What goes around comes around…
A little history about belts – For the first 10 years of the British Open, there was no trophy or prize money awarded to the champion. Instead, the champion was awarded a red leather belt with a large silver buckle. The champion was allowed to keep the belt until the following year. The prize money became a part of the tradition in the fourth Open and the Claret Jug made its first appearance once the champions’ belt was retired in 1870. Leave it to the Europeans to be the trendsetters over 100 years ago!
Now, one-by-one let’s take a closer look at the belt buckle companies:
Based out of Illinois, Bettinardi has been known for its high-performance putters. However, belt buckles are now part of its main projects. Robert Bettinardi was motivated and encouraged by his wife to begin research and development of belt buckles about a year and a half ago.
Bettinardi produces a machine-milled, stainless steel belt buckle, using the same type of technology and manufacturing as it would with putters. Individuals can customize most of the belts and also purchase the Bettinardi branded buckles that are seen regularly on many Tour players. The buckles are available online at www.bettinardi.com. Cost is about $175, which includes the custom design of the belt buckle and House of Fleming leather belt.
Who’s rockin’ it?
PGA Tour stars who have sported the buckles:
- Sergio Garcia, with the Real Madrid buckle
- Lee Westwood
- Darren Clarke
- Angle Cabrerra, usually in a variety of buckles but was seen at the Masters in the “frosted” A.C.
- Kevin Streelman, who wears a different style every week
In addition to Tour players, there are a lot of corporations, country clubs, universities and high schools that are placing their orders to have these buckles themselves. Whistling Straits Golf Course, Medinah Golf Club and the Illinois men’s golf team will also be using the buckles.