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January 08, 2010

Do you know who Mario Cesario is?

Mario Cesario is a golf club maker.

In fact, he is considered to be one of the premier club designers of the 20th century. Tonight is the grand opening of an exhibit in his honor called, “Sweet Spot: Life's Work of Renowned Golf Club Designer Mario Cesario and 50 Years of Golf in the Desert.” It’s at the La Quinta Museum in Palm Springs, CA if you’re interested in checking it out.

So why should you care about Mario Cesario?

Well, he has made custom woods for PGA TOUR pros like Tom Watson, Judy Rankin, Gene Littler, Bob Rosberg, Patty Sheehan and Nancy Lopez, to name a few.

Plus, he has also custom made golf clubs for celebrities like Jackie Gleason, Dean Martin, Ray Bolger and Chuck Connors.

Cesario, 75, learned the art of golf club making 60 years ago – at a time when wood was actually used to make woods. He created a unique method that let him imprint personalized logos on club faces using epoxy and resin.

Country clubs like Tamarisk, Thunderbird and Indian Wells and Augusta Country Club, all used him for customized logos on woods sold in their pro shops. Even Bob Hope and President Gerald R. Ford had him make logoed woods.

Cesario made a custom driver for President Gerald Ford with the Presidential Seal embedded in the club face. And for Bob Hope, he embedded a caricature of the comic in the club face of his driver.

As Hope wrote to Cesario in a 1975 letter, “These are too pretty to use… I wouldn't dare hit myself in the face.”

Cesario was elected to the Professional Clubmaker's Society Hall of Fame in 2000. He is also known for designing the McHenry Metals Tour Pure Driver.

To me, the art of golf club making seems like an oxymoron. These days, woods are just ugly metal objects.

I wish we could go back to using real wood woods. Think about it, this would eliminate 300-plus yard drives, and force pros to hit longer fairway irons more often. Wouldn’t that make golf more exciting to watch?

Actually, imagine being able to call a wood, a wood, because it is a wood.

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