It is logical to assume Kevin Dawson is
called “Magic” for the way he plays golf.
After all, the 60-year-old Georgian boasts
a 1. 8 handicap index and is a former club
champion at the East Lake Golf Club in
Atlanta, where Bobby Jones learned the
game. A member of the prestigious Society
of Seniors, he rarely misses a fairway or
green, and when he does find a bit of trouble, he always seems to bail himself out.
But the real reason Dawson carries the
Magic moniker is revealed after he puts
away his golf bag and pulls out his bag of
tricks, for he is a first-rate magician who
delights in entertaining with card tricks,
shell games and other sleights of hand.
Dawson quickly draws a crowd when he
begins making rubber balls disappear, sets
wallets on fire and uses rubber bands and
thumbtacks to shoot playing cards and dollar bills into ceilings, all the while talking
in an easy drawl that woos wide-eyed kids
and high-powered CEOs alike.
It is not a stretch to say that Dawson
is one of the most popular – and accomplished – magicians in the country.
And what is even more unique is that he
has built his business almost exclusively
around his beloved game of golf.
The mustachioed illusionist is a fixture
at the top club tournaments in the country,
whether the SWATs at Oakmont and Scioto
or the Shootout at Bay Hill. He is frequently
invited to play in events at heady retreats
like Olympia Fields and Seminole, Camargo
and Whisper Rock.
And when he is done with his rounds,
Dawson cheerfully dons a pair of plus fours
or a kilt, straps on a sort of leather apron
and begins his act. Sometimes, he can’t
wait for the golf to end and has been known
to produce a deck of cards on the course
when play has backed up and keep fellow
players amused with a few quick tricks.
had some free time during the day. I’d ski
in the winters and play golf in the springs,
summers and falls. It was the restaurant
lifestyle that got me back into it.”
Dawson moved back to Atlanta in 1980,
and began teeing it up even more, reviving
a passion not only for playing the game but
also for its history and culture.
“Over time, I learned how to combine
my talents in magic and entertaining with
my passion for golf and started getting
asked to perform at tournaments and cor-
porate outings,” he says. “Things took off
One of his big breaks was becoming the
“resident magician” at The Cloister on Sea
Island, Ga., a gig that lasted four delicious
A former director of the Georgia State
Golf Association who was deeply involved in
course rating and rules officiating, Dawson has performed for Presidents (Ford
and Carter) and Kings (Arnold Palmer and
Richard Petty). He has worked the finest
clubs in the land and the most exclusive
tournaments. And he typically gets to play
150 rounds a year.
“I love the game and love being around
golfers,” Dawson says. “I feel a little like
Peter Pan with my magic. It brings out the
child in me, and I try to do that with the
golfers I entertain. I want to make people
laugh. I like to make them wonder.”
Ask anyone who has seen him: Kevin
Dawson does all that with his magic act.
And he has a very good time in the