NCGA Golf

Summer 2018

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J im Fitzpatrick remembers the precise moment he became captivated by golf and the stirring visual feast it provides. He was a teenager living in Sacramento in the early 1960s, watching a tournament on television. It briefly and strangely started snowing at the event, piquing the young Fitzpatrick's interest. He assumed this was on the East Coast, because surely it didn't snow in Northern California. As it turned out, he was watching the old Bing Crosby Pro-Am, unfolding only a few hours away. Not long thereafter, Fitzpatrick had to see the Monterey Peninsula for himself. "When I got my driver's license, the first place I drove outside the city limits of Sacramento was the Crosby," he recalled. "That visual of the Monterey coastline was amazing." Fitzpatrick ultimately turned golf's powerful visual allure into a successful career as an artist. His paintings and drawings of courses and golfers have taken him around the world, though much of his work remains centered in Northern California. He now lives in Granite Bay, outside Sacramento, where he keeps a gallery of his 300-plus golf paintings and 200-plus drawings. At the time of our interview in early May, he had recently finished a depiction of Mayacama Golf Club and was working on one of Poppy Hills (see this issue's cover) and another of Grizzly Ranch. Fitzpatrick's most notable work includes Tom Watson, arms raised in exultation after sinking his epic chip shot on the 71st hole of the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach; No. 16 at Cypress Point, the storied par-3; and many picturesque paintings and drawings – from Augusta National to the Olympic Club and St. Andrews to Silverado, from Jack Nicklaus to Arnold Palmer and Watson to Tiger Woods. Today, at age 70, Fitzpatrick remains immersed in the game. He's played more than 500 courses around the world, still hits balls three times a week and plays 40 SUMMER 2018 | NCGA.ORG P R O F I L E Jim Fitzpatrick and Jack Nicklaus at The Langley with Fitzpatrick's artwork celebrating Nicklaus's life in golf. Jim Fitzpatrick has combined his two passions – painting and drawing and golf – into a career of great renown. BY RON KROICHICK

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