Tag Archives: golf

Clementine: Clifton Park’s 19th Hole

So the Chop is going golfing again today. We’ve got a late-morning tee time, which we’ve come to figure out is just about the ideal window to tee off because you can still sleep in a little bit, and by the time you’re round is done you’re in prime position to go straight from the course to happy hour.

We’ll be playing at Clifton, which means the most convenient bars are the ones around Hamilton and Lauraville. Here’s the idea: if we play our usual terrible game, we’ll go ahead and do the usual Bohs at Koco’s. If we can get that score down under 100 though, we might just reward ourselves with some of the specialty cocktails up at Clementine.

Yeah Lee, we get pretty thirsty after a round too.

Clementine has always been in an odd position. They’re hands down one of the best bars in the city, yet they’ve never had more than 3 or 4 stools at their bar. We never could reconcile in our mind how a bar that’s so well stocked could have so few stools. They’ve got one of those something-for-everyone-mostly-reasonably-priced wine lists that is perfect for date night, as well as a long list of carefully chosen bottled beers to pair with everything on the menu.

If we do manage to get a seat at the bar though, we’re going to resist the temptation to call for one of several available single malts and small-batch American whiskies and pick a few selections from their outstanding cocktail list.

Fall is the perfect time to go for our favorite, the Stonewall (Pear Cider, Bourbon and Ginger Liqueur). The Georgia Manhattan (Pecan Infused Bourbon, Mathilde Peach Liqueur & Organic Maple Liqueur) and Maça Martini (LeBlon Cacha├ža, Elderflower Liqueur, Pressed Apple Cider & Fresh Lime Juice) are a couple more don’t-try-this-at-home seasonal specialties. Or, if we end up getting rained on after 9 holes it might prove a good excuse to call it a day and call for a hot toddy.

Whatever we ultimately decide on one thing’s certain… good booze is the best incentive to keep those drives straight, chips short, putts true and score down.

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The Chop’s Unlikely New Hobby

We’re not supposed to like golf. Historically, we’ve always thought the game was as dull as dishwater to watch and fit somewhere on the scale of elitist snobbery between polo and croquet. It was a great game for retirees, trust funders, and people in advertising sales, but not up our alley.

The first time we played we certainly felt like a fish out of water. It was a good thing we weren’t keeping score, because scorecards just don’t go that high. That course beat us up pretty good, and we were just glad that not many people were watching. And much like a middle-school bully, the game came back picking another fight sooner than later. A funny thing happened though; just like fighting a bully, we got our ass kicked, but we realized that it didn’t hurt that bad after all. We even got in a few nice shots, and it felt pretty good. We’re at the point now where we’re ready to start keeping our lunch money in our pocket when we walk to school.

Of course, as Sam Snead illustrates, golf is also an excellent excuse to stay well-dressed.

In a lot of ways, golf is a pretty good fit for us. We’ve got plenty of leisure time to spare, on weekday mornings and whatnot, and have long been searching for some form of exercise that didn’t feel so goddamn much like working out. After all, recreation isn’t supposed to be work. We used our incredible thrifting skills to acquire a decent full set of irons, some woods that are actually made of wood, and a few other clubs to cobble together into a pretty nice bag for just under $40. With this last barrier to entry broken, we’re ready to get hacking at the driving ranges and city parks.

Now that we’re actually playing, we’re surprised to learn that the things we like about playing golf are many of the same things we like about watching baseball. We’d never realized before how much of an escape a round of golf provides. Just like entering a baseball stadium, to step onto a golf course is to enter a sharply defined environ, which is exclusive of everything outside the fence. It should matter little to the baseball fan whether he finds himself in the bleachers at Wrigley or at the Yard. We’ve always felt that once you’re inside a baseball stadium, the city outside is irrelevant. It may as well cease to exist. So it is with a golf course. We suspect it matters little whether you’re at the beaches in South Carolina or the Hills of Arizona, or even right here in Baltimore staring out at the downtown skyline. It still comes down to you and your ball and grass and trees.

Another part of that escape is the commitment of time required to play a round. We’ve always loved that baseball is the only major sport not played on a clock. It’s right and fitting that we should play our games until they’re finished, and not until some clock tells us to stop. With golf, as with a trip to the ballpark, you’ve got to block out a good chunk of time. You say “This is what I’m doing now. This and nothing else but this. Everything else will wait.” As soon as you begin, you can feel free to take off your watch. You won’t be needing it.

And a funny thing can happen when you go without your watch like that. After a while, the games blend together. Each ballgame we watch is not so much an individual game, as a part of the one big game we’ve been watching since we were a kid. We could care less how many hits Brian Roberts can rack up in nine innings; we’re watching his career. Every day at the ballpark is merely a continuation of the last. It’s impossible to make a trip to Camden Yards, or to any other ballpark for that matter, without thinking of all the other games we’ve seen, and all the people we’ve seen them with.

