Sugarloaf Social Club

The Pappy Cap

Ian Gilley

by Jay Revell

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There once was a time where the most famous names in Augusta, Georgia were names of men wearing white coveralls and dark green hats. Those men were the caddies of Augusta National Golf Club and the men behind the guys wearing green jackets. 

“Stovepipe,” “Cemetery,” and “Marble Eye” were all names given to some of the famous Caddies of the National. Carl “Skillet” Jackson brought “Gentle Ben” Crenshaw two green jackets, but it was Willie “Pappy” Stokes that taught him and all the others. Pappy was the Godfather. Pappy was born on the grounds of Fruitland Nursery and was clearing trees there when Bobby Jones and Dr. Alister MacKenzie were laying out their masterpiece. 

Pappy Stokes is in the caddie Hall of Fame. He carried the mail for five victories at the Masters. His winning ways started when he was 17 years old and on the bag for Henry Picard in 1938. Pappy got a green jacket for Claude Harmon and Jackie Burke Jr. He also took Ben “the Hawk” Hogan to both of his trips to Butler Cabin. That’s legendary. That’s Pappy Stokes. That’s an Augusta story. 

The caddies of Masters past are all but memories now. They live on in black and white photos and the tall tales of members. Pappy Stokes was the most famous of all the Augusta men. He may be gone, but the hat he wore isn’t.  

The Pappy Cap is a salute to Pappy Stokes and the men in white coveralls who walked with champions wearing green. 

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A Golf-averse Gear Guide for the Golfer

Ian Gilley

curated by SSC

Expanding on Derek Zoolander's famous Socratic truism, we believe there is more to life than being really, really ridiculously golfy. 

Thus, we felt some responsibility to put forth a selective gear guide for the Holiday season, curated for the tasteful/thoughtful golfer, void of any heavy golf-centric themes. 

After all, you are a person/golfer, and not the other way around. 

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Pleasure - a group consisting of quality wears perfect for the ongoings of daily life:

  • Pilgrim Surf + Supply "Zip Wallet" by MAKR ($130) - Pilgrim is our favorite brand, hands down. So when we found out that they collaborated with Winter Park atelier MAKR (located just blocks away from our alma Mater, Rollins) well ... it was nearly too hot to handle. Manitoba leather, Horween pull tab, laser etched, YKK zipper, made in Florida - need we say more? Click here to purchase.
  • Mackinaw Cruiser by Filson ($395) - This classic wool coat has endured for over a century. With a bevy of pockets (7+!), while being naturally water repellant, and classy enough to wear to church, this is a must-have if you live in a chilly climate. Don't tell us, "well, Sugarloaf, I already own a cool Barbour waxed canvas coat!" Phewy - you need both. Oh, at it just gets better looking with use. Made in USA. Click here to purchase.
  • Timex Ironman Digital Watch for Todd Snyder ($98) - Ironman is a slight misnomer endorsement, because you will never catch us in a marathon much less something that adds biking and swimming on top of that equation. We play real sports. Nonetheless, this watch is a reissue of a 90's classic adored by weekend regatta warriors. If it's good enough for our sailing forefathers, it's good enough for us. Also, a humble rubber digital timepiece is a must right next to your Sub and Speedy. Click here to purchase. 
  • Mini Griptillian by Benchmade ($110) - It seems like every lumbersexual hipster carries a painted axe nowadays. But, short of cutting down some loblollies at Augusta, you don't need a felling weapon in your life. But, what you actually do kinda need is a proper pocket knife. There is no better modern gamer than the Benchmade Griptillian. Simple, sturdy and utilitarian, you can customize the blade, material and color. Might we suggest the Tanto shape for no other reason than it is fun to say "Tanto." Click here to purchase.
  • Knoxville Pro by Electric ($120+) - A new style that ads a dash of sport on the most classic of frame shapes. This is the moment we get to use the tired maxim of "works on or off the course!" But, it's so true. Super light, super comfortable and with rubber nubs over the ears and nose, these puppies stay in place whether pushing the apex on the Blue Ridge or sweating your shorts off during a summer round. With the absence of a bottom lens frame and optional polarized lenses, our Wayfare's are now collecting dust in some far off golf junk drawer. Designed in California, hand crafted in Italy. Click here to purchase. 
  • Flip Pack by Keltterwerks ($199) - We're bag whores, just love 'em. One brand that has stood the test of time, literally, is Kletterwerks. And we fancy very much so their 23-liter top loading stalwart. The Flip is constructed from 1000D CORDURA, with an internal sleeve large enough of a 15" MacBook and a top lid ideal for accessories. It's all you need for a work day at the local coffee shop or impromptu content shoot across the country. Made in Montana by the parent company Mystery Ranch (these are the dudes that make packs for US Special Forces!). Click here to purchase. 
  • The North Face "Old Skool MTE DX" by Vans - Power couple right here folks. Consider these snow boots masquerading as skate kicks. Weather resistant upper, warm lining and nubby-outsole for some serious traction. You can golf and party this winter with these dogs in tow. Click here to purchase. 
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Business - desk flare for the global citizen:

