With a new golf collection, the art shop in Ridgefield launches its first sale

After 30 years in business, Golf Art is holding its first ever Half Up Inventory Sale – including items that have never been on sale – to free up space for a collection of thousands of vintage magazines that the shop owner recently purchased and started framing to sell.

Personalities range from gaming greats like Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Arnold Palmer, to portrayals of female golfers on the covers of Necklaces, The life, Saturday night post and other publications both renowned and obscure.

Skip Rooney, owner of Golf Art, established the previous business in Wilton in 1986, operating from a stand that still stands at the junction of Danbury and Ridgefield roads.

Originally selling fine art prints, he once answered a query from the then general manager of Woodway Country Club in Darien for golf-related items. During a search, he learned of the demand for prints by golf clubs. He started making the rounds locally and found enough interest to rotate the printing business to focus on gaming.

To increase his notoriety, he hit the road, including trips to the British Open where he presented clubs with free framed lithographs featuring Bobby Jones, along with a business card.

“Everyone in Britain loved Bobby Jones,” Rooney said. “I studied and I knew it.”

The Golf Art name would start making the rounds at clubs in the United States and abroad. Rooney said the top-selling items today are lithographs of major courses, particularly Augusta National and Pebble Beach.

From there, the business grew to include awards for golf tournaments and corporate events, including US Open related memorabilia, and in time standard coaching services.

Golf Art has been located for over 20 years at 609 Ethan Allen Highway in Ridgefield on Route 7, a building that was abandoned when Rooney first saw it. After walking through a broken window frame accompanied by a real estate broker, he fixed it. The building was badly damaged in a 2011 fire that destroyed some of Golf Art’s inventory.

A set of Great Depression golf clubs remains the most unusual item Golf Art has ever sold in Rooney’s estimation, acquiring a set of 1930s clubs bearing the name of John D. Rockefeller. Rooney believes they belonged to the Standard Oil tycoon, with a buyer eventually buying them for over $1,100.

Golf Art continues to stock antique clubs, with shafts of hickory and other woods as well as steel with a finish to mimic wood for aesthetic purposes.

His favorite piece in the shop now is a The life 1950s Hogan cover, which Rooney framed with a separate Hogan autograph in his collection.

The piece hangs on the wall at Golf Art, but many more clutter the store floor as the sale kicks off Tuesday, through March 16, with information online at www.golf-art.com or by calling 800-283-3344.

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