As I remove my clubs from the trunk of my car and put on my golf shoes (while being semi-careful not to scrape the bumper), I often agonize about which ball markers to carry that day. I have a huge collection, consisting mostly of foreign coins, and I realized recently that I won’t possibly live long enough to make full use of them. During a typical round, I carry between four and six markers in my pocket, and I try to spread the selection around—although I hate to abandon a lucky marker just to be egalitarian. Coaches face this dilemma. You’d like to play everyone on the bench, but, on the other hand, you’d like to win.
The image above shows some of my current favorites. On the far left is a Moroccan 10-dirham coin. The guy in the pointed hat is King Hassan II, who was a tyrant but also a golfaholic. (He wore golf gloves on both hands, and, before swinging, gave his cigarette to a servant, who held it with silver tongs.) Next is a Colombian 200-peso piece. It’s good because it has aiming lines and round things that look like golf holes and golf balls. Then an old Mexican peso—nice because the guy looks strange but also friendly and wise. (And lucky.) Then a Norwegian 5-kroner coin, which has a golf hole in it—get it? Last, on the right, is an Indian 2-rupee coin, which I sometimes use when I absolutely have to two-putt. (There are aiming lines on the other side.)
Here are some more:
The coin on the far left is an old favorite: an Irish 20-pence piece. If I pointed the nose of the horse at my ball when I marked it, the next putt would almost always go in or come very, very close. I stopped using it, though, when I realized how many unused (and potentially even luckier) coins I had in the trunk of my car. (I keep my markers in a yellow plastic tackle box.) Next to it is an Australian 20-cent piece. The image is of a duck-billed platypus swimming around, and the curvy lines—which represent the platypus’s curvy path through the water—seem to go well with putts that break a lot. Then another Australian coin, a dodecahedral one, which I like because the many tiny athletes depicted on it don’t include a golfer. Next is a Moroccan 1-dirham coin, which is good for one-putts (because of the 1). And last is a huge, magnetic, fake-pewter Golf Digest thing, which I used for a while out of company loyalty but then abandoned because what’s with the lion?
Not all my markers are coins or coin-like objects. I also have several thousand souvenir markers—the kind with the prong thing that you stick into the ground:
Of the markers in the picture above, my least favorite is the Starr Pass one, because I have no idea what Starr Pass is and don’t care enough even to Google it. I’ve never used it. My favorite may be the impossible-to-decipher one near the lower right-hand corner. The symbol on it looks a little like the presidential seal, so maybe it belonged to an important government official, up to and possibly including the commander-in-chief. Not depicted is my all-time favorite in this category: my marker from Morefar Golf Club, which I seem to have lost. The one time I played Morefar, there was only one other foursome on the course, and my foursome was stuck behind it. But the slowpoke was the Sultan of Brunei, and, apparently, you’re not allowed to play through him. My consolation was the marker, which I now can’t find. Oh, woe is me.