  • Gel Pen by Muji ($1.50) - The pen is a daily commodity that deserves more respect. You should have one on you at all times, no questions asked. Through years of doodle testing writing utensils from Mont Blanc to BIC, and everything in between, we have found the best pound-for-pound pen in the world. From the Japanese polycarbonate design, simple grip, 0.5mm size and blue-black gel ink, this wonder from Muji is the perfect size, color and weight in one helluva economical package. Buy a handful here.
  • A5 Notebook by Postalco (¥ 2,268) - Japan just gets it, no other country pumps out better pens, pencils and paper. Case-in-point, Postalco's A5 Notebook is a workhorse of perfected design that will truly make your life better. Featuring a durable pressed cotton fabric cover that houses the most lovely of microgid paper, all bound by a brass spiral - we get goosebumps just thinking about taking notes on this pad. Click here to purchase. 
  • Custom Market Bag by Apolis ($68) - "Holds more than 135 pounds, with a waterproof interior — so you can carry pretty much anything." Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Made in Bangladesh, supports fair and transparent working conditions. Something that you will end up using way more than you ever thought. Click here to customize. 
  • Car Sculptures by Stéphane Dufour ($400+) - This is easily the most opulent and unnecessary addition to this gift list. But, for the car-lover who has everything, this is just off-the-grid enough to ensure a true grown-up surprise whilst delivering a life-time of child-like glee. The best shapes from Porsche, Ford and Lamborghini are all here. Sexy, simple, beautiful - we would buy them all if we could. Click here to window shop. 
  • Classic Travel Alarm Clock by Braun ($25) - Certainly no one truly needs a clock in today's world. But, trust us when we say that the work day becomes slightly more bearable when you can take momentary glances at this affordable/iconic epitome of Deiter Rams design. Click here to purchase.
  • Monocle Subscription ($75) - This is the best magazine in the world, bar none. Design, politics, economics, music, fashion, history, trends ... Monocle covers it all in a dense, yet manageable, manner that keeps you up to speed on everything one would ever need to know for business chats and cocktail parties. As if NPR, The Economist, GQ and the Wall Street Journal had a grown-up hipster love child. Smart, funny, insightful. Click here
  • Dudek Modern Goods (from $45) - Now that you have some pens from Muji along with that fancy notebook from Postalco, you need something to house them in. Such fine items don't deserve the drawer. That's where the desk organizers from Dudek come into play. Need a spot for your succulent? No problem. Shop here
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The Ashes of Alister MacKenzie

Ian Gilley2 Comments
 
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Written by Jay Revell

 

American flight 517 is my plane ride home from a pilgrimage. I have six hours in the air between me and a return to my daily routine. I’ve just paid my respects to the remains of the worlds greatest golf architect, Dr. Alister MacKenzie. I went in search of the difference between good and great in golf design, and in his final resting place I believe I found it...


 The sixteenth green at Pasatiempo, MacKenzie’s favorite hole he ever designed.

The sixteenth green at Pasatiempo, MacKenzie’s favorite hole he ever designed.


PASATIEMPO

The ashes of Alister Mackenzie are just as much a part of Pasatiempo Golf Club as the greens and bunkers he built there. The golf course in Santa Cruz, California is his only grave site and it is a monument to a man who helped shape golf history. Augusta, Melbourne, and Cypress Point may claim strong holds on his legacy, but the remains of the man himself are mingled with the soil that binds the turf in Santa Cruz. His other works may be sheltered masterpieces, but Pasatiempo is an accessible holy site.

