Picture a bright summer day. The sun is shining through the trees and you need something to shield your eyes from the light. A hat!
Just about every professional golfer wears one to protect themselves from sun exposure… and because they get paid big sums of money to put logos on them. The last time I checked, however, 99.9 percent of golfers aren’t fortunate enough to have endorsement deals. So why do the vast majority of golfers in the world generally wear similar hats with very similar logos?
Here’s a list of some of the favorite hats worn by golfers across the world, as well a brief description of the golfers who are probably wearing them.
Usually a pretty good player. You’re obsessed with swing mechanics. Most of the other members at your course usually see you on the range with a tripod, an iPad, a launch monitor and at least three alignment rods.
- Common Line: “Do you mind filming a swing for me?”
- Shoots Around: 76, but you can shoot in the 90s when the swing gets “off plane.”
Beanies are totally acceptable in the winter, but very few people have the confidence to wear one in the summer time… and you’re one of them. Somehow you keep your cool, both on and off the course, even though your bank account is overdrawn and your rent is past due.
- Common Line: “Can I borrow your (insert golf item)? I lost mine.”
- Shoots Around: 91, but you’re scary consistent.
FootJoy Bucket Hat
You’re obsessed with both the game of golf and sun screen… the SPF 100+ stuff. The white sunscreen streaks on your nose don’t fade until the back nine. You play about twice a week and take three minutes to hit every shot.
- Common Line: “Need any sunscreen? I have the spray-on stuff, too.”
- Shoots Around: You always seem to shoot below 85, but it’s never pretty.
For a brand that literally means “made for you,” you own a hat that is worn by countless other golfers. But you love your new TaylorMade driver, and you want the whole world to know it.
- Common Line: “I dropped my spin by 500 rpm with this driver!”
- Shoots Around: 83, but the way you drove it you should have shot 75.
(Insert Name of Financial Institution) Visor
You’ve been wearing that visor for less than a week, and you’re way overconfident about a recent day trade that made you a few hundred bucks… in less than an hour, of course. Your golf game is terrible, but you play all the time. As an “entrepreneur,” you get to “make your own schedule.” Your playing partners know this before you make it to the first green, which takes a few fatted pitch shots.
- Common Line: “How is IBM is down 5 percent today! Everyone said it was guaranteed to go up.”
- Shoots around: 112, but 95 when you’re keeping score.
You get hammered before you even make it to the first tee. And whether you’re teeing off at 4 p.m. or 6 a.m., everyone knows within a few minutes of meeting you that you came to the course for a good time. Your cigarillos (usually Swisher Sweets, grape flavor) send a warning to nearby golfers to watch out for shanks, skulls and slices.
- Common Line: “(Something GolfWRX can’t print about a cart girl).”
- Shoot Around: Doesn’t keep score, ever.
Nike/Tiger Woods Hat
Tiger fanatic. You were slightly depressed for the 15 months Tiger wasn’t on the PGA Tour, and you’ve watched the 2016 Hero World Challenge on DVR four times.
- Common Line: “I’m getting close.”
- Shoots Around: 80, but you fist pump like a tour player.
Ben Hogan “Cap”
You’re over the age of 55 (or Bryson DeChambeau), and have read Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons and Power Golf at least three times. You’ve compiled a 50-page journal about what you need to do in your golf swing, and you’ve taped your favorite Ben Hogan quote to your bathroom mirror.
“The ultimate judge of your swing is the flight of the ball,” is your current favorite.
- Common Line: “Would you mind if I offered you a tip about your swing?”
- Shoots Around: You rarely break 90 (unless you’re Bryson DeChambeau), but you think your next swing change will have you shooting under par.
MLB Flat Brim Hat
You’re the guy who pulls driver on every tee box (except the par-3s). You normally out drive everyone in the group, but only hit one or two fairways per round. You’re constantly talking about your minor league days, and how things would have been different if you didn’t throw your arm out.
- Common line: “I’m soooo sore. It was leg day yesterday, bro.”
- Shoots Around: 105, but you’re really, really competitive.
Any Other Kind of Flat Brim
There are no 10-handicap golfers wearing flat brim hats. If you wear one, you’re either a stud or not very good at all. And you probably love energy drinks, and have at least one tattoo.
- Common Line: “Do you think the beverage cart girl has Red Bull?”
- Shoots Around: Under par or over 100.
