Monday, August 1, 2016

Custom Wedges Offer Words of Confidence, or Crassness

Since he started engraving his wedges with funny quotes from his favorite movies two years ago, Robert Streb has envisioned the moment in which his puerile sense of humor might actually help him on the course.

It would be a tense situation: down the stretch of a closely contested major championship.

His caddie, Steve Catlin, would approach him with a suggestion to use his wedge.

“Which one?” Streb would ask.

“Let’s go with the Ted Clubberlang,” Catlin would respond.

There is nothing like a reference to the raunchy comedy “Ted 2” to lighten the mood on a Sunday on the PGA Tour.

Streb just happens to have the reference carved into the back of his 46-degree Titleist attack wedge, one of two custom-stamped wedges he carried around with him this week at the P.G.A. Championship. The other said “#myamazingsummer,” another nod to “Ted 2,” which stars Mark Wahlberg and a talking stuffed animal.

Among tour players, such steel tattoos are rampant. Some are meant to be silly, provoking a laugh or a smile any time the player reaches into his bag. Others are sentimental: song lyrics, Bible quotes or the names of family members. Still others require less analysis. Andrew Johnston, the affable fan favorite known as Beef, carries a sand wedge that is covered with the names of various cuts of meat, like porterhouse, sirloin and brisket.

William McGirt, who in the past has stamped his Srixon clubs with nicknames like McDirty and McNasty, said that just owning a custom engraved wedge could supply an instant confidence boost.

“You get one of those, and you feel like it’s a special wedge,” McGirt said. “Then you chip good with it, and you’re like, All right, let’s go.” (...)

Just getting a custom wedge stamp is viewed as a sort of a rite of passage. It indicates that the craftsmen of a golfer’s club of choice are willing to take the time to customize something out of the ordinary, to be put on display. It is not unusual for budding professionals or college players to be handed a club with their initials engraved on it. But to get something unique or personal, a golfer needs to really earn it.

by Zach Schonbrun, NY Times |  Read more:
Image: Ben Solomon
[ed. If I ever had the opportunity to have one of my wedges engraved, I know exactly what I'd put on it:]