Why is there a statue of a giant golf ball on Humboldt Street?

Artist: Lisa Robinson [Photos: David Kramer, 523/2019]

Outside WROC’s headquarters on Humboldt Street Artist: Lisa Robinson [Photos: David Kramer, 5/23/2019]

The other day when walking past WROC’s headquarters on Humboldt Street, I glimpsed an odd looking 5 or 6 foot statue that from a distance resembled a scoop of ice cream on a cone.pga

Upon closer inspection, I discovered the fiberglass statue is an artist’s rendition of a giant golf ball on a tee on which an image of the Oak Hill Country Club clubhouse and its surrounding area is painted.

Given that the Senior PGA begins today at Oak Hill, my interest was piqued when reading the accompanying plaque explaining the statue was created in 2013 by Lisa Robinson as part of “Golf Balls on Parade,” coinciding with the 2013 PGA Championship held at Oak Hill.

To learn more, I turned to Lauren Dixon, CEO of Dixon Schwabl Advertising. Lauren explained that in the spring of 2013, 100 limited-edition, 5-foot-tall fiberglass golf balls on tees were created and showcased throughout Western New York with a couple of dozen in the Greater Rochester area. The initiative was a community-relations arts project supporting upstate New York nonprofits on behalf of the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Dixon Schwabl helped advertise and market the project that Lauren very much enjoyed.

A 3-foot-tall Jim Boeheim golf ball created by Rolling Stone magazine sketch artist Philip Burke as part of Golf Balls on Parade (2012)

A 5-foot-tall Jim Boeheim golf ball created by Rolling Stone magazine sketch artist Philip Burke as part of Golf Balls on Parade (2012, Nunes Magician)

After the tournament, the statues were auctioned to the general public. A portion of the sale of each artist-decorated golf ball was split equally among four charities: Hillside Work Scholarship Connection, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Reach for the Green, and the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation. As Lauren says, philanthropically motivated and avid golf fans were the primary purchasers. The statues are now mostly in private collections.

I wondered if the Humboldt Street statue is the only one still publically displayed in its original location. Lauren is pretty sure it is. I also spoke with WROC’s sportscaster Thad Brown who covered the 2013 PGA and will be covering the current Senior PGA. Thad is also pretty sure the statue is the last one still showcased.

So, that’s why there a statue of a giant golf ball on Humboldt Street.

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Peter Roby when winning the CC of Rochester Invitation in the ’90’s.

Peter Roby when winning the CC of Rochester Invitation in the ’90’s. From Having defeated Trump in 1961, Rochestarian Peter Roby welcomes a rematch

 

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