You’re legendary at your club. You break par almost every round.
- Common Line: “None. You don’t say much on the course.”
- Shoots Around: 68… from the tips.
What hat do you wear to play the world’s greatest game? Let us know in the comments section below.
To Mr. Whan: Make Walker Cup Trophy Club a one-and-done
I’ll be brief: the United States Golf Association should make the $500 Trophy Club ticket a one-and-done for the Walker Cup. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a lead-in to its limited-spectator policy, the May 2021 edition will eliminate free access to the event. In lieu of the open-arms policy of every other playing of this team competition, the USGA has announced that only those with $500 to spare will pass through the gates of Seminole Golf Club, in Juno Beach, Florida.
I attended the 2009 playing at Merion, and the 2013 matches at National Golf Links of America. I wanted to be at Los Angeles Country Club in 2019, but the odds were not in my favor. Even though I was granted press credentials for both 2009 and 2013, I was gratified to see hundreds, if not thousands, of my fellow golf aficionados in attendance. These were lasses and lads without connections, without memberships, without any other means of access than the largesse of the governing body of golf in this country.
In 2025, the Walker Cup will return to our country, and will be held at storied Cypress Point Club, in Carmel, California. You see the trend here? These are the most historic (and most private) clubs in America. Access to the common man is unavailable, except for events like the Walker and Curtis Cups.
Mr. Whan, you and your association have pledged to expand the game of golf, to welcome people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages, and identities. Here is one small but important opportunity to put your mouth where your money isn’t. The USGA makes a lot of money at its annual Open championship. Leave the other kids alone, especially the amateur events. Free and easy access ensures that the game outlives us all, just as our foremothers and forefathers envisioned.
When Bryson lit up the Masters as an amateur (Masters 2016 WITB)
When a young amateur named Bryson DeChambeau turned up at Augusta National Golf Club in 2016, there was a magnetism of curiosity attached to the 22-year-old.
After all, this was not your typical amateur golfer.
He donned a Ben Hogan style cap, was known to test his golf balls in epsom salts to check whether their centre of gravity was off and played a unique set of clubs with every iron and wedge cut to the same length as his favoured 7 iron.
In a world with so much conformity, unusualness becomes a force of its own.
That was certainly the case with Bryson at the 2016 Masters, who even had notable names for his 37.5-inch wedges and irons, which were otherwise only distinguishable from their differing lofts.
- 60-degree wedge – ‘King’ after Arnold Palmer’s 1960 Masters win
- 55-degree wedge – ‘Mr. Ward’ after the Masters Low-Am 1995 winner
- 50-degree wedge – ‘Jimmy’ after the 1950 Masters champ Jimmy Demaret
- 46-degree wedge – ‘Keiser’ after the 1946 Masters winner Herman Keiser
- 9 iron (42 degrees) – ‘Jackie’ after Jackie Robinson’s famous number 42 (same loft)
- 8 iron (38 degrees) – ‘8 ball’
- 7 iron (34 degrees) – ‘Tin Cup’ in honor of the film: 3+4=7
- 6 iron – ‘Juniper’ after the 6th hole at Augusta
- 5 iron – ‘Azalea’ after his favorite par 5 (13th hole)
- 3 iron – ‘Gamma’, which is the third letter in the Greek alphabet
DeChambeau took the trip down Magnolia Lane having, just a year previously, become only the fifth man in history to win the US Amateur Championship and the NCAA Division 1 Championship in the same year.
He had joined Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and Ryan Moore in doing so.
Inspired by Homer Kelly’s ‘The Golfing Machine’, DeChambeau also revealed on the week of the Masters in 2016 that he had a fascination with Bobby Jones. Jones, who had famously won the Grand Slam in 1930 and had, like Bryson, altered many of his clubs so that they were also the same length.
When DeChambeau spoke about Jones and his achievements in his pre-Masters press conference, the 22-year-old suggested the possibility of doing something special.
For the opening two rounds of the event, DeChambeau was grouped with defending champion Jordan Spieth and Paul Casey – and something special was certainly abound.
While Spieth stormed into the lead with a round of 66, DeChambeau held his own against the course, opening with a level par 72, which would keep him within sight of the lead. But it was in round two where Bryson showed not just his talent but how, even as an amateur, little could faze him.
On Friday, having flown the opening green at one, DeChambeau faced a delicate chip back down the green. He poured it into the back of the cup, and a magical day was underway.
