Next week Belfair Golf Club will play host to the best PGA club professionals from around the nation.
Doug Coupe is maybe the nation’s best too, but not as a golfer, as a collector of golf balls.
“Now you are going to see either a very sick man or a guy with too much time on his hands,” says Doug Couple as he walks you into his attic.
Its a spot Doug calls his “Ultimate man cave”
It has a radio, a comfy chair… and 15,000 golf balls on the walls. Each one has a different logo than the next.
“These, for example, are ones you find in the supermarket,” points out Doug in one section of the hall upstairs. “This is my so-called international section.
Then you turn the corner to another room.
“Blue corporate then on down to orange and then red there. then black corporates,” explains Doug.
And you turn into another room, surrounded by even more golf balls.
“Over here are all courses that I’ve played, which number 486 or so.”
“On this shelf, cartoon stuff, odds and ends.”
“Over her, college logos, this shelf there are NFL logos.”
There is seemingly no end to Doug’s collection. Each one categorized, alphabetized, and placed specifically in their section. By corporations, topics, characters, golf courses, colors, and banks new and old.
There are 15,000 in all. A hobby that all started 20 years ago at a little course in Vermont.
“A lot of balls would end up in the river so I would go and pick them up, if they had a logo then I’d thrown them in a bucket,” explained Coupe.
That one bucket grew and grew. Doug wanted to show them off, so he built shelves for one house. He moved, the collection grew, and so did his display. From one room to two, to the whole attic.
While it looks overwhelming, Doug says its still just a hobby.
“Somebody said Doug do you have them all cataloged and I said no and frankly I don’t think I’d have the patience to do that.”
“You can run a borderline issue where something could morph into what might be called a job. This is certainly recreation.”
“It’s just fun to come up and in many cases, I remember where I found it.”
85% of these balls were found by Doug or his wife Vivian, who does like the collection, and the time Doug spends upstair. Over time friends have tried to get in on the act and “stump” the golf ball expert.
“Somebody might bring me 20 balls and I might know that 15 of them I don’t have but 5 of them I do have.”
Doug still welcomes the unusual pickups folks might find.
“We had friends traveling in Russia and they played the course Gorki. So they got me a ball from Russia.”
Even among the thousands that line the walls, its easy for Doug to pick his favorite. Its the only one with a place all to itself, on a table in the middle of the room.
“Bushwood Country Club. The club from Caddyshack. If you have a favorite ball, it might as well be from Caddyshack.”
What golf collection is complete without a putting green. Doug has one in the middle of his attic, with a ball return of course.
While he loves his collection, he likes to show it off even more. To kids, to adults, to anyone who might appreciate it.
Just part of Doug’s very large labor of love.
“its a lot of fun.”
Doug isn’t just focused on himself and his collection. He also started a program at his home course of Belfair where golfers give him their used clubs. He then donates them back to local military members so they can use them here, or while on deployment.
There is one catch. They have to find their own golf balls.