First I have to make a couple confessions: I am a headcover freak. And, yes, I know headcovers are probably unnecessary, if not a hassle to deal with. But to me they are a fascinating anachronism that has lived on far longer than their necessity would dictate. Why is that? And where do you stand on one of the burning issues in the game today?
OK, maybe I'm stretching the point a little when I say it's a burning issue. But in my experience, a look at the bag of your fellow players can reveal a lot about their style, their approach to the game, and maybe even their self image. What does your bag say about you?
This is the player with the naked woods. No headcovers to pull off and put on. No headcovers to lose. No headcovers to weigh them down. When it's raining, they have one less thing to get wet. While the minimalist often has a bag of clubs that look like they were dragged behind a pickup down a gravel road, their focus is performance, not esthetics. And so what if their bag sounds like wind chimes in a tornado? Bravo to them. But I have to say that a bag of naked woods seems to me to be just, well, naked-looking. Take a look at one of the bag photos in Golf Digest's What's In My Bag features. That's just not right.
The Brand Loyalist and The Unconscious
I lump these two players together because they are difficult to distinguish unless you know them personally. They're the ones with the headcovers that came with the clubs. Often, the brand loyalist will sport them in a matching staff bag, but not always. The loyalist cares about the brand they play, likes the brand they play and may even want others to know the brand they play. Their hat brand matches the headcover. The unconscious player, on the other hand, chooses to use a headcover that came with the club only because most people do… and it was free. Free is always good. So it's not really something they think about. But I personally feel a branded headcover is a lot like the decal or logo a car dealer slaps on your new car. If you want me to advertise your business, you'd better be paying me to do so.
Thanks to companies like Daphne's and Winning Edge, it's possible to use the same headcover that Tiger, Fuzzy, Sergio, John Daly, and other touring pros do. Beyond emulating PGA Tour stars, players can opt for headcovers that proclaim their favorite football team, alma mater, dog, cat, hot sauce… even their patriotism.
If there's anything with a strong fan base, chance are there's a headcover to proclaim it. In that vein, just let me say "Go Steelers!"
I once belonged to this category. I used a chicken headcover on my three wood because it was my chicken out club off the tee. But today there are much funnier ways to go. Particularly the Butthead headcovers introduced the last year or two. That's funny. Well, to me, anyway. Into this category I would lump those who use Sesame Street or cartoon characters, Betty Boop, dice, gorillas, and skunks. Hey, golf is a game… it's supposed to be fun!
Don't get me wrong, I'm no sexist pig, but this category is made up largely of female country club members whose tapestry headcovers match their tapestry bags. And that's fine. In fact, it's a throwback to the days when golf bags weren't plastered with logos, were made of leather, and most often came with matching leather headcovers. My problem with this approach goes back a long way. I was a young caddie regularly assigned to the bag of a certain female member who insisted I supply her a tee on every hole of a color that matched her outfit that day. Matching colors never had the same meaning for me after that.
OK, here's where I fall. For me, knit is it. My father gave me a set of Jan Craig giant pom headcovers back in the 70's when Nicklaus and Watson were sporting them. I've been a fan ever since. I could write a whole column just on these headcovers and maybe one day I will. But for now, let's just say that I've since moved on to smaller poms and tassels – three sets worth right now. To me, they are just so cool looking I can hardly stand it.
And I'm not alone. Current touring pros like Stuart Appleby and a bunch of others eschew their club sponsor headcovers for knits. There are a number of other companies offering knit headcovers like Rocket Tour and the Crafter's Bin, but for me Jan Craig's are the original. The downside? They are wickedly expensive and take a while to get. Are they worth it? Headcovers, $35 a pop. Waiting time, 10 weeks. Cool factor, priceless.
In the End…
If headcovers aren't one of the game's little pleasures for you, you've probably stopped reading this long ago. But if they are, perhaps it's time to think about your options. What do you want your headcovers to say about you?