What I’m eyeing:
The Wm. Lamb Redfish iPhone cover. Sharp as a barb, folks. Get it here.
So how about The Masters? Adam Scott’s playoff win was one for the ages. Congrats to the Aussie on his first major. With a swing like that, it’s hard to believe he won’t have a few more. Speaking of the Masters, my good friend TJ from Onward Reserve had the rare opportunity to play at the famed Augusta National. What a treat…I thought y’all would like to read about it:
This morning I turned on my television and ESPN was promoting their coverage of the first rounds of the MASTERS. For the next 30 seconds, while watching the promotion, I felt like a kid again. I am not sure if it is the first true sign of spring, the motivation to get my own golf game in order, or just the respect for the game and course that does it for me. However, when they pan across those meticulous fairways towards the exploding azaleas under shadows of colossal Georgia pines, it is nothing short of magical for me. There are so many memories that surround the Masters for me and for anyone with any connection to the world of golf. The most magical of all my memories is now my first trip to play Augusta National.
Growing up in Georgia, Masters week was always a big deal. I remember dreaming that one day I would be able to attend the Masters. In college, that dream came true and I was nothing short of giddy. I became an instant expert on Bobby Jones and on everything Augusta National. I was obsessed. My dream had come true…or so I thought.
Bubba Watson was asked last year if winning the 2012 Masters was like he imagined it in his dreams. He replied “I never got that far in my dreams.” That is exactly how I felt driving my old Tahoe down Magnolia Lane towards the Clubhouse. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. The feeling that overcame me was true, pure happiness.
We checked into our cabin along #10 fairway and I stood on the back porch imagining all the people that I was used to seeing around #18 green during tournament play. It was surreal to have the place seemingly all to myself. I was about to play Augusta National…twice!
The highlight of my experience was that I got to play Augusta or “the National” for the first time with my brother and my dad and that our host was one of my dad’s dearest friends from college. Aside from our host, none of us had ever played the course and it was amazing to share that experience with my family. We hit balls on the range and then headed out to #1. Everyone hit decent drives and then I stuck my approach to 3 feet to tap in for Birdie. I won’t say much more about my score that day other than I did break 100 and that I had a couple of more pars. My score was the least of my concerns.
After our first round on the big course, we got to play the famous Par 3 course. What a blast! I will note that I also birdied #1 on the Par 3 course. However, I will not divulge any further scorecard information on that round either.
Anytime you have the opportunity to play a well-known golf course, it is fantastic. Half of the experience is seeing and playing the course and the remaining half is being able to dive into the culture of the club and its membership. You learn so much by hanging around a clubhouse for a couple of days listening to stories and enjoying the hospitality. From the top of the crows nest to the bottom of the wine cellar – there is no lack of subject matter at Augusta. The full set of clubs used by Bobby Jones to win the Grand Slam is hanging in the dining room and near the Champions Locker Room there is a ballot box that was given to Augusta National by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews. On an old shelf in the wine cellar you will see General Eisenhower’s name in pencil staking his claim on the spot. There are Masters Tournament programs and badges from the past as well as clubs used by some of the most famous golfers in the world – past and present. It is heaven for anyone who enjoys golf or history.
When I asked our host what it was like to be a member he replied “you don’t ask many questions, you just sort-of enjoy the ride.” That is what I decided to do with the rest of my trip. I proceeded to take 1 million pictures and try to soak up every story I could. I pinched myself regularly to make sure it was real life.
The people at Augusta could not be any more delightful. From the gatekeeper on Washington Road to the caddies on the course, everyone was so welcoming and fun. The pro shop, dining room, kitchen, bar and locker room staff all truly seemed happy to be there and to be a part of it all. Although, how could you not? The food was fantastic and the wine was even better. The members were all so cordial and respectful of the club, the other members, and their guests. When I left I felt like my caddie was an old friend.
The ‘Caddie Kickstand”
I should note that the attitude and ambiance of Augusta National and its membership exude mainly one thing: an immense respect and love for the game of golf. Augusta does more for the game of golf globally than I ever realized. They are constantly improving their course, their facilities and their people. They believe that things can always be better.
It was interesting to be at the National only a few months after they admitted their first female members. I think it is fantastic that they allowed female members and even more fantastic that they did so on their own terms rather than caving to the intense media pressure of year’s past. I also think it is noteworthy that the focus and the first priority of the Club has and always will be on the game of golf.
For more pictures, head over to The Gazette.
Why not celebrate the Masters with some of the nicest green goods from our friend Martin Dingman? Y’all have seen his attention to detail, and his products are among the best in the business. His work does not disappoint.
