Tat­too You?

Th­ese golfers have some skin in the game

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life - – PETER FINCH

“No­body’s asked me to cover (my tat­toos). They want to talk about them.”

Heath Anshel played 327 rounds in 2013 and plans to do even bet­ter this year. Just in case there’s any ques­tion about his de­vo­tion to the game, Anshel, 41, also has five golfthemed tat­toos: a pair of pinup girls, a dim­pled skull with clubs crossed be­hind it like bones, an ea­gle perched on a ball, and a skele­ton golfer.

A 2012 Har­ris Poll found one in five adult Americans had a tat­too. Although that num­ber must be far lower among golfers, plenty have them. “I’ve done all kinds of golf stuff,” says Florida tat­too artist Bill Han­nong, who runs the Na­tional Tat­too As­so­ci­a­tion’s char­ity golf event. “I’ve done balls, balls with crossed tees, crossed clubs. I had one kid who hit a great shot with his 2-iron. I drew a pic­ture of that iron and put it on his shoul­der.”

Seve Balles­teros had a tat­too of him­self fist-pump­ing, and An­nika Soren­stam has a cat on her back. But you won’t find any of to­day’s top-ranked tour pros wear­ing ink, at least that you can see. Even as tat­toos have grown in pop­u­lar­ity, 24 per­cent of Americans still view them neg­a­tively, ac­cord­ing to the Har­ris Poll. Why take the chance of turn­ing off fans or spon­sors?

Anshel, op­er­a­tions man­ager at a Maryland bingo hall, says he never gets any grief at golf cour­ses. “No­body’s asked me to cover them. They want to talk about them, to have a closer look.” Four of his five tats were cus­tom de­signs by Beth Kennedy, a tat­too artist near Bal­ti­more. The two pin­ups cost about $400 each, and the oth­ers were about $200.

“Don’t let any­one tell you it’s not painful,” Anshel says. Worse than get­ting hit by a golf ball? “No! I’ve been hit, and I’d rather get a tat­too.”

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