A tribute given to a friend of 20+ years, Steve McFarland, who passed away in 2017 from testicular cancer.
Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m 47 years old with an amazing wife of 12 years and two awesome boys, ages 9 and 5. I’ve lived in Atlanta for most of my adult life and have been fortunate
enough to travel to many places across the U.S. and around the world. Golf has been a part of my life since I was 23. Since then, golf has been a factor in any significant decision I’ve made personally and professionally. The game has allowed me to meet some amazing people and develop many relationships. Some relationships so strong that those friends became family. As I’ve grown older, I’ve been on a quest to play as many of the top 100 courses in the United States and the world. I’m happy to say I’m up to 11top 100s. I value those experiences over anything material. I estimate that I’ve played over 600 different courses across four countries. I’ve had a successful professional career in technical sales, but it’s always been just what I do rather than who I am. If you were to ask my family and friends what I’m motivated by, I’m confident golf would be mentioned in 100% of the responses. The game feeds my competitive spirit and I enjoy playing in amateur tournaments across the country. I also appreciate the mental and physical benefits of playing the game. Over the past few years, I’ve introduced my boys to golf and that’s been a different level of enjoyment of the game for me.
How was Another 9 Golf Apparel born?
Another 9 was born from the phrase Make Time 4 Another 9. That phrase was title of a tribute I gave to my friend of 20+ years, Steve McFarland, who passed away in 2017 from testicular cancer. Initially, the brand was something personal for me and I never considered going into business with a full apparel line. In 2018 I had the phrase on my golf bag and balls and got so much positive feedback that I decided to take it a step further as a brand. Another 9officially launched in January of 2019 as a lifestyle brand with a purpose of promoting men’s health, testicular cancer awareness, and bringing more diversity into the game of golf. With every phase there’s been encouragement to grow the apparel offering. When we launched in 2019, we started with two hats. Fast forward to 2021 and a full line of hats, tees, base-layers, and hoodies for men and women. It’s been a great journey and the opportunities where this brand can go are endless.
How did the loss of your friend impact your mental health and how did you cope with it?
We’ve all suffered loss of someone close and you never stop thinking of that person, nor can the void from that loss ever be filled. Steve was always my go-to for phone calls about life and particularly golf. We always celebrated the highs and motivated each other through the lows of the game. A good golf buddy is a lot like a good fishing buddy and Steve was that. We traveled all over playing different courses and I never felt the need to add anyone else to my golf circle. The first couple of years after he passed was tough because I felt alone in the game of golf. I didn’t have a lot of motivation to expand my golf circle and certainly didn’t really want to play golf with anyone. It’s amazing how an unfortunate circumstance can change your perspective. Currently, my golf circle of friends is so much larger now. Another coping mechanism has been my quest to play as many top golf courses in the U.S. and world as I can. Steve and I started on this quest right before he passed and every time I tee it up on a new track I know he’s looking down on me proud and jokingly a little jealous. : )
How do you personally “Make time for Another 9?
Our brand catch phrase is What’s Your Another 9? Of course, golf is my Another9 but family, travel, exercise would be my other Another9s. When I think of golf, family, and exercise there is a common determination to figure out a 25th hour in a day to make sure I have an appropriate balance of all three.
Why do you think men are so reluctant to talk about their overall health?
How does society play a role in that and what are some ways we can all work together to create more comfortable environments for these types of conversations? When you look at mental health for my generation, I think there has always been a stigma around it. With physical health it’s so much easier for men in their 40’s and older to stop investing as much into it. Life can distract you so much that working out, eating healthy, and keeping up with check-ups with physician scan seem like an inconvenience. I’m glad to see momentum gaining with my generation with health. The more men are willing to open up about their health experiences the more others can learn and make better choices.
What advice can you offer to other men about the importance of catering to their physical and mental health and wellbeing?
I would say it’s never too early to make exercise part of your regular routine. You don’t have to bench 300 pounds or be a triathlete but just be active. I’m always on my soapbox to other men about walking the golf course rather than jumping on a cart. There is no better way to get exercise and enjoy the course than walking. Walking a typical 18 holes is over 3 miles and you burn so many calories that you can eat that cheeseburger post round with pride! Finding an interest in exercise or a physical activity can bring increased physical fitness and mental clarity.
For those not growing a mustache/facial hair this year, how can they support Movember and Another 9?
You can visit our website at maketimefornine.com if you are interested in purchasing or learning more about our apparel line. Additionally, our brand makes donations on a portion of sales to the Sean Kimmerling Testicular Cancer Foundation. You can visit their site at seankimerling.org.