The Legend of Teddy Balszac (i - vii)
Company of Gentlemen Golfers, Lieth, Scotland. One Aonghas MacDonald, commented in his diary, later found by his grand daughter Sorcha and told to Balszac family heirs, that a young man, with an unfamiliar accent though to be from more southern climes, came to play at “ “, and befitting the “gentlemen” of their name, they gladly welcomed Theodore to play amongst their group. There was a wind blowing, bringing a chill from the North Sea. Theodore, already being called Teddy by the group for his warm nature, pulled a small metal tube from his pocket, Smiling he passed it round to his mates. It was warm to the touch. It was a metal canister, of which some small amount of charcoal or coal had been placed at the beginning of the round, and then screwed into a bottom piece, above held some liquid that the Scottish Isles were famous for. The entire group was well pleased to warm their hands and their soul before hitting their next ball.
Teddy originally became familiar with Scotland through his import/export firm that facilitated trade of American Cotton and finished Scottish textiles. As that market began to find hardship in the 1860’s he found himself procuring steel for the burgeoning ship building business in Glasgow. An explorer at heart the lure of America became strong and in 1909 boarded the RMS Majestic out of Liverpool to New York.
In the new century more golf courses were coming into existence as was a “new” golf ballwith a rubber core. It didn’t take Teddy long to build a new prototype to join his grandfather’s “warmer” . Teddy noticed that when hit a ‘warmer’ ball, that it flew farther and felt softer, he still used coal in the bottom compartment, but now with a larger opening on the top, he could place a few of the golf balls in the top and always keep them warm. The first few prototypes ended with oddly shaped balls and melted rubber coating the insides of the me
tal warmer. His daughter Jane complained that the house continually smelt like burnt rubber. Teddy finally designed and insulation chamber between the heating element and holding element to keep the right temperature.
The Teddy Balszac Rule? Rule 14/3 . Rule 14-3: Artificial Devices and Unusual Equipment; Abnormal Use of Equipment
So before there were laser range finders, and satellites and such… there was Teddy’s ball warmer. And rumor has it upon winning a local tournament, Teddy IV had upset some golfers who had sway on the rules committee. They were not upset at Teddy so much as Teddy winning, and winning with a ‘device’ that not everyone had. In the interest of fair play. Rules were codified about artificial devices.
This did not stop Teddy from using his family’s warming devices, both his grandfather’s hand warmer/flask combo as well as his now infamous ball warmer. He and his friends were generally interested in the sport for its camaraderie and enjoyment outdoors so he continued to supply these goods in small numbers. Fabricating them in small specialty shop of his friend Herman located across the bay in Bayonne, NJ. Teddy was now playing most of his rounds with friends at the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn.
The ‘Clarification” Decision 14-3/13.5 essentially states that while golf balls warmed during a round are a breach of Rule 14-3, balls warmed prior to a round are OK. Doing so might keep you out of the front green-side bunker. Teddy upon reading this according to his son Teddy V, “No Sh**)
In fact, in the tips section of the now defunct Golfsmith's website offered advice on how to keep golf balls warm, including putting a towel in the bottom of a pot of two quarts of water, bringing the water to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (about the temp of really hot tap water), leave them in there for 30 minutes and then dry them and place them in an insulated food bag.
As coal lost favor for heating, Teddy VI began using fuel based warmers for the Balszac line but was never completely satisfied, coal had been such an elegant solution compared with needing to fill fuel and lasted longer. He still provided the Balszac line as gifts to friends and randomly to playing partners who he’d meet when walking on a single on a local course.
It was not until recently when Teddy VII was playing a game in Massachusetts in early March, a dusting of snow being chased off the green by the morning sun that Teddy decided to upgrade his family’s warmers. Hitting a 4 iron to a long par 3, being out of fuel for his original warmer, the cold ball, hitting the cold iron sent shivers through his wrists, arms to reverberate in his skull he exclaimed out loud, and to no one in particular. “Someone’s got to warm me balls!”
Teddy VII went back to his desk that morning and began sketching and the new family of Balszac products were born, and now available to any friend who stops by the web site, or happens to play golf with Teddy when he walks on as a single.