BY CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — From the first time he met Roy Vomastek on a golf course, Brian Mulvaney knew there was something uniquely special about the septuagenarian.
For a man in his 70s, Vomastek was incredibly powerful off the tee, Mulvaney thought.
Yet, there’s no way Mulvaney could have ever imagined how his relationship with Vomastek would evolve. How they would become such good friends. How many stories Vomastek would share that would lead to Mulvaney co-authoring his first book with Vomastek as the main character.
“Roy: The 78-year-old Champion” is the story Mulvaney and co-author Jay Lavender wrote about Vomastek. It documents some amazing stories about the life of Vomastek, a family doctor in Marion who is also an avid and successful golfer, and a memorable match Vomastek played at Crystal Downs Country Club near Frankfort a few years ago.
“It’s a fascinating story about a great, hard-working, humble guy who had some breaks come his way and took full advantage of it, but never lost sight of who he was and what his responsibilities were,” said Mulvaney, who became acquainted with Vomastek as members of Crystal Downs. “Golf has always been in and out of his life. There have been things that have happened where he’s been unable to play for awhile, but it always comes back and plays a major part of his life.”
In the month since it’s been released the book has received rave reviews and has spent time ranked No. 1 on Amazon.com’s non-fiction e-books list. Each review published on the web site rates it a five-star — the highest rating possible.
“It’s exciting. I’ve gotten a lot of patients of mine and friends say, ‘what an interesting story,’” said Vomastek. “It’s great. It’s kind of nice. You think the stories, well they’re a dime a dozen, but everybody that’s talked to me about it says, ‘you know, I picked it up and I couldn’t put it down.’ It’s an easy read. It’s not a huge book. They did a marvelous job.”
While Mulvaney is new to the realm of writing books, Lavender is a professional writer and producer based out of Hollywood. Among Lavender’s credentials are creating the screenplay for the 2006 movie, “The Break Up,” starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston.
“It’s always been a passion of mine to tell stories like this. I’ve always been on the lookout for great, inspiring sports stories because it’s something I’ve always loved,” said Lavender, who played golf collegiately and even did some sports writing during that time before turning to screenwriting.
Still, Mulvaney and Lavender didn’t intend to sit down and write a book about Vomastek. But over a series of informal interviews they began to learn about the story of Vomastek, who refers to his life as a series of miracles, and found many of the anecdotes Vomastek was detailing to be extraordinarily interesting.
“It didn’t start out as a serious project at all,” said Vomastek. “After you played a round of golf you’d sit down, have a beer or go out to dinner. You’re friends, you just talk about things. The more we talked the more they got interested.”
For Mulvaney and Lavender, the Vomastek story was perfect timing for the launch of their publishing company, nspyr.
“Brian and I were already talking about working and creating a company together that was built around uplifting stories — both fiction and non-fiction. When Brian introduced me to Roy, and I got to meet Roy, he had this wonderful life story,” said Lavender. “(Roy) has that gift where you like him as soon as you see him and that’s confirmed as soon as you meet him. He’s one of those people that gives off a really powerful energy of friendliness and just an incredible spirit.
“There’s a fairy-tale quality to it and that’s what drew me to this story.”
Crystal Downs plays a prominent role in the book as well. The course is routinely ranked as one of the great courses to play in the United States. Vomastek became a member in the 80’s. Mulvaney also joined later on after forging a friendship with Vomastek.
With as well as the book has done so far, there is a possibility it could be published in paperback or bound-book form. There also have been some discussions — particularly with Lavender’s background in film — about whether it could be made into a movie, though the focus for right now is to continue promoting the book and letting it gather momentum.
“We had a feeling that it could catch and do very well,” said Mulvaney. “Our belief is we’re still in the early stages of it. Kind of our roll out strategy is putting it in the hands of people in the golf world to read. The reactions to it are unfolding. It continues to show it’s a very highly-rated book. Right now we’re trying to develop a following with the story and see where it goes. Certainly it has all of the elements that would make it very interesting (as a motion picture).”