On one side of Bob Swanson’s boyhood home in Springfield, New Jersey, was a commercial nursery. Bob’s father, Swedish immigrant John Swanson, worked at the nursery to support his son and his eight other children. On the other side was Baltusrol Golf Club. It was here at Baltusrol, as a caddy, that Bob began his lifelong love affair with the game of golf.
Bob, who passed away in 2008 at the young age of 85, worked as a caddy at the famous Baltusrol as a youngster and there picked up the fundamentals. He later played golf in the military, as a college student on the GI bill, and throughout his career as a Civil Engineer, eventually improving to a scratch handicap.
With his wife, young daughter Cynthia and son Bobby, he accepted an Engineering position in a small town in South Carolina, which to his delight boasted an excellent golf course. Here he was an avid tournament player, and made a hobby of setting up amateur golf tournaments. One of these was interstate rivalry pro-am Carolinas Classic, which is still played today.
When Bob retired from engineering in 1977, he started the Senior Golfers of America, getting together 25 friends and acquaintances at Pine Lakes Country Club in Myrtle Beach. This little group grew into today’s SGA, which holds more than one dozen tournaments each year from coast to coast and in such international spots as Cabo San Lucas, Bermuda, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean.
After a career as a first-grade teacher, Bob Swanson’s daughter Cynthia joined the SGA staff in 1982 and is still bringing her own Southern style of friendliness and hospitality to the tournaments. Cynthia’s daughter Catherine began working with SGA in 1999 and is proud to continue her grandfather’s legacy. Office manager Sharon Saunders has been with the staff since 1986 and is a favorite of the members for her helpfulness and professionalism.
Catherine Powell and Bob Swanson”Bob, as I called my grandfather, always tried to be the best in everything. We are trying to make SGA the best in every way in his memory,” says Catherine. “Somehow we seem to attract the finest, most interesting, outgoing people to SGA, and they attract other people much like themselves. It is a great honor for me at 30 years old to be around our wonderful members.”