Thursday, June 28, 2012

Criquet Organic Golf Shirts

Criquet is an Austin, Texas based maker of stylish, high quality golf shirts made with organic fabric.  I recently interviewed Billy Nachman and Hobson Brown, the two enterprising young men behind the label, after becoming totally enamored with their wicked cool "Criquet Caddy" videos online:

Ed:  Your shirts have the right cut, the right collar, the extended placket, and the perfectly placed pocket.  Your website is clean and professional.  Your videos are fresh and well-made.  Who are you?  How are you guys so awesome?  Is it an Austin, TX thing?

Hobson:  Thanks for the kind words.  I'm the dude stabbing Billy with the pitchfork (below).  Billy is a trained architect.  I've worked e-commerce, advertising, and written some young adult novels.  Austin does breed awesomeness, especially in melted cheese and meats, but Billy and I grew up together in NYC and have lived all over.  Criquet is a collaboration of two life-long best friends, which is the most awesome part of the whole deal.

Billy:  Austin is responsible for some of Criquet's cool, but really, I think the shirts get their awesomeness in their deference to the past greats, the classic Jack and Arnie moments, the friendly rounds between Frank and Dean.  Criquet takes its cues from the tried and true, the proven classics, whether it's Ty Webb or Seve Ballesteros.   In addition, while Hobson and I grew up together and followed similar tracks through high school, we found ourselves on divergent paths through our college years.  I ended up a dirty hippy (although still pretty stylish in my comfort wear) in Eugene, OR, while Hobson pulled out his freshest needle-point belts in preparation for Chapel Hill.  The only cross-over articles of clothing in our closets were probably our Patagonia fleeces, which are as appropriate at a drum circle in the woods as an ACC tailgater, and these classic "polos", whose vintage vibe works in both worlds.  Austin actually is a place where these two worlds have cohesively collided for a long time, so its the perfect place for Criquet to have been born.

Ed:  Austin seems to share Portland's design-savvy culture, where there are so many young, talented people who just seem to get it.  Tell me a little about your philosophy regarding golf fashion.  Why does even the scrappiest dirtbag rock-and-roller feel comfortable throwing on a teal polo to play golf?  It seems to me there is something very peculiar in our collective consciousness regarding golf's preppy past.  Are we embracing it ironically or genuinely?  Are we just channeling a Gen X love for 1980's Caddyshack

Hobson:  Ahh, Caddyshack, yes.  My favorite film.  Ty Webb is who we imagine as the ultimate Criquet guy.  Smart, funny, irreverent, progressive, probably environmentally-conscious, but wouldn't be caught dead at a drum circle.  He's the guy I'd want to be sitting next to at a wedding.

Billy:  I think you hit the nail on the head.  Some have genuine love for classic preppy, while some people view it with a Caddyshack filter.  Our shirts offer a way of "dressing it up" without taking it too seriously.  Dirtbags like me can wear a collared shirt, regardless of the color, and not look like a preppy tool.  And yes, I'll take credit for the Northwest design saavy and the dirtbag rocker vibe.  Hob, step up and accept that you're a "preppy tool".

Ed:  Tell me a little about the organic fabric you use.  What makes a shirt get better with time instead of worse?

Hobson:  The organic fabric we use is super soft, so it's more comfortable than your typical polo.  It's also a shirt that you can wear on and off the course.  So much golf attire these days is made of performance-based, shiny materials that don't wear well at the 19th hole.  Our shirts age well since they combine timeless design with quality construction.  Actually, the Criquet prototype was based on a shirt Billy inherited from his grandfather.  The idea that his favorite shirt was one he'd inherited set a high bar.

Billy:  I like to call it "softy green".  It does get better with time, and that is one of the things that we love about cotton.  There is no real scientific evidence, as far as I know, that says organic cotton is softer, but everyone says that it is, so that's scientific enough for us.

Billy and Si in "The Criquet Caddy - Lining Up"
Ed:  What inspired you to create video shorts as a way of attracting attention to your clothing line?  Who are those guys playing Billy and Si?  I am so intrigued by the idea of having a full-time caddy (on/off course), sort of like how Hunter S. Thompson always travelled with his lawyer.  How can I make this happen?

Hobson:  Caddyshack inspired us.  Our videos are definitely channeling Ty Webb.  In fact, Si is Ty's nephew, and Billy used to Caddy for the Dalai Lama's cousin, Palo.  The hope was that they would help us create a Criquet spirit.  Our shirts are for guys who may take certain issues seriously (the environment, their job, etc.) but also like to have a good time, and the videos hopefully capture that.  Plus, we love the idea of having a "life caddy", too, and your wish may come true.  We've been considering a contest where the winner would win a full-time caddy for the weekend.  It'd probably be Billy and myself.  We are working out the details and legality of this.

Billy:  Hob does not know this, but I am secretly writing the screenplay for a full-length feature.  No more streaming.  We are going to the big screen.  Although he does not know it yet, Will Ferrell will be playing Billy to Luke Wilson's Si Webb.  Still looking for our D'Annunzio... any suggestions?

