In the upcoming HBO documentary Very Ralph (out November 12), the brand’s origin story is reiterated often. You’ve heard it before—Ralph Lauren didn’t just create a brand, he built an entire universe and a lifestyle alongside it. You know it when you see it. Whether it’s the prep extension of the brand’s aesthetic or its foray into all things western, when something seems “Very Ralph,” it’s because that’s exactly the impression the man himself intended to make.
That unmistakable aesthetic ascended on Marana, Arizona’s Dove Mountain Resort last weekend for the third annual Ralph Lauren Golf Pro-Am, where Polo’s pro golfers teamed up with amateurs (like myself), friends of the brand, and other members of the golf world for a two-day tournament. And like all things Ralph Lauren, no stone was left unturned in regard to bringing Ralph to the desert.
Beyond swapping in white Polo flags with navy Ponies on every hole, upgrading everything from tee to green (pencils, golf balls, personalized engraved Pony ball markers), and outfitting players in some of the best-fitting, stylish golf gear on the market, Ralph Lauren’s hospitality arm went all out in its takeover of the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain’s golf club.
The star of the show? The world debut of Ralph’s Hot Dog Truck, which doubled as a bar and offered up The Polo Bar’s iconic hot dog in multiple varieties, as well as damn-good crinkle cut fries and a Ralph’s Coffee soft-serve I’m still thinking about. As it leaves the Southwest, the truck is gearing up for a nationwide tour, where fans of the brand (and really, really good snacks) can get a small taste of what RL’s food and beverage wing has turned into one of New York City’s most coveted reservations, The Polo Bar.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Very Ralph without a well-dressed tournament field. It’s hard to come by golf apparel, even in 2019, that’s got enough of the cool-factor to extend beyond the 18th hole. Few brands are able to accomplish that one-two punch like Polo Ralph Lauren, which equipped its golfers in the sort of stylish golf attire that lent itself to performance on the course, and photo-worthy fits afterward.
Speaking of afterward, the first night of the weekend’s events culminated with golf legend Tom Watson, a pile of glowing golf balls, and the Arizonan night sky. The eight-time major champion waxed poetic about his life and career, what he learned from the other legends of golf, and then, as if it’s not one of the hardest shots in the game, proceeded to hit driver off the deck, sending ball after ball deep into the desert’s abyss.
It was, in every sense of the word, a spectacle.