Our company is lucky to say that we are still here, all in good health, and staying busy. After taking the spring to react to the pandemic and make masks for both front line and customers (6/1/20 Story on ESPN.COM), we've since returned to the production of golf goods. The Sport has boomed, in a manner that resonates with the post-depression Golden Era of Golf.
The game of golf was ignited after the momentous win by Francis Ouimet in 1913. In 2020, while we have had some exciting wins nothing inspires golf more than when it becomes one of the very few activities one can participate in during a pandemic. The National Golf Foundation reports suggest a large uptick in rounds; even going so far as to draw a correlation between golf rounds and empty ball park cities, particularly those that have more golf courses per capita in the surrounding area. I happen to believe that this energy will continue into the new year, for example, the recent reads by Radda Golf and Hypebeast are inspiring.
During the pandemic, as an enthusiast golfer, I've played as much golf as is humanely possible. When asked, "How much are you playing," I've had to amend my typical response of "Oh man, I never get out." If I were to report the actual amount of golf I've played it might result in bad PR. I've enjoyed the local Portland area municipals, along with the short form golf experiences like Claremont, Edgefield, and Summerfield (home to some of the nicest green designs on a $12 course I've seen).
In addition to participating in some form of golf every day - whether putting in the living room, playing 6 hole loops, or having a chipping contest with the 12 year old kids that have ditched their remote learning programs, the pandemic has led to a lot of time for golf trip planning. I think we all need something to look forward to. My family is pretty unique, in that our daughter just started second grade she has been to Bandon Dunes numerous times, as many as 30 of the top 100, and even experienced Ireland last summer to see the work on St. Patricks Links. She's probably the only 7 year old that has set foot on The Sheep Ranch and Royal Portrush, in the same year. If asked, however, she would most probably only remember the beaches, pools, or ice cream treats.
Now as we go home under the stay at home clauses that exist in Oregon, we spend our time reflecting on the wonderful trips of the past and what trips we might want to make next. If I won't share how much golf I'm playing, I will share where I want to go to next.
I start with pondering from the top of my Cancelled Trips List, there's Sand Valley, Winged Foot (and surrounding area), Big Island, and Ballyneal. These are all places that remain on my list with many courses to play and see. I think they will begin to happen in 2021 when our daughter hopefully gets back to in class instruction. Below is a look to what I would do on each of these trips.
For Sand Valley, I'd like to pick about 7 friends to join me. I've always wanted to spend more time in the surrounding area, most probably traveling there by way of Milwaukee. Milwaukee Country Club has a wonderful write up about it's history and architecture on Golf Club Atlas - an early producer of authentic golf content of which I continue to be a huge fan. There are a couple courses between there and Sand Valley that I would make some important site inspections. Erin Hills has always been on my list and in that area also resides Lawsonia. On this trek I'd probably be leaving behind a trail of empty cans of New Glarius Spotted Cow - a beer that pairs well with the hot summer days and is only available in Wisconsin.
When at Sand Valley, I'd stay by the Sand Box, planning a round of 18 per day, as many as 3 nights / 4 days with a pairing of par 3 course action for a couple of those days. I think it would be a lot of fun to play on the grass tennis courts, as many might attest that there's nothing like playing on grass. I'm a decent racket's man (if that's what it's called). My father competed in squash at the national level (#1 in the Senior Division way back) and carried a weekly game of tennis in my youth where my brothers and I would be the ball boys. For this trip spouses might be fun to have along for the trip. Sand Valley is a beautiful and peaceful setting that can be enjoyed by even the non-golfer.
The whole New York area is replete with amazing clubs that are really hard to get on. I wouldn't spend too much time in this update discussing the clubs that I would like to see on the list. The general ease of travel to New York (pre and post pandemic) made it the ideal spot to bring together a couple friends from Ireland, Florida, and my brother who is now working at Mount Sinai. This week we'd be there in a normal one, hanging out in the air conditioned Merchandise tent. It's one of my favorite times and if it were planned right, golf would have been on that menu before and after hammer stamping ball marks during the typically busy afternoons.
This is a family friendly location. The family can hang at the pool or beach while the golfers head out early to crush a speedy 18. The trip for me is best composed of a few couples with kids around the same age, and should be planned with a few courses that are private. We affectionately refer to Nanea as 'Narnia'. It's amazing, and one of my favorite courses designed and constructed by David McLay Kidd. Kukio is fun and home to some of the finest comfort stations known to golf. There is a private little par 3 course by Mauna Kea, I think Weiskopf designed it. Homeowners have access to this spot and it's the place to go spend an afternoon during sunset. Barefoot of course.
Well this one is the dudes trip. I think it's possible to enjoy a trip here with ladies, we saw one on the last trip for sure. Groups in sizes of 4-8 are perfect. The Par 3 course is great. Not many details to share on Ballyneal - this is a place about discovery.
What is Seamus Doing This Week?
Last week we began shipping our Evans Scholar / BMW Championship gift packages to the 100 supporters. Each was hand cut and made to order here in our shop. That project rendered a check of $19k that went out in last week's check run to the Evans Foundation, and was made with the help of BMW (special thanks to Tim Rittenhouse) and Christian Hafer (wonderful content contributions). To think that this contribution will help an Evans Scholar makes us proud of our work and those who contributed to the cause. Thank you for your support and I look forward to more projects like this in the future.
There are quite a few fires in Oregon at the moment, more importantly all along the west coast. The fires reached just south of us last week and evacuations ensued for folks living not more than 2 miles from our home. We have seen such devastation, but amongst that we see beauty in locals helping each other in their community. We are fortunate that our employees and office were not harmed by fire. With the air quality poor from smoke we have taken a conservative approach for office and production workers, managing work loads in the way that we have during Covid until the smoke and air quality returns to a normal state. Some production continues in our shop and our shipping schedules are maintained as current. Any delays that may arise will be communicated.
Since each order typically contains a unique set of items that are made to order, we find that some delays have occurred with respect to shipping times. All shipping times reported on the website are accurate and within a timeframe that we feel to be reasonable given our pandemic operational challenges which are now complicated by the poor air quality in Portland, Oregon.
I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for being a golfer and being a part of what we do here at Seamus.
Play as much golf as you can, while keeping it FAR AND SURE.