So it is with golf, and the idea of the ‘replay.’ The round only ends if you want it to. If you finish 18 and want to go around again, you do. All the rounds you’ve played before are carried with you, right there in your bag, and you’re never really finished unless and until you ultimately find the game so frustrating that you throw your clubs into the sea, walk off the course and take up bowling instead.

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The Chop Goes Golfing

The Chop’s cousin is getting married soon. Thankfully, the best man actually followed our sage advice on How to Plan a Proper Bachelor Party, and Cousin Chop’s bachelor party today will be a progressive affair. We’ll be tearing up the Canton/Fell’s corridor later tonight, but the party actually starts at the ungodly hour of 9 am with a tee time at Greystone. We’ve never played golf before, so we’ll see how this goes. We’re an ace at Wii golf, so in our mind’s eye it’ll look something like this:

In reality though, it’ll probably look more like this:

Oh well. If we’re that bad, we can always sprain our ankle and ride the drinks cart to the 19th hole.

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Chop Style: Guide to Polo Shirts

If there’s one thing the Chop can not endorse, it’s preppy style. We give thanks every day that we were lucky enough to be born in Baltimore and not in New England or Long Island or some equally pretentious, WASP-y place. We wouldn’t be caught dead in madras, ribbon belts, boat shoes or anything with a J. on the label.

That said, the older we get, the more we appreciate the role that a few good polo shirts play in balancing out a wardrobe. With Spring already arrived and Summer right around the corner, We’re going to be seeing a lot more polos on the streets of Baltimore, and most of them are going to be boring and far too ivy-style to suit our tastes. Like this:

If you held a mirror up to your asshole, this is what it would look like. Ralph Lauren charges $98 to make you look like a total shart.

The polo shirt was originally pioneered by French tennis star Rene Lacoste in the 1930’s for use on the tennis court. Since then his design has been adapted to a wide range of sports and become a cornerstone of preppy culture.

But it’s not just the adoption by preppies which leads to our natural distaste for polos. Golf shirts, which are really just polos by a different name, have become the standard weekend wear for old white upper-middle class suburban Dad types. Nothing says “I’m spending my 2 weeks’ vacation in Myrtle Beach” quite like a shirt with Arnold Palmer’s name on it.

The real killer of the polo shirt though has been the rise of the service and high-tech industries. A knit polo and pair of khakis no longer makes you look as much like an up-and-comer as like an $8.00 an hour drone in a big box store.

Still and all, it is possible to pull on a polo in high style if you choose carefully. Here are five choices which are high on style and low(ish) on prep factor. They’re more Baltimore than Boston, and more downtown than country club. They look about a thousand percent better than Lauren, Izod, Hilfiger, Lacoste, Nautica, etc. Plus you won’t be looking like your dad.

Perry Ellis luxury cotton open polo. $19.99 (from $49.)

We can definitely recommend this shirt by Perry Ellis because we’re wearing one right now. With 100% pima cotton it might just be the most comfortable shirt we own. If we could get away with sleeping in it and never washing it we certainly would. We also give it high marks for a perfectly cut placket with no buttons. Going buttonless is still a bit fashion-forward and eliminates any confusion about whether or not to button or unbutton.

Fred Perry penny collar oxford pique shirt. 55 GBP.

There’s a lot to like about this one from Fred Perry. The Fred Perry heritage might be the most likable of all, but coming in close behind it is the informal collar which is a definite deviation from the norm, as well as the oxford weave as opposed to a more common knit. We prefer woven to knit any day of the week. The only thing not to like might be the 55 pound price tag (about $80.) These bastards almost never go on sale either.

Original Penguin: The Earl. $59.

We’d be much obliged if any of you Choppers wants to go down to South Moon Under and buy us one of these to wear down to Camden Yards this summer. This definitely beats freebie T-shirts and jerseys for style in the bleachers. The Original Penguin Earl is that rarest of rarities, a classic that hasn’t been worn into the ground. A 100% cotton knit, a slim fit and a broad piping around the placket all add up to an orange polo that will take you beyond the ballpark.

Alternative Apparel's Noonan Polo. $38.

We stumbled on to this one by accident, but it looks like a winner. Alternative Apparel makes the Noonan out of 100% pima cotton in three subdued colors and adds a pocket to the left side. The rest of their offerings look almost as good.

American Apparel's Organic Fine Jersey Short Sleeve Leisure Shirt. $32.

You should probably head down to Light Street and pick one of these up like today. American Apparel is one of those stores where you can get one great piece here or there, but don’t want to outfit yourself there from head to toe. This is one of those great pieces. Its got a casual cool look, and close fitting organic cotton is bound to make you want to lay around your apartment striking sexy poses for no apparent reason. Plus $32 is a really unbelievable price for a shirt that’s made in the USA from organic cotton.

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