Nov 12, 2015

Golf Fashion : On Course & On-Trend With A Must-Have Accessory

I fell in love with scarves in the waning years of the 20th century when I lived, for a time, in Paris.

Newly married, implausibly young and with neither school nor work to occupy my days, I did a vast amount of urban wandering.  I learned the streets and subways... down to the tiniest ruelle and most minor metro station... and developed an intimate acquaintance with some of the world's greatest museums and most iconic monuments.

Then there were the shops; les boutiques.  Because along with its world class cultural attractions and elegant beaux arts architecture, Paris offers a vast array of retail outlets. From the grandes magasins... massive and elegant department stores where one can find almost anything ... to the myriad of idiosyncratic little shops that provide singular items and unique oddities.

Ironically, I feel like I learned almost as much about French culture from my regular rounds of leche vitrine... window shopping... as I did from my many hours in the museums. As it happened, our Paris apartment was conveniently located just a stones throw from Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré, which made for regular walks along what is arguably the most prestigious shopping street in the world... and at No.24 was Hermés, the rarefied French luxury firm whose Birkin bags and Kelly totes sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Though the bags and the bracelets were beautiful what captivated me were the scarves. Their sumptuous colors and intricate designs were featured in opulent window displays that, to my mind, were as seductive as anything I'd seen in that very seductive city. My obsession with scarves... particularly the carre de soie that Hermes is so well known for, but also other kinds.... was launched.

On the streets of the French capital I observed an impressive variety of scarf tying techniques... few of which I was able to replicate with my own, as yet, modest collection of echarpes and foulards.  Nonetheless, I continued to build my collection whenever the opportunity presented itself, with a precious silk square or a more casual cache-col.  By the time I returned to the US in the early 2000s, I had several dozen... and my styling skills were improving.  When I took up golf, later in the decade, my scarf collection allowed my to add a personal touch to my outfits while providing strategic sun protection in summer and warmth as temperatures descended. 

Recently the scarf has come into its own. They're coveted by fashionistas everywhere, and thanks to a plethora of scarf-tying tutorials and apps, even those who've never worn one can create a multitude of stylish scarf looks. If you want to add a scarves to your golf outfits and need some inspiration check out my Golf Scarf Styling Pinterest Board. 

What I'm looking for these days are vintage, golf-themed scarves.  I've found quite a few online. Some like the gorgeous Hermes Swing scarf are not quite within my budget but others are amazingly affordable.  I've acquired several recently and will share their stories in an upcoming post. ~ PMH

Oct 13, 2015

Golf Ball Painting: An Artistic Autumnal Activity For All Ages

Unlike golf, golf ball painting is super easy and ultra-affordable 
Here in New England, the month of October is known for crisp, clear days and dramatic displays of fall foliage.

The many hues of Autumn make the final weeks of our waning golf season uniquely wonderful.

However there's a bit of a downside to the seasonal display... particularly for golfers who have difficulty keeping their balls on the fairway.  Such players quickly learn that those gorgeous golden leaves have a voracious appetite for golf balls. Fallen foliage will devour your small dimpled sphere without leaving a trace, which can be... frustrating, to say the least.

I know that frustration first-hand, but was nonetheless charmed when I came upon this whimsical DIY idea: it's an activity that makes the meeting of golf balls and autumnal colors into an awesome fall art project for kids... of all ages. Inspired golfers and aspiring artists are sure to love this one.

At its best, the end result an abstract creation that might even be mistaken for a Jackson Pollack.

For full instructions on this delightful DIY, head over to Happy Hooligans.... and bring your golf balls.

Sep 28, 2015

Golf Champion Jordan Spieth: Seven Signs He's Husband Material

A couple of months ago, when Jordan Spieth won his historic second major at Chamber's Bay, I wrote about the frothy response from female fans. The tweets and comments were hilarious, particularly when read in the aggregate, as they perfectly reflected the spirit of aspirational humor they were written in.

His well mannered graciousness and obvious dedication to family and friends... combined with rapidly rising wealth... make, Jordan Spieth a classic "catch".  Several of his social media suitors even used the somewhat antiquated, but oddly endearing term "husband material" to describe the ascending champion.

Now that the talented 22-year-old has won the Tour Championship AND clinched the Fedex Cup, I'm guessing he's gone from "husband material" to "total husband material" in the eyes of his adoring fans. And when you look at the classic criteria for "husband material" I think you've got to agree.

