Golf is a family tradition for Michael Rose and his mother, Louise “Bobbie” Rose, soon-to-be Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Famers.
In an extraordinary pairing, a mother and son are being honored jointly for their expertise on the greens and fairways of area golf courses.
Huntingdon Valley’s Michael Rose, 67, and his 98-year-old mother, Louise “Bobbie” Rose, will both be inductees in the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame on May 27.
But this is not a family reunion. They both continue to play together and they’ve never strayed far from each other: Mom lives in Meadowbrook and they visit regularly, along with sister/daughter, golfer Bonnie Rose George, 70, a Jewish Hall of Famer herself, class of 2000.
The whole family has been in sync with sports for decades, but golf has scored a hole-in-one for the Roses over the years.
“My husband was a wonderful tennis player who got me into golf,” Bobbie said of the late Leon Rose. “I was playing tennis until I got pregnant with Michael.”
When her husband suggested she consider the less strenuous game of golf, “I said, ‘Why would I take up an old man’s game?’ ”
But she did, joining Ashbourne Country Club after she gave birth. She remembers thinking she’d give herself a year to get the game.
“Now, it’s been a lifetime.”
That lifetime has been filled with honors and trophies, including the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Women’s Club Championship at Ashbourne, a once Jewish country club, for 14 straight years.
Despite her prowess, she said, she never thought about turning pro. The hours and commitment involved were prohibitive. “I had a family to raise.”
Her son, too, dismissed the notion of his turning pro. “I wouldn’t have made a nickel had I done that,” he said.
Sure, he may be in the top 99 percent of the game as an amateur. “But that other 1 percent, that’s a whole different ball game,” he said.
The Indiana University graduate wound up earning a living the old-fashioned way, as a stockbroker, which he did for three decades, pulling out of the Wall Street game in 1999.
Since then, he’s gone into golf full-time. He writes for and publishes his own regional magazine, Great Golf, and is celebrating his silver anniversary as a golf analyst/broadcaster on The Fanatic 97.5 FM.
A two-time gold medal winner in the Maccabiah Games in Israel (1981 and 1985), he has scored sensationally at home as well. Starting in 1980, he took the title in the local Tournament of Club Champions for six straight years to go along with 12 titles at Ashbourne and Philmont Country Clubs over the years.
He also was named the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Super Senior Player of the Year in 2012.
“My game is ugly but effective,” he said of his style and the way he greets the ball. He welcomed golf into his life when he set up tee time at Abington High, where he became rated the school’s No. 1 golfer. “We had some great teams at Abington,” he recalled.
His mother calls him “a natural athlete.” And she doesn’t take credit for his success.
“I didn’t teach him how to play golf; we just played together as a family.”
And while she once was able to edge out her kids, “they can beat me now!” she noted with pride.
But nobody really beats Mom, according to her son: “Bonnie and I are happy to have Mom’s genes, maybe the best around.”
Both mother and son are delighted with the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame honor. Michael said it is “close to the top of the list” of his achievements.
“It’s the icing on the cake for me, a big surprise,” Bobbie said.
What’s not surprising is how active Bobbie remains. When not with the kids — and four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren — she can be found tee-ing off or doing rounds at Philmont.
“I’m not sitting around waiting to die; I feel like a young person!” she exclaimed, noting that she goes to fitness classes each week and has taken up art. “I do oils, wood, acrylics, weldings.”
Is golf an art?
“Golf,” she said with a vehemence, “is the most frustrating, irritating, imperfect, wonderful game I’ve ever played!”