Golf has always been considered an elitist sport, but when precious metals and exotic leathers are introduced, it’s a whole new game.
With its expensive equipment and country club heritage, golf has always been considered a luxury pursuit, even though aggressive youth programs and some hip touring professionals have begun eroding the sport’s buttoned-down image. Nonetheless, players with unlimited resources or a penchant for fantasy are fueling demand for some over-the-top golf equipment and accessories.
The venerable luxury brand of Tiffany & Co. creates some of golf’s most coveted trophies, including those of the PGA Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational. It also produces an elegant sterling silver putter ($2,500), which is an ideal gift for any golfing enthusiast who likes to flash some bling on the greens. A more discreet way to glamorously accessorize one’s game is with the company’s sterling silver tee, which at $175 is a relatively inexpensive way to give a loved one a little blue box from Tiffany. Hopefully, it will not be lost on the course!
The Garia “Golf Car”
The most expensive regular-production golf clubs are the platinum-and-24-karat gold-accented Beres 5-Star series from Japanese manufacturer Honma. Veteran golf retailer Bill Stauff er of Las Vegas Golf & Tennis Superstore reports that a 14-club set with bag sells for about $65,000 and is popular with status-conscious Asian tourists who would pay more for these products back home. “There’s no question the quality is there,” states Stauffer, who insists Honma products are not simply for bragging rights. He explains the clubs are all made-to-order by seasoned craftsmen, which results in an eight-week wait for delivery. While the brand has traditionally been more popular with billionaire duff ers than PGA pros, superstar Justin Rose just inked a 10-year endorsement deal with Honma.
Transforming the clunky electric golf cart into a sophisticated driving machine is Garia, a Danish manufacturer whose top-of-the-line vehicle begins at $73,000. The Garia “Golf Car,” inspired by Mercedes-Benz, combines luxury, state-of-the-art technology and the true spirit of the game. For functionality, it features a scoreboard displayed on a touchscreen and handy tray for balls and tees, while comfort is ensured by the inclusion of that essential amenity on the golf course — a built-in refrigerator. And with an attainable speed of 43 miles per hour, albeit not recommended at stuffier country clubs, Garia has not overlooked performance. This aerodynamic Mercedes Benz-styled ride puts an end to the plastic buggy age and allows luxury golf enthusiasts to express themselves on the links.
Anders Lynge, designer and co-founder of Garia, explains the inspiration for the product was to take Mercedes-Benz design values onto the golf course, noting the iconic automotive brand has previously applied its sense of style to yachts and helicopters. All Garia golf cars are more than just your average golf cart,” insists Lynge, citing features like sports car-inspired double-wishbone suspension with disc brakes and an integrated instrument cluster. While it offers the functionality and simplicity of a golf cart, the designer maintains it drives more like an automobile.
“Buyers are wealthy individuals who need the car for golf and street usage inside their communities or on their properties,” says Lynge, who reports the car is street legal in both the EU and U.S. “Some are Mercedes collectors, some avid golfers who want the very best, others are athletes or entrepreneurs who have made it and now live in a golf community and want the best possible vehicle for driving and golfing,” says Lynge of his globally diverse clientele.
Par West Custom Golf Shoes is another brand that has gained traction among discriminating golfers. Paul Raddatz founded the business after making his first pair of shoes for PGA pro Payne Stewart — the game’s most flamboyant dresser in the ’80s and ’90s — from NFL football leather.
Currently, three of the top 10 ranked players on the Tour are wearing Par West shoes. The Wisconsin-based company custom-makes all shoes from a foot mold kit, taking into consideration clients’ sock preferences and habits on the course.
Honma Beres S-06 Driver
Sterling in Tangerine Ostrich
Reporting he has sold shoes with more than 5,000 distinct color and style combinations, Raddatz says many of his customers are simply unable to find shoes that fit in any pro shop. “Others are people who really want to look their best and care about quality,” he explains. Traditional styles are offered for conservative dressers, but for those more daring in their golf fashion, perhaps influenced by the PGA’s Rickie Fowler, Par West has plenty of eye-popping options to choose from.
