YOU KNOW Golf Guy. He’s the junior executive who wears Polo shirts and crocodile leather belts, and likes to yell, “You da man!” at tournaments. He takes calls on the course about business; in meetings, he takes calls about his tee time. He first rose to prominence during the Regan Administration and came to embody late 20th-century yuppie affluence. He didn’t just have it all; he was obnoxious about having it all.
But Golf Guy has evolved. He wants “authentic” experiences now—not a country club’s superficial trappings. Whereas OG Golf Guy lacked self-awareness for his excess and his narcissism, Golf Guy 2.0, as I call him, is so self-aware that he has adapted a hyper-earnest persona. He wears bespoke clothing made of fabric sourced from Scottish sheep and stitched in a little fashion house hidden in a bunker at the Old Course. Sweat-wicking fabric? No thank you, says Golf Guy. Pure wool or cotton only. Because sweat is proof that you care, that you have standards.
He wants purity above all. He loathes new equipment: If a club has a 450cc face and a graphite shaft, and helps an amateur hit a ball half as far as Dustin Johnson does, it’s a cheat. That’s why Golf Guy 2.0 plays with only hickory-shafted clubs. Sure, hitting a ball 265 yards with a new Callaway, TaylorMade, or Ping may seem fun. But trust Golf Guy 2.0 on this one: using a persimmon-head wood to inadvertently slice a ball 200 yards onto an adjacent fairway connects you to the sport’s heritage in a way that today’s gear just can’t.
Though Golf Guy 2.0 scoffs at technology that makes the game easier for burgeoning players, he desperately wants more people to take up the sport. That’s why he loves municipal courses and walking nine; he has an austere air of naturalism like that. But he only walks courses that meet his architectural demands. Does the course have a Redan or principal’s nose? Do the back tees punish long hitters for being slightly off target? Is there a punchbowl green? Seriously—is there a freaking punchbowl green?
Don’t bother asking Golf Guy 2.0 whether he wants to keep score; to do so would be uncouth. Moreover, par is irrelevant. He cares not about the difficulty of a hole but the purity and poetry of each strike. He’s deep like that, see. Similarly, Golf Guy 2.0 drinks only sour beers made from the finest heirloom hops farmed by monks in the Andes Mountains, and he can’t understand why everyone else doesn’t.
Fortunately, for every Golf Guy 2.0 on the course, there’s a twenty-something in a basketball jersey, a worker fresh from the construction site with a Busch 12-pack, and a 10-year-old girl and her dad—proving that golf is not just for dudes who look the part. That said, if loving something too much is Golf Guy 2.0’s only fault, we can forgive him that. As long as he can forgive us for drinking Busch Lights rather instead of sour beers.