Bob Hope had a love for golf that is deep, and his contributions to the game over half a century are inestimable.
These words come from Golf Writer/Author Dwayne Netland who chronicled the “Confessions of a Hooker – My Lifelong Love Affair With Golf” to illustrate what golf has meant to Bob Hope, and vice versa.
Little more can be added about the golf/Bob Hope legend than what Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus wrote on the jacket cover of the Netland book.
“Bob Hope has been one of the cornerstones of this great game. His avid lover for golf… has spread the game into the lives of everyone he has ever made laugh. I hope all golfers everywhere realize what Bob Hope has done for golf,” Watson wrote.
“It is hard to think of anyone who has given more of himself in an effort to promote the game of golf and to raise money for charity than Bob Hope… he has been a great friend… to golf,” according to Nicklaus.
Bob’s early years in the United States were spent in Cleveland. His initial ventures in sports were in the boxing ring where he was known as Packy East. Those who know anything about his skills contend that he abandoned boxing as a means to protect his trademark “ski nose”.
So Bob tried golf for the first time in 1927, at age 24, at a public course in Cleveland, Highland Park. He hacked so badly he gave up the game at the start. However, three years later the bug bit again while he was on the vaudeville tour in Seattle and he was hooked ever since. In the early fifties his handicap dropped to six and even as low as four when he played in the 1951 British Amateur.
Hope is noted for his willing participation in a multitude of charity Pro-Ams from coast-to-coast. He has been as active on the golf circuit as he has been on the USO world-wide entertainment tour. Naturally, his favorite tournament is the Bob Hope Desert Classic, which is a mega fundraiser on a half dozen Palm Spring courses. Biggest benefactor is the Eisenhower Medical Center, which has realized more than $10-million from the spectacular star-studded Pro Am. Bob participated and shared the spotlight with the greats of golf.
Bob Hope died in 2003 at the age of 100.
Nobody, but nobody, has made a larger contribution to golf charities than Bob Hope. He has been the No. 1 celebrity attraction on golf courses over the world. For more than 60 years, Bob Hope has been a golfer and Good Will Ambassador without peer.