FOX25 news anchor Mark Ockerbloom is a media lifer. His seamless transitions from radio to television, and then from sports to news have been as smooth as his on-air delivery and demeanor. This same quality applies to his golf game.
“I used my dad’s clubs for a while,” says the 50-year-old Winchester, MA native and Providence College grad. “Eventually, I got a set of Spalding Executives. When I started doing morning sports radio at WGIR in New Hampshire, I began playing a bunch of Media Day tournaments. I was being invited to tournaments non-stop. After the morning show, I would play a lot at Intervale Country Club in Manchester.”
Ockerbloom, who has also worked at WMUR-TV in Manchester and NECN, became a regular on the media golf circuit. He relates, “We were playing so often, it felt like we were on the PGA Tour. There were so many requests to play. It was like golf was part of the job. That was a great time.”
From Manchester, Ockerbloom’s career carried him west to Oklahoma. His golf game traveled with him. “I was working at KOCO, the ABC affiliate in Oklahoma City. It is such a college sports hotbed. The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would have golf Media Days for each sport!”
Ockerbloom won Oklahoma’s Sportscaster of the Year Award while immersing himself in the local golf scene. “There were some great courses out there. I loved Oak Tree and Southern Hills. Oklahoma State has a rich tradition of golf with names like Willie Wood, Bob Tway, and Scott Verplank.”
While in Sooner country, golf served as a means of fitting in for a New Englander far away from home. Says Ockerbloom, “The best part was that if you were a TV broadcaster, you could play the municipal courses free. I was playing so much. My handicap dropped and I was consistently in the low to mid 80s.
“I definitely bonded with people through golf. You truly can learn so much about people from the 1st to the 18th hole. At the TV station, we had this old green glass. It looked like a goblet. Every week, we would play and the winner would get to take home the Green Goblet as an award.”
Ockerbloom currently anchors FOX25’s evening and nightly newscasts, and has been honored by the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Along the way, he has used golf to enhance his media chops. “I had the chance to play with a lot of football coaches and assistant coaches in Oklahoma. I once played in Canton with former Bruins’ coach Brian Sutter. He was a no nonsense guy and not a lot of laughs as a coach.
“He was very serious about golf as well, but this sport is very disarming. On the course, coaches and athletes mete out info as they gain your trust. It’s like being a fly on the wall.”
An all-around sportsman, Ockerbloom has competed in hockey, softball, and distance running. He ran the 2002 Boston Marathon with his brother Carl, who lost his battle with cancer two years later. Classic golf and golf courses remain a vital part of Ockerbloom’s sporting life.
He states, “I played in the Hickory Heritage Golf Classic on the Cape. It is an old style tournament. We wore knickers and the whole outfit. I still have those in my closet. Farm Neck is a gorgeous course, and I love New Seabury as well as Pinehills.”
Ockerbloom shares a dilemma with his successful media brethren, namely, the opportunity to play in numerous charity tournaments, but simply not enough time to always participate.
“Golf is a great way to help people out,” says the 2010 Boston/New England Emmy winner for Best News Anchor. “The problem now is that my schedule is so compact. I usually play in a tournament for B.C. High in May, but that is sweeps month. Down the road, I definitely want to play more.
“I took my wife (Marysia) out once and played the exploding ball trick on her. I got her all set up to tee off, and was videotaping it. When the ball exploded, she looked back at me with a stare!”
Surprising his wife stands as a golf highlight for Ockerbloom, one of many for sure. He relates, “I never had a hole-in-one, but I’ve come close on a couple of par 3s. I played with (Saints’ defensive coordinator) Rob Ryan once in Oklahoma. We were at a dog leg left and Rob swung so hard, he finished on one knee like Adrian Beltre. He got under another one and crushed it over the trees. It was so much fun. He must have hit it over 300 yards.”
A fixture at FOX25 since 2004, Ockerbloom is a trusted and accomplished broadcaster whose longevity in the business is a product of versatility and hard work. This ethos also applies to the golf course. “You have to put in the time, visualize, and stay composed,” says Ockerbloom, who remains an active supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Pan Mass Challenge.
“Also, you should never be afraid to ask for help. The most important thing is to keep your head clear. Playing golf means you are having a beautiful, peaceful day. Nothing else in the world matters. You look at the hole and the layout of the course, and you know it’s going to be a great day.”
John Molori is the co-author of “The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball’s Prized Players,” to be released in August. Email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?