Being someone who watched infomercials but never bought anything from them, I’ve nonetheless had an odd fascination about them, and few commercials have held my interest quite as much as Peter Kessler narrating “The Perfect Club” infomercial. If you watched Golf Channel at any point from 1999-2005 you probably saw it at least once. If you have seen it, you know what I’m talking about. If not, this was before the Sham Wow Guy, but after the wave of 1980’s/early 1990’s infomercials. Peter Kessler narrates this magnum opus of schlock, and he’s craptastic. Who’s Peter Kessler? He worked for Golf Channel in its infancy as one of their studio analysts. He always had that horrible uncomfortable way of fawning over people (so not much change from the current crop). There are days where I’d pay money to see him back on the air if only because it would be hilarious.
Kessler staring at you. Try looking away. You can’t.
I’m not the first person to find a weird enjoyment from obscure video. The master (for me) is Sean McIdoe of Grantland and Down Goes Brown, who has made this a thing on a weekly basis. Which is why he’s a better writer than I am, and has a fantastic book that you should buy if you love hockey and/or have a sense of humour and why I’m writing a blog during nights and weekends.
First off, the commercial. Watch it. Stare at it. Let Peter Kessler’s narration take over your body the same way eating Taco Bell and a bottle of Thunderbird takes over your body. Let it wash over you.
We start with Kessler wearing the triple-pleated slacks that say “damn I love nothing better than a chicken Caesar salad and bud light while speaking to a guy wearing to-the-calf socks with a woman who serves no purpose than to stand there. Do you think phone sex ads are more degrading or less degrading than this? I’m going to point out that this was the Big Golf era- pants were bigger, shirts were bigger, the big straw hats were in, you had housing developments with courses being built as quickly as they could, and yes- even clubs were getting bigger (the driver they’ll get to is only 370cc compared to the current 460cc that everything is built at). It was a weird time, what can I say.
Submitted for your approval.
0.29: He’s supposed to be staring at the guy’s swing, but I’m saying he’s looking somewhere higher. The way he says “that was better”…I mean, holy crap could that possibly be any more creepy? If someone said that to me in that voice on the range I’m about 99% sure I’d be curled up in a room crying while listening to nothing but Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos. If you heard that from the guy in the stall next to yours at the range, you’d run, right? Or take up lawn bowling.
0.34: No, really dude…maybe you could waggle that thing a few more times. I’m blaming Sergio’s waggle-fests on you. I don’t know this for sure, but I think you’re permitted to bludgeon to death anyone in the group in front of you that waggles like that. Say hello to five-hour rounds.
0.55: And here we go into “Peter Kessler narrates things in a creepy manner” time. Can you imagine calling a phone sex hotline and getting this instead? You’re welcome for that visual. Try sleeping tonight and not hearing that.
1.06: Yes, stunning distance indeed! Notice how the ball doesn’t stay on the green? I hope she has an Alien Wedge!
1.40: Clearing that water hazard shouldn’t be a problem. But the one short of the bunker? Most 20-handicappers are putting the next one either in the sand or the next county.
1:51: Who wears long pants like that? Is that so we don’t see the knee-high black socks? And by the way, what level of creepy is “it will increase your fun?” I mean, do you get a bottle of tequila and some painkillers?
2:13: I’m glad that Peter Kessler wants me to know that none of this was staged and that they were filmed during a single shoot. Do you think that he only had to one-time the narration as well?
2:25: The perfect club is the perfect gift for the entire family? I’m getting one for She Who Is Really In Charge. Before she attempts to bludgeon me with it I’m telling her “but Peter Kessler said it was the perfect gift for the whole family!”
2:48: We’re now at that point where Kessler really puts on the sell as only he can. If only he’d have thrown in that the grips were made with Fine Corinthian Leather or something. This is someone who rubs one out to a Buick catalog.
3:08: I’m no expert but maybe if they could find a goddamn fairway off the tee they wouldn’t need this contraption. Seriously.
3:45: Seriously. It’s called a fairway. Before you give Kessler your money on this thing, maybe try some lessons, the Medicus driver or something similar? If you have this thing, the Medicus and the Alien wedge in your bag at the same time, are you legally required to use the old Ping 2-colour balls? I feel like you should be.
4:33: If I have dinner with my mother and she asks me about The Perfect Club I’m having her committed. There. I said it.
5:05: Proof that no millennials will ever buy this thing- when Kessler claims his mom tells him he’s not that good. Your average 25 year old hears this and they’re looking for a bridge to jump off or go on an unhinged rant on Twitter or Tumblr.
5:32: The stock video of this club floating around is something out of The Big Lebowski. I mean, you want to turn away but you just stare at it. But one correction- if you need this do-hickey to make golf fun again, you’re not trying very hard, or you haven’t tried getting your drink on during your round.
5:45: Now we’re at 100,000 golfers using this thing. Earlier is was 250K. Did that many old geezers die during filming or something?
6:05: Wait, there’s a Perfect Plus? How is that even possible? Are these people on the dope or something? Call it the Perfect Wood or Perfect Utility or Perfect Other Club.
6:24: Nice to see that they have discovered the fairway. Good on them.
6:38: Kessler staring at you is the stuff of restraining orders. And nightmares. Or Kessler becoming Peter Kessler Zombie Golf Equipment Shill.
6:45: If this club is the best thing to ever happen to your game, you’re not doing it right. Seriously.
7:13: When he says “high, long, soaring shots with” I’m honestly creeped out beyond words. How many people bought this thing to make the commercial go away?
7:40: My favourite club is the airplane bottle of scotch. That won’t change.
