By Jan Jackson
Salem, OR – Counted your golf hats lately? Keven Gage did and came up with 60. Count ‘em! 60! And, every hat holds a special memory. Some are so dear to him that he’s never worn them, some are chosen to match what he’s wearing that day, and some are old and sweaty and saved for working in the yard.
I doubt that this addicted to golf and golf hats, jazz musician, holder of a Law and Greek Studies degrees (a practicing attorney still waiting to visit Greece), would have guessed he would end up with the hat collection he has now.
I’ve known Kevin for many years, so I knew most of those things. However, I just found out about the hat collection the other day when I got to ride in his car. There they were – golf hats stretched across his dashboard
“What’s this?” I said. “Are you ready to play at the drop of a hat?” The answer was, “Yes.” With that, we began to talk.
Born and raised in Bremerton, Washington, Kevin grew up in the golf club environment. He was six-years-old when his dad died in a swimming accident and he got into the game a few years later when his mother married an avid golfer. Of course, their golf club had signature golf hats and the red haired fair skinned boy had no choice but to protect himself from the sun. What is today’s count? Oh, yes, 60!
I got to thinking about what other golfers collect. So, being a 21st century kind of person, I hit the Internet. Roger Buckey Legried (USA) set the world record in 2010 for the number of golf hats collected by a golfer. Ready? 100,336. How about the record for how many golf hats worn at one time? Stephen Cotton set that in 2009 when he donned 33. If you want a fun read, take a look at Jason Scot Deegan’s list of the top ten things that golfers collect? He gives the pros and cons of each at https://www.golfpass.com/travel-advisor/articles/from-bag-tags-to-logo-balls-the-pros-and-cons-of-golfs-10-best-collectibles.
- Logo balls – one guy has more than 800 from courses he’s played around the world. See? Kevin’s 60 hats aren’t so bad after all.
- Ball markers – kind of a flat version of a logo ball.
- Scorecards/yardage guides/pencils. Some bring home new ones, and some bring home the ones they’ve scribble on.
- Golf books/magazines.
- Golf accessories like pin flags, towels with a club logo on it from course you’ve played.
- Vintage golf equipment (can be spendy if it’s in good shape).
- Bag tags (you usually must buy them now).
- Autographs (darned hard to get even if you meet the guy face to face).
- Tournament trinkets (hard to find at a decent price).
- Random golf-themed items (there’s a lot of stuff out there – you gotta be discerning).
- First, he needs protection from the sun.
- Then, he likes to have his hat match his outfit.
- Some he buys because they are beautiful.
- Some he buys because of sentimental reasons.
- Some he buys because he’s so excited about being there he wants to bring some of that excitement home.
- Some he buys because he can. “I see lots of people buying collector spoons,” Kevin says. “But at least I can I use my hats when I get home.”
- Some he buys to prove he’s been there.
- Some he buys and doesn’t even wear because they are too precious.
- Some he receives as gifts.
- And what was the question>
The bottom line
One of the hard things Kevin says, is where to keep them. The ones on the dashboard of his car are easily spotted, because they sit at the ready (his clubs live in trunk) in case he should have an opportunity to play a round or two. Some hang in the hall closet, his bedroom closet, the garage . . . . . . The bottom line? It’s the memories.
“Every golfer in the world has a hat or two, and a lot of people collect things when they travel,” Kevin said. “I collect sentimental memories, and I’m not through collecting them.”