Golfer Carves Away to Find an Artist Inside; Man Turns Wooden Golf Heads into Figurines

By Brown, Terry | The Florida Times Union, July 22, 2005 | Go to article overview

Golfer Carves Away to Find an Artist Inside; Man Turns Wooden Golf Heads into Figurines


Brown, Terry, The Florida Times Union


Byline: terry brown

Bob Boulware says he never thought of himself as artistic and began carving as a way to pass time while pier fishing.

With a knife and a block of wood, a Chinese figurine slowly began to take shape as the hours passed. In the time spent whittling on the small piece of wood, a passion emerged in Boulware that he says transformed him into an artist.

"Prior to that, my wife couldn't drag me to an art show," the 67-year-old carver said. "But something inside of me just clicked when I carved that figure more than 25 years ago."

Now, the artist's home is is filled with bird carvings of all kinds. Boulware's own wading birds grace the foyer, as do four black and white pictures depicting Florida's aquatic preserves by famed photographer Clyde Butcher. He also owns an extensive collection of primitive carvings by world renowned artist Bob Guge, whose work serves as an inspiration to Boulware.

In various stages of development, spread throughout his studio and wood carving shop just north of Orangedale, are what Boulware is most known for -- his hand carved "mulligans."

The once avid golfer now gives persimmon and laminated maple golf heads new life as pelicans, flamingoes and ducks in a variety of species. He has about 30 unfinished mulligans in the studio.

Boulware said he finds the old golf heads at flea markets and in junk shops. Hundreds of the old clubs await his artistic touch, all stored in his garage.

He begins his work by cutting off the golf shaft and then sands them down to the bare wood. he glues a precast head from a previous carving on the club mallet. Boulware then fine sands the club and bird head before moving inside to his studio. He uses acrylics to add fine detail to the piece of art. The process takes more than four hours to complete for each club head.

"I just really enjoy what I'm doing," the artisan said. "Plus, my wife says it keeps me out of the Poker Room and from taking too many naps."

Carving birds and waterfowl grew out of hunting industry, where carved ducks were used originally used as decoys, according to Karen Amspacher, director and curator of Core Sound Waterfowl Museum in Harkers Island, N.C. The museum is located on the southern end of the Outerbanks.

"In our part of the country, there is a strong hunting tradition that put food on the menu when you were no longer able to fish," Amspacher said. …

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