7:55: Did he get paid on how many times he used the word “perfect”? Do you think that perfect is his safe word because I’m pretty sure it is. Oh, and who says “4 and 5 pars”…rubes. Hayseeds. It’s a par-4 or a par-5. Get it together, man.
8:20: If you haven’t noticed they’re showing the same five-six shots over and over again.
8:51: I ask, they deliver…a 370cc Perfect Driver. And he’s not wearing the red shirt- did their production budget allow for a second shirt?
9:15: Notice they don’t show any of these shots landing. Clearly the camera guys were too smitten by Kessler to handle this.
9:48: Oh good…guy wearing golf sandals with a handicap that starts with “about”…if you’re actually serious you know your index. Mine just went up to 11.3 because the good rounds I had are falling off and being replaced by not-so-good ones. And Kessler is back in the red shirt. Awesome.
10:47: How far, exactly is that white flag that Wade is hitting it over? Is that where he’s aiming? Because I’ve seen plenty of guys who can hit it ten bells at the range but couldn’t find a fairway on an actual golf course.
11:15: Pin high and 20 yards left of the target is almost always an easy shot at most courses I play. By easy I mean “two chips and three putts later you’re probably done.” You’ll also notice that by this point Kessler has some truly spectacular man-boob (or moobs) sweat going. And not for anything but they couldn’t do any better than a driving range adjacent to an air field?
12:25: So sandals guy doesn’t carry a driver. I’ll bet he has two ball retrievers and one of those suction cup do-hickey things on his putter. And I bet he smokes giant cigars. Because of course.
13:00: DEAR GOD WHY IS HE STARING AT ME. MAKE IT STOP.
13:30: We get it. Same six shots we saw before. Oh- perfection costs $100 in steel and $125 in graphite. And it’s 39 inches long.
14:04: Now we get to the “let’s see what D-list PGA Tour professional will appear so they don’t show the photos of him/her co-mingling with livestock…allegedly”…oh my gawd that’s Larry Rinker’s music! Why did I have the club in his bag at Q-School? Because I like cash money, that’s why! Oh, and because Peter Kessler made a smooth jazz compilation that gets the women folk all crazy.
14:50: Your buddies on the PGA Tour? They don’t care what you’re using. You’re missing cuts and trunk-slamming on Fridays. “Played in 520 PGA Tour Events” translates to the equivalent of a participation trophy. Just saying. And can we talk about the fashion trend of having that top button buttoned on the golf shirt? Who thought that was a good idea? And that shirt…could it be a bit bigger? I mean, I know that this was the thing back then but it’s not like he’s trying to hide a gut or man-boobs.
15:29: That golfer with that swing is making my eyes bleed. You’ll notice that they don’t show the shots landing. Gee, I wonder why that is. Maybe because…oh, I don’t know- they’re landing in the rough?
15:51: Hateful? Not really…in fact, none of the lies they show him hitting out of look all that bad. I know what it’s like to have to chop out of some tall cabbage. That ain’t it, hoss. And by all means, let’s show those same six shots. Back…and to the left. Back…and to the left.
16:25: Golf is meant to be fun? Wow…that’s some zen bullshit there. Thanks. You know what’s fun? Making birdies, the way that first cold beer tastes, and piping a drive about 280 in the fairway.
17:14: If The Perfect Club is actually Perfect, why does it need a companion? I’m calling Shenanigans!
17:33: Great shot…as it rolls off the green into god only knows what kind of trouble. Derp derp.
17:52: I promise…it’s perfect. Must. Stop. Looking. At. His. Eyes.
18:20: If she’s a teaching professional and has “an atrocious golf swing” maybe I’m not calling her for lessons.
19:28: I’m openly rooting for her to hit the lip and have the ball knock Kessler unconscious. Is that wrong? Oh, and shall we point out that her shot went from one bunker to another? How is that successful? Ask yourself this- would you rather have, say, 100 yards from the fairway or a tight bunker shot when anything long is in the water?
20:08: Her second shot landed 40-50 yards short of the green. Sounds easy to me!
20:29: Ladies and gentlemen we have The Perfect Driver! 370cc of supposed driving fury! Love the old geezer pulling one left. He’s fascinating. Am I the only one who thinks he’s the guy on Facebook who forwards you all the crazy-pants stuff about how the boogeyman is going to come and take your money, or how Obama is a Secret Muslim Terrorist Grand Wizard Mason who is part of a secret cartel who control the earth’s rotation?
20:41: Again- not showing the shots land. How many did they put into that lake for this shoot?
21:19: Oh good, let’s take a gander at George. I’m fairly certain he thinks Bigfoot is real. He’s wearing a microphone and has the battery pack on his belt. I’m sure that he wears that all the time. Do you think he owns a metal detector? I’m saying yes.
23:45: We’re still with George, the 14-handicapper at the driving range adjacent to the airport, except it’s earlier in the day than it was before. I’ve got ten bucks that says this guy is the guy who goes into the woods looking for golf balls. Yes, you’re aiming at the pink flag but your ball is heading toward the yellow one. Either George here is color blind or he’s not a professional. Sorry Peter.
24:19: Next up in the parade of old white guys is TC. His index is “about a ten” which is bullshit. Your handicap index (if you have one) is a number. No “abouts”, no “sort of’s”, “kind of’s” or anything like it. My index, as of June 1st, is 11.3. Not “about a ten” or “sort of an eleven” but an 11.3. Period. If you keep track of this (and you should) then there’s no ambiguity. Kessler also points out that TC isn’t wearing golf shoes. He finishes up by hitting a few shots that, to this trained eye, appear to be leaking to the right (not that I’d know or anything).
So that’s pretty much that. That’s the Perfect Club, which, if you’re so inclined, is available on ebay. Peter Kessler narration is extra.