One of the more quietly successful players on the PGA Tour this season has been Joel Dahmen, with six top-25 finishes and more than $925,000 in earnings so far. The native of Washington (State) got a brief bump in notoriety last year, when he was paired with Tiger Woods during the third round of Woods' Quicken Loans National. At press time, he was hanging around the top of the leaderboard at this week's Wells Fargo Championship. Part of last year's one-day social media news cycle around Dahmen had to do less with his playing, than with his headwear: a bucket hat.
They've been around for more than a century, but in my experience, bucket hats have normally been associated mostly with babies and sartorially stunted old men, not PGA Tour pros like Dahmen and Peter Malnati, who favors a bit more brim-flop. Growing up playing northern prep-school and then southern college golf, bucket hats seemed to be worn more or less ironically, as if to state "Yes, I know this looks uncool, but look how self-secure I am!!!" I'll admit to being part of this immature trend.
Recent years have made me feel vindicated. It wasn't until I moved here to Florida that I saw bucket hats for what they really are: valuable sun-protection, subjective aesthetics be damned. Imperial Sports makes nice ones. Those of us who play a lot of golf - especially in hot summers - benefit greatly from the 360-degree face and neck shade bucket hats, especially wider-brimmed ones, provide. Their form is debatable, but the important function of a bucket hat makes it a worthwhile item for any golfer, not just pros and those of us closer to the Equator. Unless you're aiming to enrich dermatologists in the coming years, you should bucket up, buttercup.