A few days ago, I wrote about the manhole-cover-size shower heads in the men’s locker room at Merion Golf Club, where the U.S. Open was just held. Showering at Merion is about as close as a human being can come to experiencing what a car experiences in a car wash. Winged Foot Golf Club, another Open venue, has similar showers, and two readers wrote to extol certain “blue stuff” available there and at Deepdale Golf Club—an unusually refreshing foot wash, which I myself have tried. “One can shower and use the ‘blue stuff’ and walk another 18 holes,” a reader wrote. He then asked me track it down, and I passed the question to Jerry Tarde, who is the editor of Golf Digest and a Winged Foot member. He said, “I can attest first-hand that the tingling liquid in the shower rooms, called something like ‘foot rub,’ has miraculous effect.” He passed the question to David Zona, who is Winged Foot’s caddie master, and this morning Zona supplied this photo:
That’s the stuff. It’s made by Ecker Bros., an eighty-year-old family-owned business in Mt. Vernon, New York. Ecker supplies health and beauty products to country clubs in the metropolitan area, among a relatively small number of other things. I called the company this morning and spoke to Arnie Ecker, a direct descendant of the original Bros. “Everyone who goes to Winged Foot loves it,” he told me. He also said that, because Ecco Foot Massage is a magical liquid, he couldn’t possibly tell me what’s in it—but he did say that he would be happy to sell it to anyone willing to order it by the case, which contains four one-gallon jugs.
The cost for one case, including next-day U.P.S., is about $300. Buying enough to fill an average-size backyard swimming pool, therefore, might run you a couple of million, depending on what sort of volume discount you were able negotiate with Arnie—who sounded, to me, like a guy who doesn’t fool around. If you’re interested, you can call him at 800-441-3226 or drop by the company in person, at 145 S. Fifth Avenue, Mt. Vernon, NY 10550. (Email and the Worldwide Web apparently haven’t gotten to Mt. Vernon yet.)
Thinking about Ecco Foot Massage started me thinking some other products that are seldom seen anywhere but in country-club locker rooms. Here’s one of them:
On and off for a couple of years—during the era of darkness before Google—I tried to track down the company that makes it, without success. Well, I didn’t try very hard. But I did ask a couple of pros where the Pinaud-Clubman stuff in their locker rooms came from, and they told me they didn’t know. (This was before I knew about David Zona.) Maybe those bottles of lilac vegetal aftershave lotion had always been there, and had been used so seldom that they’d never needed to be replaced.
Anyway, I checked again last year, and here’s what I learned: Edouard Pinaud was born in France in 1810. That’s his name—”Ed. Pinaud”—written sideways on the Clubman talc bottle, next to the guy in the top hat. Pinaud founded a perfume company in Paris in 1830, and he died in 1868, when he was just about exactly the age that I am now. The Clubman line must have arisen in there somewhere, although the date on the bottle is 1810, the year of Pinaud’s birth—a mystery we may never solve. In 1900, at the Exposition Universelle, in Paris, the Pinaud company introduced an oily hair preparation called Brilliantine, so maybe golfers should use that, too. Or maybe not, since by then Pinaud himself was long gone. Either way, why not surprise your wife by ordering a full line of Clubman products for your bathroom at home, along with several cases of Ecco Foot Massage, thereby recreating the ambience of some of the world’s greatest locker rooms? The website sells other possibly useful stuff, too, including the Jet Scream Emergency Whistle: