PINEHURST, N.C. -- The USGA Merchandise Pavilion is an annual exploration of all that is stylish in golf. And if this year's 39,000-square-foot building, located on a fairway on the adjacent Pinehurst No. 4 course, is any indication, loud colors and dizzying patterns all set to high-performance fabrics are the must-have item.
That said, styles change over time. For those of us who don't want to look back at 2014 photos of ourselves and wonder, "What was I thinking?" there are plenty of fun knickknacks for sale that can nicely round out your shopping request list. The USGA's Mary Lopuszinski always manages to balance the traditional shirt and hat lovefest with collectibles for the golf fan wanting to remember the U.S. Open long after logoed apparel become passe.
My favorites this year:
- The mancave friendly "Back-To-Back" sign, easily installed and just $12. It's not too big and a perfect way to remember what figures to be a stellar two weeks.
- Lee Wybranski's annual poster has become a tradition for regular U.S. Open visitors. It's just $20 and easily shippable from the on-site shipping store. This year Wybranski offers both a print for the U.S. Open and the back-to-back Opens, both in his loose, tasteful style that works as a garage pin-up or under a frame in your office. I know about the office part; I enjoy three of Wybranski's prints.
- For the discerning hunter who just wants to talk about all things Pinehurst while out in the woods, there's this camouflage hat. I see a politician wearing it for a hunting photo-op. Wait, no, golf is off limits in a campaign. Scratch that idea.
- OK, it's not a Golf Lad bobblehead but the $69
plasticCommemorative Statue will look good on any Pinehurst shrine. Yes, it looks a little like Mark Twain stealing the U.S. Open trophy, but that'll be the fun of having guests over to guess what exactly he's up to.