Age is Nothing but a Number
For many golfers, shooting one’s age ranks with a hole-in-one as a valued accomplishment. But for Bob Whitaker of Pleasanton, who has shot his age a remarkable 208 times, it is a pedestrian achievement: “I did it so many times, it wasn’t even a surprise.”
Whitaker, 91, a former professional at Sunnyvale GC, first began his age-shooting streak as a 62-year-old at Fairway Glen GC in Santa Clara (Fairway Glen closed in the mid 80s). The World War II veteran of the Signal Corps (he was a Japanese code breaker) shot 62 again later that year to start his count. It was during his 70s that Whitaker was at his peak. He was a threat to shoot his age almost every time he played and at almost any course ¾ including Cypress Point and San Francisco Golf Club. “It came pretty easily during that time,” he said. Throughout the 25-plus years that Whitaker shot his age, he kept track of the count by tallying the number on the ball used each day he shot his age.
The 50-year, lifetime member of the PGA got his start in golf as a caddie at Peninsula GCC in San Mateo. After the war, Whitaker worked at both Ukiah GC and Yolo Fliers GC. Among his proudest achievements as a player, Whitaker played in two Crosby Pro-Ams (now the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) as well as the 1957 PGA Championship (the last match-play PGA Championship).
Whitaker continued to shoot his age into his 80s at Sunnyvale Golf Course where he was an “ambassador emeritus” according to Sunnyvale head professional Mark Peterson.
“I always loved to play, and my livelihood was what I loved to do,” Whitaker said.
Golf Got You Stressed? Try Q-Link
Clarus Products, a Larkspur-based company, has quietly built a devoted following of golfers through its Q-Link pendant. Founded in 1991, the company believes the pendant’s use will help align the biofield ¾ a term to describe a growing body of research showing a subtle field that permeates and extends beyond the physical body. According to the company’s research, performed in conjunction with scientists from Stanford and the University of California, when a person’s biofield is out of balance due to illness, fatigue or apathy, that person is out of balance. Therefore, whatever improves the biofield, improves the sense of well being.
The company’s studies have also shown that Q-Link devotees exemplified healthier energy states and decreased energy drains. The calming yet focused feeling the pendant produces is difficult to describe and is often imperceptible at first, but in the long term it supposedly can be felt.
While this sounds like the kind of company that could only exist in California, the growing body of professional golfers who swear by the pendant’s success is staggering. One look at the company’s golf website, qlinkgolf.com, will reveal endorsees such as Corey Pavin, Davis Love III, Charles Howell III, Carin Koch and Mark Calcavecchia. All testify to the calming influence and clear thinking the pendant produces, no more evidenced by the golfer’s more focused reaction after a bad shot. The testimonials also point to immediate success within weeks after the golfers began wearing the pendant. For instance Bruce Fleisher finished second the week he started wearing a Q-Link and then the next week won the U.S. Senior Open.
After being named “Best New Product” at the PGA Fall Expo in 2005, Clarus looks to improve on its recent success.
California Golf Writers Association Dinner
The traditional CGWA Awards Banquet was held the Tuesday night of the annual PGA Tour stop in Pebble Beach at Spanish Bay. More than 300 gathered for the 47th annual dinner, and the usual irreverent and spirited atmosphere prevailed throughout the evening led by master of ceremonies, Stanford University radio personality Bob Murphy. CGWA President Ron Agostini of the Modesto Bee presented the following awards:
- Fred Merrick Scholarship Award – Tyler Galbraith, a senior at Foothill High School in Pleasanton where he is 9th out of a class of 256 students
- Sally Pini Scholarship Award – Linda Ong, a senior at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek where she is in the top 5% of her class
- 2005 GCSANC Superintendent of the Year – Bob Lapic, superintendent at Orinda CC
- 2005 NCPGA Professional of the Year – Jim Langley, the retired head professional of Cypress Point Club
- Jack Lemmon Ambassador of Golf Award – Frank “Sandy” Tatum, the former USGA president who spearheaded the drive to remodel Harding Park
- Rookie of the Year – Paula Creamer, the LPGA’s Rookie of the Year won two LPGA titles and helped the U.S. recapture the Solheim Cup in 2005
- Player of the Year – Jason Gore, whose performance in the U.S. Open and subsequent battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour earned him a well-deserved following.
- Golden State Award – Jim Hanny, longtime coach of the Cal-State Stanislaus golf team and also a member of the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame.
- Hayward-Newland Media Award (golf writer of the year) – Vince Mastracco, co-host of the Sacramento-based Golf Talk radio show
- John Swanson “Good Guy” Award – Phil Weidinger, president of Weidinger Public Relations