Women's lifestyle blog AllWomensTalk published a useful guide: Seven Signs He's Husband Material and sure enough, each one seems to apply perfectly to Mr. Spieth... in both his golf and his day-to-day life... and that, I'd venture to say, is pretty impressive.

Now please don't go chastising me for promoting precocious marriage... or marriage in general, for that matter... this is simply a lighthearted look at how one particular type of fan might be inspired by the phenomenon that is Jordan Spieth.

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Sep 25, 2015

From Summer's Severity To Autumn Awesomeness, Fabulous Fall Golf

Pound Ridge Golf Club, Pound Ridge, NY.  A Stellar Spot for Autumn Golf...just north of NYC

Autumn is officially underway.  And while it's more noticeable in some areas than others, just about everywhere you go there are changes taking place that signal the approach of winter. 

Winter. If you're a golfer... and you don't live in the so-called sunbelt... you're probably dreading it, but that's all the more reason to enjoy the sublime season that precedes it: Autumn. 

John Updike, who wrote so lyrically about life and love in mid century America, described Autumn golf as "a kind of afterlife, with the summer's severe reckonings left far behind", and this, perhaps better than anything else I've read, captures the uniquely liberating nature of the recreational, post-season round.  

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing tips and tales from my own Autumn rounds, and highlighting some of the courses and resorts I've been to where Autumnal golf is exceptionally sublime. 

And fall golf fashion! We'll be talking about that too. It happens to be particularly wonderful this year.

In the meantime, let my favorite Five Fabulous Things About Autumn Golf inspire you, because the first official weekend of Autumn is about to begin.

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Sep 21, 2015

Solheim Cup 2015 - A Concession Kerfuffle & A Thrilling US Comeback

Solheim Cup 2015                                                                 photo: @golfphilosophy via Instagram

Years from now, the extraordinary US victory... in the final leg of competition... is what fans will remember when they think of Solheim Cup 2015.  For the first time since 2009, the elegant, etched glass trophy was lifted by ladies in red, white & blue.  

Celebratory selfies have been posted on all the social networks. Taken on the golf course, in post-tournament pressers and at after-parties festooned with tricolor confetti, they feature high fives, hugs and jubilant smiles.

What probably won't be much remembered is the "controversial incident" that's being discussed in the media (both traditional and social) today with collective fervor.  I'm calling it the "Concession Kerfuffle" because that's exactly what it was.  

It happened during a four ball match.  All square on the 17th hole... on the final day of Solheim Cup play.  

US team rookie, Allison Lee, playing with Brittany Lincicome, missed an 8 foot birdie putt that would have won the hole, leaving 18 inches for a par to maintain the deadlock.  

As to be expected in a team event of this caliber, competitive juices were flowing and emotions were running high, and at that moment a perceived concession from one of her opponents, Suzann Pettersen or Charley Hull,  compelled Lee to pick up her ball. However, as it turned out, neither Pettersen nor Hull had conceded the putt and they quickly made that clear to the walking referee who awarded the point to Europe... who ultimately won the match.  

This left the US team with what seemed an insurmountable deficit going into the afternoon's singles matches.  It also left the golf course buzzing with tense acrimony and the golf scribes (again, both traditional and social) scribbling away on matters of sportsmanship and gamesmanship... and where to draw the line.  Suzann Pettersen was painted by many as a heartless, hyper-competitive villain for refusing to concede the putt. 

The Captains on both sides defended their teams with statements of consternation and indignation, while players reacted with raw emotion: tears were shed, comforting hugs were exchanged... and a couple of F-bombs were dropped.  Then the US went on to win, capturing 81/2 of the 12 remaining points and seizing the most impressive come-from-behind victory in Solheim Cup history. So there you are.  The kerfuffle and the comeback... and a night of festive celebrations, and a prestigious crystal cup getting ready to board a plane for the USA.

But that's not quite the end of this story.  Because, the chatter continued.  After the players and spectators had left the course, after the sun had set and the celebrations had died down. Long after the players had left the course... after the 'heat of the moment' had difinitively cooled, the online opinionating was ongoing... and most of it was directed squarely at the statuesque Norwegian who wouldn't give in.

Ultimately, early this morning Suzann Pettersen apologized, with an impassioned Instagram plea for forgiveness (an #Instaplea?). It was aimed at her fellow players and presumably also at golf fans.  Most applauded her action... though there was ample cynicism and continuing consternations on hand as well. With the apology... and the short new cycle... the beleaguered golfer seems to have put this incident behind her.

