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Marty Hackel: When will these magazines learn?


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#1 Chilidog

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:37 AM

If you've paid attention to Marty Hackel over the years, one theme is pretty consistent with him: Find a style that is popular and then find the most expensive versions of it to show. As I was flipping through this month's Golf Digest, I finally got fed up (and I am in the freaking industry, so I understand technologies and costs and whatnot). This month the subject is watches....yet they are all pretty much between $5k-$10k...so, basically the cost of a car for some. And, they wonder why golf is viewed as such an elitist sport....hey Marty, I hope you read this (doubt it), but you are only writing to 5% of your readership that would actually pay for that. How about showing options that fit into 80% of the budgets of Americans today? How about a pair of $75 golf pants max, $75 polo max, $150 watch max, $200 shoes max, etc. Don't understand why most of the magazines I read are trying to appeal to 5% of the population...I talking to you GQ too.


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#2 Kadin 25

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:44 AM

I recall him responding to a "reader letter" one time addressing this same issue.

He basically stated that the "styles" he displays is to be used as a "model or base" to follow. He continues to say that he is not implying you purchase the exact items he uses.  

In my opinion his feature does appear to come off a bit on the "Up Scale $$ trend".

I think a great series would be the "budget minded golfer"

Using examples of real world "deals" and where to purchase them.

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#3 JPNC1977

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:44 AM

I agree...but 5% is high.  More like top 2%.  I'm sure there is a method behind the madness as GD is probably trying to attract high dollar ad sales.

#4 papichulosteve

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:00 AM

View PostJPNC1977, on 08 May 2013 - 08:44 AM, said:

I agree...but 5% is high. More like top 2%. I'm sure there is a method behind the madness as GD is probably trying to attract high dollar ad sales.

I agree. I think it might be like the 'Hot List'...mention the big ticket items that pay for the ad space and mentions in the magazine.

I know GQ has done segments based on 'value branding' in helping people find suits for under 400 bucks, and shoes for under 200. Doing the same for golf would be fantastic. Rate out companies like Uniqlo with their 30 dollar tech polos, mention deals to be had like when True's were 50% off. Or even recommend sites like Rock Bottom Golf.

#5 HateTheHighDraw

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:25 PM

Consider the demographics of Golf Digest's readers and you'll understand why.


#6 Jimmy Mac

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:52 PM

I was lucky enough to spend a few days hanging out with Marty. This exact topic came up in conversation.

When he is picking items to highlight, he intentionally shows what he feels is the finest example of a product trend - regardless of price or manufacturer.

The goal is to provide an aspirational target for the reader. A look upon which to base their own personal choice. He's not trying to say, "if you don't spend $10,000 on a Rolex, you've wasted money." He's trying to say, "A black alligator band with a stainless case and a white face is a hot look right now".

Style is never going to come from being a sheep and buying the exact items profiled in a magazine, but rather from learning trends, mixing in some core "rules", and then discovering your own personal twist.

Marty Hackel is the man. You won't meet a nicer, more entertaining, and cordial guy.

This really isn't all that different from reading a motoring publication - plenty of Ferraris and Vettes, not so many Toyota Yaris. Or Architectural Digest or Esquire or Outside. They all show what they feel are the best examples of whatever they report on.

Heck I don't see too many reviews of the Golden Bear starter sets from Target or the Wilsons from Walmart anywhere either.

Edited by Jimmy Mac, 08 May 2013 - 01:56 PM.


#7 sheppy335

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:46 AM

I wrote a letter to editor about this one how they are misleading people. Those watching were from 2100 to 27000 dollars. I was like come on this is ludicrousness. He needs to do more of a common mans fashion, problem is impressionable young people will see this and think they need it cause all golfers have them. he either needs to change or stop writing.
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#8 J-Tizzle

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:59 AM

I dont' know who thinks if they don't spend $2k on a watch its not fashionable.  Thats nuts.

I follow another website (Primer.com) and it is kinda like young professionals guide to everything.  They always have "how to dress for" articles and they typically have a higher end option, as well as a lower end option for things like shoes and watches.  A $200 Citizen or Tissot can look just as nice as a Rolex or Omega, and to think otherwise is crazy.

