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Even a cursory spin through the golf Twittersphere brings a host of issues facing the game, including slow play, the distance dilemma, rule changes, sponsor exemptions, broadcast coverage, backstopping and the nominal cost of Thanksgiving pay-per-view specials. Allow me to present another silent but headache-inducing epidemic: the obsession with flaunting golf-club logos. Yes, logos. So. Many. Logos.
I must first confess that I was once like you. I’ve felt the intoxicating rush walking into the pro shop at a highly regarded club. I’ve surrendered to the reckless frenzy of gathering myriad products I didn’t need but was unquestionably going to purchase. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve procured a sizable number of shirts, hats and outerwear in this state of retail nirvana. For many years I wore them proudly. Thankfully, those days are over.
I’ve been off the logo sauce for almost a year now and sobriety hasn’t been easy. The hard truth is I like golf-club logos. I enjoy and appreciate the unique reminiscent value and artistic creativity they represent. So how can someone like logos, but be opposed to purchasing the apparel on which they are prominently displayed? The awakening hit me like a fresh batch of Tiger nudes: completely unexpected and something I could not unsee.
One morning, I began streaming a video of a well-known golf-media personality. Suddenly it dawned on me that each time I saw him, he was rocking an array of clothing from different top-100 courses. Winged Foot, Merion, Oakmont, Shinnecock—he had them all and wasn’t afraid to wear multiple at once. But it became obvious that his intent wasn’t to share his love of those courses or what they represented. He certainly wasn’t a member. His not-so-subtle objective was to pimp his experiences as walking trophies. A logo exhibitionist, if you will.
A week later, I spotted a gaggle of golfers in the San Francisco airport. You know the type: They looked a club and ball short of teeing it up on the Terminal 1 concourse. One particular gentleman was wearing a Cypress Point hat, a San Francisco Golf Club vest and a Seminole belt, topping it off with a Shinnecock backpack. This was no coincidence; it was full-blown logo assault. This man needed everyone to know the breadth of his conquests.
I resigned my position in the golf-logo club, effective immediately. The risk of being linked to this Bag Tag Barry contingent was beyond my threshold. Guilt by association is still guilt. So despite the sizable sunk cost hanging in my closet, I resolved to never again purchase or wear articles of clothing with a club logo.
The most confounding part of this epidemic is the specific obsession on apparel. How many shirts or hats can one golfer possibly need? If your experience was truly that impactful, why would you buy something with such a limited shelf life? The answer is, of course, so people can know where you played without having to make a formal announcement. In the immortal words of Stanley Hudson, take your Pine Valley shirt from the one time you played there and shove it up your butt.
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t purchase items from elite golf clubs. I’ll pick up a keepsake periodically, but only if it can be used without parading it in the face of the poor sap who couldn’t dream of setting foot on the ultra-exclusive grounds of Deepdale. Keep it classy and buy a set of rocks glasses you can enjoy in the comfort of your home.
Despite my passionate aversion to crested apparel, I am amenable to one enormous loophole: If you’re a member, throw this entire take out the window. Trot your logo around for all to see; you’ve earned the privilege. If not, you’re just the guy who upgrades his compact rental car to a Porsche to show off. Don’t be that guy.
Trey Runkle is the creator of the golf blog and Twitter account Outside the Cut. He is the proud owner of a vanity handicap and highly delusional about his mediocre golf game.
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