On a doctor’s visit during the final year of his life, 92-year old Charles Bassler Sr. was asked a series of questions to test his mind, and then asked to write a sentence. Bassler simply wrote, "I love golf."
His daughter, Elizabeth Fandel fondly remembered that moment, one day after the golfing legend from Catonsville died on May 20.
“This was a man who made his living at something he loved, golf,” said Fandel, who helped care for her dad after his wife, Peggy, died in April of 2011.
He moved from Catonsville to her home in Mendham, New Jersey for his final two years and Fandel saw his passion for golf until his third bout with pneumonia finally took him away.
Although he was disoriented a day before he died, golf was still on the mind of Bassler Sr. whose favorite channel unti the end was The Golf Channel.
He carried a golf ball around the house all day and told his daughter, ‘I think I’m going to play a round of golf,’ said Fandel, noting, he later changed his mind and said ‘I’m just going to putt.”
Bassler, who played his final nine holes of golf with his daughter in September of 2012, at age 91, did more than just putt during his prime.
He won the Maryland Open seven times, the District of Columbia Open twice and the MAPGA Match Play Championship and MAPGA Section Championship five times each.
He was named Golfer of the Year in Maryland 10 times and won over 100 tournaments in his career.
Bassler Sr. was born in Catonsville and introduced to golf at age 13 as a caddy at Rolling Road Golf Club.
He later became a golf pro at Turf Valley when his family moved to Howard County.
During that time, he hosted legendary Hall of Fame golfer Sam Snead at his home, while Snead was playing in the Eastern Open PGA Tour event held at Mount Pleasant Golf Club.
Snead, who won 84 PGA tournaments and seven Major championships, spent time hunting, fishing, playing checkers and hitting balls with Bassler from the front lawn of Bassler’s home.
His late son, Chuck Bassler Jr., who shagged the pinpoint shots, barely moved 15 or 20 yards either way to catch them.
When Snead left, Chuck Jr. charged neighborhood kids a penny to see the room where Snead slept.
Later, the two golfers became linked together at the 1951 PGA Championship at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania.
Snead won the 36-hole match-play semifinals, 9 and 8.
But the PGA Championship would never be the same again.
During the match, Snead won three holes with stymies — meaning his ball was in front of Bassler’s on a direct line to the hole.
At the time, the ball was not allowed to be marked unless it was less than six inches away. That made holing the putt nearly impossible.