The above image might not mean much to others. Personally, however, it is a sign of renewed enjoyment of a game that has been a lifelong fixture, bizarrely when not playing golf.
The debate as to the merits and negatives of playing golf in the current climate has been well and truly covered by many.
And although personal choice (one influenced by other factors as well) has been to not play golf, my love of the game has undergone something of a rejuvenation in recent weeks.
Like many, final rounds of major tournaments have been a fixture of the TV screen while working from home. So too, YouTube golf content in all its forms. (No Laying Up’s Strapped in particular).
The 1986 Masters charge of Jack Nicklaus, watching Tiger Woods claim major number 15 on TV as opposed to from the grounds of Augusta National, as much Seve Ballesteros as can be found in video, audio and any other form and the repeated heartbreak of childhood hero Greg Norman has reignited what was an obsession.
From the fashion of years past, to the equipment that was pined for but well beyond pocket money earnings and the play of golfers that belong on the game’s equivalent of Mount Rushmore, every aspect has seen much of this done with a club in hand.
RIGHT: One of the finds in the storage unit, a vintage MacGregor driver used for many Australian tournament victories. PHOTO: Jimmy Emanuel.
Beyond the nostalgic aspect, the final chance to hit a golf ball a month ago, saw swing thought 5,036 come to fruition. One that is oddly similar to another (maybe 2,078 but who can be sure) and that can be “worked on” without hitting balls in a small one bedroom Sydney apartment.
Then there is the aforementioned corflute advertising image of a young Tiger Woods and then caddie Mike ‘Fluff’ Cowan.
A recent visit to collect some necessities from a storage unit saw the rediscovery of the sign, a gift from a golf industry mentor, who showed a keen golfer how to regrip a club, grind a sole, fit a golfer for clubs, and so much more.
Alongside the image of yet another childhood hero and perhaps the reason for a more than decade long career in the golf industry was a bag of used, abused and somewhat forgotten clubs.
Within the vintage Coca-Cola staff bag was a MacGregor persimmon wood gifted by a golf pro, former colleague and course designer. Putters that have holed and missed plenty of chances in their lifetimes. And vintage irons collected from bargain barrels and driving range hire clubs over the years.
Although not receiving any use so far, and for the foreseeable future, these items all now find themselves in that apartment/home office.
Each one regularly picked up for a putt on the carpet or thought of some refurb work, maybe a new grip in its future. But all with a joy and excitement that had been unknowingly missing in recent times.
A love of golf has never wavered. But the love of playing the game and enjoyment of the most basic element, and original source of involvement, has at times.
The reasons are varied, but the rejuvenation can be put down to one.
Remembering why a love emerged in the first place.
Watching the ‘Great White Shark’ fall to his knees in 1996 as his chip slid past the hole on 15 stands as the first personal memory of golf on TV. And despite its shattering consequence for Australia’s first Masters title chances and the spirit of a nine-year-old golfer prone to wearing a wide brimmed hat on the course like the protagonist, the drive to play the game like Norman was perhaps never greater.
Similarly, watching it all unfold years later with the same result (I thought there was a chance it might have changed since last watch) has spurned a drive to play more once this pandemic situation has resolved.
So too has seeing Tiger and Fluff daily and tinkering on a small scale with old equipment and covering the game from angles never considered before due to a lack of tournament golf.
There is no upside to a global pandemic. But at least golf can still be accessed in a variety of ways and might just see a more frequent player in the future with a few old favourites in the bag. Maybe even a wide brimmed hat too.