Note, I mostly talked about watches earlier, but it really goes for everything.
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#9 pingman1

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:03 AM

View Postsheppy335, on 09 May 2013 - 10:46 AM, said:

I wrote a letter to editor about this one how they are misleading people. Those watching were from 2100 to 27000 dollars. I was like come on this is ludicrousness. He needs to do more of a common mans fashion, problem is impressionable young people will see this and think they need it cause all golfers have them. he either needs to change or stop writing.

Why, if you don't like what he writes, don't read it.  BTW, what do you consider a "common man's fashion"? Maybe Timex, Fossil, Wal-Mart golf shirts?

#10 Flagrant

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:03 AM

I love this section of the magazine and look forward to it each month, his months happened to peak my interest because i am big on mens watches and have a few nice watches myself. Although when i was reading this months article i did think to myself most people aren't spending 10-30k on a watch and that's perfectly fine, but who is he trying to appeal too? I started to think if advertising had any effect on what he writes about each month. Say if a certain brand contributes to GD that months does their products go into that months article?  I think GD attracts readers of all ages and wallet sizes.
Just a thought.

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#11 Jimmy Mac

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:18 AM

He certainly picks some expensive watches, but some aren't so pricey.

His watch article in November 2010 had pieces ranging from a $12,000 Piaget down to a $199 (list) Bulova that you can buy on Amazon for about $100.

#12 J13

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:31 AM

Agree. His head is in the clouds. It's amusing to think people spend that much on a watch
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#13 Skaffa77

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:53 AM

Yeah...saw the watch listing and I thought the same thing.   I have quite a few watches some of which are pricier, but I did think this list was a bit higher end.

You don't have to spend $5000+ to have a nice stylish or modern looking watch.   I do sometimes look at these lists and wonder...who spends $1000 on a pair of pants.   They certainly weren't the Yuppies I started my career with...and they liked to act/spend like they had money.  I'm sure there are some who can, but most can't.

Anyway, I don't knock the section for it...I actually like seeing some of this higher end stuff, but I do wonder how many Golf Digest readers actually would own a watch that is even 25% the cost of some of those watches.

Edited by Skaffa77, 09 May 2013 - 11:54 AM.


#14 Llortamaisey

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:02 PM

I'm sure the companies he highlights sends him free goodies for including their pieces in his article. Which company would you rather get free stuff from? Timex or Patek?

Can't fault him for that decision.

#15 KMeloney

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:04 PM

View Postsheppy335, on 09 May 2013 - 10:46 AM, said:

I wrote a letter to editor about this one how they are misleading people. Those watching were from 2100 to 27000 dollars. I was like come on this is ludicrousness. He needs to do more of a common mans fashion, problem is impressionable young people will see this and think they need it cause all golfers have them. he either needs to change or stop writing.

"Misleading" people? Even Chilidog's beef isn't that he's "misleading" people -- he's saying that most of the items are just out of reach for most people, and so it doesn't make much sense to constantly be showing such high end items. I don't disagree with Chili's post. But "misleading" people? How do you get that?

MH doesn't "need" to do anything like you're describing. It would be nice now and then though, wouldn't it?


#16 natedd

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:22 PM

Why wouldn't he do the "Here is the cost no object ideal" and "Here is an affordable choice with similar styling" as part of the article.

It is pretty common practice in nearly every other magazine fashion articles.

#17 moonshine

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:38 PM

@Jimmy Mac, could not have written it better my friend!  MH is a great guy and a delight to hang with for sure. GD is under Conde Nast umbrella and paying the bills.  GD does have a polish to it that other similar mags...Golf etc., can't match.

#18 Togatown22

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:45 PM

View PostJimmy Mac, on 08 May 2013 - 01:52 PM, said:

I was lucky enough to spend a few days hanging out with Marty. This exact topic came up in conversation.

When he is picking items to highlight, he intentionally shows what he feels is the finest example of a product trend - regardless of price or manufacturer.

The goal is to provide an aspirational target for the reader. A look upon which to base their own personal choice. He's not trying to say, "if you don't spend $10,000 on a Rolex, you've wasted money." He's trying to say, "A black alligator band with a stainless case and a white face is a hot look right now".

