Bob Toski, at age 86, is a quiet, sedate, humble and grandfatherly man.
However, there is one exception. That’s when you are talking golf with him. Toski can puff out his chest with the best of them when it comes to that.
“I think I’m the best 86-year-old player on the planet,” said Toski, who resides in Boca Raton these days but lived in Coral Gables from 1953 to 1979. “If anybody my age wants to try to beat me, they are welcome to try — just tell them to bring plenty of cash.”
Toski’s name is well-known as a golfer and teaching pro in the golf community, and his accomplishments are many and varied.
Just recently, he was inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame at the PGA Museum in Port St. Lucie.
“A great honor,” said Toski, who can still easily remember shots from more than half a century ago.
To this day, he is still an active — actually, very active — teaching pro and an instructor of great stature. There’s no madness in his teaching, just method — a method that makes his students improve.
“I just gave a lesson,” said Toski, who instructs out of St. Andrews in Boca Raton and Sherbrooke in Lake Worth. “I usually give lessons about five days a week.”
John Pallott, a well-known teaching pro in Miami, calls Toski “my model” for teaching golf.
Toski, who had a short but distinguished career as a professional, said, “For a long time now, teaching has been my passion. I’m a good communicator when teaching golf. I know a lot about how to swing a club. You certainly won’t regress when I teach you, and you probably will progress.”
One piece of important advice from him that most golfers have always had difficulty adopting: “Don’t try to swing way too hard.”
At this point, teaching is everything to Toski.
It wasn’t always that way.
In 1954, he was the PGA’s top player and money-winner with four Tour victories.
He retired from the Tour at age 30, “same age as Bobby Jones,” as he put it. Toski wanted to raise his family and also to pass on his knowledge to others.
And, at 86, his swing, his mind, and his abilities are far from old and creaky.
The other day he played the Old Course at Broken Sound.
“Shot a 73,” he said. “Thirteen strokes underneath my age.”
That says it all.