Longtime golf writer Ron Balicki succumbed to cancer last week after an eight-month battle. Balicki, 65, wrote for Golfweek for more than 30 years, focusing primarily on college and amateur golf. Indeed, he was a pioneer when it came to covering the amateur game in America.
I wrote a column about my friend Ron upon his induction into the College Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010 (click here to read it). Since I don’t feel that I can improve upon it, I turned to others in the golf industry who knew and admired Ron, and asked them to share remembrances of this dedicated golf journalist.
Ron Balicki was to college golf what Roger Kahn was to The Boys of Summer. Ron was a talented writer who loved his craft, was passionate about his subject and respected its participants. Ron’s work with college golf over the past 30 years coincided with the unprecedented growth and visibility of the sport. That is more than coincidental. Ron was college golf’s first bard. We lost a good man.
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We got to know Ron real well at the old Maxwell college event in Ardmore, Okla. The event was much more than
a golf tournament, it was a party … a real celebration of golf, youth, and their wonderful community. The tournament hosted a day of fishing at Lake Texoma (a world-class striped bass fishery). Ron never went fishing with us until we shamed him into it one year (we later found out it was his first time fishing). I think he caught more stripers than anyone that day, so we “officially” changed his name from “Wrong Ron” to “Striper Ron.” I think he really got a big kick out of it as we called him Striper Ron for the duration of the event.