By: Jon Cole
When The Citadel golf team took to the links during the 2014 Southern Conference Tournament there was a unique cast of characters among the onlookers at the Moss Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head, S.C.
They included the likes of Winnie the Pooh, monsters with a red face and horns, a fox and of course a strategically placed Bulldog. These characters were symbolic of the players who represented the nine schools at the tournament and were closer than any spectator on the course. More importantly, they never made a sound, clapped for a great shot or sunk their head when a ball went astray.
These “individuals” have become part of the game of golf, even with the world’s top player, Tiger Woods, whose game is assisted by his partner Frank.
Some of these characters were symbolic of the players they represent, a prime example being Eraina Manor and her golf bag that dons a Bulldog. Manor, a member of The Citadel’s class of 2016, is obviously showing her pride as a cadet-student-athlete in the form of her Bulldog named Tank.
Manor became connected at the hip with Tank as part of a Christmas gift from her parents during her senior year at Byron Nelson (Texas) High School. Her parents thought it fitting that Eraina have a way to demonstrate her school pride with the bulldog. Tank earned his name because the family had become acquainted with a bulldog, prior to his purchase, and the name suited the headcover all too well.
Then there is lone Citadel senior Erica Pellegrini’s bag, which was absent of a caricature. Pellegrini seems to have found it difficult to overcome the loss of her friend Fred. Fred, a flamingo purchased at Celebration, a retirement community in Florida, became involved with Pellegrini in 2005.
As the sharply-witted Pellegrini describes her memories with Fred with a smile, “he and I were exclusive for about seven years.”
But, as in the case with relationships, they had their arguments and the two parted ways. “He went through the dryer multiple times, liked to bake in the sun, so he was a true character,” Pellegrini said of Fred. “But we had our disagreements….namely out of bounds markers.”
Then there are those rare occasions that the golf headcover in your bag is symbolic of a personality trait, such as the case with McKenzie Duncan. At Christmas, McKenzie received a two-part donkey, complete with a head and tail, as part of a joke from her mom. Amply named Charlie, McKenzie had to retire the rear end half because it didn’t fit the club properly. However, the head and ears are displayed in her bag quite nicely.