Loren Roberts went to Newport Beach Country Club on Nov. 5 for a special day in his honor. But he also wanted to make it a meaningful day for a select group at the golf course.
Roberts was being inducted into the Toshiba Classic Hall of Fame. He also conducted an exclusive putting clinic for friends and sponsors of the annual tournament. Those people were learning from one of the best with the putter.
Roberts, a.k.a. the Boss of the Moss, is known for his expertise and deftness in the short game. The advice and tips he offered weren't complex. They were simple, sort of like the method he used to reach his status.
He explained to the group that there are two types of golfers when it comes to putting: non-linear and linear. The latter are those who putt or aim in a straight line at the hole. Roberts is a non-linear golfer when it comes to putting. He aims for a curve, he can usually see the break, and his putts roll in a bending fashion.
Roberts also said the most important part of putting is speed control.
He was on his game last year at the Toshiba Classic when he won the tournament, finishing at eight-under-par 205. He returns for the Champions Tour event March 15-17. No one has been able to repeat in the history of the tournament, which is in its 19th year.
A repeat for Roberts would hardly be a surprise. His short game comes into play at Newport Beach, the shortest course in length (6,591 yards) on the Champions Tour, for golfers 50 years and older.
That aforementioned method he used to acquire those skills was built during his time as a golf pro at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
He found time to practice.
"When it got to 2 or 3 p.m., no one really played any more," Roberts explained. "The pro shop was literally 20 yards away from the putting green, and I could hear the phone with the door open from there. So I just kept putting and putting."
Roberts has had several great accomplishments when it comes to golf: eight PGA Tour victories and 13 wins on the Champions Tour. But the 57–year-old golfer says his greatest feat was the way he came up.
He takes pride in his background. He took a rather unique path toward his success as a golfer.
"I'm proud of the fact that I've had a pretty good dog-gone career for somebody coming out of the pro shop," said Roberts, who won the 2012 Toshiba Classic by two strokes. "You don't see kids now work a pro-shop job and then two days before qualifying school take a week off, play a practice round and tee it up. These kids are playing mini-tours and playing golf 365 days a year. I'm pretty proud of the fact that I was able to come out of the golf shop and establish a pretty good career."
Roberts' career has been good because of his accomplishments and his longevity. His short game has been a big reason why he has had staying power.
He didn't win his first PGA Tour event until the 12th year of his career, when he came out on top at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, then known as Bay Hill, in 1991.
He had 12 wins on the Champions Tour but then went two years without a victory. At the 2012 Toshiba Classic he showed he still has staying power when he won amid 25-30-mile-per-hour winds for the final round.
There was some rain too, which led to delays, but that did not faze Roberts.
He won by two strokes, holding off the likes of Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Kite and Bernhard Langer, who all finished tied for second.
His short game certainly helped.