Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on March 1.
Macklemore (aka Ben Haggerty) has fallen hard for golf. Now, when he sits up straight in bed, it isn’t because he thought of new rap lyrics: It’s about golf.
But don’t get things twisted. He didn’t always feel this way. And that’s how this conversation starts, with me calling him out!
Collins: I have to call you out on something. Ready?
Collins: I saw an interview with you from back in the day where you say golf is overrated! Now I know it was before you really caught the bug, but … you know where I’m going …
Macklemore: DAAAAAMMMMNNN!!! He dug up the receipts!!!!
Collins: Yeah, I did.
Macklemore: He dug up the receipts! I didn’t even know you were gonna go there! I mean, I kind of figured this is where you’re going, but it’s a pitchfork thing (referencing the mob coming to get Frankenstein). It’s a vague memory, but you know what, if I could go back and change my answer, come on man, you know what I would say. But that’s crazy, you know. I mean I judged the s— out of golf for a long time. You know the “country club,” the white patriarchal, old money, elite “no one else but us can play”- type s—. And it’s very different than my judgment back then..
Collins: True. And here’s where I’m going to give you a reprieve: You also said back then you would smoke “copious amounts of weed” before playing. Then a group of old stuffy people would catch your group, making you crazy paranoid.
Macklemore: That sounds about right.
Collins: So when did it change? When did golf become more than what you thought it was?
Macklemore: I think that when I got dragged out in 2018 after Thanksgiving. I went out there and got on the first tee, I hit a snap hook that went directly into a house and smashed the roof. One of those, like, you’re waiting for the sound like, “Oooh, is that gonna hit something?” Then it’s just “BAM!” and it’s just louder than you even anticipated? One of those. Like definitely “getting a lawsuit”-type of noises. Hit a bunch more houses. And then finally, we got to the back and I ended up in a fairway bunker. Grab a 5-iron, and had no idea what the 5-iron really did, and I smacked it. I hit it pure. And I was like, “Oooh, what is that feeling? I want that again.” And that was the moment everything changed. The obsession started.
Collins: That’s the addiction. That one perfect shot where you say, “Yo! I seen them do that on TV! I just did what I’ve seen a pro do on TV.”
Macklemore: Right, right, right … exactly.
Collins: Tell me about this new project.
Macklemore: Bogey Boys. It has been a labor of love for the last year and a half almost two. It’s my golf clothing line.
Collins: And how did this come about?
Macklemore: Shortly after I started playing. I would go into pro shops and be like, “Really? This is this is what we have to pick from? This blue polo, that black polo, this gray polo … damn, that’s it?” The apparel side of golf is just so stale. That’s not to say that it all is, but there’s few and far between in terms of pieces that I’m like, “Oooh, I really mess with this.” I wanted to make clothing that stuck out. That had some lineage from the past, yet also felt like 2021. Something you could wear on and off the course, that gives you just some variety to be an individual out there. Looking at the bigger picture of the sport, making sure that we are including everyone that wants to play the game — getting youth out there, making it affordable and making sure the kids have access to clubs and have access to teachers. That this very — at one point — elite old boys’ club white sport is diversified, and it becomes something that everyone who wants to play has the opportunity to do.
Collins: What’s coming out? Shirts, pants and hats?
Macklemore: Socks, ball markers, jackets, head covers, towels — we got a lot of things, man. I’m really happy with it. It wasn’t something that I just had a designer do, or hired a company and then put my name on it. It was something that me and a designer did together. We stayed up, for over a year, working late into the night. Sending stuff back and forth, on Zooms just trying to dial this thing in, getting samples back. It was fun — and hella work!! Who knew that making a pair of pants was so hard? But I’m super-pumped on the way that it all turned out. I think it’s really dope. It’s something that I want to wear, and that’s what I wanted to create.
Collins: Now, when you sit up at night and exclaim, “I got it!” people around you are going to go, “What? The new lyrics for a song?” And you’re going to be like, “A new shirt design!” I love your passion for everything golf. Like your passion for music. Are there any similarities? Does anything translate from music to golf — or golf to music?
Macklemore: You know, it’s interesting. They’re very different for me. You know what, though, I will say this: When you’re making great music you don’t have to think. There’s something effortless. It’s not overcalculated. You’re not thinking about in six months when this comes out, what’s the music video going to be like, who’s not going to like it. You’re not thinking about any of that. You’re just creating. I think the times that I played great golf — and there’s been a handful, and just a handful — but when I played great golf I’m literally just shot for shot in the moment. When you’re in the moment and you’re not thinking about score or you’re not thinking about what [a song] is going to do on the radio, that’s when the best things happen. When you can literally get outside of your head. I think that’s why these golfers have the sports psychologists. Either way, in music and golf, if you can get outside of your own head … in golf, be athletic. In music, just tap into that into that higher power, whatever it is, the outcome is going to be better.