Jun 16, 2013
It's totally natural therefore, that when the subject is Father's Day gifts, many Dads will be hoping for golf gifts.
That said, the most inspired golf gift I've ever seen comes from France, where gift giving is taken very seriously. Having lived in Paris for several years... and having been married to a French man for a couple of decades... I know this to be true. So, when storied French sportswear company Lacoste celebrated its 80 birthday recently I wasn't surprised when I heard that, the gifts were epic.
In that spirit, I invite you to check out this ultra-impressive, multi-chromatic example: Twenty-seven golf tees in colors inspired by Lacoste's own iconic polo shirts. The set was gifted by Bernardaud, venerable French purveyor of exquisite porcelain and was bought to my attention by Jean-henri Bernard, a French friend who lives golf on course and through his writing, photography and art. Happy Father's Day.
Jun 14, 2013
|Merion-Inspired Red Wicker Bags via TheGolfGirl on Polyvore|
Each year the US Open attempts to ensure its fierce singularity with a shifting roster of venues and a wide variety of course set-ups.
Firm greens, narrow fairways and unforgiving rough are among the arsenal put into play to have players confronting a formidable adversary time and again.
It can all seem a bit... well... draconian, and when the whole "small offences/heavy punishments" thing becomes wearying, it's got to be nice to have an element of lightness and whimsicality to focus on. This year, at moist, marshy Merion Golf Club, the whimsical element comes in the form of wicker basket. Eighteen of them to be exact. They come in both red and orange, and sit atop the steel pin at each hole on the historic East Course, replacing the more conventional cloth drapeau. The "wickers" provoke an endless stream of commentary and a general sense of ... well something like wonderment. There are several theories as to how Merion came to favor these iconic woven "standards". The New York Times' Bill Pennington explores a couple of them in his article on the topic and James Achenbach provides additional details in his informative GolfWeek story.
I won't be surprised to see a few weekend spectators accessorizing their gallery garb with some red woven whimsy. I, for one, feel that would be a stellar style statement for the 113th US Open.
Jun 13, 2013
|In the Gallery at the Golf Tourney w/ Kate Spade via TheGolfGirl on Polyvore|
Newcomers... and even those who've played the game for a while... want to know which golf apparel brands are the most stylish, comfortable and performant, and they want to know where to find the best value for their golf apparel/accessory dollars.
After all, by its very nature a golf course can be an intimidating place, and no one wants to make it more so by wearing something inappropriate. In addition, as club dress codes become less restrictive... and more designers dabble in golfwear... a player can go in numerous directions style-wise.
What often surprises me however, is the number of inquiries I get from prospective golf spectators. Golf spectating, it seems, comes with its own distinct set of sartorial uncertainties. Is a dress too dressy to wear to a tournament... are jeans too casual? Would a lady wearing a tank top (or a tube-top or a halter top) be frowned upon... how about a guy in cargo shorts?
|Spectators Can't Compete with Rickie Fowler photo: ©Golf Girl Media|
My take, having attended many professional golf tournaments, is that there's quite a bit of leeway when it comes to golf spectating style. As long as your outfit is reasonably casual and neither excessively sloppy nor exceedingly sexy, you'll be fine from a fashion standpoint. As far as footwear is concerned, assume you'll be walking quite a bit... and won't necessarily have pavement underfoot. Beyond that, what's comfortable is quite subjective. Spike heels and platforms are rarely, if ever, a good idea at a golf tournament... but if you're comfortable in flip-flops, they're an option. As are other flat sandals, ballet flats, topsiders and just about any kind of running shoe. Some will tell you golf shoes don't belong outside the ropes, however I don't think they're considering some of today's golf shoe styles which look... and walk... like street shoes.
We're working on an eGuidebook for golf spectators, with lots of fun features and additional ideas on what to wear when you're off to watch the pros. In the meantime numerous fairway fashionistas are obsessing about Kate Spade's stellar line of accessories for golf spectators... the collection is a one-stop-shop for those who wish to stand out in the golf galleries this season.
Jun 10, 2013
|Merion's Iconic Red Wicker Baskets photo credit: Penn State Turfgrass via photopin cc|
Fans, players and media will surely be awed by the course's history, but will also be weighing in on the venue's ability to accommodate a 21st century major. We can also be assured of a copious dose of opinionating on the changes that have been made to the venerable course to ensure that the "grand old lady" can stand up to the way modern technology has affected the game.
Bill Pennington's New York Times article on the "US Open's Audacious Experiment" presents an overview of what's at stake this week on the fairways and greens of Merion East, and how it may affect future debate on the future evolution of golf.
I won't be in Haverford this week... much to my chagrin... but I'll certainly be soaking up the golf history vicariously through those who are, and closely following their conversations on Merion's 21st century challenge. In the meantime I'll be reposting some of the many bits I've written on Merion over the years.