Every golfer who feels a spiritual connection to the game at some point must make way to the Mecca that is Northern California. Santa Cruz is located between the Golden Gate of San Francisco and the breathtaking beauty of the Monterey Peninsula. There in Santa Cruz, perched in the foothills near the sea, is Pasatiempo.

MacKenzie made his home at Pasatiempo. His house is located just off the fairway of the sixth hole. He spent more days there than at any other course he crafted. Pasatiempo was his home course and that is where his life came to an end. In many ways, Pasatiempo is an epitaph to MacKenzie and an invitation to explore his expertise.


 MacKenzie’s home off of the sixth hole fairway.

MacKenzie’s home off of the sixth hole fairway.


MACKENZIE’S PRINCIPLES IN PLAY

Alister MacKenzie believed in thirteen principles for great golf design and they are alive in the holes he designed at Pasatiempo. The MacKenzie principles can be seen best in three ways at Pasatiempo: The par three holes, the variety of shots needed to play the course, and the incredible routing over the natural features.

The par three holes at Pasatiempo are a perfect collection of one shotters. Each of them has a unique signature element and they all demand a daring swing of the club. MacKenzie may be best remembered for his par three holes and Pasatiempo is evidence as to why. There are five par three holes and MacKenzie makes sure you remember them the most as the eighteenth hole is one of his finest.

During my walk at Pasatiempo, I made sure to note how many clubs I used from my bag. By the eighteenth, I had swung them all at least once. I hit shots from down hill lies with short irons, to uphill lies with long irons, and sidehill lies with wedges. On the marvelous par three holes I hit a 3 wood, 8 iron, 5 iron, sand wedge, and a 7 iron. Off the tee with the driver, I hit draws into hills and fades away from hazards. I felt like I was being tested on every aspect of my game and the test was fun.


 The eighteenth hole at Pasatiempo, a courageous one shotter.

The eighteenth hole at Pasatiempo, a courageous one shotter.


I played Pasatiempo with a desire to discover greatness in design. My time there was my first venture into MacKenzie’s work. Evidence of his genius is displayed throughout the course but it is most apparent in the way the land is used as a grounds for golf. The natural features available to the Doctor at Pasatiempo are unique and his use of them is remarkable. The terrain is hilly in nature and there are a number of cavernous barrancas that weave throughout the property. The back nine is a study on routing and the barrancas are the main theme. The barranca arteries that wind across the surface of the final nine are used in seven different holes on that side.

The course is set in beautiful surroundings with sweeping views of the Pacific in the distance used as an intermission between holes that climb hills, ridges, and swales while also traversing the signature features of the barrancas.


 View from behind the eleventh green with the barranca in the foreground and Pacific in the distance.

View from behind the eleventh green with the barranca in the foreground and Pacific in the distance.


REFLECTING IN HIS RESTING PLACE

When MacKenzie died, he was cremated and brought home to Pasatiempo to live on forever. Today that memorial is one of the few places on earth where golfers seeking to experience the mastery of Mackenzie’s work can walk in his footsteps without being a member of a prestigious club. Pasatiempo is open for public play and there are no gates to guard you from praying in this temple to the game.

If you make the pilgrimage to Pasatiempo, you should go in search of the subtle differences between good and great. Go to seek out those guiding principles that MacKenzie laid out as his vision for what great golf design should be. Play the course with eyes wide open as it is the smallest of details that make his work so special. Watch the way the land falls into all the right places and see how he draws your eye and your interest from shot to shot. Enjoy the challenges he lays before you and revel as you rise to the occasion when facing them.

MacKenzie achieved a status that so many men desire yet so few achieve. He left a legacy that has allowed his name, likeness, and ideas to live forever. When Alister MacKenzie died, he did not perish like most mortal men. He became the places which he built and found a way to live on through his work. The ashes of Alister MacKenzie were spread across the 16th green of his home course on a California winter's day in 1934. That was the day his immortality found a permanent home in Pasatiempo.

