We’ve all been there before - you’re a guest at a nice private club. Whether it’s the last uncrossed course on your “list”, or just your close friend’s club on the other side of town - there’s always an elevated sense of excitement when you get to play a nice round away from your home course. You greet your host, hit a few balls to warm up, and collect a few tees, ball markers, and scorecard on your way to the 1st tee. It’s a bluebird day, the front nine finishes in a push, you indulge in one of the club’s signature drinks at the turn, and before you know it a touchy 10 footer has been holed at the last to win the $20 Nassau 1-up.
Your host graciously insists on a cold beer in the clubhouse, and mentions that if anyone wants to grab anything in the pro shop, that on the way up to the grille is a good time to do it. You go into the shop, greet the pros, thank them for a wonderful day, and then BAM - you have 5 minutes to decide which souvenirs you want to buy to commemorate this great day of golf. Naturally, being a golf lover and a man of discerning taste, you could spend a full hour in the shop browsing all it has to offer - but you’re also a gentleman - and a gentleman knows that as a guest these matters must be completed in a timely fashion and cold beers attended to.
This is when it helps to have a strategy. With a strategy you can walk out of that pro shop with a few items you’ll enjoy for years to come. Without a strategy you’ll end up with a handful of trinkets, and a shirt that gets swept out in next year’s spring cleaning. Here are a few suggestions when considering what your Souvenir Strategy should be.
**Start with the basics - you CANNOT go wrong with a solid color shirt in white or navy. Know which brand and style your prefer (H&B’s McDonald for me) and grab a white or blue and move on. You don’t need another white or navy shirt? Yes you do. White shirts get dingy, and blue shirts fade. Those shirts are great for afternoons at the pool, if it gets thrown on the ground or your kid gets popsicle all over it, no problem. You’ll have a crisp new white shirt for your next summer golf outing, or that fresh navy shirt for a casual dinner with friends.
**If you want to pick up a layering piece - know your hometown conditions and your typical daily use. I live in Hotlanta, and have a casual/golf intensive daily routine - for me a lightweight quarter zip (H&B Westland) is always the play. Good for the gym, the golf course, even on the weekend with jeans, it’s the perfect piece living in a city where frigid temps are not the norm. If you live in colder environs OR your work allows you to dress casually but professionally - I would recommend going away from a poly fabric and towards a cotton or wool piece. H&B’s Robbins is perfect in colder golf weather or paired with chinos for the office. If you prefer woven shirts for the office, you can’t go wrong with a vest like H&B’s Evans - it’s casual but a step above the ubiquitous vests that all the banker bros have popularized. Especially with a tasteful logo on the chest.
**Accessories - This broad category really is at your individual discretion. Some people like Tervis Tumblers, some prefer a key chain, some of us have four shelves lined with uniquely logo’ed hats. Just remember not to overdo it - while it’s very cool that you played at **insert one of the Big Four** it isn’t necessary to bring home more trinkets than you can carry out of the shop! A set of needlepoint coasters for your bar cart, a book on the history of the club, a logo’ed decanter - those are all individually great pickups, but try to avoid selecting D) All Of The Above in any pro shop, no matter how prestigious.
Hopefully these ideas help you navigate the pro shop on your next away game. There isn’t a better way to pass a day than with friends at a nice golf course, might as well come home with some cool souvenirs to remember the day by.