Gary Bauer left a long-lasting impression on the golfing community in the Valley.
From his course records to his time on the PGA Tour to his guidance as a teaching pro, Mr. Bauer remained committed to advancing the game throughout his life.
Mr. Bauer, who died Dec. 9 due to pulmonary fibrosis at age 72, always wanted to get members into competitive tournaments and hold matches for members every month. Fig Garden will host a celebration of Mr. Bauer's life at 11 a.m. Monday. It's open to the public.
Fig Garden Golf Club general manager Bill Reitz marveled at what Mr. Bauer did for club members -- "always interjecting a lot great humor."
"Then as years progressed, just because of his great personality and great sense of humor, people liked working with him. The more input they got from him, the more fun they had with him. He always made everyone feel comfortable."
Mr. Bauer started golfing at an early age and blossomed into a professional golfer on the PGA Tour from 1962-'66. He played in 25 tournaments and made the cut 23 times. He was also PGA card-holder and a lifetime member.
"He was a very good player," Reitz said. "One of the best golf professionals as far as playing skills in the Valley at the time and for many years. He entered in a lot of pro-ams, even some pro tour events when that was even possible back then -- long, storied career."
Since 1981, Mr. Bauer has been a member at Fig Garden Golf Club when he served as a teaching professional before becoming the director of golf.
He helped form the Fig Garden Men's Club -- a separate entity from the golf club that's comprised of a board of directors that helps coordinate tournaments and fundraisers through for the club.
He also worked at Belmont Country Club, San Joaquin Country Club and Hank's Swank.
Mr. Bauer had 44 hole-in-ones, and even his son, Scott, had a hole-in-one at Fig Garden Golf Club in 2010. Mr. Bauer also still holds numerous records at various courses across the central San Joaquin Valley, Scott Bauer said.
At Fig Garden, Mr. Bauer shared the course record of 61 with Todd Johnson, one of his pupils. In a 2009 article in The Bee, Mr. Bauer said he shot a 61 on 14 different occassions, the first time in 1963 and the last in 2003 when he was 63 years old.
"Pretty amazing," said Scott Bauer, who played golf at Bullard High from 1982-85. "I had a really skewed view of how golf should be played. When I started playing golf in high school I figured if I was paring every hole I'm doing something wrong and I must be horrible. Then I realized not everyone plays golf like that.
Mr. Bauer is also survived by wife Allison.
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