Brandon Dalinka is competing in his first USGA championship, but his collection of memories is still going strong.
Ask the 17-year-old how many golf balls he has lining the shrine in his Newton, Pa., home and you’ll likely get an inquiring look back. He’s lost count.
“I have,” he says, “a lot.”
A student at Council Rock High School North, Dalinka’s latest math tells him that the number may be in upward of 300. The wallpaper in his bedroom may as well be dimple-patterned to match the collection which features golf balls from USGA championship sites such as Bethpage Black, Baltusrol and TPC Sawgrass, all courses he’s played over the years.
Dalinka says he has never collected anything else such as sports trading cards, but he decided to retain a golf keepsake for as long as he can remember and has remained attentive to keeping up the collection. One of his first stops when he arrived at Egypt Valley, the site of this week’s U.S. Junior, was to the golf shop to add one more memento.
To paraphrase four-time U.S. Open champion Jack Nicklaus, “You can spend the money, but you can never spend the memories.”
“It’s a good memory to have from every course,” Dalinka says. “It doesn’t cost a lot, and it’s something nice that you can take with you.”
– Andrew Blair