Summer is once again upon us. A time to be spent outdoors, swimming, barbequing, and of course, golfing. But not everyone can just pick up a bag and head out to the links. Oh no, it requires a certain level of class. It’s like the Madden equivalent of swag, but since there’s only one brother who golfs professionally, it’s called class. In case you’re not sure if you have what it takes to bring your game to the green, here’s a half-round of the classiest things about the sport of golf. Enjoy.
9. “Quiet on the green!” This is what my little brother yells out when putting on the little roll-out green we have. I don’t think they actually shout this on the Tour (I don’t recall hearing it at the US Open at Bethpage, but then again that’s not a PGA event) but I had to put it in in honor of Phil. This “Classy Thing” is all about respect, and it’s one of the things that makes golf golf. If you don’t have the decency to let a guy take a shot in silence, even if he’s one of those asses who gets reaaaal close to the ball and stares at the hole for 5 minutes and still misses the putt by 3 feet, then the sport of golf just might be too classy for the likes of you.
8. Polo Shirts. If you’re playing golf and you’re not wearing a collared shirt, you better pray to God you’re at the driving range. Or a par 3 course at worst. That’s pretty much the extent of this one (for now).
7. Keeping your own score. Golf is so classy that it lets you be in charge of the scoreboard. But it’s up to you to return the favor. It’s not classy to keep giving yourself mulligans. Remember that guy on Seinfeld who tried to take a mulligan? Yeah, he killed a guy in that episode. Don’t take mulligans.
6. Yelling “Fore!” Yes Jax, that’s how you spell fore. The only time it is acceptable to be loud on the course is if someone’s life is in danger. Shouting this word is like saying “bomb” on an airplane. You better be damn sure there’s a bomb, otherwise you look like a complete douche. Except you probably won’t be taken off the tee box and jailed for yelling fore. There’s so much that goes into this cry of warning: once you realize you sliced the ball like a cucumber, you have to prepare your voice box appropriately. Yelling fore in a cracked, half-assed voice not only alerts the whole front 9 that you suck, but it makes you the bitch of the foursome. But don’t let this deter you from using the delicate utterance, because being crappy at golf doesn’t mean you can’t be classy at it. Besides, what’s classier than saving someone’s life?
5. Clubhouses. Most sports venues have clubhouses with showers and lockers and whatnot. Country clubs are no exception. Except for the BAR. A beer league team finishes a game and heads out to a bar somewhere downtown. A foursome has to go literally nowhere to get a post-game drink. And if someone gets a hole-in-one? Free drinks, wooo! That doesn’t happen if someone hits a homerun, does it? And where else can you grab a cigar and listen to a bunch of classy old guys tell crazy stories about the war, besides your local Am Vets?
4. Taking your glove off to putt. In golf, the green is a sacred place. It can be compared to a Buddhist temple, if you will, where silence is demanded (refer back to number 9) and nature is respected. This is obviously the reason carts are not allowed and you are required to fix any divots your ball may have made. This is where golfer becomes one with putter. In order to achieve this intimacy, there must be no obstructions between hand and grip. I have yet to reach this level of nirvana, which must be why my short game blows. Number 4 may be more ritual than class, but it adds to the deep history of golf. If it weren’t for those Scottish Buddhists, where would the game be today?
3. Walking, when you can easily use a cart. This is another level of class that I have yet to reach. Mainly because I’m lazy as shit. But watch any pro event and there won’t be a golf cart in sight. Ironic as it may sound, the better you are, the more you walk, especially when you’re on TV. Could you even imagine watching the last foursome crossing the Hogan Bridge on Augusta 12 in a cart?! I’m getting sick just thinking about it…
2. Augusta. Speaking of Augusta National Golf Club…this place just oozes class. Home of The Masters, Augusta has one of the most exclusive members lists around. Notable class acts such as Warren Buffett, Pete Coors, and Lynn Swann cough up 10 G’s a year to play at this pristine course. The best part is that they don’t have to bring their wives. They’re not allowed to, in fact; Augusta members are male-only. Women can debate all they want whether or not that’s classy, but the fact that there are no red tees 50 yards in front of the tee box has at least some merit. Between green jackets, stone bridges, and the infamous Amen Corner, it is easy to see why Augusta deserves to be at the top of its class. But it’s not the top of this list…
1. Knickerbockers. Knickers were first worn by Americans in the 1890’s at clubs such as St. Andrew’s of Yonkers, the oldest golf course in the United States. They were usually in the always-classy style of plaid, to match the plaid vests worn back in the day. As goofy as they may look to some, knickerbockers have become synonymous with the sport, and are a part of its history now. Probably the most memorable player to don the knicker/vest look in our generation was the late-great Payne Stewart, who tragically died in a plane crash in 1999, shortly after his 3rd major win at the Ryder Cup. The Missouri native was honored in a classy-as-ever tribute at the following PGA Championship, where most of the players wore knickers to pay their respects to Stewart. As the game becomes more modernized, with driver heads the size of a small child’s head and cleats that look more like basketball sneakers than golf shoes, little things such as knickerbockers are getting phased out. However, the knicker outfit, along with the suave ivy hats and plaid or argyle vests, will always sit at the top of the list as the classiest golf attire. If you can pull of this look, it doesn’t even matter how well you hit the ball. You’ve got class my friend.
UPDATE: Knickers are now bumped from number 1, courtesy of CJ (the punk with the “Junior” initial), for these guys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM2NocuEihw