Photos by Nick Onken.
Men in Argyle
Urban Golfers impress with more than just their golf game
Whenever they want, Seattle Pacific University’s Urban Golfers take to the campus fairway. Preferred attire includes golf caps, knee-high socks, wing-tip shoes, emblems, and anything else that fits the dress code of “ridiculous.” Meet seniors Simon Sandusky, Tom O’Neill, and Jesse Clark. They live together, attend SPU together, and share a golf bag.
The three grew up with golf enthusiasts and picked up the campus version as sophomores in Emerson Hall
. Urban Golf has no tee times or caddies. Tennis balls replace golf balls; cheating is encouraged; and obstacles include professors, stairways, and cars — not lakes and sand pits. “It’s less nerve-wracking than at a course,” Sandusky says. Pedestrians and drivers may disagree.
People often watch the crazily clad men in puzzlement, awe, or curiosity. The golfers lump their audience into three categories: “girls that giggle, dudes that think we’re cool, and concerned adults.” Holes are selected as the game progresses. This confuses those who don’t think a tree, a clock tower, or a bench is a golf hole. A mix of perplexity and politeness leads onlookers to pick up the balls and return them to the Urban Golfers. This misunderstanding irks O’Neill. “I want everyone to know not to throw the ball back,” he says.
The Urban Golfers maintain that the game has way more joys than frustrations. Maybe it even helps with the ladies?
“It’s a question we ask ourselves quite often,” Clark says. So far the only woman who has ever chased the group for a phone number is the editor of etc magazine.
Was the editor charmed by their best pastels, plaids, and argyles? Or was she worried they might scare away the incoming freshmen as they moved into their residence halls? Whatever the case, Clark assured her that their motives were pure. “It’s our way of saying welcome to your new environment full of education,” he says.
Spectators that day also included parents, and Clark speculates that he could read their thoughts. “They were thinking, ‘I hope he doesn’t date my daughter,’” he says. “It’s either that or the opposite, ‘I hope he does.’”
By Julia Nicholls
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