DIRTY’S GOLF SHOP OWNER Max Machado has an approach to the game that’s more cool-kid skateboarder than buttoned-up country club member. A graphic designer who works with brands like Perry Ellis, Callaway Golf, and Birdie, Machado grew up in a family of artists in Lamy. “My mom and dad had no interest in golf,” says the 35-year-old.
When former PGA Tour pro and family friend Bruce Dobie saw Machado playing soccer as a kid, he suggested the youngster take up golf. “He sent me a set of golf clubs almost as a joke,” Machado recalls. “The land we lived on wasn’t conducive to skateboarding or Rollerblading, but I could go out and just whack golf balls.”
As his passion for the game flourished, he competed as a junior golfer, got his first job at Santa Fe Country Club, worked in the pro shop at Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, and eventually played for New Mexico State University. “The competitive side of things was never my true calling,” he says. “As I got older, I didn’t identify with serious, hard-core golfers. I felt like an outsider in that space.”
Machado’s brand of golf leverages that perspective to be more inclusive. “I want to be that guy that rubs a little dirt in the squeaky-clean image of golf,” says Machado, whose nickname, Young Dirty, is a reference to Wu-Tang Clan.
The club-swinging characters he illustrates are full of a playful energy that combines tattoo culture, a little West Coast hip-hop, and retro cartoons. “Golf has always been such a huge part of my life,” he says. “I wanted to take the great aspects I’ve experienced and help others experience that.”
Dirty’s Golf Shop, which opened in April on San Mateo Boulevard, carries men’s and women’s apparel; accessories like head covers, ball markers, gloves, and towels; and a small selection of vintage putters (try one out on the indoor putting green). Machado also offers club repair, regripping, and lessons.
“There are—now more so than ever—all kinds of ways you can interact with golf,” Machado says. “Our store falls right into that. It’s about getting people stoked on golf and maintaining that energy. It’s about having a place to come and talk about golf, or not talk about golf, and just hang out with friends.”
Max Machado recommends these courses to get you started.
Puerto del Sol Golf Course, Albuquerque
“It’s great for any skill level. They have a huge driving range, the night range stays open after dark, and it’s $10 for a beer and a bucket of balls.”
Santa Fe Country Club, Santa Fe
“The best greens in the state with a simple layout that is always in immaculate shape. It’s semiprivate, so you don’t have to be a member to enjoy the course.”
Taos Country Club, Taos
“It’s a gorgeous place with a really cool course that’s great for traveling couples. Non-golfers can hit a local spa while the golfer gets to enjoy a mental health day.”