A bogey at the third followed as the scoring became increasingly difficult in the windy conditions, but as his competitors stuttered, Bryson became inspired.
Using his one plane swing, the 22-year-old birdied the seventh before spinning a wedge back to a few feet on the ninth to move to 2-under par for the event.
He would give that birdie back on 10, but despite the poor weather conditions, he would tame Amen corner, beginning with an approach to 9-feet on 11 (which he later admitted to pulling) – a hole which saw just six birdies on that Friday.
At the 12th, DeChambeau fared even better, knocking his tee shot to 2-feet. He was one off the lead.
He stayed within one of the lead after 35 holes before it all came unstuck on the 18th hole. DeChambeau pulled his tee-shot on the last and found an unplayable lie off the tee – he ended up making a triple bogey 7.
It was a sour finish that left him T8 on the leaderboard, four strokes back.
Speaking on the drive on 18, and the subsequent one which followed, DeChambeau said
“No, I hit two pulled drives. I don’t like the left-to-right wind on that hole and ultimately with this closed gap, I thought seeing those flags out there on 1 right where the leaderboard is blowing to the right,
I thought it was going to move it right, and subconsciously I came a little bit over the top and had a closed clubface. It was only two degrees closed. That’s what does it.”
A third round 77 took DeChambeau out of contention, but the youngster showed his metal on Sunday, hitting back with a round of level par thanks to a birdie on the 72nd hole.
The T21 finish gave Bryson the low-amateur award that year as well as the best finish from an amateur at Augusta since Ryan Moore finished 15th back in 2005.
The 22-year-old was as candid back then as he is today and revealed following the tournament that he had “messed up” his preparation for the event by practicing too much earlier in the week.
“Again, going back to preparation, the only thing I would change is how I spent my time resting, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Unfortunately messed up and, you know what, I’m 22, I’m still young and learning how to manage my time. That’s the one thing that I think I’d change.
Ultimately my body took a toll this week and my hip. Really haven’t talked about it too much, but my hip gave out the second round, on 15, and ultimately led me to pull those two shots. I wouldn’t say that’s the full reason, but at the same time, it did affect me. It was unfortunate, but again, it’s a learning experience.”
It was the week Bryson introduced himself on the world stage and showed the massive amount of potential and determination he possessed, which would ultimately see him become a major champion.
In the next few days DeChambeau will return to Augusta National and will of course draw more attention than any other player in the field.
His introduction was one of intrigue and potential, but when he takes the trip down Magnolia Lane next week, the focus will be on whether Bryson can block out the noise, pressure and expectancy, and fulfil his destiny of becoming a Masters champion.
As a 22-year-old Bryson said after his first Masters experience:
“I think people talk about how every five years, you change as a human being, and that is absolutely true. I mean, I’ve totally changed and what I would tell younger Bryson is, be patient and keep learning every day. Those are the two things that I would tell him.”
You probably don’t need reminding. It’s been 5 years since Bryson first stole the show at Augusta National.
Bryson DeChambeau 2016 Masters WITB
Driver: Cobra King F6+ Pro (7 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Tour Limited 70X
Length: 45 inches (tipped 2.5 inches)
Weight Setting: Sliding weight removed
3 wood: Cobra King F6 (14.2 degrees actual loft)
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Tour Limited 70X
Length: 43 inches (tipped 2 inches)
Lie Angle: 61.5 degrees
Utility: Cobra King Utility (18.5D)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black Hybrid 6.5X (105 grams)
Irons: Cobra Fly-Z+ (3, 5), Edel Forged Prototype (6-9)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper Lite 115X
Length, Lie: 37.5 inches, 73 degrees
Head weight: 280 grams
Lofts: 20 (3), 25 (4), 30 (5), 34 (6), 38 (7), 42 (8), 46 (9)
Putter: Edel “The Brick” prototype
Grip: SuperStroke Slim 3.0 (Blue/White)
Ball: Bridgestone B330-S
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It’s a short one this week, but I’m reviewing the new-er Wilson Staff Model wedge and the Bushnell Wingman GPS and speaker. The Staff Model is a solid forged wedge that offers good feel, spin, and turf interaction for a slightly lower price. The Bushnell Wingman is a golf GPS and a bluetooth speaker in one. It has a TON of golf stuff built into it, but can also be used off the course to listen to your favorite tracks!
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