What I find a bit disconcerting though, is that Pettersen's competitive zeal (which some labeled gamesmanship and many called unsportsmanlike) was actually very much in keeping with the spirit of international matchplay events.  We seem to almost welcome it at the Ryder Cup, don't we?  It's part of what makes these competitions exciting and ... dare I say... fun.  Pettersen's refusal to concede... and the visceral, on-the-spot reactions from captains, coaches and fellow players... demonstrated a certain passion, and a burning desire to win that seems to be more easily accepted when the players are men.  

Male players are rarely pressured to apologize for not conceding, and though I was in head to toe red, white and blue cheering for team USA, I don't honestly feel Pettersen should have had to ask anyone for forgiveness. I'd like to feel my sentiments would have been the same had the US not staged their miraculous win.

In the end, it was an ultra-exciting event, but the dust is already settling. Before long eyes will turn towards Des Moines, Iowa, and the 2017 Solheim Cup, where this year's kerfuffle will be largely forgotten and comebacks of all kinds will seem infinitely possible.

Sep 13, 2015

The Evian Championship - Seduced... by a Singularly Charming Golf Course

Hole #2 at Evian, a breathtaking downhill par 3 

The championship course was resplendent; Fairways bathed in abundant Alpine sunshine, and clear blue skies set a sparkling stage for the start of the 2015 Evian Championship.

Watching the coverage of this tournament it quickly becomes clear that the golf course at Evian Resort Golf Club, has a special place in the hearts of the players. They speak about in interviews and on social media. The sublime lakeside location, with its majestic mountainous backdrop, is certainly part of it, but the allure of this golf course goes beyond the obvious beauty of the site. The Evian Resort Golf Course... I would venture to say... has a uniquely seductive personality. 

Pink flagsticks complement the lush emerald greens of Evian Resort Golf Course

Golf courses, like people, have personalities. Some are affable and easy going, while others are distant and demanding... some quiet and calm, others open and exuberant. We who play the game know this, and Evian's personality, I can happily confirm, is delightful. 

We'd been looking forward to playing at Evian for years, and when our closest friends moved to the French Alpes... just a couple of towns away... we knew the time was right.  So we made our way there this summer, and on a sun-drenched day in early July we experienced firsthand the singular, seductive charm of Evian Resort Golf Course.

 Hole #16, another enticing par 3 with a narrow stream-side green.  Nick birdied it, I... did not.

The seduction began well before we approached the first tee. We'd booked a twilight tee time, but arrived early in the afternoon, giving us time to have lunch, look around, and spend some time on the practice range. --> READ MORE

Sep 8, 2015

An Introduction to Évian-les-Bains, Home of the Evian Championship

Twilight cocktails on the terrace at Hotel Royal Evian

As the Evian Championship gets underway on the shores of Lac Leman I'll be writing about my travels there earlier this summer.

Arriving in Geneva, Switzerland on a sweltering afternoon in early July, the prospect of a lakeside Hamlet nestled in the foothills of the nearby Alps had an exceptional allure. We'd departed from Paris that morning on a high speed train from the Gare de Lyon, leaving behind the bustling Gallic metropolis for a three hour glide through the French countryside in a bubble of air conditioned comfort. The trip featured lunch with wine and spacious well-designed seats.
More precious to me however, and the reason I'd recommend making this trip by train, are the enchanting glimpses of rural France that present themselves continually as one travels towards the Swiss border. 

Our débarquement was somewhat jarring after the cool, cloistered reverie of the train ride. Gare de Cornavin, Geneva's central station, was teeming with tourists and travelers. It was a Sunday and a myriad of summer festivals were underway in the city. It took us several minutes to spot our good friend Sam. He emerged suddenly from the sea of disembarking passengers and led us to his stylish Citroen parked in the underground lot. Sam, a Connecticut neighbor, is currently on the second year of a two year assignment in France. His chalet in nearby Thonon would be our home base for this Alpine adventure.

Our itinerary was vague by design. We'd make plans spontaneously based on the weather and our daily whims. Golf would be involved, we knew that.  Years of following the Evian Masters and the Evian Championship had made the Evian Resort Golf Course a must-play in our minds. So, on that first balmy evening in Haute-Savoie, we dropped our bags at Sams place and took the 20 minute drive into Evian.

The town, with its lakeside setting and ornate architecture is whimsically romantic. Belle Epoch buildings and formal gardens come together to create what sometimes seems like a Proustian theme park.  Our destination this first night was the lake view terrace at Evian's Hotel Royal where we enjoyed a spectacular sunset and champagne cocktails.  The emerald putting green was an alluring accent. It was, we agreed, the perfect introduction to