Long Ball finally a legend! Congratulations!!!

Bobby Wilson   Long BallsOctober 30 2009

Bobby Wilson, the 53 year old Texan who worked with me at Mad River Golf Club late in the past century, was the first competitor to reach the Finals of all three long driving divisions, the Open (flat bellies all); the Senior (45 – 50) and Super Senior (over 50 -what’s super about that?).
Bobby won the Senior and the Super Senior divisions and only missed out on the Open Championship by a mere 10 yards (to a 21 year old Jaime Sadowski). Billy-Bob hit it 374 yards and Jaime measured 384. Shouldn’t 32 years difference be worth a ten yard handicap? Bobby wouldn’t want one.

What an accomplishment for Bobby (and his family)! We worked together for over 20 years while doing corporate golf outings for Mike Smith and his Swingtime Golf Company. Often we were joined by the Shed (Mark Evershed) and Chuck Shields and up to 15 other US pros. Bobby always could hit the really long ball (his knick name has been “long balls” since the first time he wore shorts) and I always found him to also be a great putter. His problem, and why he couldn’t make the move to being a tour player – his normal wedge was difficult to finesse. Really, how do you feather it from 150 if your wedge goes 190. When I invited him to spend a summer at Mad River I originally thought it might be what he needed to go from being the longest to the more complete player, capable of being the best on tour!

In 1995 I introduced Bobby to Moe Norman and they did a few clinics for Gary Menaul and LYNX GOLF. It was the “Longest and the Straightest” and what I remember most about it was how much Moe enjoyed working with Bobby. They were awesome together.

Lots of great memories flashing past, from Puerto Rico to Hawaii, Kiawah, Pebble, Doral, we’ve played so many places. Congratulation Pro Bobby!
ESPN will reveal all on December 20 and 25 (and every week for all of 2010).
the Longest and the Straightest 1995the longest and the straightest 1995 Thanks to Bruce Crane!

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Gary Slatter

Venerable Canadian golf pro Gary Slatter discusses his opinions on the state of golf, golf course design and construction, teaching and more, based on a lifetime in the business.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Slatts good story on Longball. Still remember doing the show down at La quinta-the citrus course. Playing 9 holes late one afternoon with longball and Sam Snead ( our guest Pro for the week ) Longball took my LEFT handed Driver and swung it lefthanded and hit it by me by 40 yards!!!!! On # 9 ( or could have been 18), it was a dogleg left, slightly up hill. Bobby hits a slight pull hook draw and is mad at himself because he got “too quick or anxious” at impact. we found his ball….pin high about 40 feet from the pin on the fringe. I hit a good drive and hit a full 8 Iron in and I think Sam hit 6 iron. Sam was amazed at what talent Bobby had and I had the week of my life, spending time with the “sweetest swinger”, Sam and watching Bobby lazer it from 370 out. The toughest thing about the week was trying to keep Sam from driving my rental car.

  • Yes Mark Bobby could slap it by me from “the wrong side” by 40 yards…..using my old Toney Penna Persimmon driver. Bobby had the greatest hand eye co-ordination that I have seen on an individual….oh well maybe my next life I will get that extra 100 yards…Cheers

  • Hi Gary,

    Bobby Wilson at Mad River that summer was a sight to see. During the Member Guest, Bobby hit tee shots for each group going through #18 and flew it to the front edge of the green covering the 340 yards. Bumped into Mark Evershed giving a lesson at Vic Hadfield’s driving range on Trafalgar Road last Saturday – he’s been in China for the past three years and sounds like he’s setting up down in the Niagara area. I still use some of the swing keys you gave me during a lesson many years ago – is that a good thing?

  • It was indeed an honour to promote Moe and Bobby through our LYNX “longest and straightest” The following year I retained Moe to a $500 month agreement to help him financially and the following year Titleist in the U.S agreed to pay him a retainer of $5,000 a month.
    Moe was a legend and I understand a movie of his lifetime is in the works.Bobby Wilson os one of the finest gentlemen I ever met and the best at “golden oldies” music trivia!!
    Gary Menaul

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