A CHAT WITH THE HAT
It’s an undeniable fact that a bird’s eye view of my head seems to shine quite radiantly these days. Most of what was once a beautiful head of hair has gone drainside prompting my DermaDoc to demand that I cover up when playing golf. For years, I’ve had many occasions to use the hundreds of golf hats accumulated from many sources. Red, black, blue, orange, lavender, white, brown…if you pick it I can pull it out, flaunt it about, and bore you with the story that goes with it. The problem was, I never looked good in what was actually a “baseball” cap with golf, police, or military related logos. Why, I thought, can’t someone come up with a more stylish cap that will serve the same protection yet with a bit of class and style?
I’ve always been a Ben Hogan fan and have just about everything that’s been written about or by him including the August 8, 1955 issue of Life Magazine. That issue, which sits on top of my bookcase and where I see it every day, depicts a picture of Mr. Hogan wearing his recognizable white flat cap. THE HOGAN HAT! That’s it!!!
I call it the Hogan Hat but it has also variously been known as Ivy Caps. Cabbie Caps, Flat Caps, Newsboy Caps, Golf Caps and Driver Caps. Rounded and marked by their distinctive short brims at the front, these caps are both elegant and casual at the same time. They’re a versatile style that can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Dating back to Europe’s 14th century, these iconic hats became a popular choice for sport car drivers, cartoon characters (Andy Capp) and prominent golfers. Tom Weiskopf wore one. So did Payne Stewart. Even Bryson DeChambeau is wearing something similar on the tour these days. I love the style, it’s functional, and it’s not a baseball cap. The problem was I couldn’t find anyone selling the HOGAN HAT. Some offered a similar design but their version wasn’t cotton or it didn’t have the snap in front. I couldn’t even find a HOGAN at the PGA Merchandise Show. I talked with Pukka, Imperial, Flexfit, Legendary and several other headwear companies. Nothing! I even talked with the Ben Hogan Company itself. None of them had the “flatcap” style I was searching for and weren’t able to direct me elsewhere.
Fortuitously, I stumbled upon the Kings Cross Company (www.kingscrossknickers.com) that showcased the exact classic model I sought. I ordered it and received a perfect replica of what Mr. Hogan wore. I don’t know why it was so difficult to locate this particular style so I asked my cap a number of questions:
Me: Are you a hat or a cap?
Cap: Use your head for something other than a hat rack, John. It’s pretty obvious…all caps are hats but not all hats are caps.
Me: Why is your style so hard to find?
Cap: You’re not looking in the right place.
Me: Can you help a golfer score well?
Cap: Could we please just leave sex out of this interview?
Me: Why the snap in front?
Cap: A zipper didn’t work.
Me: Are white and black your only colors
Cap: We’re not racists, you know.
Me: Why the slant back to front instead of front to back?
Cap: Have you ever seen a Porsche with a raised front end?
Me: I don’t see any plumbing. Which team are you on?
Cap: We’re worn mostly by men but the ladies could start a very colorful trend.
It was obvious I wasn’t going to get some serious answers to my questions so I returned the cap back to my closet. Now my world is a little more stylish, my baldo is still protected, and my golf score is sure to improve. All because I found a source for the vanishing Hogan style cap.