School of Art + Art History Alumni Laurence Hasak (BDESF ’84) has been using his Graphic Design degree in a way he never expected.
When the Fairfield, Connecticut native graduated in 1984, he thought he would be an advertising art director, but after going from agency to agency, he found his calling designing editorial as the Art Director at GOLF Magazine Custom Publishing/Times Mirror Magazines at 2 Park Avenue in New York City.
Now the owner and creative director of Legendary Publishing and Media Group, a boutique custom publishing company located in Palm Beach, Florida, Hasak designs and publishes history and centennial books on some of the most prestigious private clubs in America and Asia.
Hasak says the true take off for his business was in 2009, when Legendary Publishing’s book “The Story of Golf at The Country Club,” won the U.S. Golf Association's Herbert Warren Wind Award for best golf book of the year. The Country Club, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, was featured in Disney’s live-action movie, “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
“After that, requests started coming in,” Hasak said. “Every club that contacted us wanted to match the quality of The Country Club’s book. It is not only a book on the the club’s unique history but it’s an important look back at the history of golf in the United States."
Hasak, who has always loved golf, is grateful to be able to physically publish the rich history of the different clubs in a time where so much is done digitally.
“You can’t put our books on an iPad,” Hasak said. “The clubs that hire us want their membership to cherish these keepsakes, revisit their rich traditions and pass them down to future generations of members."
Hasak takes his work with the clubs very seriously because of the history involved. While working on a book, he will visit each club several times to do research, direct photoshoots and work directly with the book committee to ensure the story is as accurate as possible.
“I want to know what it's like to walk the fairways and sit in their locker rooms,” Hasak said. “Creating a good book takes a lot of time; creating a great book takes much longer."
Hasak said he enjoys learning each club's pasts. While researching maps on the Library of Congress website for the book on the Newport Country Club, he and the author compared a 1780 map to a current Google map of Newport’s golf course. They wanted to confirm club folklore that American troops had camped on the course during the Revolutionary War.
“We confirmed that troops did indeed camp on the 9th hole, but they were the French army,” Hasak said.
Several of the clubs Hasak’s company works with have hosted golf’s major championships, including Oakland Hills in Detroit, Michigan and Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. Legendary Publishing has also published books for the The Yale Club and The Links Club, both private social clubs in New York City.
“I’m blessed to have such great projects and be able to work with these clubs,” Hasak said. “Your visiting hallowed ground. These are the same fairways walked by Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.”
Hasak credits much of his design expertise to his classes and professors from UF, which included Robert Skelley and the late Jack Nichelson.
Even Hasak’s daughter now attends UF. Lindsey Hasak is entering her senior year as a double major in English and behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.
“My schooling and graphic design courses from UF have been essential to my success in design and publishing,” Hasak said. “Skelley and Nichelson taught us old-school methods. We were continually challenged, they critiqued us heavily and thickened our skin. Most importantly, they taught us how to think conceptually.”