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IN THE LOOP

Golf Essentials

Are You a Serious Player?

Golfers spend a lifetime chasing their own Holy Grails and while some come easy, other coveted dreams may never come true. From scorecards to rare clubs, from the indispensable to the utterly gratuitous, the following is our list of things every golfer should have…

From “Lefty” to “Captain Hook,” a well-earned nickname is the source of endless fun.

If we only had a nickel for every fan whose greatest golf memory involves meeting the most beloved player of all time.

This club probably looks like it was used to hunt rattlesnakes in the Badlands. It’s got a cracked grip and a rusty shaft. It’s also where it all started. Cherish it.

One green moves faster than the slopes of Chamonix, the next has a subtle double break. You know the difference, and your cocky brother-in-law is toast.

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This is the golfer’s scrapbook. It doesn’t matter whether they’re meticulously organized or thrown in a pile, just as long as it’s all there— from a first season 106 at the local cow pasture to that glorious 78 at Bandon Dunes.

A “Glove Tan”

Your right hand is George Hamilton. Your left hand is paler than Keith Richards Otherwise you’re not putting in enough time on the links.

“Five Lessons”
Quite simply, the greatest instructional book ever written.

Because it’s good form to support your club pro. And because there’s a good chance that the seemingly innocuous swing tip you got from your stock broker will start costing you serious money.

And knows how your round went just by the tone of your voice.

You know that you’re money from 130 yards. You might even lay up to get there. Even if it’s just with a single club, a comfort zone is one of the rarest of luxuries.

Ever notice that lawyers always know when they’re entitled to a free drop? The rules can help you immensely. Not exactly beach reading, but an invaluable reference nonetheless.

His burr may be impenetrable. His love of Robert Burns’ poetry may bore you to tears. Just smile and nod, because this man is almost certainly a golf genius, and will show you the game in its purest form.

Anyone who prefers stock head covers to frogs and gophers should have his head checked.

This can only increase your enjoyment of the game, as golf has caught the attention of countless fine writers over the years. John Updike, Bernard Darwin , P. G. Wodehouse and Herbert Warren Wind are but a handful—and their works should be savored.

With the Royal and Ancient in the background, it’s the kind of image that will take pride of place in family albums.

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An easily obtained, vital accessory. Aside from keeping sunburn at bay, the wide brim hat keeps unwanted distractions from creeping into your peripheral vision.

This procedure is sometimes overlooked, and it’s nice to know for certain that if you perform, your equipment will, too.

Lock and load. After a while, you forget the checklist is even there.

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The preservation of golf’s past and promotion of its future is a worthwhile cause for any golfer.

Whatever it is—a rabbit’s foot, a favorite shirt—there’s no question it’s responsible for your success. We’re definitely not going to tell you otherwise.

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Above all else, golf is a game of feel, and nothing feels sweeter than a pured five-iron from a set of forgings. They are objects of art, and should be treated as such.

The golfer’s Holy Grail. It doesn’t matter if it kicked off a sprinkler head—all that matters is that simple vertical line. One.

Pete Dye? Tom Doak? A. W. Tillinghast? Whoever you like, be prepared to defend your choice.

This is the equivalent to eating your vegetables. Sure, it’s a virtue, but let’s face it, we all want to be better—now.

You’ve toiled like Job to hit a flop like Mickelson, but adding a perfectly-measured ground game to the arsenal could well be the difference in match play.

Once, just once in a lifetime.

You know their games almost as well as you know your own. They may stop at nothing to psych you out, but chances are they’ll be there when it really matters.

Flexibility is Tiger’s turn-and release. Flexibility is also the ability to shuffle your afternoon meetings around to play at Pine Valley on a day’s notice.

Look no further—this is the secret of golf.

Because love conquers all . . . possibly even golf.

“What are you talking about? I never put four in the drink at Doral.”