Passages: Robert "Bob" Blomberg, Alameda's "Ambassador to golf"

Passages: Robert "Bob" Blomberg, Alameda's "Ambassador to golf"

Mike Maurice
Bob Blomberg

In memory of Robert “Bob” Blomberg: Alameda’s Ambassador to golf … a true gentleman golfer.

Contributed photo.

Bob was born on April 4, 1945 to Ben and Irene Blomberg in Alameda. His father, Ben, was a 45-year career Navy man who served in the U.S. military during World War II and enabled Bob to live in many places, but far and away, Bob was a lifelong Alameda resident.

Bob attended Frank Otis Elementary, Lincoln Middle School and Alameda High School graduating with the class of 1963. In 1963 after high school, Bob turned professional serving as an assistant pro at The Presidio Golf Club and Sequoyah Country Club, until 1966. Realizing his true love for amateur golf, Bob applied to regain his amateur status, and in 1968, this request was granted by the United States Golf Association.

Bob then went to work at Bethlehem Shipyard in Alameda in 1968, working in the metallurgy department until 1976, when the shipyard closed. From there, Bob went to work for Cochran & Celli in Oakland, selling new Chevrolets until 1995. Bob then went to work for American Brass & Iron Foundry in Oakland, serving as a sales representative until he retired in 2010. Bob’s charm, wit and good looks allowed him to excel in these jobs and become well-liked by all who came in contact with him.

Bob’s amateur golf career

As a newly reinstated amateur Bob wasted no time, winning his first amateur event by capturing the prestigious Oakland City Championship in 1968. From this point on Bob excelled at the local, regional, national and international levels where Bob’s golf accomplishments are significant:

• San Francisco City 2nd Flight Champion – 1961
• King City Junior - 1963
• Alameda Commuters Champion: 1974-78-79-84-86-93
• Oakland City Champion: 1968-1971-1977-1980-1982-1987
• California State Amateur Championship: runner up 1975 and 1982
• Northern California Gold Association 4 Ball Championship: 1987 and 1993
• NCGA Master Division Champion: 1992

National and International:

• Biarritz (French) Cup Senior Champion: 2000
• British Amateur and Senior British Amateur 2002 and 2004
• Pacific Coast Amateur – Top 10 1997
• USGA Public Links: 1968, 1969, 1971(runner up), 1993 and 1995 (semi-finalist)
• USGA Senior Amateur: 2002 and 2004,
• French Amateur - 1981

The collection of NCGA, USGA, and other prestigious tournament medals that Bob won over the years are a sight to behold. His NCGA medals alone count up to 18! Bob had been invited five times over the years to participant in the Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Bob was presented the California Sports Writer’s John Swanson “Good Guy” Award in 1999; In 2001, Bob was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Northern California Golf Association for his 30 years of stalwart play, great golf sportsmanship and for always behaving like a true gentleman. Bob's on-course demeanor and the way he related to his fellow competitors exemplified the true spirit of the dedicated amateur golfer; his on course demeanor and love of country became the focus in a July 26, 1971 Sports Illustrated story on the U.S. Public Links.

Bob’s love of golf and of helping others around the Bay Farm links is legendary. Bob was always a helping out the Alameda High golf teams, giving sage advice on course management or a tip with your swing. Bob joined the Alameda Golf Club in 1976 and continued his support by serving on its board of directors from 1981-1983. In 2003, Bob was honored by the club with an Honorary Life appointment. One of Bob’s favorite golf courses was the Earl Fry course at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex, where Bob holds the course record, firing an 11 under par 60.

Bob joined the Alameda Commuters Committee in 1991 to further his love and dedication to one of Northern California’s premier amateur golf events. In 2013, the Alameda Commuters Committee elected to honor all champions going forward with the “Bob Blomberg Champions Medal.”

It is without a doubt that Bob was Alameda’s ambassador to golf and a gentleman that everyone was proud to know and be around. Bob’s mother Irene was a permanent fixture at practically every tournament Bob played in and had a lot to do with Bob’s success on and off the golf course. Bob’s brother Ben was always at Bob’s side caddying for Bob for over 35 years of championship play, and was no doubt responsible for some of Bob’s more impressive victories. Ben is now retired in Tucson, Arizona.

Bob spent a lot of time with his wife Laurie Hobson’s children and grandchildren traveling around the country sightseeing. Many in the golfing community were never made aware that Bob spent four years (1963-1967) in and out of the hospital suffering from hepatitis, which nearly took his life. That is why the accomplishments Bob has achieved are so VERY significant and speak to the character of this man.

Alameda may have a lost a championship golfer, but the memory of friendships last forever. Bob was a friend to many and will be remembered by all.

A memorial celebration of Bob's life will be held at 2 p.m. July 27 at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex, 1 Clubhouse Memorial Road. Donations can be made in memory of Bob to Alameda Junior Golf, 1 Clubhouse Memorial Road, Alameda, Calif. 94502.

Comments

Submitted by golfwriter on Tue, Jun 18, 2013

Very well done Mike. I knew about Bob's cancer for some time, but he asked me to keep it under my hat. When he passed, I truly felt a vacancy in my heart. He helped me many times, on and off the course. It was my pleasure to give him the Good Guy Award at the golf writers dinner at Pebble Beach in 1999, and introduce him to Tiger, amongst others. Alameda lost a legend this month ... long may the legend live.

Ron Salsig

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