Travelin’ Joe’s Golf Junk

1 of 34 Pete Madden
I’m a saver. No, a pack rat. Well, OK, a hoarder when it comes to golf junk. My scorecard collection (more than 5,000 different courses) overflows bags and file boxes in our garage. My wife Betsy has a suggestion as to how to alleviate the crowding.
2 of 34 Pete Madden
This commemorative bottle from the Gary Player-designed Manhattan Woods near NYC recalls my 2005 “audition” round there with my future GOLF Magazine boss. We were teammates and I played like a choking dog for 16 holes. However, I drained a 20-footer for birdie at 17 and a 15-footer for par at 18 and we won, 1-up. I began employment two weeks later.
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Al Geiberger, aka “Mr. 59,” gifted me this autographed ball following a round at Stone Eagle, a stellar Tom Doak design in Palm Desert, Calif. Geiberger's 59 at Colonial in Memphis in 1977 was the first in Tour history; it has been matched, but never beaten. He couldn’t have been nicer to me, aka “Mr. 89.”
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Lifted from the season-opening, Champions Tour Mitsubishi event at Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island of Hawaii, this marshal’s sign brings to mind my two-day pro-am experiences, the first with delightful Jeff Sluman, the second with eight-time major champion Tom Watson. As my dad once said, “They pay you to do that?” Sometimes they do, dad.
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Snagged this gopher during a November 2000 stay at the classic Boca Raton Resort in southeast Florida, when we played Grande Oaks, a Raymond Floyd redesign of the old Rolling Hills course, where “CaddyShack” was filmed in 1980. Saw Dan Marino and Cris Collinsworth, but no sign of Chevy Chase.
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A two-ball pack from the 2001 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, purchased out of guilt. I played hooky on Saturday, going 36 holes at Grand National on Alabama’s RTJ Trail, and I arrived back on the grounds just in time for a huge roar. It was leader David Toms making an ace on the 15th. Sorry I missed it.
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I’ve attended at least parts of 15 different Masters and still tip my cap to the civilized tradition of purchasing these chairs, setting them where you want to watch, and leaving them for as long as you’d like, with the trust that they’ll be there upon your return. 2002, however, was better suited to blankets and pillows, with Tiger downing Goosen in a dull final-round duel.
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This Masters hat belonged to my wife’s father, Don Ryan, who loved his golf. He was an early founder of the PGA Tour’s Hartford stop, the Insurance City Open (now Travelers Championship) and kicked in funds to help Julius Boros’ career. He left us too soon, in 2000, but I was lucky enough to tee it up with him before he closed up shop.
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The 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla was a rare occasion -- a U.S. win! Oddly enough, due to my editorial emphasis on travel, I was asked to be a guest that week of Tourism Ireland. How strange to be treated to wonderful Euro hospitality, then root for the other team.
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Ah, a cool, refreshing drink of water -- with a young(er) Donald Trump staring back at you. I picked this up in 2006, either at the Trump Hospitality Tent along the first fairway at the Winged Foot U.S. Open, or else at his Bedminster club during the same trip. We both prefer Diet Coke.
11 of 34 Pete Madden
I donned a floppy sun hat from Pine Valley to battle the extreme heat of July 4th weekend, 2013. To commemorate the club’s 100th anniversary, it reverted to its old logo for one year -- the pine tree, rather than the shield -- so I had me a collector’s item, along with renewed appreciation for why PV remains No. 1.
12 of 34 Pete Madden
Walking up to the 9th and 18th greens at Tulsa’s Southern Hills in mid-June heat is a heart attack waiting to happen, but that’s what I did at the 2001 U.S. Open. I didn’t fare much better when I played it in May 2014 with new ASGCA president Lee Schmidt, Drew Rogers and Bruce Matthews at the annual architects meeting, but at least we were in carts.
13 of 34 Pete Madden
Of the MANY beers I sampled in my 1992 trip to Australia, Victoria Bitter was my favorite. Not available in the U.S., Greg Norman would keep a stash on his plane. In 2006, I had a friend at Next Level Sailing in San Diego secure six-packs from some Australian sailors to fill my fridge.
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I met my wife-to-be on a Kalos Tours Mediterranean golf cruise in 1999. Our first round together was at Pevero, a Robert Trent Jones Sr. creation for the Aga Khan on the rocky Italian island of Sardinia. Playing the par-4 12th in a shotgun start, Betsy made par, me a bogey. I’ve been playing catch-up ever since.
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Greg Norman won the 1984 Australian PGA at Monash C.C., near Sydney’s northern beaches. I strolled its rolling, tree-framed fairways eight years later, but what I remember most was touring the Koala preserve just down the road after the round.
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I yanked my opening drive at David McLay Kidd’s design of Gamble Sands in the high desert of Brewster, Wash. so far into the sagebrush that Kidd and owner’s rep Tory Wulf stumbled upon this discarded deer antler while looking for my ball. Tough start on a great new course.
