Poppin’ Collars

By Kadi

I immigrated to America when I was 10 from Jamaica, and somehow ended up in a ridiculously wealthy, WASPY town in Fairfield County, CT. When I tell people I grew up in Westport, the first question is, how the hell did you end up THERE? Trust me, it was a fluke. The kind of story that happens only in America kids, only in America. Anyway, can you say culture shock?! One of my first jobs was at Splash Restaurant located within the town’s golf course. As a waitress, my livelihood depended upon the scores of wealthy white men who would descend upon the patio bar overlooking Long Island sound after their round of golf, dressed in their pastel or white polo shirts, collars often popped, and khaki shorts. I knew nothing about the game, only that it seemed expensive and they sure liked to throw back the drinks after they were done, which meant fatter pockets for me. That’s all I cared to know, really, because the tips I made serving those men that summer bankrolled my freshman year of college.

I never really gave golf another thought for almost 15 years, until I found myself vacationing in Jamaica with a friend from California who wanted to try a lesson. From the moment I got out on the course, I was hooked. To be honest, I was terrible in the beginning. But I love a challenge, and something about the absolute concentration that it takes to perfectly hit a golf ball struck a chord with me. I especially appreciate that my relationship with the game of golf began in Jamaica. Being on my island home made me feel like golf could belong to me just as much as a wealthy man. I went “home” and got my groove back not from some hot Jamaican guy, but from a tiny, dimpled ball.

Golf provides me with a mental escape after I leave the salon everyday, and it’s one of the only things that completely quiets my mind and slows down my racing thoughts. The sheer vastness and natural beauty of a golf course makes whatever problems I may be dealing with at that time seem completely insignificant, and I truly believe that it is the best mental exercise my brain has gotten in the past decade. And can we discuss the clothing? It is one of the only sports left that requires a strict sense of decorum. At times it feels stifling and stuck in the past, but at the same token the dress code also encourages a certain behavior. It also provides me a reason to give even more of my paycheck to Ralph Lauren, amassing a rainbow collection of golf gear. I now always travel with my golf clubs, Callaway Razr X for those of you in the know, and have golfed my way around the world on courses in Jackson Hole to the coast of Morocco, with of course, my collar always popped….

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