Raddatz, a leather industry veteran, utilizes sharkskin, ostrich, American bison, crocodile, African elephant, and stingray for golf shoes, among other exotic leathers. He reports bold color choices like fuchsia, canary yellow or tangerine are surprisingly popular, and a pair of royal purple American alligator shoes is priced at $5,200. An avid golfer himself, Raddatz states, “I don’t care how much you spend on clubs or lessons. Stability on the ground is the basis for a good swing.” A large part of Par West’s business is corporate gifts, ideal for the Fortune 500 executive who fancies himself as the best dressed golfer at his club.
Some fashionable duffers may opt for a vintage Louis Vuitton golf bag, but among the most expensive currently available are ostrich, crocodile or carbon fiber bags from Barchi, handcrafted by Italian artisans. Customers should be prepared to spend more than $40,000 for these luxury bags, available in vibrant colors and accented with palladium hardware.
Considerably more modest but with plenty of cachet is Louis Vuitton’s golf kit clad in the design house’s signature Monogram canvas. The $850 item, which can be clipped to one’s golf bag or Garia cart, neatly holds three balls and four tees. Players with fancy accessories should probably consider membership at a country club that is equally selective, and the most expensive in America is Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, where the initiation fee is reportedly $500,000.
Riviera in Cognac Calf & Chocolate American Alligator
Montage Residences Big Sky, the first ultra-luxury mountain resort in Big Sky, Montana – set to open in 2021. Designed by Hart Howerton, Brayton Hughes, and EDG of San Francisco, it will feature 150 guest rooms and suites, along with 39 Montage Residences.
The limited collection of 39 residences that make up Montage Residences Big Sky elevate mountain living to its highest standard. These two- to six-bedroom residences, ranging in size from 2,300 to 8,100 square feet, are inspired by modern mountain design principles and feature timeless, comfortable styling throughout. Each residence embodies an enduring palette of regional materials including hand-stacked stone, western-inspired lighting, and custom cabinetry. In addition, residences all have well-appointed kitchens, fireplaces, lock-off bedrooms, underground parking and ample storage. Optional participation in the Montage rental program allows owners to designate usage dates and enjoy turnkey access.
Centrally located within Big Sky’s 3,530-acre Spanish Peaks enclave, Montage Residences Big Sky residents will have unparalleled proximity to outdoor amenities offering ski-in, ski-out access to Big Sky Resort’s 5,800 skiable acres (the second largest ski resort in the United States by acreage) and access to Spanish Peaks Mountain Club’s 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, which is located just steps from the resort. Hiking, mountain biking, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails abound, with three world-renowned fly-fishing rivers passing through the Big Sky region. The accommodations of Montage Big Sky will create a mountain paradise for luxury adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts visiting Montana and Yellowstone National Park.
Big Sky Resort actually has plans to transform the destination a bit, as well – with “Big Sky 2025,” a campaign to bring upgrades to the area. Nearly $1 billion in improvements are under way, including a developer-built Town Center that will soon get its first branded hotel: a Marriott Residence Inn named for Woodrow Wilson (who signed the act creating the National Park Service); it’s set to open by summer 2019. Additional hotels are a Marriott Residence Inn named for Woodrow Wilson (who signed the act creating the National Park Service); it’s set to open by summer 2019 and a One & Only Resort at Moonlight that is expected to break ground in a year or two.
All photos courtesy Montage Residences.
Usually, getting to a destination is the most difficult part of a trip; at The Abaco Club, an international sporting club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas, the hard part is leaving.
“Welcome to Paradise” is how David Southworth, founder and CEO of Southworth Development, greets newcomers here. Even before you reach your residence, via a personal golf cart, you already feel the sense of being in paradise building.
The setting is relaxed with low slung buildings and iconic Bahamian architecture surrounded by lush vegetation. In the background, turquoise waters sparkle and flashes of rose red can be spied as Bahamian parrots streak through the trees.
