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Swag Golf, Makers of Coveted Accessories and Putters, Signs Nick Hardy as PGA Tour Ambassador

The Chicago-based brand, heavy on creativity with a cult-like following, signed the 26-year-old who will make his 2023 debut at the Sony Open.
PGA Tour player Nick Hardy, a new Swag ambassador in 2023.

Nick Hardy rolled his Swag putter to eight consecutive birdies in the final round two months ago at Mayakoba.

Nick Hardy has a decent putter cover collection, with about 60 amassed in recent years across multiple brands.

But now he’s in the pipeline for a really good collection.

The 26-year-old is Swag Golf’s newest PGA Tour ambassador, officially debuting at next week’s Sony Open with a putter that’s already been hot this season plus a full Swag setup including a bag and headcovers, which are among golf’s most colorful and coveted among collectors.

“I definitely love that stuff,” Hardy said. “They make the best covers I’ve ever seen and I want to make more of a collection. All my buddies are coming up to me, interested in what that brand is. It catches people’s eye.”

Hardy’s signing is the latest splash from Swag Golf, a five-year-old company with a cult-like following that makes memorable gear but also putters with a pedigree.

The pedigree is Nick Venson, Swag’s 39-year-old founder and CEO who was a Scotty Cameron enthusiast at a young age, then an employee at Bettinardi working on design and strategic planning. Five years ago he decided to start his own shop, with ideas he had always wanted to do but couldn’t. The company launched at midnight on April 1, 2018, with a limited-edition putter and a handful of putter covers with designs including sunglasses-wearing skulls and flipping dolphins.

“When we started, we wanted to be a putter company first. I wanted to machine putters a certain way, to do things a certain way,” Venson says. “It also happened that we were awesome at designing headcovers. That was the happy accident.”

The Captain’s Gift

Even if you’re not familiar with Swag Golf, you may have seen their covers in one of the biggest events of 2021. A few weeks before the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, U.S. captain Steve Stricker tracked down Venson’s phone number. Stricker had heard from one of his players that Swag made cool stuff, so could Venson make something that Stricker could present to the players as captain’s gifts at the final dinner prior to the matches?

Venson sure could, creating a set of wood covers playing off a template of “Swagged” U.S. dollar bill covers that the company had made for the public before. The serial number on the bills were the opening date of the matches (09242021), with Stricker’s signature used for the United States Treasurer and each player’s signature used for the U.S. Secretary of State.

Swag Golf covers made for the 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Driver and wood covers made for the 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup team by Swag Golf are still in some players' bags.

“We didn’t really know if anyone would use it, we were just excited to make them,” Venson says. “When everybody started walking out the next day and had them on their bag, that was one of the coolest moments.”

The red, white and blue covers were not only used throughout the Ryder Cup but several stayed in bags when players returned to the PGA Tour. Last month at “The Match,” Rory McIlroy peered into Jordan Spieth’s bag on the range and briefly studied the red fairway wood cover. Perhaps the Irishman was puzzled to see Alexander Hamilton in sunglasses.

In the months after the Ryder Cup, Swag released a similar version of those covers to the public, which sold out in seconds–par for the course for nearly every Swag “drop.” The aforementioned flipping dolphin cover, one of Swag’s first releases and a regular in its lineup, is a nod to one of the byproducts of Swag’s success–a robust secondary market for collectors where the rarest covers can sell for thousands of dollars.

Staying in the Bag

Hardy’s deal with Swag will mean a steady rotation of covers, but what they’re covering up won’t change often.

“I don’t switch things,” says Hardy, a Chicago native just like the company. “I have the same driver shaft, same iron shaft, had the same putter for eight years before this one.”

The handcrafted one he has now, which Swag calls the “Hardy Prototype,” went into the bag in the fall and paid off instantly–at Mayakoba, he made eight consecutive birdies in the final round (one off the Tour record) and finished T21.

Swag Golf's new covers in conjunction with the PGA Tour's Hawaii events.

Swag Golf's Hawaii-themed covers. 

“Their putters are already great, and we’ve dialed in something I love even more,” Hardy says, adding that he may move to a sight dot instead of a line to allow for more athletic stroke, but that’s about as much as he’d change now.

In the meantime he’s continuing to ogle over Swag’s collection, like many fans (“my favorite is the Ditka one with the quote on it,” Hardy says). He’ll have Hawaiian-themed covers next week, and then who knows?

“I told Nick and the rest of the guys, whatever they want me to use,” Hardy says. “I’m just proud and excited to represent whatever they choose.

Part of the fun in the accessories game, even for a Tour pro, is not knowing what might come next.