Do pros use ball-washers?
We use the same clubs they do, wear the same clothes and copy their attitudes (we see you, finger-waggers). But what about the reverse? Are there any ways tour pros act like amateurs? Our unscientific survey of PGA Tour players during 2016:
USE A BALL WASHER?
Yes 33% No 67%
“I’ve never used one of those things,” Patrick Rodgers says dismissively. Adds Colt Knost: “I don’t think you even see them out here anymore.” The pros’ preferred method is a damp cloth, ideally employed by someone other than themselves. “I’ve used (the ball washer) on my golf cart,” says Martin Laird. “Sometimes, when I’m playing at home and my caddie isn’t there to do it for me, I will.”
USE PLASTIC BALL MARKER FROM THE GOLF SHOP?
Yes 9% No 91%
Course-provided ball markers scored the fewest “yes” votes in our survey. Typical was Jon Rahm, who used the same coin for nine years before recently switching to one from his alma mater, Arizona State. Jason Gore was among the few who have no problem playing with plastic. “I probably have one right now,” he says. “I was just in Nantucket last week and haven’t cleaned out my pockets.”
DRINK FROM THE WATER COOLER?
Yes 64% No 36%
It’s not that most players resist staying hydrated. They just prefer the quality and certain cleanliness of water bottles – and, if possible, carried by their caddies. “If it’s really hot in the summer, I’ll drink from anything,” Laird says.
BUY A SHIRT AT THE GOLF SHOP?
Yes 42% No 58%
Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman will buy one if it’s a memorable course, but they won’t find Chez Reavie among the shirt racks. His answer: “No, no, no.”
GET A HOT DOG AT THE TURN?
Yes 69% No 31%
Rahm, a Spaniard, had one once – during a US Open practice round at Oakmont last year. Rodgers always has one at his home course. Martin Piller is more of a connoisseur, considering only top-notch dogs. “Depends on the course,” he says. “If they have good hot dogs, yes.”
WEAR SNEAKERS WHILE PLAYING?
Yes 46% No 54%
Some might laugh, but Andrew Loupe sees benefits of training in trainers. “If I’m working on my balance, yes,” he says. “You don’t have as much grip on the ground, so if you’re working on your balance, it’ll force you to swing in control.”
RETRIEVE A BALL HIT INTO SOMEONE’S BACK YARD?
Yes 54% No 46%
“I’ll shank one every other month,” Kaufman says. But will he venture onto someone’s property to retrieve it? “No, that’s a lost cause.” Johnson Wagner doesn’t think twice about it: “I’ll walk straight in.” Adam Rainaud will trespass on only the more welcoming yards. “Unless they look really friendly and invite me in their yard, I’m staying out,” he says.
Hot dog after nine? Yes. Plastic ball markers? No.