Here’s what we are going to do. We are going to do two drawing based on entries to this post. The first drawing will be for a limited edition Rudyard Polocrosse bag with the signature American Saddle leather trip, brushed nickel plated solid brass hardware, and water resistant orange lining ($495 retail). This bag is serious business, folks.
And don’t worry – if you don’t win the first drawing for the bag, there’s still a chance. The second drawing will be for the reversible green and ivory Turnberry Belt. Sharp as a tack, and perfect for this time of year ($95 retail).
Leave a comment to this post to enter. For additional entries:
Get your entries in by Sunday at midnight, and I’ll announce the winners on Monday around lunch.
Keep up with Martin Dingman Leathergoods on their Facebook page and Twitter feeds (above), as well as their email list. Their catalogs are outstanding, and they’ll give you a head’s up on new products and sales. Get on board!
Thanks to the good folks over at Martin Dingman Leathergoods for supplying the bag and the belt for the giveaway
So it’s safe to say that badges to the Masters were insanely hard to find this year. With Tiger being ‘back’, and the perfect weather, they are as expensive as I have ever seen. As much as I would love to spend the week in Augusta, I have a really nice 55″ HDTV, air conditioning, and a comfortable couch where I can enjoy the massive firehose of Masters coverage. So, since Masters week is the best week of the year, celebrate. Have some friends over for a casual get together. Open the doors and windows to let some air in (unless the pollen is too bad).
What to serve:
You could do your take on the Masters Club or egg salad, but come on – how can you go wrong with pimento cheese or pulled pork? Do you really want to know people that don’t eat either of those? The only acceptable dinnerware for this little get together are paper plates and paper towels. Don’t get too fancy.
The worst part about watching the Masters on TV is missing Gary McCord. After about two hours of Jim Nantz’s soliloquies, you will learn to hate Tom Watson, who was responsible for having McCord removed. (Real quick – for a drinking game, make everyone take a gulp every time Nantz says ‘a tradition unlike any other’. You’ll have to take Monday off because of the vicious hangover). Raise your hand if you have any issue comparing the greens at Augusta National to a bikini wax. I didn’t think so. That is diet compared to what I call greens at some of the courses around here.
Beyond the Nantz drinking game, throw a little folding money into the pot. There are a couple good games to keep everyone involved:
Oh – wear green and white. Extra points for tour visors, a full caddie outfit, and/or a green blazer.
I’ll go ahead and give you the official Red Clay Soul pick and the dark horse. I like Tiger. I know, it’s a popular pick, but he’s got it dialed in. Not just his game, but his focus. It seems like a good woman has his head right. Granted, I’d never ask Tiger for relationship advice, but the guy can hit a golf ball. My dark horse: Sneds. I like his game, and the dude can putt.
Who do you like?
Get on over to Billy Reid’s Atlanta store and check out their Spring Made-To-Measure event starting this Thursday. You won’t believe your eyes…
Here’s the video: https://vimeo.com/60331384
Shirt sizing. One could argue that it is the toughest part of ordering a high end shirt, and I’m not talking about the neck and sleeve (although they are extremely important). DC shirt makers Hugh & Crye have a very interesting approach that combines the neck and sleeve inch measurement and the traditional S-M-L-XL labels we are used to dealing with.
Hugh & Crye were nice enough to send me a shirt (disclosure) to inspect to see how it works. Their approach is based on body type rather than traditional measurements. Whether you are Short, Average, or Tall in terms of your height, or Skinny, Slim, Athletic, or Broad, Hugh & Crye have a size for you.
Interesting, right? My measurements ended up being ‘Average Slim’, which equates to a Brooks Brothers Extra Slim Fit Large or a Sid Mashburn size Medium. The fit is spot on – it is a slimmer shirt, but the cut works well. For example, the armholes are cut just high enough so that you don’t look like a flying squirrel. The shoulder seams hit right at the point of my shoulder, and the shirt body hugs around my mid-section – but isn’t anti-buffet.
Beyond the fit, the shirt is made of 120′s Egyptian cotton. Above is ‘The Charleston‘ (I know), which is a deep purple and white gingham. I am impressed with the level of craftsmanship for a shirt at the ~$100 price point. It is machine washable, and looks very crisp when ironed.
My favorite touch: The alternate last buttonhole in contrasting stitching. Pretty cool…especially for those times in the dark when you can’t see the last button…and you’re in a hurry:
Overall – it’s all good. I would rank the Hugh & Crye shirt high in terms of value proposition. They have every flavor of gingham available, and some outstanding plaids – with brown buttons.
Check out their entire collection here.