It has been a common debate at 19th holes across the country for decades: Which golf club has the best logo? Is it Augusta National? Merion? How about Oakmont or National Golf Links? It's a somewhat subjective question, but a fun one to discuss.
PGA Tour pro Zac Blair, with the help of his buddy Andy Johnson at Fried Egg Golf, a website that covers golf-course design and contributes intelligent debate to other topics in golf, polled their social-media followers to determine the best logo in golf. The winner? Merion Golf Club.
Most serious golfers know Merion's iconic wicker-basket flagsticks, showcased in its logo, serve as pins at the East Course, whose rich history most famously includes Bobby Jones clinching the Grand Slam on its 11th hole at the 1930 U.S. Amateur. And they've done so since 1915, when designer William Flynn, who helped Philadelphia's Hugh Wilson lay out the 126-acre design on the Main Line of Philadelphia, patented them. The USGA swapped out the wicker baskets for conventional flagsticks in 1950, but has known better not to mess with Merion's trademark since.
It was probably not an upset for Merion to win this inaugural "Logo Madness," as Blair dubbed it, as Merion has been known for its logo for almost 100 years. But Merion beat some of golf's other legendary seals—eventually taking down another Northeast powerhouse, Winged Foot Golf Club, and its ultra clever but classy logo in the finals.
Winged Foot also has a rich championship history that links the legends of the game to its club. And its logo is equally as synonymous with the club as Merion's is, although the club's winged-foot emblem is an adaptation from the New York Athletic Club.
The Final Four included two other classics: Alister MacKenzie's Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif., a public-access facility, and Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., designed by C.B. MacDonald and Seth Raynor in 1914, then worked on by A.W. Tillinghast, which edged out another tremendous seal—the whale of Maidstone.
Here's Maidstone's logo ... how great is that? Deserving of its No. 1 seed in this bracket, but getting taken down by another history-laden New York layout in Sleepy Hollow and the headless horseman.
Some other fantastic logos that might not have gotten their due in this contest: McArthur Golf Club's milkjug logo, Chicago Golf Club's famous Far & Sure logo and Olympic Club's winged logo.
Some of our favorites: