October 17, 2014
I joined Jim Hutchins a few Sundays ago for the second round of The Rookery’s Member-Member tournament, on the practice range at the South Course.
Standing together, we looked like a pair of piano keys—Hutchins in a white shirt, and me in a black one.
I noted that I had good reason to wear this particular shirt, as Hutchins noticed the red, white and black FFC emblem on the left side of my chest.
I said I was wearing my special Fulham FC golf shirt because the Cottagers had won their match the day before against Birmingham City FC.
Jim looked down at his shirt and said, “I picked this one because it was clean.”
Therein lies the difference between some golfers and others.
Do you show your allegiances to other sports or interests while playing golf, or don’t you?
My buddy Kevin Conlon is the normally proud owner of an official Washington Redskins golf bag, festooned with autographs from former players, which he picked up at a fundraiser tournament.
With the Redskins not doing so well lately, he’s not quite as proud as he used to be, but the bag remains a regular part of his golf gear.
When we are out and about during our annual spring golf trips to Myrtle Beach, SC or Pinehurst, NC, Conlon often takes some good-natured ribbing from the golf course staff as they load his Skins bag onto the golf carts. The conversation usually involves vivid comparisons of the past wretched Redskin season with whichever team is the staffer’s favorite, and Conlon handles it with a good laugh or two.
The folks at Ruddo’s Golf on Route One do a nice business with logo items, including college teams and NFL favorites.
When we visited there a couple weeks ago, Pete McCaffery pointed out the special Philadelphia Eagles golf shoes that were on sale. These sported a saddle-shoe design in Eagles white and green, with the Eagles bird logo also stitched into the side of the heels.
I think the only way I could convince my wife to take up golf is if she could have her own Philadelphia Eagles golf bag, which she noticed when we were shopping at Ruddo’s. I have to admit that it would go well with her current Eagles ensemble, which include Eagles earrings, an Eagles necklace, an Eagles sweatshirt, and an Eagles baseball hat, among other items.
I don’t think she would go as far as the Eagles shoes, though.
Cape Henlopen High School volleyball coach Nick DelCampo tends to favor the University of Delaware Blue Hens when playing golf, wearing either a Blue Hen shirt or a Blue Hen hat. It must take him back to his playing days for the university.
Bill Maxwell, another golf trip buddy from St. Mary’s, Georgia, is a huge Bulldog fan and is also a proud alumnus. He has a bunch of University of Georgia golf items, and can often be seen wearing the familiar black and red colors of the team from Athens.
Dozens of colleges and universities do a thriving business in golf-related clothing and trinketry, and golf stores like Ruddo’s are happy to join in the fun of helping you show your school colors while out on the golf course.
There’s something tribal about all this, but in a good way.
Bringing your entourage with you on the golf course
Some folks have such close friends and acquaintances that they all want to be together all the time. Think certain sports or musical entertainment stars and their fabled entourages, for example.
A Recent Ruling of the Day at the USGA website came up with a special rules question for just these golfers, and very few others that I can imagine.
While noting that a caddie would carry the player’s clubs, the question asked if “additional persons” could carry other items for the player, such as a rainsuit, umbrella, or food and drinks.
The answer was a somewhat surprising yes. Any such persons would be considered outside agencies under the rules, along with any times they carried while on the course.
On the other hand, the club’s Committee “may prohibit the use of such persons in the conditions of the competition.”
This is not a problem I am ever likely to have.