mind for the book. In fact, these qualities are only exceeded by his patience.

Seventeen years ago Bob was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was the aggressive type and required that he have an operation to have the prostate removed. There were complications and he had several setbacks over the years. New treatments were developed of which he took advantage. Despite a change of diet, hormone shots, shots to harden the outer layer of his bones and others the cancer is still in his body. When it manifests itself, it does it my forming a tumor on a bone. Bob is currently going though his third round of radiation treatments. When completed, there is a possibility that he can have a new treatment just approved in this country that can wipe out the disease. He will find out more after the latest treatments are completed. Despite all this, he continues to have a positive outlook of life.

The one thing that Bob taught me that I always remember is not to rush my life away. I have no doubt that he is going to pull through this again. I am keeping him in my prayers and look forward to many more rounds of golf and laughs together.

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Rants about “The State of the Game.”

On Friday, Feb 24th the Golf Channel aired a show about the state of the game. Several popular Golf Channel commentators were on the panel to discuss the state of the game of golf. It soon became apparent to me that this was not a discussion about the state of golf, but rather about the state of professional golf. This is what I get for making assumptions. The only discussion that remotely related to average or recreational golfers was about long putters and some discussion about the rules. I was hoping that there would be discussion on why participation in down 13% over the last 5 years (3.5% last year alone). This subject is fully discussed in my new book Why Isn’t Golf Fun Anymore? so, there is no need to get into one here. On the other hand I would like to talk a little about equipment and the rules.

It continues to amaze me about all the controversy that surrounds equipment. It was mentioned on the show that the USGA is reviewing the use of long putters. They want to make sure that using them coincides with the spirit and integrity of the game. Who are they kidding? If that was the case we would all still be playing with hickory shafts. It was mentioned that maybe they should be banned for professionals, but be allowed for recreational golfers. Really? Remember when square grooves were illegal and then they were legal and now they are illegal again. The fact is that equipment has got to change to keep up with the way golf courses are being built today. Even so, handicaps for average golfers have essentially remained the same for the last 100 years despite new equipment development. The bottom line is that if new equipment is available to everyone, that is to say so that no one has an advantage over anyone else, then who cares. The same should hold true for professionals and average golfers alike.

One of the commentators mentioned that maybe there should be a different set of rules for recreational golfers then there is for professional golfers. It got me to wonder about how many recreational golfers actually adhere to all the rules of golf anyway. For average golfers the rules as they currently stand slow the game down, are sometimes difficult to decipher and there are no officials on hand to help with a ruling.

Professional golfers obviously need to abide by a stringent set of rules, and those that make the rules always keep that in mind when reviewing or proposing changes. But, I also believe those that govern the rules for professional golfers already have way to much say over how average golfers should or should not play the game. A second set of rules for average golfers may be a good idea, but I certainly would not want those that govern the rules for professional golfers to have anything to do with the writing them.

Pastel Portraits

Realistic portraits have always been my goal and colored pencils provided the means to accomplish them. I developed a method and even wrote a book on the subject. Now, here is the rub. Colored pencil portraits take from 70 to 90 hours to complete and that is more time than I want to spend or have the patience for. Below is the finished result of one that took over 90 hours.

In an effort to save time I decided to look at using pastels instead. I needed to find a surface that would take the pastels and one that would still result in a realistic portrait. After attempts with several papers including homemade sanded paper I think I came up with the right surface. I went to a fabric store and bought a linen remnant and then glued it to a board. After one coat of white gesso (paint) I was ready to proceed. I used brushes to work the pastel colors into the fabric and the results are what you see below. This “painting” took only 20 hours to accomplish. Now I need a subject for my next one. Any ideas?

Natalie Gulbis Poses for Sports Illustrated

By now most golfers have heard about or seen the pictures of Natalie Gulbis in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. If not, you can view them by clicking here. Her swim suit is not a swim suit at all, but body paint. Although she has only one win on the LPGA tour, she has never had any reservations about cashing in on her beauty (lucky for us). Two things come to mind when I look at the pictures. First – Is her body really that free of blemishes? Second, what does the LPGA think about all this? This is not the first time Natalie has posed for provocative pictures and with the LPGA struggling to get new sponsors, why not take advantage of their stars? Actually, Natalie is very active in promoting the sport she loves and works tirelessly to do so. As for the LPGA…they have been quiet about the photos. If anyone knows different, please let me know. I am not sure if the LPGA has anything to do with the pictures or if it is just Natalie’s way of promoting the tour. What do you all think?

My putter affairs

I guess it is time to admit it. Yup, I have had many affairs with putters over the years. They were always exciting, but I never loved any of them as they rarely gave me any satisfaction. My first putter was a bullseye and many years went by before I finally decided it just wasn’t going to work out. After that I went through one affair after another trying to get the satisfaction I was looking for. From blade putters to mallet putters; from store bought putters to homemade putters, still no consistent results. Today I am starting another affair. I went to Custom Golf in Trenton, Mi to get a brand new custom built belly putter. Rich, the owner, took his time and showed me several options. I quickly was able to determine which one fit my eyes the best and performed the best. He then made one up for me while I waited. Oh, the excitement! Only time will tell if I will get any satisfaction and finally be able to say that I love my putter.