Autographed golf balls?
You gotta be kidding!
In 135 pages Joe Galiardi tells about his collection of 221 balls and offers brief vignettes of 98 members of the PGA, 16 members of the LPGA, a multitude of football, basketball, tennis, hockey players as well as seven presidents, Bob Hope and a host of other golfers rich and famous who contributed.
Galiardi got started collecting these balls right at the top by obtaining an autographed ball from Arnold Palmer and he hasn’t slowed down since. His brief vignettes of adventures in collecting and some of the personalities of donors is very entertaining reading. The only golfer missing is Francis Ouimet, the only amateur to win the Masters. But I have a son-in-law named Greg Ouimet and he is sending Mr. Galiardi a ball. The author has a genuine love of golf and all his stories are very much upbeat and some even whimsical.
One of the most interesting chapters concern holes-in-one. The longest was 517 yards on a dogleg par 5 hole. That’s more than a quarter mile! The longest straightaway was 447. An amateur has 59 aces in 45 years and I have never made a deuce in 79.
Now the real kicker: Who was the oldest and who was the youngest to make one? Elsie McLean made hers at 102 years of age and Jake Paine at 3 years old joined the crowd.
In a chapter called “The Betty Hicks Story” he tells about one of the world’s first 15 women golfers. She helped found the LPGA — Lady’s Professional Golf Association — and was also a college golf coach, journalist, pilot, photographer, author, lecturer, gourmet cook, historian, and actress. She said that her most memorable win was the Women’s Amateur National Championship at the Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts. She had to accept the trophy on the porch.
Women were not allowed inside the clubhouse. An intelligent and forthright woman such slights seemed not to bother her. She tells about a match with Joe Louis:
Galiardi tells another tale, this time about JoePa, the legendary Penn State coach, Joe Paterno:
It’s hard to believe the five-time National Coach of the year has been at Penn State since Harry Truman was in the White House. Coach Paterno would love to see a collage playoff system, but knows he probably won’t be around to see it. In his own words: ‘I’m only going to be head coach for another ten or fifteen years and I don’t think it will happen by then.’
Another story concerns Arnold Palmer, called The King by the author:
From these juicy tidbits I’m sure you can tell that this book is very entertaining and many of the characters therein are exceptional golfers. You won’t be able to put the book down.
Finally, it says something personal about Mr. Galiardi that a portion of the royalties from Hooked on Autographs will be donated to the Walter Reed Society, a tax-exempt organization to help ease the family burdens of wounded veterans. ?
Jack Curtis is a retired professor from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He has been associated off and on with Krause Publications for more than 35 years. He collects books and art and would be pleased to hear from readers with questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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