Before I left the sixteenth green, I found the perfect place to pause for a moment in admiration of MacKenzie and his work. Just off the back of the green, near the far left corner of the putting surface is a small concrete bench. From that perch I sat and saw the afternoon fade into the evening over the most stunning green complex in America. The green stands out because of its design, but it is most memorable because of the man whose ashes are spread over that ground.

When I close my eyes in my plane seat, I drift away to that concrete bench. I see myself there and feel that warm California sun falling over me and the sixteenth green. That is a place where there is no doubt as to what greatness in golf design looks like. From that bench I imagine MacKenzie putting on the green of his favorite hole in the twilight of the day and of his life. From that bench I could see barrancas and hills, and the holes that fall over them to create the mark of genius.

The stewardess walks by me and I’m pulled back to my seat on the plane. I’m six hours from home thinking about Pasatiempo and everything I learned on my pilgrimage there. I’m thinking about MacKenzie and the difference between good and great.


 A parting view of the sixteenth green, MacKenzie’s final resting place.

A parting view of the sixteenth green, MacKenzie’s final resting place.


ALISTER MACKENZIE'S 13 PRINCIPLES

  1. The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes.
  2. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes, and at least four one-shot holes.
  3. There should be little walking between the greens and tees, and the course should be arranged so that in the first instance there is always a slight walk forwards from the green to the next tee; then the holes are sufficiently elastic to be lengthened in the future if necessary.
  4. The greens and fairways should be sufficiently undulating, but there should be no hill climbing.
  5. Every hole should be different in character.
  6. There should be a minimum of blindness for the approach shots.
  7. The course should have beautiful surroundings, and all the artificial features should have so natural an appearance that a stranger is unable to distinguish them from nature itself.
  8. There should be a sufficient number of heroic carries from the tee, but the course should be arranged so that the weaker player with the loss of a stroke, or portion of a stroke, shall always have an alternate route open to him.
  9. There should be infinite variety in the strokes required to play the various holes — that is, interesting brassie shots, iron shots, pitch and run up shots.
  10. There should be a complete absence of the annoyance and irritation caused by the necessity of searching for lost balls.
  11. The course should be so interesting that even the scratch man is constantly stimulated to improve his game in attempting shots the has hitherto been unable to play.
  12. The course should so be arranged that the long handicap player or even the absolute beginner should be able to enjoy his round in spite of the fact that he is piling up a big score. In other words, the beginner should not be continually harassed by losing strokes from playing out of sand bunkers. The layout should be so arranged that he loses strokes because he is making wide detours to avoid hazards.
  13. The course should be equally good during winter and summer, the texture of the greens and fairways should be perfect and the approaches should have the same consistency as the greens.

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Author: Jay Revell, jrevell@talchamber.com

Course: 

Pasatiempo Golf Club
20 Clubhouse Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

831-459-9155

http://www.pasatiempo.com/index.php


The Song of Sweetens Cove

Ian GilleyComment
 

Written by Jay Revell

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 Looking towards the Sweetens Cove “Clubhouse” from below the ninth green

Looking towards the Sweetens Cove “Clubhouse” from below the ninth green


I’m sitting in a meeting room in Tallahassee, Florida...

...but my golfing soul is somewhere near South Pittsburg, Tennessee. For those in the know, South Pittsburg is home to Sweetens Cove Golf Club, the modern masterpiece of a course hand crafted by King-Collins Golf Design. Tad King and Rob Collins are the duo that comprise this golf course design and construction team based out of nearby Chattanooga. The work they have done there has touched a nerve with me. I am just returning from my first trip to this cult phenomenon of a golf course and the slopes, bunkers, and angles are running through my head like the tune of a new favorite song.

The Sweetens experience is incredibly unique. That is apparent when you set foot on the property. The clubhouse is nothing more than a small shed painted in hunter’s green. There to greet me on my recent arrival was the assistant pro, a young man watching over the course from a folding chair on the porch of the shed. He checked us in, handed us a few scorecards, took our small greens fee, and pointed us to the first tee. The only resemblance of a locker room is a old port-a-john. It’s all the furthest thing from luxury golf you could imagine. That all changes though when you walk onto the teeing area. Like Shoe-less Joe Jackson walking out of a cornfield, you are transported into a world of pure perfection. As you stroll to the teeing ground and the vast landscape unfolds before you, you can’t help but look back receiving the nod in recognition that you have paid your fee and you can go walk up and touch the Mona Lisa.


