Golf Clubs in a Museum Devoted to Trash img_1644

Nelson Molina worked for New York City’s Department of Sanitation for 30 years, driving a route that included the East Harlem neighborhood in which he grew up. When he found something that he felt shouldn’t have been thrown away, he put it in a bin on the side of his garbage truck and took it back to the garage, on East 99th Street. Today, items he recovered fill most of the building’s second floor — maybe a quarter of an acre. He retired last year, but he returns to the garage three days a week to tend the collection, which he calls Treasure in the Trash. I wrote about Molina in an article in a recent New Yorker. His collection looks a little like the housewares department at Sears and a little like the closing scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The stuff Molina rescued includes a fair amount of sports equipment—including tennis rackets:


And baseball and hockey memorabilia:


And yo-yos:


But it doesn’t include all that much golf stuff:


The reason can’t be that New Yorkers don’t play golf, because they do. There are 13 municipal courses inside the city limits, and many of them are not only terrific but also crowded a lot of the time. Maybe the answer is that New Yorkers play with the same old crap forever—or that when they become fed up with the game they heave their clubs onto the Belt Parkway rather than lugging them home on the subway and setting them out on the curb. Or maybe the city just has fewer frustrated golfers than frustrated writers:


Incidentally, I don’t blame the person who threw away The Square-to-Square Golf Swing, an instruction book written by Dick Aultman, with help from Jim Flick and the staff of Golf Digest, and published in 1970. The square-to-square idea hurt at least as many golfers as it helped. As the legendary British golf instructor John Jacobs told Jaime Diaz in Golf Digest in 2010, “Many theories come and gone. Most of them I’ve disagreed with. Many arise from the originators being focused on fixes that apply to their own games. When the Square-to-Square theory was unveiled in the late ’60s, advocating that the takeaway should be initiated with a counterclockwise curling under of the left hand, I found that both co-authors—my good friends Jim Flick and Dick Aultman—had flattish actions begun by rolling the face open. If I’d been teaching them, I might have advised them to feel as if they were curling under. But that doesn’t mean that fix should have been given to the golfing population at large.”