Today is December 26th, so depending on where you are you might be doing a host of activities. If I were back home in Toronto we’d be drinking heavily while planning backyard rink skates (since unlike last year it’s cold enough) and watching the start of the World Junior Hockey Tournament on TSN. People in Australia are watching the Boxing Day cricket test (and drinking heavily), while people in Britain are watching soccer (possibly rugby) and drinking heavily. Here in America it’s post-Christmas sales, college bowl games of middling consequence (locally, Maryland is playing in something called the Quick Lane Bowl although given that She Who Is Really In Charge (SWIRIC) is a Maryland alum I’ll not joke that much about it), and trying to get all those electronic games and toys to work (hint- when in doubt, a glass of bourbon works wonders).
While SWIRIC is out shopping with her friends today (it’s a holiday tradition and I’m thrilled she’s doing it), I’m revisiting a classic infomercial from the days when Golf Channel used to air these all of the time. Previously, I recapped the genius that was the Perfect Club, then the GolfLogix GPS. Today, it’s the Alien wedge (full admission- I bought one years ago after a particularly brutal day when i seemed to find the sand on every hole and my playing partners started calling me Sandman). Unfortunately, the commercial is for British audiences (thus the price in pounds sterling); not sure why but the US version isn’t on YouTube. Let’s watch this, shall we?
Let’s be honest; infomercials were almost made for golfers struggling with their game (or 99.99% of them). You’re at home half in the bag at 2:00 a.m. and maybe you don’t have Skinamax or ShowMeAGoodTime. So you watch Golf Infomercials (somewhere, there’s a Golf Infomercial cosplay group and I will believe this until I’m dead). So let’s review this bad boy, shall we?
0:02: Oh god, it’s a real alien! Oh may gawd! It’s coming for the world! Oh, it’s just the Alien Shotsaver Wedge. Watch as it blasts through sand…shot in glorious standard definition!
0:15: Somewhere there is a large group of men with nondescript British accents whose only jobs are voice-over work, because if you can’t have a great product, have a guy with a British accent describing it. It’s a wedge! A sand iron (which is a term nobody uses)! It’s…the Alien Wedge!
0:25: Deep roughs? Who uses that term? I’ve heard it called rough, cabbage, tall stuff, junk, “you’re screwed” and ‘yeah, good luck finding that one’ but never roughs. And who hits the ball off a cement cart path? Oh wait, nobody. You drop it closest point of relief no nearer the hole. That’s a fantastic way to break a club and/or a wrist. Maybe if the paths are hard-packed sand (or shells) you give it a go, but otherwise…use the rules.
0:35: Now we get to the regular golfer focus group portion. Young guy with British accent? Check. Middle aged dopey white guy? Check.
0:45: This isn’t the original Alien wedge (that I bought in a store) it’s the NEW Alien wedge. It looks slightly less ridiculous (hint- if someone has one of these in their bag it’s a small cry for help…and I was that guy for a while). The one I had didn’t have grooves; it had dots.
1:00: They show all of these shots out of various lies but they don’t show but one or two actually landing on the green. Kind of makes you wonder.
1:11: Was wondering when the nondescript female golfer would show up. You better believe she has a southern accent and a big straw hat (I can’t wait until this becomes a thing again). You know, 20 years ago she’s got a pack of Virginia Slims in her pocket. My aunt (god rest her soul) could break 80 in her sleep and could manage a dart and a razor-sharp short game better than anyone I’ve ever seen. The curb-stomping she delivered to a pair of idiots who didn’t want to play with a woman (especially one who could say ‘bless their hearts’ and mean go f**k yourselves in a way I’ve yet to see replicated) is the stuff of legend.
1:16: And we have the young junior male golfer. See kids- you can be cool too if you buy one of these. No, really. Do you think Jordan Spieth or Rickie Fowler had one of these? I feel like if Rickie Fowler had one he’d use it to play motorcycle polo.
1:22: Graphics. Probably done on a Commodore Vic-20. To quote Ben Wright and Peter Alliss, majestic. No expense spared. The 12-year old who did these was well worth the 50 dollars they gave him. Earned every penny of it.