Style is never going to come from being a sheep and buying the exact items profiled in a magazine, but rather from learning trends, mixing in some core "rules", and then discovering your own personal twist.

Marty Hackel is the man. You won't meet a nicer, more entertaining, and cordial guy.

This really isn't all that different from reading a motoring publication - plenty of Ferraris and Vettes, not so many Toyota Yaris. Or Architectural Digest or Esquire or Outside. They all show what they feel are the best examples of whatever they report on.

Heck I don't see too many reviews of the Golden Bear starter sets from Target or the Wilsons from Walmart anywhere either.

It's good to hear that he's a nice guy, I'd love to talk to him as he seems like an interesting person.
That said, I don't think your analogies work that well.  The biggest difference between a Ferrari or Vette and a Yaris (other than cost of course) is style  Whether that 'style' is lifestyle or driving style doesn't really matter.  I don't think many people who buy a Yaris are doing so to aspire to the style of a Ferrari.   A more useful review in a motoring publication might be to write about what new lower-cost offerings from manufacurers might have similar features or styling to a big-budget sports car, or even just handle particularly well for their cost.


Nor do I think golf starter sets from Target should be reviewed the same way top-line iron sets are.  But a good review might feature up and coming or lesser-known manufacturers who are putting out really solid clubs at lower cost and with lower fanfare than the big guys we all think of.  That kind of analogy works better for personal clothing and accessory style, I think.

My feeling is that his material might be useful to a wider readership if he took that next step; show us what solid watch manufacturers are making stylish offerings that don't carry the cost of an AP/Rolex/Breitling, etc.  Some people need a bit more help finding their own personal style, and could use visible examples of it.
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#19 WVP

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:47 PM

He could probably cover the full range of options a bit better. I actually like that Ralph Lauren blue watch but for 10k I'm not buying a Ralph Lauren...

My question - where did this dude come from? Does he have a real golf background?

Edited by WVP, 09 May 2013 - 03:25 PM.

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#20 Jimmy Mac

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:33 PM

View PostTogatown22, on 09 May 2013 - 12:45 PM, said:

It's good to hear that he's a nice guy, I'd love to talk to him as he seems like an interesting person.
That said, I don't think your analogies work that well.  The biggest difference between a Ferrari or Vette and a Yaris (other than cost of course) is style  Whether that 'style' is lifestyle or driving style doesn't really matter.  I don't think many people who buy a Yaris are doing so to aspire to the style of a Ferrari.   A more useful review in a motoring publication might be to write about what new lower-cost offerings from manufacurers might have similar features or styling to a big-budget sports car, or even just handle particularly well for their cost.


Nor do I think golf starter sets from Target should be reviewed the same way top-line iron sets are.  But a good review might feature up and coming or lesser-known manufacturers who are putting out really solid clubs at lower cost and with lower fanfare than the big guys we all think of.  That kind of analogy works better for personal clothing and accessory style, I think.

My feeling is that his material might be useful to a wider readership if he took that next step; show us what solid watch manufacturers are making stylish offerings that don't carry the cost of an AP/Rolex/Breitling, etc.  Some people need a bit more help finding their own personal style, and could use visible examples of it.

I think you are quite mistaken. Plenty of people buying subcompacts aspire to the Ferrari style despite their lack of budget. Perhaps you've heard there's a multi-billion dollar aftermarket accessories and performance boost industry? The readers often look to the supercars for styling cues and ways to modify their own rides.

I absolutely love the idea of reviews of lesser known mfg with solid clubs at a lower price - not sure there are very many of those out there. Most of those smaller companies lack economies of scale so they end up being boutique priced. If they exist, I'd love to hear about them.

As for the apparel styles, your core premise is simply wrong.

"Some people need a bit more help finding their own personal style, and could use visible examples of it." If it's your "Own Personal Style" by definition, you didn't arrive at it by exactly copying a look from a magazine. The style sections are there for inspiration. They're not meant to be a list of items you must own.

Again, listing a less expensive item is not out of bounds for Marty, as I mentioned before, his last watch article for GD included a timepiece that you can pick up for $100 through Amazon. If you get much cheaper than that, it'll turn your wrist green.