No matter your vision of paradise — golf, tennis, boating, cave diving and snorkeling excursions or just relaxing on two miles of pristine beach — this club has it all. The golf course, consistently rated No. 1 in the Bahamas, is a true Scottish-style links course set hard by the sea with classic links features including pot bunkers and sloping greens. Pros such as PGA champion Darren Clarke often use the extensive practice facility to perfect their short game.
The club setting, which restricts the number of visits from non-members, adds to the overall laid-back ambiance. Real estate offerings include cottages, estate homes and cabanas. Two new condo buildings are planned. Also, in the works is a second members’ clubhouse and dedicated boat slips at Little Harbour.
Divers worldwide come to Abaco to explore the blue holes and potentially the most extensive island underground cave system in the world.
Our visit to the island included a winding trip through a pine forest with the Friends of the Environment to visit Dean’s Blue Hole, the second deepest in the world. Another day, we explored the cays and harbors around the Sea of Abaco, where we swam with turtles and met the swimming pigs of No Name Cay.
Along the Winding Bay beach, the club’s waterfront director has a range of water toys including kayaks, paddleboards and snorkels at the ready, and special events are planned every day.
Whether in the open air at Flippers Beach Bar or taking in the panoramic views from the relaxed elegance of the Cliff House, dining often turns into a convivial experience. It’s no surprise that Flippers’ signature drink is the Island Smile. Fish tacos at Flippers and fresh lobster at the Cliff House are favorites.
The last night of our visit was ribs night, one of the special events at Flippers, with live Shake ‘n Scrape music and a surprise visit from the island’s Junkanoo troupe.
Regretfully, we had to leave the next morning, but we carried with us the last exuberant notes of that night. — Camilla McLaughlin
Photos courtesy of The Abacos Club; Left bottom photo courtesy of Home ©Aaron Usher III
Florida is repeatedly challenged, but by embracing its diverse cultures and lifestyles the state has arrived on the threshold of a promising new era.
By Roger Grody
Virtually the entire Florida peninsula was ravaged by Hurricane Irma last September, but the resilient Sunshine State — even Key West, which suffered the devastating storm’s direct assault — has rebounded. Builders may employ new technologies to brace oceanfront properties from future storms, but coastal Florida is far too magical to dampen enthusiasm for new development. Undeterred by Irma is a Floridian renaissance that still has the wind at its back.
Unlike many states that are defined by a uniform lifestyle, Florida is so multidimensional that vastly different lifestyles coexist. The fourth-generation fisherman dropping nets off the Florida Panhandle seems far removed from the hipster fashion designer in South Beach, yet both are proud Floridians united by their passion for the sun and surf.
Some of Florida’s 67 counties are more spiritually akin to rural Alabama, while others feel more like Havana, Managua or Brooklyn. In one town, shrimp-and-grits is the signature dish, in another it may be ropa vieja or pastrami-on-rye. That diversity is one of the elements that makes the Sunshine State so exciting, and so welcoming to newcomers.
The U.S. Census reported that 128 different languages are spoken in South Florida alone. While some old-timers may bemoan that reality, it is the influx of immigrants — not only from the Americas but also Europe and Asia — that has fueled the transformation of Miami from sleepy snowbird retreat to world-class metropolis. Other regions of the state have also drawn newcomers from across the country and around the world.
Golf as Religion
With the Gators, Seminoles and Canes all intently followed, football is huge in Florida, but the sport that seems most worshipped in the Sunshine State is golf. Florida has more courses (approximately 1,250) than any other state, the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, and dozens of touring professionals reside in the state, attracted by its climate, championship courses and lack of state income tax.
Photo courtesy of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Archives, Robin Hill and Edison Food + Drink Lab
The 3 new neighborhoods will allow golf enthusiasts the opportunity to live on the recently restored Meadows and Old White TPC courses. New homeowners may live among golfers Bubba Watson, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson, who also call the resort home.
While the three neighborhoods each provide unique features, they all share stunning golf course views.
