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Opportunity Knocks for Golf - The world needs more Punchbowls

With Instagram down today, and the lockdown continuing in Portland, Oregon, we felt it was time to take this downtime to talk a bit about ... Golf.  Seamus Golf is lucky to be in a space that has found so much success over the past year and a half.  Our business started the pandemic losing all sorts of momentum, when all events canceled we switched to making, selling, and donating masks (ESPN Story here).  Thank you to those who participated in that moment where maskmaking became our main trade.  Since then we have returned to golf in ways we would have never imagined.  Thank you all for supporting our Made in America brand.

Golf rounds are decidedly up in varying amounts by different accounts.  The seismic shift for golf in the States seems to have the staying power to give us inspiration for more things golf today.  For the duration of 2021 we've been behind on production, focused on learning new ways to maximize what all we're making here in Portland, Oregon.  

A few years back, we embarked on a mission and sidestep from sewing and blacksmithing to begin investing in golf locally using our refined golf expertise.  Seamus Golf Park, still a conceptual destination, was concieved to eventually bring both kids and non-golfers to the game with a mission to breakdown stigmas about what keeps most off the greener grasses in our area (and presumably throughout the country).  We went through the process of starting a Foundation and then wound up putting it on hold when the pandemic commenced.

Many parts of the barrier to golf was overcome for some during the pandemic when golf became one of the only outdoor activities one could play.  Some used to say it's the price of clubs, balls, and golf that keep folks off the course and all those issues seem to have magically resolved themselves for the new entrants to the game.  Our perspective for Seamus Golf Park stays close to the same, despite the ever changing circumstances.

There still remains a wealth of opportunity to introduce the game at mass, but more importantly with plentiful nods to the game and it's origination.  Wellness tilt or not, the game still commands the pastime of the worlds greatest athletes.  Think of these two Michaels: Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan are known to have spent every waking moment outside of their sport in this passion learning it to be the only sufficient outlet.  Golf is the only replenishment for a thirst to compete and stay active they might ever find, and furthermore why wouldn't you want to be following the regimen of sports stars if it involves daily interactions with a golf course?

One argument I'm prepared to make is that golf better prepared their mindset to excel further in their main sport. Tom Brady repeated a valuable quote in a recent Wall Street Journal article, 'Life exists somewhere between effort and surrender'.  If life exists between these two places, then what else is akin to life in this definition?  In the game of golf, many efforts are made and surrendering happens in every round.  More for those that begin their journey in the game and less for those that find mastery.  Perfecting recovery from failure is a practice that only true champions can find a captivating exercise.  In the moment of surrender, one can find limitless potential in what may seem a de minimis amount of effort.  The second one drives forward again, Winning and Success becomes closer in sight.  By the way, Tim Grover, coach to MJ and Black Mamba, writes a great deal on the subject in his book Winning.  

Drake and Macklemore have begun to solicit golf brands and we now need no more evidence that golf is popularizing at an ever fast rate.  Beiber Believers will be wearing Random Golf Club apparel before we know it.  The Soccer Moms of Portland that have any golf knowledge have already embraced Malbon, sporting the cursive M with great regularity.  We've been fans of both RGC and Malbon since the beginnings and continue to be impressed by the way these organized golf businesses have relentlessly impacted the growth of golf.

It's happening, and it's happening right now.  The destigmitization of golf has begun.  The article in High Snobiety with Christian Hafer and BMW is fantastic evidence regarding the positive energy for our sport that has been pushed by none other than Hafe-Life himself.

The option to start the game and integrate with golf lifestyle still has it's barriers.  An enthusiast for the game should have a place to take those less enthused souls in their social circles to try the game.  I have not found the private club scene to be a suitable place to start a golfer.

The municipalities and homemade style short length golf courses represent our nation's unkept bunny slopes.  They should be the very best impression of the game to allow those first visiting it to find an enjoyable experience.  Should every municipality have it's own shake at a Himilayas?  Well, if every course we know in America is generally accepted as an interpreted version of some important golf course in Scotland, our answer is Yes.  Absolutely.  Make that big a$$ putting green the focal point of your facility.

Every golf course should have a Himilaya, a Bandon Dunes Punchbowl, or a Pinehurst Thistle Dhu.  Even the remote Gearhart Golf Links get's it right, with their Clam Bed.  

The days of an often overlooked practice green are over.  Round and flat? Pass.  Stop forgetting the opportunity to build a fun putting green. Bring on the moguls, the bumps, and the roly polies in your practice green.  It should be no less than an acre in size.  This is the place you'd find kids frollicking while Mom's spill their Pinot's.  Nothing is more amusing than when your ball rolls into another group and laughter prevails.



While golf blows up, so to speak, in this day and age we have begun to take note of what matters to this new generation of golfers.  With access to a basic internet connection, a golfer can now learn everything about the game, including complex subjects such as course architecture that were once documented only in out of print books.  Golfers around the country have begun to find an interest in authentic golf architecture, but more importantly in the local area to us, golfers in Portland have the taste of excellence just 4.5 hours south at Bandon Dunes.  We know what it's like to have absolute fun on a golf course. 

What a great time to be in golf.

Thank you for enjoying a thought inspired Monday this fine October day in 2021.  We're stuck at home this fall, and will continue to be thankful to have Seamus Golf to express our creativity.

Far and sure,

Akbar Chisti

Co-founder, Seamus Golf

Further Ramblings:

An IDEA: Hipsterize a punchbowl style putting green. 

Food + Drink + Music + Putting = Win.

Local communities with a strong golfing demographic must find a way to conspire together, taking nonconventional thought and transferring that into energy that reinvests into the golf courses that exist today.  A practice green is a great start.  Leasing the food purveyor / restaurant to a professional, or updating the menu makes a great deal of sense and we've begun to see these changes take place.  The punchbowl projects, however, are not taking off like we'd like to see them.

Investing in renovations and restorations can make a lot of sense to a golfer, but not without the challenge of any new business venture.  National Links Trust has to be the most exciting and energizing group today overcoming these obstacles, having negotiated and secured a long term lease with the National Parks Service for the once stunning and architecturally significant East Potomac Park (among others).  Who negotiates deals with Parks Service groups? These guys, wow.  The model of a well organized / well heeled non-profit has proof, with the R & A and their St. Andrews model.  Local golfers have seemingly limitless access to this incredible collection of golf properties, while visitors pay higher rates to offset the costs of maintaining such golf archeology treasures.  I can't wait to see this success, and energy transfer to other cities in North America.  It seems like there must be opportunities just sitting there, like the reinvention of Goat Hill Park by John Ashworth and Winter Park.


An Eastmoreland Links restored by Gil Hanse.  A repainted Heron Lakes with redesigns by Tom Doak and Bill Coore. A Rose City updated by our local great architect, Dan Hixson.  What if David McLay Kidd expanded on what could be at Redtail.  Riley Johns and Keith Rhebb did fine work at Winter Park in Florida, what if they took on the Colwood.  Or perhaps if starting with the city of Portland weren't the way, we began out of town at Rock Creek Country Club by bringing in Thad Layton of Arnold Palmer Design Group.  


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