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#21 ABgolfer2

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:33 PM

View PostWVP, on 09 May 2013 - 12:47 PM, said:

He could probably cover the full range of options a bit better. I actually like Ralph Lauren blue watch but for 10k I'm not buying a Ralph Lauren...

My question - where did this dude come from? Does he have a real golf background?

LOL - my first thought whenever I see an event photo that includes Hackel - who is that guy? He's certainly not a golfer and seems out of touch with any golfers I ever see. I picture him pacing back and forth on the veranda picking holes in people showing up at the first tee making notes and never picking up a club or hitting a ball. Seems like he should be writing a "golfing style" article for GQ. If I was ever in a situation where spending way more money than necessary to fill a golf related need, and having like minded people know about it, I would definitely [might] use it as a guide. For now though, there's nothing ever listed that speaks to me on any level regardless of the price. Not my taste at all - usually it only gets read after every other section is dog eared. Even then probably not. Whatever - clearly I'm not the intended audience.
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#22 KMeloney

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:37 PM

View PostWVP, on 09 May 2013 - 12:47 PM, said:

My question - where did this dude come from? Does he have a real golf background?

Not sure, but looking around, it doesn't appear that playing golf qualifies someone to give fashion advice, either.

#23 KMeloney

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:43 PM

View PostABgolfer2, on 09 May 2013 - 01:33 PM, said:

He's certainly not a golfer and seems out of touch with any golfers I ever see. I picture him pacing back and forth on the veranda picking holes in people showing up at the first tee making notes and never picking up a club or hitting a ball.

What does it matter if he's a golfer or not? As long as the clothes he discusses are functional (movement and material-wise) and within the bounds of most clubs' policies, then who cares?

Don't confuse my post with liking all or even most of his likes. I just don't see how it matters at all, since it's not as though he's recommending clothes that wouldn't be seen on or around a golf course.

#24 WVP

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:00 PM

View PostKMeloney, on 09 May 2013 - 01:37 PM, said:

View PostWVP, on 09 May 2013 - 12:47 PM, said:

My question - where did this dude come from? Does he have a real golf background?

Not sure, but looking around, it doesn't appear that playing golf qualifies someone to give fashion advice, either.

Was just wondering where he came from?
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#25 Togatown22

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:01 PM

View PostJimmy Mac, on 09 May 2013 - 01:33 PM, said:

View PostTogatown22, on 09 May 2013 - 12:45 PM, said:

It's good to hear that he's a nice guy, I'd love to talk to him as he seems like an interesting person.
That said, I don't think your analogies work that well.  The biggest difference between a Ferrari or Vette and a Yaris (other than cost of course) is style  Whether that 'style' is lifestyle or driving style doesn't really matter.  I don't think many people who buy a Yaris are doing so to aspire to the style of a Ferrari.   A more useful review in a motoring publication might be to write about what new lower-cost offerings from manufacurers might have similar features or styling to a big-budget sports car, or even just handle particularly well for their cost.


Nor do I think golf starter sets from Target should be reviewed the same way top-line iron sets are.  But a good review might feature up and coming or lesser-known manufacturers who are putting out really solid clubs at lower cost and with lower fanfare than the big guys we all think of.  That kind of analogy works better for personal clothing and accessory style, I think.

My feeling is that his material might be useful to a wider readership if he took that next step; show us what solid watch manufacturers are making stylish offerings that don't carry the cost of an AP/Rolex/Breitling, etc.  Some people need a bit more help finding their own personal style, and could use visible examples of it.

I think you are quite mistaken. Plenty of people buying subcompacts aspire to the Ferrari style despite their lack of budget. Perhaps you've heard there's a multi-billion dollar aftermarket accessories and performance boost industry? The readers often look to the supercars for styling cues and ways to modify their own rides.

I absolutely love the idea of reviews of lesser known mfg with solid clubs at a lower price - not sure there are very many of those out there. Most of those smaller companies lack economies of scale so they end up being boutique priced. If they exist, I'd love to hear about them.

As for the apparel styles, your core premise is simply wrong.

"Some people need a bit more help finding their own personal style, and could use visible examples of it." If it's your "Own Personal Style" by definition, you didn't arrive at it by exactly copying a look from a magazine. The style sections are there for inspiration. They're not meant to be a list of items you must own.

