I’m off, on Tuesday, for a week of golf in Myrtle Beach. This little jaunt is strictly in the service of you, my dear reader(s), as I intend to write a full accounting of my exploits in these pages, along with some video footage – provided I can figure out how to use my nifty HD camera. Seriously, this thing is smaller than a large pack of smokes, but you need a doctorate to be able to understand how it works, and how to download your footage onto a useable device. (In fact, the word “footage” is wrong, since you record to a little disc that’s about 1/12 of a foot wide.)
Anyway, as I’m packing, I’m thinking about all the golf trips I’ve taken over the years, and how different packing for such a journey is today, compared to 42 years ago.
The first pure “golf trip” I ever took was in 1974, to Delray Beach. My friend Paul’s parents had a house there, and four of us went for a week. We played a different course each day. A couple of the courses were part of spanking new housing developments, and we had to pretend we were keenly interested in buying a bungalow before they’d ding us $25 for the greens fee. Of course, four guys in their early 20’s, showing up in Munsingwear shirts and saddle shoes with flaps and little nails on the bottom, do not really look like home-buyers. But at least the sales people got to add four numbers to their “sales visit” quota.
Even though I now plan a packing list for each trip I take, I wasn’t that organized or anal back in 1974, so I can’t say for sure what I took with me. But I bet it was a lot less than I pack today. Like, maybe two golf shirts, two pairs of shorts, one pair of long pants (Sansabelt), two sweaters, one dress shirt, sneakers, loafers, one pair of golf shoes, and a blazer and tie for restaurants. In addition to regular toiletries, I would take a large bottle of Coppertone Deep Tanning lotion – the exact opposite of sunscreen, which hadn’t been invented, much less conceived, in 1974.
Today, that same list would consist of five golf shirts, four pairs of shorts, four khakis, two sweaters, three sweater vests, casual shoes, topsiders, two pairs of golf shoes, two windshirts, three dress shirts. In addition to regular toiletries, I will take a week’s supply of all six prescription drugs I’m on, plus Advil, Aleve, Gravol, my blood sugar monitor, my blood pressure monitor, medicinal skin moisturizer, a Tensor bandage for my bum knee, a hat to protect me from the sun, pills for a possible cold sore outbreak, and a gallon of Coppertone SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen.
In 1974, my golf bag would have contained three persimmon woods (1-3-4), ten irons (2-9, PW and SW) and a Bulls-Eye putter. Today, it’s three metal woods (1-3-5), a #4 hybrid, nine irons (5-9, PW, GW, SW, LW) and a 5-year old two-ball putter. (Don’t tell anyone, but I also pack a 4-iron, JUST for bump and runs from off the edge of the green. This puts me one over the club limit.)
My bag also contains the following, which would NOT have been in my 1974 bag… five golf gloves, a pair of mittens, a full rain suit, 18 balls, a putter cover (in the bag, not on the putter ‘cause I always forget to use it), Advil, band aids, four lip balm sticks received at corporate events, approximately 350 plastic tees (usually only 1 is needed), several bag tags from courses I’ll never play again, two decorative towels which I never use for drying or cleaning, so as not to soil them, and roughly 25 plastic ball marks (usually only 1 is needed), and a rangefinder (usually none are needed).
My 1974 bag would’ve had 14 clubs, 6 balls, a few wooden tees, a glove and a filthy, smelly towel “borrowed” from a men’s locker room somewhere.
What these differences all say about me, or about changing times, I really don’t know. It certainly suggests that I, and perhaps you if you’ve been nodding along to all this (if not nodding off), approach my life in a much more complicated, and perhaps cautious way.
Whether that’s a good thing, I also don’t know. I’m sure I could get along just fine if I simply took the equivalent of my 1974 bag, and suitcase, with me on this Myrtle Beach trip.
The only important difference would be sunscreen versus sun oil. And the six prescription drugs I’m on.