'If Golf Were the Only Game' by Bob Cram

By: Bob Spiwak

Old-timers in the Puget Sound area will remember Bob Cram as the cartooning weatherman for KING-TV for many years, whether or not they golfed. Tennis fans will recall the guy from his drawings of the Seattle Tennis Club, and outdoorsy folks ought to know that he illustrated "Backpacking, One Step At a Time," a classic book now in its 10th printing.

Now Cram has attacked golf. He blames me for getting him hooked on this most masochistic of endeavors, but I know it was his wife. In any case, "Bunker Bob," a name he acquired when we were in Hawaii, has come up with a funny book whose premise is that the only game extant since the dawn of man has been golf.

Illustrations drawn with Cram's usual verve emanating from his warped mind depict a different scenario on each page, opening with the Founding Fathers of our country debating The Rules of Golf. George Washington's honesty in "Father, I cannot tell a lie, I took an eight," with the young president-to-be (in 18th Century garb) making the admission to his father, each holding a golf club.

He depicts hockey, pool, basketball, fencing, hunting, football and other sports, all within a golf motif and illustrated accordingly and brilliantly. He offers tips, like golfing doctors awareness of club selection garbed in surgical scrubs and masks; "Good Footwear" shows a nonchalant hacker looking in one direction as he kicks his ball the other way out of the rough. Remembering to remove car keys and wallet before angrily throwing your golf bag in the lake is another of his advisories.

"Tough Hole" is a caricature of the old opening hole at Whispering Rattlesnakes Golf and Flubbers Club (full disclosure: that's this book reviewer's ultra-private course in Winthrop, Wash.). Another cartoon depicts a brute of a fellow winding up for the first use of a titanium golf ball in the shot-put. And there's Moses parting the water hazard en route to the famed 17th green at TPC Sawgrass.

In this book Cram is at his best depicting golfers at their worst, and more than most of the players I have accompanied, his worst usually involves aerobatic displays of clubs. Upon releasing his stick into a water hazard, or woodland or jungle (Hawaii again), he verbally identifies the flight as helicopter, dive bomber and once as a dune buggy. He does this not "to a T" but usually to an "F." Several in fact.

The book, coffee-table size and soft-bound, has a second valuable function. If you have kids or grandkids, each of the 126 pages of illustrations makes a wonderful Crayola-fest for the little ones, if you have not beaten them to it with your own coloring utensils.

Perhaps because it's self-published by the 85-year-old Normandy Invasion vet, the pages are not numbered. Maybe he forgot, maybe it is deliberate. I've tried to contact Cram, but he is on a golfing trip as I write this, or it's possible he can't hear the phone ringing.

The book is available new from Amazon at $36.69, or better yet from the publishing house at under $20 with another two bucks for media rate shipping USPS.

To order, contact Author House, 1663 Liberty Drive Bloomington IN 47403. (800) 839-8640 www.authorhouse.com

"If Golf Were The Only Game" by Bob Cram. ISBN 978-4567-1515-1 (sc)

Bob Spiwak took up golf in 1953 as a respite from the rigors of selling bibles door-to-door in North Dakota. Though suffering a four-year lapse, he's back to being a fanatical golfer. Now a contributing editor for Cybergolf, Spiwak has written articles for almost every golf magazine in the Western world. Bob's most treasured golf antiquity is a nod he got from Gerald Ford at the 1990 Golf Summit. Spiwak lives in Mazama, Wash., with his wife and several pets next to his fabled ultra-private Whispering Rattlesnakes Golf & Flubbers Club.