Seamus - The Roots Tour

When I landed in Portland I was greated by a staple, the carpet.  Something reminiscent of my grade school portraits of the early 90s. It’s the most iconic part of PDX by far.

Outside awaiting was Akbar Chisti, Co-Founder of Seamus, in the great white Seamus express. We’d get familiar with the confines of the SUV as we would traverse from one corner of Oregon to the other and back in a sprint to document something special. But more on that for another time ... 

 Deep in the belly of Oregon Leather Co

Deep in the belly of Oregon Leather Co

Our first stop was a breakfast served all day spot. The location Akbar and his wife, Meghan, would meet weekly while they day dreamed up what would evolve into Seamus. Over countless cups of coffee and perhaps a plate or two of smoked corned beef brisket (amazing). A fitting start to our journey and oddly enough one of our grander ideas also set its roots in here.

After lunch we made a run out to Oregon Leather Company. From the first day and until now Akbar makes weekly trips to pick hides and find inspiration. Family owned and operated since 1908 the place harkens back to another era. We worked our way deep into the belly where you can find an entrance to some historically significant tunnels... they blocked them off.

 

Next stop was to see Lyle. He works out of an old oil change and car shop turned into the metal fab shop and forgery that has turned out some of the most badass (eloquent terminology) golf products in the business. Lyle is a quiet guy with a mind that just seems to understand how to convert Akbar’s mind into three dimensional metal designs. If you've seen the recent Master's bottle opener then you understand. I don't even drink and I want one! 

We  then swung past the same store that Akbar and Team have visited for years to find material to inspire their iconic headcovers - Pendleton. I may have found the same pattern my Vans X Pendleton COLLAB footwear was made from and pondered the idea of an entire outfit. HMMM? Rows and rows of fabric seem to pull out the creative juices and it wasn't more than five minutes before Akbar spotted a pattern that could potentially become one of their coolest pieces when paired with some other influences picked up along Akbar's travels.

 

Last stop was to the Seamus HQ to meet the team and see the process. Even towards the end of the day the place was buzzing. Sewing, cutting, embroidery, and embossing all happening as I whisk around snapping photos and looking here and there. The vibrant space goes non stop churning out orders and creating one offs right and left. The team was friendly as you'd imagine and super tolerate as I just started firing off photos. As soon as you open the doors you can feel the creativty pouring out. 

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When Seamus says hand crafted in Oregon, they mean it. They make everything by hand to order. Something lost in this day in age especially in golf. When you grab a headcover or pouch they hand make it for you . Something worth supporting! It’s interesting to see where they source their material and how that has not change much at all since the inception of the company. Despite rapid growth and the logistical hurdles that come with it they’ve stayed true to themselves. Far and Sure.

Pinehurst - History Evolves

Few places can boast a 123 year history rich with great golf and hospitality. Fewer places can say they've taken the lead in ushering a Renascence, of sorts, for the game of golf. 2014 was an eye opening year for the public of what Championship golf could look like. The resort and USGA fully embraced the natural features of the sand hills area. Coore and Crenshaw set out to retrun No2 to what it would have looked like in Ross's era. Wiregrass replaced perfectly manicured Bermuda and irrigation systems removed resulted in a much less water consumption. The results provided a great championship test and a polarizing debate or two was sparked. 

Fast forward four years and The Cradle has captured the hearts and minds of the guests and locals alike. A short nine hole loop on the storied clubhouse's front lawn serves as an outlet for youthful energy and old ingenuity. In my hours on the Cradle I watched countless golf teams playing as one group cheering and jeering their friends in good nature. Father's led their sons around the track. Their bags as big as they are but the energy was boundless. It is not only common but encourage to bring a gangsome and make a couple well natured bets. Enjoy some drinks and take in the music playing on the course. 

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The Cradle isn't great just because it is a short course. It's greatness lies in its design and presentation. Gil Hanse laid out the Cradle and it's evident that his imagination was firing on all cylinders. I couldn't help but image a shot from this spot to that or over this green to that green. And I can safely say without hesitation I am one of many that have dreamt up their own shots on this tiny parcel of land. The best thrill is standing on #9's tee box and watching people play into the 3rd hole. A punchbowl played up the hill results in all kinds of hopeful anxiety of an ace. I hope more courses take the lead set by Pinehurst and find ways to make golf fun again. Short courses or their putting course, Thistle Dhu, are templates for sustaining our game. 

 

 

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Now, Pinehurst could rest on the remarkable success of The Cradle and Thistle Dhu but instead they keep moving forward. My sense of the place is that they not only respect but cherish their past. They want to carry those traditions into the modern era and make their own mark. The continuation of this is evident in Pinehurst No. 4 which is currently under the knife of Gil Hanse. What is being done is nothing short of amazing. Having played the course a few years ago and seeing the return of the land's natural corridors I am left dumbfounded. How could such land actually lay under all those bunkers? Gone are cart paths and narrow chutes to play down in a hit and chase fashion. Replaced are open areas with sweeping views of holes just played and those yet to attack. Short walks from tee to green. Blind tee shots, heroic carries, ground game and principles that define golden era courses have returned. 

 

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As Pinehurst continues to evolve it carries a bright torch. People will follow the lead of our great public venues and I am hopeful that more local courses see the value in naturalness, playability and FUN.