Pages 19-21 From Winter 2013 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
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Dr Gary Wiren and his unique golf collection

Dr. Gary Wiren's Golf Collection Shown at Delray Beach Center For The Arts


        When the press first received the notice of an exhibit in Delray Beach Florida described as being "The most unique golf exhibit in the history of the United States," a West coast writer answered with a one word statement, "humble." A response to his obvious knock on what appeared to him as being pretentious was simple, "You missed the key word, UNIQUE." After describing to him some of what you are about to read, he understood. You see, there is no claim of "most expensive", "largest," "oldest," or any other "est" regarding this six month show at the Cornell Museum in Delray Beach. It is interesting, educational, inspirational, as well as entertaining but that word "unique" makes it special. You'll find out more of that in just a moment, but first here is what you should expect.

        The exhibit, sponsored by The Seagate Hotel & Spa World of Golf and presented by Merrill Lynch, will cover some of what you would think you should see in attending the display of a fine golf museum. You will see one of the world's most interesting private golf ball, club, and tee collections, including implements from games dating back to the 1300's that were fore-runners of golf. Additionally there will be: "The History of Miniature Golf", "Golfing Sheet Music", "The Tragic Story of Tommy McDermott, America's first homebred U.S. Open winner", "Golf in the Theatre", "American Golfing and Non-Golfing Presidents", "Wonderful Golf Post Cards", "Golf Stamps and First Day Covers", "Golf Celebrities" featuring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and today's "World of Hickory Golf" competing and collecting. You will be able to feel the actual grips made by the hands of Johnny Miller, Kathy Whitworth, Dow Finsterwald, Arnold Palmer and Bob Toski. In the final gallery of the exhibit you will also be able to putt, using a choice of putters from four generations as well as viewing some of the most unusual putter designs you have ever seen.

Dr. Wiren has one of the most unique and extensive golfball collections in the world.

Rut iron (1830), Giant Niblick (1906) and a gutta percha ball circa 1896) from Dr. Gary Wiren’s Collection

        There are great golf quotes throughout the building and three guessing opportunities where your observational skill is tested. Seven DVD's will allow you to see Fred Astaire do the "Golf Dance", scenes depicting Old Tom Morris, watch Harry Vardon swinging and playing, be amazed by the trick shots of four great performers, Ryder Cup Captains from the past telling the compelling stories and showing footage of the drama and pressure of playing in this dramatic event, and for fun, the close of Caddyshack. Beyond the great displays in the four galleries you will be awed by the quality of the golf art from the leading artists from the Academy of Golf Art that accompanies the Wiren Golf Collection. These are among the best golf artists in the world with their works available for purchase.

        When you leave the exhibit you will have been exposed to the game's beauty, its incredible history, inspirational people, the game's compelling nature, its opportunities for enjoyment and the fact that it is a game of a lifetime. The comments that are made most often from those who write in the guest book or while walking out the door are (from the non-golfer or casual golfer) "that was really interesting, I was surprised" and for the avid golfer, maybe even one who has been around the game for fifty years, "I saw and heard things about the game that I never even knew existed."


        Finally, if you would like some examples of what you won't find in other golf exhibits and that would be considered "unique" (as was promised you) see below.

The Cermak Golf Trophy, awarded for the Policemans' Tournament in Chicago. It is accompanied by a wonderful sepia photo of the Chicago mayor, Anton Cermak, who had gone to Miami to visit America's new president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Leaving the boat dock together in an open car motorcade an attempted assassination of the president ended with Cermak being shot instead. On the way to the hospital Cermak's words to the Roosevelt were, "I am glad it was me instead of you," the words on the bottom of his picture. Cermak died soon after. The tournament was held only one year and this is the only trophy.

