In the guise of Divot, Compare brings laughter to the links
By Julie Barth
For Kevin Compare, golf can be a funny business. That’s because outside of his everyday responsibilities as head teaching professional at Woodlake Country Club in Vass, N.C., Compare finds time to clown around.
Compare has an alter ego -- Divot the Clown -- and in that alternate personality he travels the country putting on humorous trick-shot exhibitions at junior clinics, tournaments, PGA Tour events, parties and charities. Divot makes about 45 appearances per year.
“We need to remind people that golf is fun,” says Compare, 38. “People get so wrapped up in it. It’s just a game.”
Like Harpo Marx, Divot doesn’t speak. He uses cue cards to request applause and honking horns to show his approval. Local PGA professionals act as Divot’s “voice” to keep things rolling. The show’s success is due largely to Divot’s improvising.
“Most of the time, not even I know what Divot’s going to do,” says Compare. “He plays off the crowd.
“One time a man in the audience wasn’t clapping, and I went over to him. He motioned to me that he couldn’t clap because he would spill his beverage. I took the beverage, threw it over my shoulder and clapped the man’s hands together. The crowd roared.”
Among Divot’s most popular trick shots are: teeing off his toe, swinging with a 78-inch driver, hitting from the “splits” and sitting positions, and a rapid-fire 12-ball sequence using clubs in both hands with arms continually swinging.
Divot the Clown was born in 1985 quite by accident. Compare had volunteered to assist in a PGA of America program to introduce golf to youngsters through the Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Parks and Recreation Program, but he was unable to attend a preliminary meeting. In his absence, Compare was enlisted to play the part of the clown. He ended up enjoying it more then he could have ever guessed, so he turned Divot into a recurring character.
After 11 years of taking Divot on the road, the act has evolved. It has also proven profitable. Compare earns $1,500 plus expenses for each show.
His most recent acquisition is a pair of 22-inch handmade golf shoes costing $375. The most recent addition to Divot’s act is a moving-target trick. Compare created a cross-like device out of PVC piping that rotates -- with the help of a small motor -- parallel to the ground. With a ball on each end of the PVC pipe, he’s got four moving targets to hit in quick succession.
Compare says that once he incorporates a trick shot into his routine, he never practices it. Nonetheless, Divot
“I had someone say once, ‘You never miss a shot. You should play on the PGA Tour,’” says Compare.
On the rare occasions when Divot does miss, he just clowns around and acts like it’s part of the show. Says Compare: “Without the pressure to make every shot, it’s a lot easier.
“I can’t tell you how much fun it is,” he adds. “I hope I’m still doing this 10 years from now.”
Kevin Compare has been performing as Divot the Clown for 11 years.