In what social setting is a white belt ever permissible, let alone celebrated? The ONLY scenario where this particular article of clothing MIGHT be ok is in the streets of Havana or mellowing out to the smooth vibes of Barry Manilow in Copacabana. Imagine going to a dinner party or out to a bar rocking a white belt. You might as well throw on a pair of chunky New Balances while you’re at it. Wearing a white belt should be golf’s equivalent of wearing Borat’s swimsuit. Yet, when it comes to golf, these rules are thrown out the window. White belts are unabashedly flaunted like WWE title belts. And this makes zero sense.
Close your eyes and imagine crisp September day. The year is 2007. You walk up to the range of a local AJGA tournament. What do you see? Wrapped around the equator of every golfer is a stark white, eye-popping belt. The bum band separates each upper and lower body like two tectonic plates. White belts are just about the only thing more polarizing than the distance debate in golf. Who popularized this bleached leather strap anyways?
Fittingly, one of the more polarizing figures in golf: The one and only Johnny Miller. Miller claims, “I’m the guy that made the white belt famous. It went away for a while, but it’s back.” Miller is not the only one to don the white wrap. Arnie himself rocked one back in the day. But the trend didn’t die in the 70s. The white belt has catapulted from the 1970’s into the 21st century. Rory. Spieth. Rickie. DJ. Tiger. We all aspire to be like these giants of the game, yet can we be honest with ourselves and recognize some key differences? They’re good at golf. You’re not. They have confidence to pull it off. You don’t. On their worst days, they shoot 40 on the front nine. On your best days, your waistline is stretching 40. Fashion is cyclical right? White belts were popular in the 70s and came back at the turn of the century. Timing would suggest this popular tide heads back out to sea. So let’s let it go. And we’ll have this conversation again in 20 years. Until then, head over here to turn the tides.
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Erik is a writer and teacher from Fort Lauderdale, FL. When he's not trying to figure out ways to golf for free, he's usually hanging out with his wife and Rhodesian Ridgeback, Koa. You can find more of his work at punchbowlgolf.co