Again, listing a less expensive item is not out of bounds for Marty, as I mentioned before, his last watch article for GD included a timepiece that you can pick up for $100 through Amazon. If you get much cheaper than that, it'll turn your wrist green.


Fair enough; but you're changing it a bit now.  You said Yaris.  You didn't say $20k+ Nitrous kits / serious racing mods.  I've never personally seen a modded Yaris.
We're splitting hairs at this point; I see what you're saying and you clearly like MH quite a bit.  Good deal, as I said, I'm sure he's an interesting guy.

It's obvious that he's mainly focusing on the high-end style and encouranging people to use those benchmarks as a guide to find their comfortable price-points and style twists.

My point is simply that his material could provide much more utility to the average consumer (or even above average) if he made a point of always offering suggestions at different price points.  IMO, of course.

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#26 ABgolfer2

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:05 PM

View PostKMeloney, on 09 May 2013 - 01:43 PM, said:

View PostABgolfer2, on 09 May 2013 - 01:33 PM, said:

He's certainly not a golfer and seems out of touch with any golfers I ever see. I picture him pacing back and forth on the veranda picking holes in people showing up at the first tee making notes and never picking up a club or hitting a ball.

What does it matter if he's a golfer or not? As long as the clothes he discusses are functional (movement and material-wise) and within the bounds of most clubs' policies, then who cares?

Don't confuse my post with liking all or even most of his likes. I just don't see how it matters at all, since it's not as though he's recommending clothes that wouldn't be seen on or around a golf course.

If you'd included my entire post in proper context you'd have your answer. Clue: it's not me.
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#27 Jamboy72

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:05 PM

View PostJimmy Mac, on 08 May 2013 - 01:52 PM, said:

I was lucky enough to spend a few days hanging out with Marty. This exact topic came up in conversation.

When he is picking items to highlight, he intentionally shows what he feels is the finest example of a product trend - regardless of price or manufacturer.

The goal is to provide an aspirational target for the reader. A look upon which to base their own personal choice. He's not trying to say, "if you don't spend $10,000 on a Rolex, you've wasted money." He's trying to say, "A black alligator band with a stainless case and a white face is a hot look right now".

Style is never going to come from being a sheep and buying the exact items profiled in a magazine, but rather from learning trends, mixing in some core "rules", and then discovering your own personal twist.

Marty Hackel is the man. You won't meet a nicer, more entertaining, and cordial guy.

This really isn't all that different from reading a motoring publication - plenty of Ferraris and Vettes, not so many Toyota Yaris. Or Architectural Digest or Esquire or Outside. They all show what they feel are the best examples of whatever they report on.

Heck I don't see too many reviews of the Golden Bear starter sets from Target or the Wilsons from Walmart anywhere either.

I'm sure he's a pleasant person and all of those nice things....and I get the concept of what he's attempting to do...>But as a person who can't afford the price tag of anything he generally "reviews" I don't get much out of that piece of the magazine...might was well be Skymall advertisements or something - Maybe his intention is to review the "best of the best" but IMO, it doesn't come across that way at all - I don't look at a 10K Rolex and immediately think, "Wait, that looks fashionable....what is the $150 dollar Citizen version of that...."  Quite honestly, I'm not sure the article every comes off that way...

#28 KMeloney

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:10 PM

View PostWVP, on 09 May 2013 - 02:00 PM, said:

Was just wondering where he came from?

I have no clue. I guess you could Wiki him and see his background. No idea.

#29 KMeloney

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:15 PM

View PostABgolfer2, on 09 May 2013 - 02:05 PM, said:

If you'd included my entire post in proper context you'd have your answer. Clue: it's not me.

My "who cares?" was as rhetorical as your "Who is that guy?" I wasn't impugning you -- was merely addressing one part of your post (that others have wondered about, too).

#30 Jimmy Mac

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:22 PM

Where he came from: He was Senior V.P. and Head Buyer for menswear for Neiman Marcus. He's styled and supervised every GD cover shoot for the past decade. He's the guy golf companies hire as an independent consultant when designing their apparel lines.



Oh,  and KMeloney...

Yaris2.jpg


You're welcome. :fie:


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