Ed:  Last question:  What was the weather like, and what did you wear when you played Bandon Dunes recently?

Hobson:  See pic (below).  Yes, that's Sierra Nevada in a can.  Delicious.

Billy:  We definitely repped Criquet well.  However, the focus on style starts to fade once you start your third round of the day.  In reality, the only thing that seemed to match in my outfit was my sunburned neck and the color of my shirt.

Bandon Dunes, 6/2012.   Criquet Thin-Striped Players Shirts.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

La Bolleur Mini Golf

La Bolleur is a dutch multidisciplinary design studio that opened in an old brothel in 2005, operating as a restaurant and mini golf club, throwing parties, and exhibiting their highly creative work. They have held many events all over the Netherlands and exhibited in Milan, Berlin, London and Shanghai.  This was their course setup in Eindhoven during the 2009 Dutch Design Week:

Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 Zurich Classic retro

I don't usually post about the PGA, but seven players at the Zurich Classic this year donned traditional attire and swung hickory to commemorate the insurance giant's centennial.  I've always dug the notion of dressing golfy when playing golf, to keep both the tradition and absurdity of the game in perspective, so I couldn't resist taking note:

Keegan:  Not bad.  You certainly avoid any accusations of over-matching.  Looks like you may or may not have run this by your Hilfiger sponsor.  Obviously you can't swing a club wearing a sport coat, but you had enough sense to take it off.

Ricky, on the other hand, is swimming in his XXL hip-hop-sized blazer.  I'm not an expert, but I'm not sure that coat is so traditional anyway.  Wasn't there some one from Puma you could have called for help?  I do love the orange tie against the tasteful neutrals, though.  Looks good, California.

Rose:  Plus-fours, cardigan, all grey and black.  Very youthful without a tie.  Very sharp.  Love it.

Donald:  You win.  Fantastic.  Looks like RLX hooked you up right as usual.  They even found knickers that are cuffed or belted or something.  They're somehow cooler than what you typically see.  All perfectly tailored, and I'm sure the fabrics are top notch, highest quality.

G-Mac:  Outstanding.  Maybe you're actually the winner.  It's loud, but totally tasteful and well-assembled.  Having your hat, tie, and breeches made of the exact same plaid fabric is like operating on a whole other level.  That is professional grade.  I don't understand why your plus-fours are cut so full, but I trust you that they're supposed to be that way, especially with that bow tie.

Crane:  Excellent.   Matching hat, tie, and knickers.  Tasteful pattern and grey scale.  I can't think of any reason why you wouldn't be the winner here.  I must assume Hugo hooked you up.  World class outfit.

Villegas:  You win for "most plausible modern adaptation of traditional golf attire".  It's just right.  Replace the newsboy cap with a baseball cap, and nobody would blink an eye if you wore that on tour.  Well, not any more than they blinked when Ryan Moore wore a tie for the masters.  A well-reviewed Geoff Ogilvy has been dressing like this recently, sans tie.  The grey flat-front pants, black shoes, belt, and black tie are so working class behind that tan 6-button cardigan.  This is golf fashion for the rest of us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

soccer golf

While the logistics of digging 5-gallon holes in the ground are daunting, soccer-golf (footgolf) looks like great fun.  It is commonly played by soccer teams as a training drill, using small goals instead of holes at the end of each fairway, as shown in this video.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

DIY golf holes / putting practice

this putt is definitely "with the grain"...

Check out this awesome site showing how an ordinary can of Pringles can be transformed into a versatile putting practice hole.  The video on this site is super fun and very creative.  I can see these ideas being implemented in Urban Golf.

I also discovered this long-forgotten contraption called "Bobby's Portable Golf Hole" from the 1930's.  I have never seen one in person, but I can assume by looking at it that the suspended perimeter rods swing only inward, effectively trapping the ball.  The entire top dome can be raised to release the trapped balls.  Pretty ingenious.  I have only been able to find true vintage holes like this.  No one seems to be making new ones, so unfortunately you need $100 or more to get one.  A fairly savvy hobbyist could make one, but it will take substantially more work than the Pringles design.

Bobby's Portable Golf Holes, c. 1930

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bing Crosby - Straight Down the Middle

A pipe, when used correctly, can serve as an effective aiming tool
This youtube video features a vintage photo slideshow set to Crosby's 1957 recording.

If I ever break 80, I'm going to celebrate by dressing up fully vintage and smoking a pipe throughout my entire next round.  The thing will never leave my face.  And if anyone cracks wise at my get-up, I'll simply smile and deflect their mockery with a smarmy one-liner that is both clever and gracious.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

snow golf

This morning, March 22nd, Portland is covered in a blanket of snow.   I've golfed on frozen fairways and greens, putted thru a half inch of temporary hail, but never fully golfed in the snow.  I might manage to sneak out of the office and tee off today, but it won't quite resemble the event I found in Megeve, France.  The Vacheron Constantin "Snow Golf Cup" is a lovely affair sponsored by Rolls Royce, held in the French Alps.

get out your orange and yellow low compression balls
crisp mountain air
groomers take the guesswork out of putting