 Sweetens Cove Golf Club, South Pittsburg, Tennessee

Sweetens Cove Golf Club, South Pittsburg, Tennessee


Sweetens Cove is without parallel in today's golfing world. It’s a monument to the modern minimalist school of golf design. In this case, as in many of its contemporaries, minimalism does not mean lacking. The depth of design on display at Sweetens Cove lives through three main components of the course; the bunkering, the slopes, and the angles of approach. King and Collins have created a variable wonderland of golf design elements that come together to form a siren for the golfing soul.

Those three components are best observed by walking. Walking is not only an essential part of the game of golf, but in the case of Sweetens it is the only way to absorb the subtle mastery in design that is painted on that turf canvas from corner to corner.


 With my  Jones Golf Bag  in tow, the walk is always a pleasure

With my Jones Golf Bag in tow, the walk is always a pleasure


I have never been so excited to enter a bunker as I was at Sweetens. Throughout the course’s bunkers there are obstacles of many shapes and sizes that range from boulders to wooden boards and native grasses. They are playable but punishing at the same time. All of the bunkers play as waste areas on the course. Ground your club as needed. There were large expansive bunkers that run the length of holes paired beautifully with small pesky pot bunkers. There was a curiosity in my swing that guided my ball into these traps just to see what lied in their sandy bottoms.

Sweetens is surrounded by mountainous terrain. The course itself is in a flat valley with the Blue Ridge Mountains rising around it. Those hilltops must have been an inspiration for King-Collins as they shaped the majestic slopes that make up the playing surfaces at Sweetens. The fairways roll like the wake behind a lake boat, but the real magic of the course appears on the greens. Each green is a masterclass in shaping putting surfaces. The greens are excessively large in all the right ways. The par 3 fourth hole, named on the card as KING, is a soliloquy on slopes. That green must extend some 80 yards in length allowing the hole to play in incredible variations off the tee. Slopes like those can carry your ball to glory or run it onto the endless supply of closely-mown areas around the greens. The way the slopes of the fairways merge into the green complexes is stunning. The greens then entertain you with small doses of timeless template features such as punchbowl, redan, and biarritz.


 Bunkers, slopes, and angles of approach

Bunkers, slopes, and angles of approach


The final pieces of the Sweetens puzzle are the angles of approach. This perhaps is the most impressive element of the design. Much like the mother course in St. Andrews, Sweetens is an ever changing variable. There is no rough at Sweetens. The fairways roam from edge to edge. Should your ball wonder off and be lost, fret not, anything not in the fairway acts as a lateral hazard for more friendly play. In those expanses of manicured turf the fairways provide numerous options for how to play a hole. Some holes even share a fairway, creating scenarios that are hardly found in the common courses of American golf. The examples of this are rampant on this nine-hole course of wonders. You can play Sweetens into perpetuity and never play it the same way twice. The King-Collins team show an uncanny ability to create multiple playing experiences on a hole and the time you are able to spend pursuing those routes is simply magnificent.

When you exit the ninth green after your play is complete, you can’t help but sadden at the thought of the ending. But with Sweetens, it really isn’t over. Once you play her, you will have to come back some day. You just can’t help yourself.

A day there is a favorite new song that you just heard for the first time. For me, Sweetens Cove is a Jason Isbell song. It’s a collision of worlds happening in an East Tennessee mountain valley. The course setting is a rustic reminder of the old south in fields that are home to the future of an ancient game. Some lyrics find you long after you listen to the song. That’s the Sweeten Cove experience I am still having hundreds of miles away from the place where I first heard this tune. The bunkers, slopes, and angles are the lyrics I cannot get out of my head.

Somewhere in that song I can hear Sweetens guys saying softly, “see you again” as I walk out of the green shed. I’m trying to pay attention to a meeting in Tallahassee, but the song of Sweetens is playing in my head and I can’t hear anything else.


 The green shed clubhouse

The green shed clubhouse


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Author: Jay Revell, jrevell@talchamber.com