Nicknames in golf? Absolutely.
After last week’s somewhat serious topic regarding Tiger Woods and the penalty he incurred at Augusta, I thought this week we’d venture back into the lighter side of things and talk about a topic that I personally use all the time — nicknames.
The history of nicknames in golf goes back a long way. It all started in the 1930s when Gene “The Squire” Sarazen holed his second shot for double eagle at the par-five 15th at Augusta. The “Shot Heard Round The World” boosted “The Squire,” The Masters, and the game’s popularity across the nation. Moving forward in time, the 1940s and 1950s saw the game dominated by three larger than life Americans; “Slammin” Sammy Snead, “Lord” Bryon Nelson, and Ben “The Hawk” Hogan.
Then came the big three — Arnold “The King” Palmer, Jack “The Golden Bear” Nicklaus, and Gary “The Black Knight” Player reigned supreme over the game for most of the 1960s and 1970s.
The 1980’s saw an influx of great new talent including a certain blonde Australian… Greg “The Great White Shark” Norman, or simply “The Shark,” who would basically be the dominant force in the game all the way up to 1997, when our current world No. 1, Eldrick “Tiger” Woods entered the scene.
And lest you think that only the world’s best players had nicknames, let me throw in a few others for you: We’ve seen “Chi Chi” and “The Merry Mex,” “Seve,” “Ole,” and “Monty.” We had “Gentle Ben,” “The Walrus,” “Boom Boom,” and “DL3.” And even today we have a few good ones left; “Philly Mick” or “Lefty,” “The Big Easy,” “Luuuuke” and “Kuuuuch,” and one of my personal favorites, Tim “Lumpy” Herron.
Now if you’re waiting for a great “point” to be made here, there’s really not one coming. I just thought it would be fun to take a few minutes and look back over the nicknames of players who ruled our sport.
On a personal level, I’ve always been a big nickname guy. I don’t know why, but I always seem to be giving, or using, people’s nicknames. Actually, I think using a nickname for someone shows a certain level of friendship. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I’ll use our “golf game” at The Lake Club as an example. Without using anyone’s real names, and apologizing for any I leave out, we have all of the following “nicknames” within our game;
Czar, Judge, Kav, Senior, Rhino, Jinxy, Counselor, Butcher, Dr. Howard, Murph, Yak, Shortstop, Cappy, Jackson, D-Knep and Mac. Senior, Tent, Flipsy, Showtime are all one guy. Pro, BIP, Flea, DAWNFC, Buddy, Dummyare all one other person. The Great One, DaVinci and,Dude and The Dude (two different people).
As for mine? “Junior” and “Triple H” are my most common nicknames. My favorite is a “special” name I only get called when I make a really long and important putt when playing against my friend Geno, but it’s probably suitable to put in print.
So how many nicknames do you use with your buddies? If it’s a lot, you probably have a pretty close-knit group of friends. If not, start making up some of your own.
I’ll conclude with two personal nicknames tips. First, don’t over think them. Two, as Batman himself learned in Times Square, do not call Vindicator Editor Todd Franko “Big Guy.”
As always, thanks for reading. And until next week, “Hit ’em Straight.”
Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a Sunday golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance for Huntington Insurance and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at email@example.com
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