A little over a year ago, Joe Morris started his first day of work at U.S. Kids Golf. It was a day or so before Halloween.
Just a few months out of college, Morris, 23, was told that the employees have a costume contest on Halloween. Not sure how to take that and being the new guy, Morris kept things simple – he showed up as a golfer struck by lightning. A few holes in a golf shirt and he was done.
“I really didn’t think anything of it,” Morris says. “Thing is, everybody went all out. I knew if I wanted any chance of winning, I’d have to step it up.”
Sitting in an office cubicle as a sales rep, one thing would always catch Morris’ eye across the room. There, in another office, stood a replica statuette of Pinehurst’s Putter Boy, likely from one of the annual U.S. Kids World Golf Championships’ visits to the resort.
“I knew I wanted to do something golf-related,” Morris says. “Now I had an idea.”
That idea blossomed into a trip to Goodwill to find the shirt, pants and hat. Shoes were a bit of a problem there – “I couldn’t really find anything that worked for men’s shoes, so I went with some women’s shoes,” Morris says. The next purchase was spray paint – a lot of spray paint.
But there was still some engineering to be done.
“At first I figured I’d just put myself on some sort of platform and take the stance,” Morris says. “But the Putter Boy is just that – he’s a boy. And he’s a statue. So, I needed to be smaller.”
That’s when Morris got the idea to fully replicate the Putter Boy statue, and thanks to a stepmother who’s also a teacher – “My handwriting is SO bad,” says Morris – the full effect with the pedestal for displaying Lucy Richards’ famed 1912 statue began to come together.
Morris cut away the back of the box to give his legs some room, and then cut the pants to shorts’ length to bring the illusion together. But whenever he solved one issue, another would seem to pop up.
“I had to get into there a little closer to make it look right,” he says. “So, I realized I needed to cut the backs out of the shoes to make everything fit. I was kind of freaking out.”
It was also Monday night. Halloween was Tuesday.
Morris managed to pull it all off, though admittedly remained pretty light-headed from the spray paint. He took his costume to work in pieces, leaving much to be desired once he got to the office.
“People thought I was some sort of green witch because I just had this stuff all over me,” he says. “And I reeked of spray paint.”
But when it came time for the costume parade, Morris put each piece together. He grabbed a toddler U.S. Kids putter for the last effect.
“It was a pretty big reveal,” Morris says.
And while it was a no-doubt winner at the office, once Pinehurst got ahold of it, things really took off.
“I started seeing it all over social media,” Morris says. “One guy told me, ‘You got over 1,000 Likes on Pinehurst’s Instagram.’ I was like, ‘I’ve never gotten 1,000 Likes on Instagram in my life.’”
A photo of the costume was shared throughout the day and evening on social media and on golf sites such as PGA.com and GeoffShackelford.com. It was featured on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive on Wednesday morning. Golf Digest declared Morris as Golf Halloween’s winner.
“I had no idea any of this would happen,” Morris says. “I wanted to stand out, but the response has been amazing. I don’t know what I’m going to do to top it next year, but if there’s a request, I’m happy to do it.”
Pinehurst had one such request: How about the Payne Stewart statue next year?
“Hmmm, I think I can make that happen,” Morris says.