We have been in business for the past 30 years right here in one of the nation’s premier golf communities. We therefore feel we have a little more than “mother-in-law research” when it comes to identifying the 10 most popular and historic collectible golf personalities.
Each are identified for various reasons but stand out because of a single event, longevity, or simply their sparkling personalities.
We often describe collections as reminders of wonderful memories. Our list does not include many of the today’s PGA stars, as it seems a new event winner emerges each week. Just as soon as you think a star is born, the shine fades to another week.
Our list of “royalty” can be argued by readers of this column with their own list. We have sold hundreds of golf photos and prints, helping us to compile this list and in rank order.
We also consulted with our major supplier for their endorsement. They agreed with a few exceptions as to rank.
A collection of your favorites from this list is certain to bring instant remembrance of your own experience and moments of golf’s joys.
As an example, Sunday at the Masters is an annual event that even a casual fan gets excited about. How about Ben Crenshaw’s 1995 Master’s win dedicated to Harvey Penick? There’s a moment that is unforgettable.
After reading our list, you might want to compile your own and enjoy the ride of your memories.
Here’s our top 10, with a thumbnail of our reason for the ranking:
1. Arnold Palmer: Simply, “Arnie’s Army.”
2. Jack Nicklaus: 1986 Master’s
3. Bobby Jones: Gland Slam
4. Francis Ouimet: Defeating Harry Vardon*
5. Tiger Woods: Longevity as No. 1
6. Payne Stewart: His knickers, and tragedy
7. Ben Hogan: One iron
8. Byron Nelson: 11 in a row
9. Phil Mickelson: Numerous recoveries
10. Fred Couples: Personality, fluid swing
In the Lowcountry, there are many dens, game rooms and libraries that have walls adorned with one, two or more of the aforesaid.
No, there’s no mention here of Berg, Suggs, Zaharius, Sorenstam, or Wright, or great courses and beautiful landscapes. And how about the local Heritage moment of Greg Norman and Jamie?
Our wonderful game of golf, an easy game that’s hard to play, enlists all of these collectible moments. We recommend your search for one or two of your favorites, and guess what? You now join the millions of collectors of “something.”
* Disney’s portrayal in the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played” a brought this young hopeful to light in his defeat of Vardon for the 1913 championship.
Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.