"The Haig", was the nickname for the incomparable Walter Hagen, the first sportsman to make a $1,000,000 dollars in his craft. He had a summer residence in Traverse City, Michigan, on Long Lake. On the front of his home was a metal figure of a golfer making a swing, and underneath are the works, "THE HAIG," his nickname.There is only one of these in the world. It is accompanied by personal correspondence to his girlfriend Doris, pictures or Walter, a signed copy of the book The Walter Hagen Story , and his famous quote, "Never hurry, never worry and don't forget to smell the flowers along the way."

The swing weight scale, is considered to have been invented by Robert Adams in
1934 and the rights purchased by the Kenneth Smith Golf Company who used it extensively in selling their fine clubs. But club makers prior to this time were measuring and weighing clubs to match them for their player/customers. The scale here is identified as 1920 making it one of the early implements used for this purpose.

Famous Funnies #1,was the first comic book to appear on a newsstand, in May of 1934. Two notable cartoon characters, Mutt and Jeff, appear on the cover with Jeff swinging and breaking a golf club. There are 30 known copies in existence and the most expensive of all the golf cover comics.

Francis Ouimet, one of golf's most famous players, won the 1913 US Open as an amateur with a stunning defeat of the great British champions Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. You will see the putter sold by Ouimet and Sullivan, a sporting goods firm, that caused the USGA to declare Francis a non-amateur for 16 months. Rare.

Warren Buffett club, a driver that is red and white (the University of Nebraska colors); on the red head is a "straight arrow" representing Buffett and the company name Berkshire Hathaway; on the face is carved the symbols for clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades as he is an avid bridge player; the Berkshire Hathaway company logo is in the center of the face; the hosel collar has 7 NT (for no trump) cut into it on one side and Grand Slam on the other as they are bridge terms representing the best possible score; and on the white shaft it reads GO BIG RED and WARREN'S WALLOPER. There are two of these clubs in the in Buffett's office and one in the Wiren collection.

Golf During the War Years...Golf During the WW II Years is revealed in several ways: The Rules of Golf for war time; Stalag Luft, the prisoner of war camp where the RAF pilots constructed a 900 yard golf course; "Ike's" #7 iron that he used in France; and a large golf medal from the Deutcher Golf Verband; (The German Golf Union) 1938 (very rare).

These are known as "silks" and were "premiums" or gifts for buying Murad cigarettes.

Beautiful 19th Century wood stamped “Willie Dunn”

1899 Haskell Bramble golf balls by B.F. Goodrich

Long-nose 19th Century drivers called “Play Clubs”

• A. S. Isles, designer of the first pick-em-up putter 1934, 3 clubs, patents, etc.
• Meet Chester Horton, teacher of "Chick Evans" 1st. amateur to win US Am and Open in the same year, 1916 along with Bessie Anthony, his Women's Amateur champ of 1903. See Chester and Gary together as Gary's collecting mentor.
• Three Toussey ringed wood shafts (3) not seen in any other place in the world
• Possibly "The most beautiful golf picture ever taken," at Monterey, CA.
• Banff Golf Magazine Scotland, 1895, only three known to exist
• Four great trick shot performers: Joe Kirkwood along with his 67 inch driver,
• Paul Hahn bag and pictures, Dennis Walters and Chuck Hider doing a show.
• Ryder Cup picture of 1933 U.S. team with all of the U.S. players' signatures
• Sam Snead in his high school football uniform
• A "Heavy Hitter" driver like the modern one except this was from 100 yrs. ago
• Very unusual and one-of-a-kind homemade and modified clubs
• George Govan, Pine Valley's first professional, his club creation and patent
• Alan Shepard signed "golf on the moon" stamp and private note to "Lighthorse" Harry Cooper
• Michael Hurdzan's book Golf Course Architecture with "fore-edged painting of "The Old Course" in St. Andrews on the gilt outside edge of the book

pictured here: Golf tees from Gary Wiren's Unique Golf Collection


Hours...Tues. thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday 1:00 to 4:30, closed on Mondays. Show dates from Nov. 8, 2012 to April 21, 2013. For more information, visit

Pages 19-21 From Winter 2013 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
To advertise in Florida Golf Magazine in print and on-line, phone 863-227-2751 and/or email