Reflections on a Wooden Shaft

Breaking down a theme song unlike any other
Reflections on a Wooden Shaft

Understand I harbor no vendetta.

To the contrary, I feel like I understand Dave Loggins. For I, too, have known the subtle lash of second best.

And I’m extrapolating now, because what do I really know of the Loggins family dynamics? What do I know about my own family  dynamics? But I’m getting ahead of myself. I should back up. 

Dave Loggins is second cousin to the far more famous Kenny Loggins, who wrote ubiquitous chart-toppers such as “Danger Zone” and “Footloose” and “What a Fool Believes” and “I’m Alright.” Dave Loggins, by contrast, wrote “Augusta (The Theme From the Masters),” which bothers us but once a year. 

Most things I just let slide off my back. Isn’t there enough trouble in the world already that I should have to make a federal case over “Augusta (The Theme From the Masters)”? I would answer not with my own words, but with those of Dave Loggins: “The wooden-shafted legend of Bobby Jones.” 

Say what now? The wooden-shafted…huh? This I cannot countenance.

That’s a disturbing thing to say in a song. I suppose it could be disturbing in a cool way, like when Iggy Pop sings in “Lust for Life,” “I’m just a modern guy/ You know I’ve had it in the ear before.” But it’s just not. A songwriting rule of thumb: If your name isn’t Isaac Hayes, shafts really needn’t enter into it. You’re not Prince circa Lovesexy. You’re Dave Loggins.

I’m not going to do a close read on the rest of the lyrics. 

Yes, I am. Cue the effete tinkling of the keys:

Well, it’s springtime in the valley on Magnolia Lane

It’s the Augusta National and the master  of the game

Who’ll wear that green coat on Sunday afternoon?

Who’ll walk the 18th fairway singing this tune?

Who, indeed? Like, which Masters champion literally walks up No. 18 assured of victory and breaks into Dave Loggins’ “Augusta (The Theme From the Masters)”? I mean, probably Bubba Watson, I will grant you that. But nobody else. The idea that every Masters champion hums Dave Loggins’ song is an insult to Ángel Cabrera, who clearly would be smoking. 

Augusta, your dogwoods and pines

They play on my mind like a song

Augusta, it’s you that I love

And it’s you that I’ll miss when I’m gone

Jesus. That’s a lot. I’m OK with the dogwoods and pines, which are very rad features that I enjoy each year at the Masters. The idea that when we die the thing we will most miss is…Augusta? That I am uncomfortable with.

It’s Sarazen’s double eagle at the 15 in ’35

And the spirit of Clifford Roberts that keeps it alive

Sarazen’s double eagle was admittedly cool, but nope. Clifford Roberts was a shameful racist who requires no mention in any laudatory song about Augusta. Sorry. Nope.

It’s the legions of Arnie’s Army and the Golden Bear’s throngs

LOVE the first part! I miss Arnie. There is no historical military maneuver I wish I had participated in more than the championship Sunday march of Arnie’s Army. (Second would be the Prussian conquest of Denmark in 1871.) And Jack—sure, whatever. “Throngs” feels a little weird, but maybe I’m just projecting now. 

And the wooden-shafted legend of Bobby Jones

There it is again, the sordid epigram. And once more, ripples of nausea ensue. But seriously, I’m alright. Nobody worry about me.  

Elizabeth Nelson is a singer-songwriter for The Paranoid Style. She’s written about music and sports at the Oxford American, The Ringer and LG&M.