16 Golf Fads That Went the Way of the Persimmon Wood

December 22, 2016

From golf sandals to exploding golf balls, we’re glad to see the back of these fads.

Yelling “Ba-Babooey!” at Tour Events

Not that “You da man!” or “Mashed potatoes!” is much better. But at least we’re past the days when a bellowed version of that Howard Stern-ism echoed from the gallery at every shot.

The Mock Neck

We used to think the mock neck had gone out with Star Trek. Then along came Tiger, who, if memory serves, first flashed the collar-less look in 2003 at Torrey Pines. A trend was born (even Jason Gore caught on), but now, once again, the mock, like Spock, has died.

Tasseled Golf Shoes

Remember the days when every pair of golf shoes seemed to come with tassels? We recall them vividly. And, like you, we’ve been trying to forget.

Brush Tees

Comb the internet, and you’ll still come across the brush tee, the golf world’s version of the Chia Pet, which, as it happens, also peaked in popularity some years ago.

Square Headed Drivers

With apologies to Sasquatch and other iterations of this strange design—-when it comes to drivers, it’s no longer hip to be square.

Cigarettes on the Course

No doubt, he was dashing. But even Arnold Palmer later said he was disgusted when he looked back at old photos of himself with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Arnie wasn’t alone in his tobacco habit. Ben Hogan had one. Ditto Nicklaus, though he kicked it early. Ben Crenshaw smoked. So did Fuzzy Zoeller and Lee Trevino. The Surgeon General’s list goes on and on. But that was then. Though lighting up a golf course is still fair game, lighting up ON a golf course is another matter. Even John Daly says he’s down to just two packs a day.

The Alien Wedge

“For performance that’s out of this world.” So went the tagline to those hokey informercials for this strange invader, which dropped into our lives a few decades back. True to its name, it was like E.T.: ugly and effective, But no one cried when it went away.

Golf Pranks

In 1995, Leslie Nielsen penned a cheeky tome entitled Leslie Nielsen’s Stupid Little Golf Book, which was filled with handy tips on how to irritate your partners. Around that time, exploding golf balls had their 15 minutes. This was also an era when some people thought it was funny to unlatch their buddies’ golf bags on the back of the cart, so the clubs would fall and clatter the instant they drove off. It was, in other words, an age of great hilarity. But then a lot of us  grew up.

Anchored Putting

Most fads are subjected to the ebb and flow of fashion. There’s often no explaining their comings and their goings. Anchoring was different. The zeitgeist didn’t kill it. A ban did.

150-Yard “Bush Markers”

You’ve found another fairway, and you’re now trying to gauge your distance to the flag. Being a strict traditionalist, you don’t use a range finder, so you look around for the 150-yard bush, only to realize that no one plants those silly things anymore.

Sansabelt Slacks

Sans is French for without. Abelt is a faster way of spelling “a belt.” But enough with the translations. Sansabelts were huge in the Ben Crenshaw-Johnny Miller 1970s. But they soon fell out of fashion. By the early 2000s, Derek Zoolander was making fun of them.

White Belts

These were big around the time when a white-belt wearing Camilo Villegas was winning tournaments. Coincidence or not, you don’t see much of either anymore.

Golf Sandals

Even at the height of their appeal, golf sandals were never really seen as stylish. Their popularity lay with something more suggestive. They were the laidback-looking hallmark of the carefree golfer, footwear for Al Czervik. And like Czervik, a little bit of them went a long way.

200-Yard Forced Carries and Island Greens

As if parachute pants and shoulder-padded pinstripe suits weren’t bad enough, the ‘80s also marked the hey day of sadistic golf design, the basic idea being that a course was not a course if you didn’t lose a dozen Titleists along the way. Thankfully, that cruel fashion has faded, and a kinder form of architecture now holds sway, one that allows you to hit a ball, then find it. Call it modern minimalism. We call it a better way to play.


It’s tough to say for certain why the visor vanished. Was it because we realized that visors are for bookies, shoeshine boys and seniors on cruise ships? Or did we come to the conclusion that as long as we were going to the trouble, we might as well cover our entire head?

Spectator Periscopes

There was a time when you gazed out at the gallery at almost any Tour event and you could have sworn a thousand submarines had surfaced. Then something happened. We collectively concluded that watching the action from an obstructed vantage was still better than looking so uncool.