Jun 7, 2013
|Mixed Sex Golf Competition photo credit: byronv2 via photopin cc|
I'm guessing you may not have, so let me fill you in: it seems Barnham Broom Golf Club, a pastoral Norfolk (UK) golf destination, will be breaking with tradition later this summer and hosting the region's first mixed-sex open tournament.
Initially, this news may not sound significant enough to be labeled "revolutionary". However, the fact is, mixed-sex competitions... where female golfers compete directly against their male counterparts... are extremely rare. There are many reasons for the sex segregation, some of which are cultural, based on tradition established in the infancy of the sport, while others involve measured physiological advantages men have over women... in golf among many sports... particularly at top levels.
While I won't go into detail here (for fear of alienating anyone new to the game) I'm guessing that widespread confusion/contention surrounding handicap adjustment when playing from different tees, also plays a role in the general distaste for mixed-sex golf tournaments.
The golf director at Barnham Broom however, appears to feel the time is right for an on-course revolution. The new format, that'll take place over five days, across two championship courses, will involve both strokeplay and matchplay. More details (including info on how to enter) can be found on the Barnham Broom website, as well as in Lewis Pacelli's recent story for Golf Monthly.
Jun 1, 2013
|The Fairway to Marital Bliss... or On Course for Divorce? It depends. © Golf Girl Media|
The man I fell in love with
Golf came later, for both of us after we'd settled down in my homestate of Connecticut. The landscape that now surrounded us featured many beautiful courses including one in particular where his newly minted suburban friends spent most of their free time.
Of course learning golf... and developing a (relatively) respectable game... is a real challenge, particularly for an adult male in the US, as he'll often find himself surrounded by men who've been playing since childhood ...and some of those men fail to see the humor in the myriad missed shots of a mature newbie.
But my high handicap husband has never been one to let such things deter him and, for the most part just about everyone he met... at the range and on the course... was welcoming and receptive. Within a year he was comfortable... and addicted... enough to seek out golf when we traveled and it was almost a decade ago, on a trip to France, that he
Last weekend at a neighborhood cocktail party I witnessed a somewhat tipsy suburban matron launch into a diatribe about her golfing husband and his all-too-frequent absences. Then, later on the same evening, I overheard the bombastic hedgefunder from two houses down complaining that his wife had started taking golf lessons and now wanted him to take her out on the course. Clearly golf doesn't enhance all marriages.
It does for ours however, and at this point I can honestly say that golf plays a major role in our conjugal happiness. Both of us agree that Chi Chi Rodriguez put it best when he said, "Golf is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off".
May 29, 2013
|Lucky my husband had a spare fleece vest in the boot. XXL but warm & toasty.|
Photo: © GolfGirlMedia
Here in the US the last Monday in May is Memorial Day, a federal holiday to commemorate men and women who've died serving our country. Both solemn and festive, we celebrate it with parades and ceremonies.
Meanwhile, Memorial Day weekend has become something of an unofficial soft launch for the summer season.
While school may still be in session, and the northern solstice won't actually occur until June 21, the final weekend in May... in the minds of many... is when summer actually starts. After all, the shops are laden with flirty summer frocks and the weather is often warm and balmy. Often... but not always.
This past weekend was definitely a mixed bag weather-wise here in southwestern CT. It began with a cold, gray, rainy Saturday but ended on Monday with blue skies, brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the upper 70s.
In between them was Sunday, the day we'd selected to play golf. It looked promising early on, but as we drove up interstate 84 towards the town of Oxford the once feather-like clouds turned threatening and leaden. The wind picked up dramatically and my husband's grumbling became more
By the time we reached the course at Oxford Greens a light drizzle spritzed sporadically and gusty gales made it feel more like Carnoustie than Central Connecticut. Before long our playing partners arrived... and the chorus of complaints intensified. I refused to join in, first of all because I've had precious little time to play this year... in any kind of weather. In addition, I know how negativity affects my game and finally, to be perfectly honest with you, I really don't mind playing in windy conditions. In fact, I rather like the challenge of unique weather, as long as it remains unique... I wouldn't want to play in high winds every week, but once in a while, it can be interesting and enlightening.
|"Vista", is hole #2 at Oxford Greens. It's a par 3 with an undulating green, protected by bunkers and water. Par for me.|
Photo: @ Golf Girl Media
So we tackled the challenging course and battled the 25mph winds. The guys played reasonably well (plus they had a perfect excuse for any mistakes) and I... played better than ever. Turns out the very features I normally lament in my game (my low trajectory, wide stance, compact backswing) can be quite helpful when the wind blows. I think the thing I like best about playing on a cool, blustery day is the way I feel after my round, it's an awesome kind of exhaustion and it absolutely ensures an excellent night of sleep.
I'm guessing that was probably the last of our wintery weather... and if this is a typical CT Summer, we'll soon be complaining about the heat and humidity.