The Loop / Golf Digest — For many people, the RBC Heritage is the official name for That Tournament After the Masters, the one with fewer big names, 100% less Tiger and … more expensive drink prices. (To be fair, after you’ve spent 95 minutes traveling there, $12 Bud Lights don’t look so bad). For those of us who lived on Hilton Head Island, this is dumb and wrong and also dumb! Now in its 50thyear, the RBC (it’s a Canadian bank, we guess) Heritage beautifully fills the post-Masters space with a laid-back weekend in lush Hilton Head, a near-perfect destination for people trying to flee a DEATHLESS WINTER THAT WON’T STOP. If this sounds like you, read on.
The Loop / Golf Digest — For time immemorial, CBS’s Masters theme music has been a song called “The Masters Theme Music,” or, “You Know, the Masters Song, No I Don’t Know What the It’s Called and God Stop Asking Me, Doug.”
As it happens, this song bears an actual title, which is “Augusta.” It also has an actual composer, who is a man named Dave Loggins. And if that name just triggered an endorphin fire in the brain-storage unit reserved for Golf-Adjacent Songs of the Very Early 1980s, you’re alright: Dave is the third cousin of Kenny Loggins, the maple syrup-voiced and impeccably groomed beardsmith who provided the “Caddyshack” theme song, “I’m Alright,” as well as music for the decade’s most iconic films about Tomcat dogfights and underworld arm wrestling. Basically, if you were an adult Caucasian male between 1980-1987, your favorite song was probably written by a Loggins.
And even if not — maybe you were a “Rock Me Amadeus” kind of guy, whatever — how weird is this? Two Logginses, each with his own iconic golf-ish track, in the same epoch. How did these guys get here? And more importantly, how do they stack up against each other? Here, for the first time, we invent AND promptly end an All-Loggins Cage Match, a Golf Song Rumble in the Impeccably Landscaped Environs of an Affluent Golf Club. Wipe on the beard oil and let’s do this.
The Loop / Golf Digest — The classic Nintendo Entertainment System was great for games in which overdramatic and cliched Italians hurled turtle shells around subterranean drainpipes, but real bad for golf. Between the years of 1984 and 1992, the original NES spawned a handful of golf-oriented video games, all of which attempted to capture the majesty of the sport and none of which, to our memory, came within a country mile of Ninja Gaiden or Metroid or even Golgo 13, and yeah, I see you out there, my Golgo 13 people.
But was that memory false? Did the games hold up better than we remembered, in our decades-old Super Tecmo Bowl-themed fog? This week we set forth to find out, using a Raspberry Pi, a customizable and probably legal device on which you can basically play every video game released between 1860 and 1993. (Indeed, the entire vast breadth of your video-game childhood now fits on an SD card the approximate size of a Wheat Thin, although of course they taste entirely different.)
The Loop / Golf Digest — Theoretical physicist and humanity-terrifier Stephen Hawking announced last week that Earth is a doomed cesspool of unstoppable ravage and decay, which is something we obviously all knew already. But the renowned scientist was good enough to put a number on his doomsday prophecy, reporting that we humans need to locate, travel to and colonize another planet within about 500 years, give or take, depending on traffic.
For the most part, this is fine — it’s getting pretty hot around here anyway, and those of us here in Indiana can fund the trip with the sale of our beachfront homes. But while “scientists” and “theoretical physicists” and “those charged with deciding who will travel to this new planet, which should include plenty of tallish gray-haired Slovaks, just saying” debate which planet we should lay waste to next, we here at The Loop have different criteria: Where the hell are we going to play golf? Before we rush into any rash planet-colonizing decisions, let’s break down our potential new homes in the solar system.
The Loop / Golf Digest — Everything was better the way it used to be, which is why you buy vinyl copies of records you already own, watch Netflix reboots en masse and apparently go to theaters to absorb five godawful, synapse-pounding Michael Bay movies vaguely based on toys you broke in 1986. The one cultural region where this aggressively nostalgic approach makes sense is video games, because if you are like some of us, you stopped upgrading/purchasing them 20 years ago, haven’t the foggiest clue how to f—king move your f—cking Boba Fett character in f—cking Star Wars Battlefront in a forward-like direction and would just rather play the games you grew up with, when life was uncomplicated, easy to master and built entirely out of 2 cm-thick squares.
Hilton Head Monthly — I should start by saying that with apologies to both my mom and Jim Furyk, I’ve never really been into golf.
This is for one extremely simple, profound reason: I am terrible at golf. I am terrible at it in grave, hideous fashion. I am terrible at it in ways that make it so you can actually watch my 7-year-old lose respect for me in real time, in ways that should be sung about by Tom Waits, in ways that if our culture somehow celebrated the appearance of playing golf as though you’re being repeatedly jabbed in the brain with an electric toothbrush, I would be totally winning.
It’s not, I should make clear, for lack of trying. Once, at a driving range, I literally hit a ball that ended up — and I’m still not entirely sure how the physics worked on this — beneath my car, which was interesting, since the car was about 30 feet away, and also behind me. On the depressingly infrequent occasions when I managed to orient the ball in the direction I was facing already, it would most often fly in a reasonably straight line for about 20 feet, then stop dead, make an inexplicable right turn and promptly careen into whatever was off to the right: forest, batting cage, birthday party, pile of angry alligators, whatever.
But here’s my other thing with golf, and, again, I’m an outsider, so please correct me if I’m wrong: Average pinheads like me can attend, say, a baseball game. We can go see basketball in street clothes. But I’m not sure I can ever adapt to golf’s established, tradition-filled world based almost entirely — and I apologize if this sounds discriminatory — on my taste in pants.
The Heritage is basically its Super Bowl and Academy Awards rolled into one package, albeit a package extremely comfortable with wearing salmon-colored pants.
Island Packet — “12 dollars,”my bartender said with a good-natured smile as he slid over my complete order of precisely two beers — an upmarket vintage import known stateside as “Bud Light” — and wittily I replied, “Blerph?” Twelve was a good many more dollars than I was expecting to pay for such luxury — I find Bud Light generally costs that much only if a professional sports franchise or possibly Jimmy Buffett is playing in my direct line of vision — so I gathered my wits and re-opened the wallet.
“Sorry,” I said, trying not to appear flumbergasted. “Wasn’t ready for that.”
“Yeah,” the bartender replied dryly, in the tired timbre of a man who had enjoyed this conversation several million times today, adding, “Welcome to Hilton Head.”
Island Packet – Generally speaking, if you are sent out to cover the nightlife during Verizon Heritage weekend and you begin your assignment at Harbour Town by looking for interesting-looking people to talk to, it’s a good idea to begin with gentlemen in inflatable Viking helmets. (They don’t really cover Viking helmet-seeking in journalism school; it’s just one of those senses you develop.)
These would be Mike Arseneau of Hilton Head and Alan Walliem from Bloomington, Minn., two avid golf fans who reported their headgear was designed to, and I’m quoting here, “support Lumpy.”
I’m not remotely knowledgeable about golf, so at this point I’m reasonably sure that I’ve stepped into a parallel galaxy that’s run by blow-up Vikings, but Walliem assured me that “Lumpy” is the affectionate nickname for Minneapolis native Tim Herron, a golferthe two have been following throughout their many repeat trips to the Heritage. “This is a phenomenal tournament,” Walliem says.
Writer: GQ, Men’s Health,
the Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Indianapolis Monthly, Golf Digest, Vice, BruceSpringsteen.net,
the Indy 500, Fatherly, etc. Proud owner of a Bruce-related Guinness World Record. Even longer bio/clips.