Located along the Nos. 15, 16 and 17 fairways of The Old White TPC Course, this course offers spectacular fairway and mountain vistas. Sixteen total sites — ranging in size from 0.37 acres to 0.66 acres — will make up this neighborhood. The homes are also within close proximity to The Greenbrier Golf Club, the outdoor pool and the tennis and fitness center.
This course will offer 3 new homesites along the third fairway of the Meadows Course, which recently underwent a redesign and restoration process. These new sites offer golf course and mountain views with a central location that provides easy access to The Greenbrier Sporting Club and The Greenbrier.
Located within The Greenbrier Sporting Club’s main gated entry, these 7 homesites will be built along a new 9-hole Par-3 Course, which is currently under construction. These sites also offer breathtaking golf and mountain views.
Along with the 3 new neighborhoods, The Greenbrier Sporting Club is also offering 2 new homesites as part of the popular Lodge Cottage neighborhood along Howard’s Creek. A limited number of these new homesites are available in conjunction with an Oakhurst Founding Partnership contribution of $500,000. Founding partners receive a $500,000 credit toward the purchase of a developer-owned homesite or home in The Greenbrier Sporting Club’s existing community or a future homesite in the Oakhurst neighborhood. Membership to The Greenbrier Sporting Club includes no greens fees on any of The Greenbrier’s 4 golf courses.
Members will also receive access to:
- the Members’ Lodge, a 32,000-square-foot facility with a restaurant, bar and pro shop, the Sports Complex and spa and a members-only facility.
- the Summit Lodge, which features a restaurant and bar, indoor basketball court, miniature golf, hiking, fishing, equestrian and hunting.
- activities offered at America’s Resort, which include golf, tennis, swimming, falconry and The Casino Club.
Photos courtesy of The Greenbrier
This private residential and resort community in Jackson Hole, Wyoming will open a new 63-unit residence situated between the Bridger-Teton National and the Snake River.
Designed for sporting and outdoor enthusiasts, the Snake River Sporting Club seeks to improve its services with the addition of “The Lodges.”
Covered under Teton County’s Resort Zoning, “The Lodges” give owners the luxury to place their property into short-term property management while they are not using their home. Since Resort Zoning is rare in Jackson Hole, Snake River believes this to be an additional attraction of “The Lodges.”
The architect behind “The Lodges,” Walton Architecture and Engineering, was inspired by the mountain modern aesthetic. The three designs currently planned for the initial phase of “The Lodges” include:
Located in the center of the development, these 5-bedroom, two-story homes offer 3,741 square feet of indoor living space, beautiful views and a 2.5-car garage. Complete with heavy timber lodge-style beam work and rustic plank flooring, these homes are reflective of western style and contemporary design.
With 4 master bedroom suites and 2,626 square feet of indoor space, these cabins are the perfect vacation space. An open floor plan with lock off capability also provides additional flexibility for the rental market.
These modern 3-bedroom homes feature tall glass windows and an ingenious floor plan, which allows owners to lock off a bedroom to create flexible options.
“The announcement of ‘The Lodges’ represents an exciting new phase that significantly expands Jackson Hole’s hospitality offering and allows more visitors to come and enjoy the destination,” says Jeff Heilbrun, executive vice president and director of Sales at Snake River Sporting Club. “We look forward to welcoming new members and guests as Snake River Sporting Club continues to thrive while staying true to our original vision of creating an authentic western experience within a private club setting.”
“The Lodges” have become the newest addition to Snake River Sporting Club’s existing collection of real estate offerings, which already includes a variety of home sites and residences. There are currently 11 Ranch Estate lots available ranging from 7 to 35 acres, 29 home sites for The Residences ranging from 0.5 to 2.2 acres and 3 Tall Timber Cottages.
While “The Lodges” are under construction, a selection of residential-style accommodations are currently available for overnight stays.
Additionally, members and guests of Snake River Sporting Club can experience a range of western activities that include fly-fishing, rafting, horseback trail riding, hiking, golfing and so much more!
Photos courtesy of Snake River Sporting Club