Some things are not for sale.

Scotty Cameron Studio Design #1

For the same fundamental, perhaps even biological reason that I’ll bet on anything and everything – be it the fastest cockroach scurrying across the concrete or the handedness of my own childi or whether I can drive the green on this 334 yard par 4ii – I’ll buy and sell absolutely anything and everything just as well.iii

Except, it recently turned out, not absolutely, not anything, and not everything. But I guess you never really examine your convictions until opportunity knocks. So it was that a childhood friend of mineiv who plays on the Mackenzie Tourv recently asked if I had any old Scottys kicking around in my closet that I could part with. I had a Futura at one point – never scored well with the useless thing for its floatiness of head, but I’d long since misplaced it in one move or one loan or another anyways – leaving only the Scotty Cameron Studio Design #1 you see pictured hereabove. I told my buddy that I could loan it to him, only to find out that he was asking for a fellow tour star who wanted to purchase old Scottys… any Scottys.

Surely, given that this Studio Design #1vi had been collecting dust in my closet for the last few years in favour of the more forgiving 2-Ball XG SRT, I could bring myself to part with it. It’s just a putter, after all. Right ?

Yet despite my closely held tenet as to the negotiability of all things in all times and in all places, I just couldn’t put a price on it. Even seeing that beaten up units were fetching full MSRP on eBay 15 years after their initial release (net of inflation, obv.), I was completely unmoved to make a deal. He could’ve offered me 3x or 5x what I paid for it and I would’ve declined the offer all the same.

It wasn’t even a particularly cherished memory hang-up either. It’s not like I used the Studio Design to win my biggest tournament to date (I used the XG), nor even that I planned to use the #1 again anytime soon ; it’s that, despite rotating through more putters than any other club,vii I’ve continually come back to the Studio Design more times than I care to remember and I think it would kill me to know that it wasn’t waiting for me in the wings – waiting to bail me out of my next slump.viii Or even just putt across the living room carpet into an emtpy tumbler at 1:00 in the morning.

I mean, how could I possibly sell such a cherished insurance policy – such a priceless divertissement – particularly when it’s also such a perfect, low-maintenance instrument ?ix It’d be like selling the roof to my house or the left shift-key on my keyboard.

Some things are not for sale.

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  1. True story. I have $100 on left. []
  2. I can. And I did. And it wasn’t downhill (if 10kph downwind). And I called the shot. And I took the money. Just like Babe. []
  3. In 2016 alone I’ve bought one car, sold two, bought one house, sold one condo, rented out two apartments with a third currently on the market, and built a barebones website for a family member in addition to whatever else it is that I do. Hey, even kulaks gotta hustle – if not out of material so much as existential necessity. []
  4. When he was 15 and I was 17 and he was already spotting my a shot a side, it was pretty clear to me that I needed to be doing something other than golf professionally, despite the encouragement of some well-meaning family friends. So while I went a more academic route, more than a couple kids in my cohort wasted precious years in their late teens and early 20s chasing the white rabbit ball. Over a decade later, Darren’s the only one still making a go of it. []
  5. Formerly the standalone Canadian Tour but now a specific rung on the PGA Tour ladder beneath the Web.com Tour (née Ben Hogan Tour, only to become Nike Tour, then Buy.com Tour, then Nationwide Tour, and only then Web.com Tour). []
  6. The Studio Design series, which was only manufactured from 2001 – 2005, was the most classically designed of these high-quality instruments. To my eye at least, it was the #1 that was the cleanest design of the series with but a single dot for alignment, whereas the #1.5 had an squared notch giving way to a perpendicular sightline, the #2 had a long parallel sightline, the #2.5 had an abbreviated heel and rounded-off flange, the #3 was a thinner flanged version of the #1, the #3.5 was basically a #1.5 with a long bent hosel, and the #5 was the odd duck : a big half-moon mallet.

    A quick perusal of Scotty’s latest wares confirms that used prices for the Studio Designs are holding up so well because, like the rest of the high-end manufacturers, Scotty no dumb, he put cork up Chinaman bum! []

  7. Golfers are notorious equipment sluts, frequently projecting their various and sundry shortcomings on the hapless hunks of metal and rubber entrusted to them – imagining that it’s the arrow, not the Indian, that holds the key to their success.

    I was never that bad for golf-induced otakuism, partly because I’ve always been a strong, long-hitting ball striker – so it was pretty well always putting that would make or break my rounds – but also because I had to finance my equipment purchases myself and even the fanciest schmanciest putters were less expensive than drivers and iron sets. So it was that I went through more putters than anything else.

    I think the most putters I ever had at one time was 5 or 6. And recall that you can only use one at a time! []

  8. Yes, athletes have slumps, perhaps none moreso than golfers who have nothing but their own psychogenic villains to battle for 6 hours at a stretch. It’s a bizarre contest where you can’t even see your enemy – you can’t even look him in the eye to gauge his mettle – but I guess if any sport can prep you for digital warfare, it’s golf.

    Anyways, I now preface the odd round that I do play (3-4 per season) with a quick flip through Bob Rotella’s Putting Out Of Your Mind (yes, it’s on the list). This book is a damned sight more beneficial than hoping against hope that the real putting genie is in this blade or that mallet on any given Sunday. A coupla pages with breakfast are all it takes these days. []

  9. In any other domain, you can literally only dream of an instrument as precise and low-maintenance as a putter. There’s no oil to change, no dusty fans to clean, no filters to replace, no belts to wear out, nothing to leak or rust or tire with age. To paraphrase Jesus Ortiz, it’s really something. []