It’s not really a surprise among the relatively few who
remember him as a five-time winner on the PGA Tour and the
1954 money-list leader, or, for a much longer time, as American
golf’s top instructor. Though only 5-foot- 7 and 118 pounds in his
playing prime, Toski produced startling power with a smooth
swinging motion rather than muscular effort. The technical
artistry was acknowledged by his peers with irreverently re-
spectful nicknames like “Swifty,” “Twinkletoes,” “Toski-nini,”
and—courtesy of Sam Snead—“Mouse.”
Toski’s public and private personas were always so sharp,
curious, commanding, messianic and entertaining that it
made sense to anyone paying attention that he’d probably have
plenty of star quality left over for his octogenarian overtime.
Certainly he retains
plenty of material.
Whether doing a clinic,
a television interview
or simply holding court
in his warm cedar-and-
redwood home in Boca Raton, Fla., Toski accesses his detailed
memory of observations and experiences of every great player
of the last 60-plus years. He can also go current, waxing on
Inbee Park’s flawless rhythm or worrying that Tiger Woods
“has lost something that he can’t get back.” He can review how
he helped the careers of Judy Rankin and Pat Bradley and
Tom Kite, and especially that of Ken Duke, who under Toski’s
coaching last month became (at 44) the oldest first-time win-
ner on the PGA Tour since 1995.
He proudly calls attention to how well he still swings—the
clearance of Toski’s left hip is still fuller and faster than many
Champions Tour players—seeing it as a validation of the principles he’s maintained for six decades. “I learned by playing
At age 86, Bob Toski can
still hold center stage.