In the Masters? – Nope. No Golf. Not This Year

Not Going to the Masters

What did they tell me when I asked about playing in the Masters?  Nope. Not this year – or any.  You’re not even in the PGA.   Who was I informed by?  My old golfing boss who ran the golf driving range where I had worked.   Twice I asked him why and the third time he told me:  “Well, when you putt you are trying to putt straight, just like you are shooting arrows.” He said, “with all your practice you’d think you would be getting closer to the hole.”  But I wasn’t.  I still hadn’t learned to hook properly either on the greens or on the fairways.  At least I don’t cry after my sixth putt to the flag.  

(golf painting speed painting time lapse demo 35 seconds)

The fairway – I don’t spend much time there.  I’m usually off to looking for my golf ball on either the left or right side of all that nice green grass.  And I walk the course, never using a caddy.  I have enough people in a foursome to laugh at my play – I don’t want to be paying for one more person to join in on the laugh track.  I lug that bag myself – with two ball retrievers – just in case I break one.

I’m not saying I don’t take my game seriously.  I do – I do everything possible to lower my scores.  I go to the driving range almost every day to hit a bucket of balls, bouncing them off of the golf picker out around a hundred and sixty yards - which is about as far as I can drive a ball.   I take lessons from a golf pro.  At least I think he is a pro because he does wear Bermuda shorts.  And the best thing I do to lower my score is to cheat.  Yeah, cheat.  Some days you’d think I was playing soccer out there, the way I can kick a ball around.  And I am good with a pencil too.  I certainly know how to add.  But I am much, much better at subtraction.

About the painting in the golf video


So where does all of this leave me?  Painting.  To relax I was told by my doctor take golf. It can be a relaxing hobby.  Nope.  Not relaxing.  So I took up painting.  The time lapse golf video you see here is a sample of what I do with paint.  It’s short – the demonstration is about 35 seconds and the actual sports art is about seven feet.  If you are on my blog you surely know that I am a sports artist, painting professionally for sports stadiums and arenas and other commercial projects.  I take commissions and would be happy to do a sports selfie of you playing your favorite sport.  You can reach me through my contact pages and I will be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.

Golf painting of boy golfer Bear Huff swinging a golf club art


Sports Artist John Robertson with painting of a boy swinging
 golf club for a long drive.
Sonia posted a photograph of her son Bear Huff , This is what she said  "This is my son playing in the World Jr Masters Golf Tournament in Las Vegas, NV last year at 9 years old boy. Bear has been playing golf since he was 1 1/2 and in tournaments since he was 4."  He began his love of the game from watching his biggest fan and coach...his Daddy!"  This boy swinging the golf club has great form and follow through. As a sports artist it id s really good photograph to work from.  You can picture the golf ball leaving the club and flying down the fairway, knowing it is a nice drive.  You can follow Bear Huff on his facebook page

What I like about the game of golf is some of the interesting words used, like: "Birdies, Bogeys, and Riders" which to the to the uninitiated has little meaning.  A lot of people don't know what a "Rider" is - so here is a little story to explain the term.

Four old men went into the pro shop after playing 18 holes of golf.

The pro asked, "Did you guys have a good game today?"

The first old guy said, "Yes, I had three riders today."

The second old guy said, "I had the most riders ever. I had five."

The third old guy said, "I had seven riders, the same as last time."

The last old man said, "I beat my old record. I had 12 riders today."

After they went into the locker room, another golfer who had heard the old guys talking about their game went to the pro and said, "I've been playing golf for a long time and thought I knew all the terminology of the game, but what's a rider?"

The pro said, "A rider is when you hit the ball far enough to actually get in the golf cart and ride to it."


Golf Art Golfer Bubba Watson painting

Bubba Watson is currently ranked 3rd in the World Golf Rankings.  The painting is approximately 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

My current interest in golf is limited to watching a few holes of golf on TV on a Sunday afternoon.  I shouldn't really say I watch the golf - I use it as a way of relaxing after working hard in the yard.  My wife thinks that I like golf - that I watch it to keep current on a category of sports for my work.  As you probably already know, I'm a sports artist and have been making a living at it for quite a number of years.  It is important to know what is going on with different sports - but golf?  It is hard for me to keep track of the players.  It doesn't help that I usually fall asleep on the couch when I should be paying more attention to the game.

My history with golf is somewhat short.  I managed  a golf driving range when I was in college,  I never played the game,  and my ex- father-in-law was a scratch golf player who played (at the time) the longest golf game in history.  Now, what does that mean, "the longest golf game in history."

