As Aaron Rai contends for his first PGA Tour victory on Saturday at the Farmers Insurance Open, it’s likely that television cameras will pick up Rai’s distinctive choice in golf accessories.
No, we’re not talking about his double rain gloves or his Frankenstein driver head cover, but rather his decision to use iron covers.
Yes, the 26-year-old Englishman from Wolverhampton is just like your average 18-handicap who spent his entire paycheck on a new set of irons and doesn’t want them to get dinged up. But why would a PGA Tour player, one who gets all the free equipment he could want, use iron covers?
There’s a good – and arguably great – reason. Let Rai explain:
“I grew up in very much a working-class family, and golf has always been a very expensive game,” Rai shared with SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio last fall. “My dad, he used to pay for my equipment, pay for my membership, pay for my entry fees, and it wasn’t money that we really had, to be honest, but he’d always buy me the best clubs.”
Full-field scores from Farmers Insurance Open
Rai estimates he was about 8 years old when his dad purchased him a set of brand-new Titleist 690 MBs, clubs that cost upwards of 1,000 pounds back then.
“I cherished them,” Rai added. “When we used to go out and practice, he used to clean every single groove afterward with a pin and baby oil, and then to protect the golf clubs, he thought it’d be good to put iron covers on them, and I’ve pretty much had iron covers on all of my sets ever since just to kind of appreciate the value of what I have. … Although I’m on the PGA Tour and we get given equipment, we get given anything we need, it’s more out of principle and it’s more out of just the value of not losing perspective of what I have and where I am.
“So, the covers are going to stay, I’m sorry.”
There you go, Rai doesn’t care what you think about his iron covers.