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Perhaps my favorite logo in golf is the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Westchester Co., NY. It took me until 2013 to experience the fine Gil Hanse restoration of this C.B. Macdonald creation, but the Hudson River view from the 16th tee made it worth the wait.
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You can’t take it with you, but I tried anyway. Actually, photographer Joann Dost bottled up the gorgeous beach sand at Cape Kidnappers as a unique memory for me of playing Tom Doak’s New Zealand, cliff-top masterpiece in the company of Adam Scott in October 2008.
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I love the museum-like hotel, as well as my March 1995 round at the Breakers Ocean course with my 84-year-old Grandpa Dan. We battled wind and rain at Florida’s oldest course. I gave Gramps a couple of chances to bag it, but we pressed on, grinning all the way to the 19th hole.
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Thanks to my wife Betsy and eBay, one of my 2013 Christmas presents was this 1971 Cleveland Open program, the first PGA Tour event I ever attended. Lee Trevino was the toughest autograph that week, fresh off his U.S. Open win over Jack Nicklaus just days before.
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A wee dram of Puerto Rico, accompanied by the Coqui, a tiny native tree frog, whose rhythmic “Ko-KEE, Ko-KEE” lulled me to sleep during my first visit to Dorado Beach in 1992 for the Senior Tour Championship. I returned in 2013 to see Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s wonderful restoration of his father’s East course.
22 of 34 Pete Madden
OK, so I’m a fan of The Breakers, though not just its historic, oceanside assets, from golf to beach to dining, but also of its Breakers West facility, 20 minutes inland. The now 10-year-old Rees Jones-redesigned layout there is a classic Sunshine State experience.
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Wrapped in a Kingbarns towel, I’m reminded of Kyle Phillips’ brilliance in creating a modern links in Scotland. I played it in October 1999, before the bunkers had sand. With partner Brad Klein on fire, we won the first six holes from our opponents. That’s never happened to me before or since.
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A little trinket for the Missus after my first trip to Dubai in September 2013. Temperatures were among the most energy-sapping I’ve ever experienced, though I plowed through to enjoy Emirates’ Majlis course, surrounded by skyscrapers -- like golf in midtown Manhattan.
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I needed this umbrella on and off during the July 2012 Grand Opening of Trump International Golf Links Scotland -- and that was just for Trump’s bluster. When you call it “the greatest course in the world,” upon opening, you’re only asking for trouble, but in truth, it’s awesome.
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My third visit to brilliant Streamsong Resort near Lakeland, Florida in January 2014 had many highlights, starting with a stay at the superb new hotel. Tom Doak played his Blue course with us and Bill Coore walked his Red with us. Neither man could help my short game.
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My sister Lori and brother-in-law Ken gave this Donald Ross bobblehead to me as a Christmas present. What better gift to a design geek? My first Ross course was a Denver muni, Wellshire, in 1985. I hit Ross nirvana in 2013, with Pinehurst No. 2 and Seminole within six weeks.
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My 2009 stay at the Old Course Hotel prompted me to call room 230 as the No. 1 hotel room in golf, with its view of the Road Hole and the R&A clubhouse. During my 2010 stay, I was 2-over after 12 on the Old, then got lashed by sideways rain and wind. With my glasses soaked, I had to remove them, and finished with a 15-over 87.
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Why does Walton Heath’s Old course enchant so completely? It’s somewhat bleak, high on a London-area heath, yet it utterly compels. I first played it in 1997, then again in May 2014, where it was as firm and fast as any Open links. Perhaps the greatest U.S. Ryder Cup team ever assembled won here in 1981.
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Cypress Point Club -- my favorite golf course, period. I first played it in 1982. For years after, if I was having trouble falling asleep, I would replay every shot in the round in my mind. It’s the best walk in golf. The trek to the 15th tee amid wind, waves, deer, gnarled Cypress trees and near-isolation is spiritual.
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A Moroccan souvenir from 1993, this dagger became mine in a Marrakesh souk trade after a local coveted the straw hat I was wearing. Earlier in the day, my caddie and I were conversing in French at the Robert Trent Jones Sr. classic, Royal Dar Es Salaam (Red)…well, (Rouge). My so-so 85 needed no translation.
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Acquired in a Marrakesh souk during a 1993 Morocco visit, this colorful camel serves as a contrast to the surprising drabness of Casablanca, our first stop. After viewing the Humphrey Bogart movie like, eight times, I was expecting more. Nearby Royal Mohammedia was better, lots of sand dunes, a couple of Atlantic vistas.
33 of 34 Pete Madden
Remember the Bat Phone? This is golf’s equivalent. From my expression, it looks like I’m calling headquarters to explain another missed deadline.
34 of 34 Pete Madden
The Raptor course at Scottsdale’s Grayhawk was my wedding venue. During our vows, when the minister referenced “this lovely Grayhawk golf course,” I blurted out, “A Tom Fazio design.” Somehow, my wife agreed to continue with the ceremony.