Sunday, March 21, 2010


In 1953 I discovered golf in Hugo, Oklahoma. I was a 6th grader earning .50 a round for toting clubs and chasing errant golf balls for the likes of Bob Grant, Tom O'Dea, and I may have carried them a time or two for Art Harris.
We had a 9 hole course with sand greens. Yes, I hear you now, 'What are sand greens?" Instead of the burr-haircut-short, perfectly manicured grass greens of today, we had a big, perfectly round hole, about 10 yards in diameter, gouged about 6" deep at the other end of the fairway. You could usually see it from the tee box. Looked like a big ugly smudge where a rocket was launched and burned off the lush green grass around the adjacent fairway. The hole was filled with nasty, oily sand. In the dead center was the cup holding the flag. The idea was to knock the little white ball from the tee box in as few strokes as possible to sink it in the hole in the center of the big brown spot. Big order.
Well, from wherever your ball landed after the tee-off, was where you wanted your next shot to stop. Somewhere on that ugly, scarred place in an otherwise picturesque spot on the golf course. I'll spare you most of the details except to say that once on the 'green'....and why in God's name did they call it that? It was a greasy 'brown!' When your ball landed somewhere in the sand, you were allowed to step off....not exactly accurate in all cases....the distance from your ball's place to the edge of You'd then, walk around to the 'putting drag' which was the only smooth place in the sand. It was a strip of finely-packed sand about 18" wide from the edge of the green to the cup. You placed your ball on the drag at the same distance you stepped off earlier, perched over it like Tiger Woods....O.K, like Arnold Palmer....and gave it a healthy swat with the putter, hoping it could make the trip all the way to the cup. I've seen Al Alexander and a couple others use a two-iron just to make sure it got there.
Fast-forward a few decades and, occasionally, I'm on the #1 teebox at some Dallas-area country club, often sitting under a nice shade tree with someone fetching me a cool one every now and then. As the golfers parade up to the tee, I ask if I may put their name on their driver, putter, chipping wedges, or whatever else they may have in the bag. Depending upon how many cool ones they've already had, it can be quite interesting what they decide to have permanently etched into their sticks.
After sundown one evening, at the big dinner party following the tournament and during the 'putt-off' on the practice green at Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, Texas, an attractive woman, who had been through the martini line at least 4 times, sauntered up to my table. She had her putter in one hand and martini...I'm guessing at least the other. She fashioned herself as being a movie star from a James Bond movie as she announced, loud enough for all in 20 feet to hear her, "Hi Ken Brown. I want you to engrave 'Pussy Galore' right here on the top of my putter!
I gulped. I kept my composure and merely smiled like it was all routine, while all around laughed hilarously. I took her putter and gave it her requested name. I've wondered, in the light of a new day, if she wished she could erase it. Probably not. Maybe it cut a few strokes from her game, but we won't go there.
Bottom line is this: A big chunk of the golfing crowd loves to have their name and, sometime a phone number, engraved on their clubs. Not uncommon to sink a 40 footer (on a grass green!) and walk away, leaving a chipping wedge on the lip of the green after the celebration. When it has the golfer's name on it, usually it ends up in the pro shop and can be retrieved there.
In the photo above, I engraved 'Snake Eyes' for a sober golfer. The titanium head engraves magnificently, although showers of white sparks shoot from the letters as they're being made each time I do titanium. Quite a pretty sight.

Prettier, is the 20 bucks the golfer hands me for the work.
Now, as long as we're on the subject, here's a little ditty you might include with your next gift of a golf item. I was asked to create a round of poems for a set of golf glasses, so I'll share one of them here. If you know ANYTHING about golf, this will make perfect sense. Enjoy!

Your best wood is your pencil,
Your best number is FORE!!!
Your best round hasn't happened,
Your best lie is your score!

-Ken Brown copyright 2010

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