Golf 101 ‘fore’ the non-golfer

Here’s a thought for you! How about starting a new collection that won’t cost a penny and might help you to lose a few pounds? Interested? Read on.

My personal collections range from Victorian butter pats to turn-of-the-century Flash Ruby souvenir glassware to British Royal family memorabilia. Despite having more than enough of everything, I still had the unshakeable urge to respond to the primordial call to continue collecting. Two major drawbacks: lack of space and money to start another collection.

Several years ago I found myself transplanted from my long-time home, which was located 15 miles beyond Times Square, to a tiny village that happens to have a golf course. I am a non-golfer and have no interest in the game. However, I soon acquired a penchant for the diminutive treasures I started to find on my walks around the perimeter of the course.

Small white balls with colorful emblems beckoned to me from swamps, ravines, rock crevasses, and yes, even trees! Now here was something I could get into. I began to gather a variety of advertising golf balls with the thought that surely these items will be valuable one day.

On my walks I have garnered branded balls from charities and foundations, Disney and Warner Brothers, breweries, insurance and real estate offices, pharmaceutical companies, airlines, resorts and private country clubs. The list is endless. However, a word on protocol: Do make sure that you are not taking a ball “in play” from someone who has just teed off out of your eyesight.

When the big shots come to town for charity events or celebrity tournaments, many of them bring their own kit. This gives me an opportunity to expand my collection to include faraway places such as St. Andrews, Royal Troon, Munakata and usually a few balls from tony golf courses around the United States: Augusta, Pebble Beach and Kapalua. Then there are those snooty monogrammed balls that add cachet to my collection that is housed in a plastic bucket in my garage.

I now have a colorful and varied new collection that didn’t cost me a dime and the added health benefits derived from the walking and bending over are a bonus.

Mary Dessoie founded the Butter Pat Patter Association for beginner and advanced collectors of butter pats from the Victorian through Edwardian eras and 19th-century to current-day transportation and restaurant ware. A butter pat is a miniature plate, part of a place setting of fine china, used to hold an individual portion of butter. Manufactured by leading porcelain houses all over the world, these diminutive plates have been seen on the tables of royalty and presidents, as well as in the homes of fine china lovers everywhere. Rarely manufactured for popular use, they are now considered antique, exquisite each in its own style and a joy to contemplate.

For additional information about butter pats and sample copies of The Patter newsletter, please send a stamped (61 cents) self-addressed long envelope with $4 to: Mary Dessoie, Butter Pat Patter Association, 7950 E. Keats Avenue, No. 178, Mesa, AZ 85209-5025. Kindly make your check payable to Mary Dessoie.