[ VIEWPOINT ] TOUR TALES & TRUE

Grant Dodd
started selling check pants. By modern standards of the likes of John Daly and Aussie Kurt Barnes, they might be considered quite tame. But for the times, a green, yellow and white check pattern with a red pinstripe was about as ‘out there’ as one could get. Nonetheless, they were incomplete without a pair of shoes with the moxie to match, and that’s where the white Niblicks with the flap over the laces came into their own. I really liked the flap. Greg Norman had them on his shoes. I’ve still got no idea what they did, and the metronomic slapping noise as you walked was like Chinese water torture, but if Sharky wore them, they had to be all right. Combine them with a polka dot shirt and check pants, though, and you made a statement of intent that only those with the darkest of sunglasses could ignore. The uncomfortable journey down this path of reminiscence is softened somewhat by evidence of the equally heinous crimes of your peers, and no discussion on this subject can bypass Anthony Gilligan’s pith helmet. ‘Gillo’ is one of the great guys of Australian golf, a gentleman through and through, and his against-the-odds victory in the 1994 Greg Norman Classic at Royal Melbourne was one of the feel-good sporting moments of the past 20 years. However, a bizarre choice of headwear that saw him impersonating a marauding 19th century German industrialist on a big game hunt earns him the most honourable of honourable mentions in this particular shame file. He doesn’t want for company at the top. Deserving of reference in the same breath is the entire 1999 US Ryder Cup team for the uniform design crime of the final day. Devised as a patriotic montage of former American golf heroes, the team shirts looked like a cross between a pizza with the lot and an ad for an upcoming horror flick where ghostly dead haunt the world wearing Titleist caps. Thirteen years on, it remains the aspirational benchmark for purveyors of golf kitsch. Jesper Parnevik’s upturned cap would get a mention except that he somehow made it look right. The Australian Masters gold jacket, too, save for the fact that it is superfluous to highlight its wrongness. Fortunately, the debate on polka dots was over before it began, relegating them to a mere footnote in the swollen annals of golf’s fashion atrocities.

Sinsofthecloth

Anthony Gilligan’s distinctive pith helmet was (thankfully) a one-of-a-kind in professional golf.

To ask Grant a question, e-mail us at golfdig@ newsmagazines.com.au

I hoped, somewhat optimistically, that it looked cool. On the advice of Neale Smith, my ‘cool’ mate, I’d searched high and low for the garment that “everyone’s talking about”, securing it just in time for our four-ball appearance at the prestigious Australian Cup. It was a little disconcerting to find, however, that I was the only person wearing polka dots on that particular day. From the ambivalent glances cast my way, there were few in the field who shared Neale’s unbridled enthusiasm for this revolutionary development in golf attire. Those thinking of questioning my choice wisely kept their own counsel. Polka dots may not have taken the golf world, or even The Australian Golf Club, by storm but most who’ve inhabited the game for any length of time understand the folly of throwing stones in this glass house. Golf, for better or worse, has always had its own unique signature when it comes to dress. Aberrations are a part of the furniture and liberally tolerated – as long as they come with a collar. With retrospect as 20:20 vision, I can reveal that polka dots were by no means the first blemish on my record. About the time that I first started to become interested in the game, a new company on the Australian market

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/ MAY 2012

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AUSTRALIAN GOLF DIGEST ARCHIVES

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