1:30: Sound effects are off. Don’t use the sound of an iron shot from the fairway for sand shots. You hear that from someone in a greenside bunker, I’d suggest ducking and protecting your “one meat, two veg” if you catch my drift (or at the very least try to help the guy find what hole his ball ended up on). You want that thump sound. Any golfer knows that. And hey, look, it’s old man in a straw hat…come on down! Greg Norman looked good in that. Maybe Jim Thorpe (because I’m afraid to tell him it looks bad). Nobody else does.
1:42: If you can’t trust someone trying to pull off the Bryson Dechambeau look long before he did, I’m not sure what you can trust. You know who looks good in the Hogan/newsboy hat? Hogan. You know who doesn’t? Anyone not named Hogan. Stop trying to make this a thing. Between this and the flat-bill hat thing, can people not wear a regular hat? While we’re on the subject, you know who didn’t wear a hat for years? Arnold Palmer.
Arnie’s gimmick? It’s called winning and being one bad ass mo-fo. And being cool as hell.
2:00: More shots from a variety of lies, and yet, you don’t see them land. It’s almost like…no, that can’t be true.
2:07: Five bucks says the goober that takes that giant pelt of a divot doesn’t replace it, and then complains if his ball ends up in a divot. Any superintendent sees this must be quietly sobbing in a corner. Bad enough when the pros do it, but when a 20-handicapper takes a hairpiece-sized divot and leaves it (not even filling it)…inexcusable.
2:16: Hey look- old white guy in a straw hat! Gee, I wonder who he voted for in the last election (gonna take a wild guess he’s not a BernieBro). I’m surprised he took the big cigar out of his mouth long enough to use words. Unrelated, you know this guy is a total Judge Smails at his club. While we’re at it, let’s just say that the chances he says “Happy Holidays” are zero. You do you, Tex. Hook ’em Horns.
2:23: Cargo shorts on a guy whose grip is something out of a What Not To Do seminar whose knees are locked…must turn away and not see…must turn away. Next to popped collars, my other men’s fashion choice I’d like to kill with fire is cargo shorts. Most regular shorts come with two back and two front pockets. Other than a survival mission in the Sahara Desert, you can get by without cargo shorts. Put your keys in your golf bag along with any coins (please- the noise is distracting to the other players in your group). An extra ball in one front pocket and some tees, a divot repair tool and a ball marker in the other front pocket. Your phone goes in the bag (on silent/vibrate). Take a photo by all means and then quietly (and quickly) put it back. Hell for me is a world where every guy wears cargo shorts and every woman wears leggings and ugg boots.
2:35: Free top-quality headcover? Take my money! Headcovers on irons and wedges are morally wrong. Don’t. Those neoprene things? Don’t. No serious golfer has them. It’s like having a stroke counter tool. Save your money; that beer you buy at the turn will do your game a world of good more than a stroke counter tool or iron covers. If I see a guy in a cart with neoprene covers on his irons, the following things will be undoubtedly true:
1) He will have a ball retriever in his bag and will be better at retrieving balls than he is at playing (oh, and if you hit one in the drink I promise you he’ll fetch it for you…and five other balls).
2) He will get indignant if you mention “we should pick up the pace a bit”…because he’s got nowhere to go and all day to get there but if he gets close to the group in front of him he’ll complain about how slow they are.
3) He will want to keep score for you even if he doesn’t know you and will ask you what you had. Especially if he doesn’t know you.
4) He will give you a swing lesson that he heard from someone that will make no sense. Probably a scramble tournament.
5) He will have a poker chip that he uses to mark his ball.
2:45: The “act now and you’ll also get…” portion. Discount vouchers! And it comes in a box so the UPS/FedEx/DHL delivery person knows you’re a golf junkie who buys stuff from infomercials. It’ll look good next to the two ball retrievers you have in your bag, and that’s what counts.
So enjoy the trip back in time to the days of standard definition and Infomericals. As I find more, I’ll post recaps because if we can’t laugh about them, then what’s the point?