 When he was in college and on the USC golf team an opportunity became available for him to do a publicity stunt - of sorts.  I never knew why or for what reason but somehow he got connected with "Riply's Believe it Or Not"  to play the longest golf game.  My understanding is that he went out to the LA Country Club, (a bit prestigious)  and where his dad was a member and played the first hole.  He then was driven to the LA airport (LAX) and flew to Phoenix, Arizona to another country club and played the second hole.  From there on he took flights to different parts of the US working his way across the country playing proceeding holes until he had played eighteen and reached New York.
Ripley's Believe it or Not.  Here is a link to Bubba's facebpook page https://www.facebook.com/BubbaWatsonGolf 

Golf Painting Phil Mickelson PGA Champion art

Golf painting of Phil Mickelson is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas.

As I had never painted a golfer before and have shown little interest in golf, some of my friends asked why I painted the great PGA champion golfer, Phil Mickelson.  They know I am a sports fan but didn't think I had any connection with golf.

In my early twenties - twenty, to be exact, I was just out of the service and I needed a job.  To paraphrase William Makepeace Thayer, I wanted to become wealthy, influential, virtuous and a honored man.    The mother of the girl I was seeing was dating a man who owned a golf driving range.  It was on Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, Ca and only a few blocks from UCLA.  Originally I was hired to drive the picker - an old, opened army jeep with a wire mesh cage around the driver's area.  Behind it dragged the picker, which scoured the earth for golf balls and rolled them up into a bin.  I was on my way to great success.

When driving the picker the people practicing on the driving range found great sport in trying to hit the moving target - me in the jeep.  When the golf balls hit their target they bounced off the cage with a loud bang the scared the crap out of me.  The golf balls could never penetrate the cage but sometimes they embedded themselves in the wire mesh. I never got used to the balls ricocheting off the wire and jeep.

After picking up the balls they were then brought into the golf shack and dumped into a big, upright, wringer washing machine and cleaned.  Then they were pulled out onto huge drying trays.  And now I was able to make my own, very important decisions - sort the golf balls by quality.  Uncut golf balls went into the premium basket, slightly cut went into a good basket and the badly cut golf balls went into a third, really crappy basket of golf balls.  Each was then put out front for the golfers to choose the price and  quality of golf balls they wanted to hit.

I drove the picker and sorted balls for about three months, and then the manager quit.  The owner promoted me (with a raise in salary)  and I became "The Manager."  Greater success was coming faster than I had anticipated.   I think I made about $1.45 an hour.  Yes, it was a long time ago.  Minimum wage was $1.25 an hour.  My responsibility, as manager, was to stand behind the counter and hand out golf balls.  "Premium or cut?" I would ask.  It was better than working at Uncle John's Pancake House but not as fun as working at the Wilshire Gas Station (where premium gas sold for 29.9 cents.  Yes. 30 cents a gallon. 

The fun part of the job was watching a golf hustler, who hung out at the driving range, hustling customers with his trick shots.  He was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, and had to be over two hundred pounds.  He wore crazy colored golf shorts and was as hairy as a fat, brown bear.  I found a mentor.

I saw him outdrive people with a shovel and a rake.  I saw him make a bet with a guy that he could stand on one picnic bench, tee up a golf ball on another picnic bench (he put the tee between the crack between the two strip of wood on the bench) and with his favorite garden rake, drive the ball off the bench over 175 yards and hit the target out on the range.  I saw him stand on one side of the golf shack and with a garden hoe, pitch the ball blindly over the shack and come within ten feet of the 75 yard target. I saw him pocket a lot of money.  The owner said when he came around, chase him off.  But the owner was seldom there and I was mentored and entertained.  Also, as the saying goes, "don't poke the bear."


The golf range land was leased from the Federal Government and after about a year of working there the government cancelled the range owner's lease,  (something to do with not paying his rent) took back the land and eventually built a whole Federal Government Complex in Westwood - the Wilshire Federal Building.  And there went my interest and success in a golfing career.  

Image Golf Ball Art Painting Back Tee




While I was in college I managed a golf driving range and had an opportunity to hit a lot of golf balls. I always remember the golf hustler that would hang around the golf shack trying to get bets on different shots off the tee. His favorite line to me was "Swing at it again." I think the only reason he stood behind me was so I wouldn’t see him laughing at me. I saw him hit golf balls off the picnic tables and benches set up in front of the shack. He took a garden hoe from the tool shed and hit the the 200 yard sign from the roof of the golf shack.
Artist John Robertson Golf Ball painting is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas

Golf Ball Art Painting of Best Ball

The duel meaning of this golf ball painting is interesting to me. The fact that the term "best ball" is used in golf to describe a golf tournament format. Best ball can be played using 2-, 3- or 4-person teams. Each player on the team plays his or her own golf ball throughout the round, and on each hole the low score - or "best ball" - of the group serves as the team score. The other meaning to the painting is the notion that the best game played with a ball is golf. I am sure that idea can lead to a lot of arguments. I’ve played only a little bit of golf but the one thing I fould out is that hazards attract. fairways repel.
Golf Ball painting is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas Artist John Robertson