As Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Golf Association from 1977-2000, Gene Haas forged the way for great and competitive golf in our state, and as a committee member for the USGA played a key role in the formation of the slope system that is now used around the world for the purpose of providing “Travel-able” handicaps.
His work has made competition within different states and clubs, and between all skill levels as reasonable as it has ever been, and his efforts and the relationships he has developed both within and outside of the game have made him an absolute legend.
Still carrying a five handicap, Gene stays active in the golf world, playing out of Westmoor Country Club and continuing to rate golf courses for Golf Digest – heck, he wrote the book on golf course rating systems. He is also the foremost historian on golf in Wisconsin (which brought us together in the first place) – if he doesn’t know it, nobody does.
In his free time, Gene has become well-known on a national level as a caricature artist. His work has been featured in numerous magazines, both golf-related and not (who remembers Mad Magazine!?), and he is looking forward to being the featured artist in the upcoming issue of South Florida’s “Opulence.”
As a guy who works on trying to be artistic (and fails miserably, but I enjoy it!), I loved Gene’s work the moment I saw it and can recognize it anywhere… When entering the locker room at Westmoor Country Club, for example, or when I followed another Wisconsin amateur legend, Tom Halla, on Twitter.
Through my golf writing and a speech I had to give at North Hills Country Club last year on the state of the game of golf in Wisconsin and the history of North Hills, I have gotten to know Gene a bit over the years and have always enjoyed his company and stories. I had to ask him for a portrait, but for the longest time could not decide what I wanted it to be of.
I sent him a picture from the eighteenth hole at my beloved North Hills last week, along with a number of face shots for him to put on canvas, and the result was every bit as good as I had hoped for:
Interested in having your own caricature portrait drawn? Gene’s website shows much of his work throughout the decades – likenesses of legends from sports, politics, entertainment and all facets of society. Most have been featured in published works – mine will probably not, but it’s mine and will adorn my office wall when I am able to find an 11″ x 14″ frame that suits it.
His rates are reasonable, and his work is spectacular. Gene can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another of his recent works, painted for Herb Kohler, Jr., following this year’s PGA Championship, where he was a guest of Kohler’s in their private chalet: