Merion Golf Club: Golf as it Should Be

There are few more classic sporting atmospheres than Philadelphia’s Merion Golf Club. The site of the 2013 US Open (where it will host a record 19th USGA Championship), the place is steeped in history, tradition, and an essence that takes you back to the Golden Age of Golf. It’s also ranked 7th in Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. So there’s that.

I was lucky enough to spend two glorious days at Merion, taking part in their annual Summer Stag Day, and was pegged by A True Golfer to do a write up on my experience. Getting to play one of the world’s most exclusive and renowned clubs was a treat beyond belief. Getting to document and share my experience with words and photos was truly an honor. Read it here.

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Eating Ethnic: Embrace the Journey.

You know it’s good when you are the only one who doesn’t speak the language.

Growing up, I thought I knew what good Chinese was: always-reliable hot-and-sour soup, fried-then-sauced sesame chicken, thin pancakes stuffed with pork and rolled into burritos. It was Americanized MSG at it’s very best, and a staple in the Baker family dining rotation.

But one faithful night in college, a friend (whose Mother was Chinese) invited me to his favorite Cantonese restaurant. And it forever changed the way I viewed ethnic food. Continue reading

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Butch Walker: Out of Focus

 In a time where America is wonderfully consumed (and sometimes obsessed) with self-sustaining culture and all-things-authentic, I’m not surprised this finally happened: a documentary on Butch Walker. Despite his day job of producer/songwriter for radio wonders (Weezer, Pink, Panic at the Disco), he has continued to write, record and tour successfully on his own as an independent artist. He’s never come close Continue reading

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“Did you try to hit that shot Tiger hit there?” Plus more reasons why golf is awesome at Pebble Beach.

It's National Golf Day. A tribute to America's most famous track.

Sports are fun because they not only give you the thrill of competition but typically take place in a charismatic setting.  Which is why taking in a Duke basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium or seeing the Red Sox at Fenway is such a special experience. For golf, the bar is raised because you are the one playing on the grand stage. Competition is enjoyable, but so is the backdrop.  And while the common man can only dream of strolling the fairways of Augusta National, anyone can tee it up at the course that truly defines American golf, Pebble Beach Golf Links.

It’s the place where Bobby Jones teed it up in the height of his competitive reign as the greatest golfer in the world. It’s where Bing Crosby hosted the likes of Ben Hogan and Frank Sinatra, as apart of his yearly Clambake. It’s where Tiger Woods Continue reading

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Springtime Accessory: Hook Handle Umbrellas

Show the world you've arrived

Of all my accessories, from pocket squares to lapel pins, weekender bags to Wayfarers, the one I piece get the most compliments on … is my umbrella. By no means is it a fancy umbrella. There are no crazy patterns and it doesn’t boast a different color underlining. It’s simply all black with wooden hook handle. And it cost upwards of $10. At Target.

I like it because it’s big enough to for two people. I like that it has the right touch of dramatic and sophisticated. And I like that it’s just meaningful enough where you won’t leave it at a restaurant or in the back of a cab. Sure it requires a little bit of purpose to carry it around, but there in lies the statement. Continue reading

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Getting Back to Old Priorities

Remember when this was all that mattered?

As a kid, so many things brought us simple, pure joy. Hobbies and holidays weren’t just an escape from homework or chores, but they led to daydreaming and inspiration. Whether it was sports, music, vacation, arts, television, reading – these activities were “fun,” in the most sincere sense of the word.

But as we get older, a funny thing starts to happen. Drinking often begins to accompany these things. And it becomes not a rarity, but a habit: We drink at the beach. We drink when watching sporting events Continue reading

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The Magic of Subtlety (Lesson Courtesy of The Whigs).

I had a lengthy talk on Monday with Julian Dorio, the drummer for Nashville (via Athens) jangle-y rock darlings, The Whigs. Julian sent me 20-or-so songs they’re considering for their fourth album, and after spending a few weeks with them, I realized something.

While The Whigs are very good at playing big rock songs in big rock arenas (see: multiple tours with KOL), when they play delicate tunes, they are something truly special. Their catalog undoubtedly skews towards power trio, but their down-tempo numbers have this unique quality of being beautiful, melodic, and honest … but without hitting you over the head. And I think that’s where the timeless magic lies. If a song is understated and catchy, it’s like you can’t ever get enough of it.

While I obviously can’t leak any of their new stuff, I can say one song (“Thank You”) possesses the same special subtlety as my favorite Whigs tune (“Written Invitation,” above).

When it comes down to choosing songs for the new album, I just hope they think as highly of it as I do.

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