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BY DESIGN : Worlds Away From Plaid

August 17, 1995|KATHLEEN KELLEHER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

"Hey, dude, let's do 18."

When the waves go flat, get too crowded or pose a health threat because of pollution, some surfers have a Plan B: playing golf. But how to suit up?

In hopes of helping their buds avoid hidy (hideous) duds, Lon Davis, 40, and J.C. Wynkoop, 31, founded Planet Golf in 1992.

"There was nothing that filled our peer group's needs. . . . It was like searching for the Holy Grail," says Davis, who acts as the Venice company's creative director. "Our stuff is counterculture, against the grain, and on the outside looking in." Thus, he says, it appeals to the tastes of such crossover sportsmen as snowboarders, skateboarders and mountain bikers.

"The Planet Golf logo versus the club logos says the whole world is your club," says Charles DeVelma, a Point Lookout, N.Y., bonds broker and surfer who discovered the label in a Venice shop. "So let's grip and rip it."

Oversized for maximum swing capability, the clothing clearly takes its design cues from the likes of Stussy, Quiksilver and Gotcha. But Planet Golf also speaks for itself.

Besides long- and short-sleeved cotton polo shirts, $49 and $45 respectively, in muted colors (sand, ocean, moss and berry), it offers silk-screened T-shirts ($18) with a message. A 1971 photo of astronaut Alan B. Shepard golfing on the moon is paired with "The Eagle Has Landed"; a golf ball-dimpled planet with a Saturn-like ring around it says, "One World, One Game"; a hipster cruising with golf clubs down a SoHo, N.Y., street, "Golf Soho," and Atlas lifting a wrecking-ball-size golf ball goes with the caption "Shrug It Off." The line also includes sweat shirts ($40), twill shorts ($48) and reversible vests ($58).

Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish and actor Matthew Perry, who plays Chandler on "Friends," have been spotted wearing Planet Golf T-shirts. The line is available at Ocean Echo in Venice, Brookside Golf Course pro shop in Pasadena and Big Canyon Country Club pro shop in Newport Beach.

"The stuff is concept-driven . . . people can identify with the images and words," says Davis, who along with running the company works as an advertising art director. "Most golf humor is low-brow, this stuff is a little headier."

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