|Never expect to get lucky in golf without your lucky golf shirt! (.)|
Every golf club has its own society, its own pecking order, and status symbols; your club is no different. Often our status shifts and slides as our golf scores and employment, or marital status, changes over the years.
One group is constant in every club, their names change but their clothes don't. They are R.O.B. (Rich Old Boys) at my club; they may be the super seniors at yours. They have their own forward tees and they play midweek in the morning. You know these guys, always smiling, having fun. And in every club I know they have one distinct characteristic. They dress really bad and they don't care.
What is it with these guys, with the striped golf shirts and plaid shorts? Clothes that went out of style when Ben Hogan was still playing. They can't all be color blind; they have to notice how poorly they dress. Most of them have more money than Hogan ever had so that's no excuse. Are all their mirrors broken? How can their wives let them out the door in the morning? Yes, you thought it, I said it.
Well, my fine fashioned friends, I have the answer. It has taken me Almost 20 years of wonder, 20 years of a dumbfounded look on my face as I peered at them, 20 years of talking behind their backs, and making fun of them to my much more sophisticated friends. Yes, I have the answer but only after I cleverly infiltrated their ranks, finally became one of them.
It unfolded slowly over the years, first with waves from nearby fairways. Then sending over a drink here and there. Finally sitting with them and turning on the charm. Only after years of flirting and courting did it happen. They ask me if I wanted to play. Perfect. Now if I could only gain their trust.
Then finally, on a bright sunny day as we were waiting on a par three, 11th tee for the green to clear, after two years of being on my best behavior, I felt it was time to strike.
"Jimmy, where did you get that shirt?" Then there was silence as Jimmy looked at his two more trusted friends, then down at his faded blue shirt - almost gray from the sun.
Then I saw it in his eyes, their eyes: an agreement was reached, I was in, and the flood gates were opening.
Jimmy started: "Do you remember Doc Bentley, he past away about 25 years ago? Well, I was out playing some twilight golf about a year after that and caught up with his widow. Do you remember her? Good looking woman."
His two trusted friends agreed. "We got to fourteen up on the hill, she had a small chip shot, and I asked her whether she wanted me to hold the flagstick or take it out? Well some sly smiles started and before you know it ... up there just behind the 15th tee, I got luckier than I ever have before or after on a golf course." After the cackles subsided from his pals, I had to ask: "What does that have to do with your shirt?" His response was," Hell, this is the same shirt I wore that night, it's my lucky shirt. Do you think I would wear this worn out thing if it wasn't lucky?"
For the next seven holes I heard wonderful stories of romance and game winning shots and long putts that fell to win important tournaments, and the golf clothes - the lucky clothes that they wore when those events happened.
Stories of needlepoint belts and socks that were given to them by departed friends and family. Stories that brought those worn shirts alive with treasure, anew with color. The wonderful stories of their lives, their loves, their glory days.
Stories that could only be told to the trusted, those that have earned the right to wear: Lucky Clothes.
May 31, 2006
Bill Giering has written about golf fashion for national magazines, played golf on every continent, covered all four majors and still can't putt. He insists his style expertise doesn't come from watching the cat-walks of international fashion shows. but comes from attending too many golf events, watching too many golfers, and wondering: "What the hell was he thinking about, when he got dressed this morning?"
I've been slumming it out on cheap public courses my entire life. At one point, aren't I entitled as a lifelong golfer to finally enjoy the fruits of my suffering on a well conditioned, thoughtfully designed private course from one of the game's premier architects?
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