President Gerald Ford might not have been the best golfer, but he certainly was an enthusiastic one. And while spectators lining the ropes needed to keep an eye out whenever he had a driver in his hands, his clubs are now helping to keep young people in life's fairway.
Ford's golf clubs were auctioned off this week in Dallas, and brought in $26,000 – money that will be used to build a new student learning center at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The clubs came in a bag emblazoned with the late president’s name, a pair of American flags and the presidential seal. And the auction, which included about 50 items that belonged to Ford and former first lady Betty Ford, raised about $132,000. The golf clubs, however, brought in the most cash.
"He was identified so much as a golfer in people's minds," said Tom Slater, director of Americana auctions at Heritage Auctions.
The $5 million student learning center is part of a $15 million update planned for the museum, which will also include remodeled permanent exhibits. Joe Calvaruso, executive director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, said he expects to break ground on the student learning center next year, the 100th anniversary of Ford's birth.
Ford died in 2006, and his wife passed away last year.