After spending the previous eleven years working at high-end golf clubs (Portland Golf Club and Pumpkin Ridge), or “green grass” facilities as they are known in the golf industry, I became increasingly intrigued by a local small business specializing in unique, hand-made golf trinkets. Strapped with my newly-minted degree from the University of Oregon, I set up a meeting with one of the co-founders of Seamus Golf to see if there was any way I could get involved with the company.
When I walked through a pair of monogrammed doors in the middle of a business complex, I expected to enter a boring office cubicle, not a full-blown artisanal studio. Instead I was greeted by a display of various hand-made golf goods, a bottle of twelve-year Glenmorangie in a tartan bottle bag, and a book titled “The Clans and Tartans of Scotland”. Aromatically the first thing that hit me was the smell of leather, and believe me, there was plenty of leather. This is Seamus Golf, I thought, they are a head cover company that specializes in Scottish tartan. Now I was really confused.
“Hello, how can I help you?” I was greeted by a woman hand-cutting a light brown and blue tartan, which I later learned to be the exclusive tartan of Tara Iti Golf Club in New Zealand.
“Oh, yes, hello, I’m, um, I’m looking for Akbar? Is he around?” I managed while looking around the production room, still gathering my bearings. A few moments later I was greeted by a co-founder of Seamus Golf, Akbar Chisti.
“Welcome, welcome. Pardon the hecticness of everything, we’re getting ready for the PGA Merchandise show in Orlando at the end of the month. Anyway, let me give you a tour of the place.”
Every room serves its own purpose, ranging from an embroidery room to a multi-purpose conference room (which also doubles as a photo booth). There is even a room dedicated entirely to leather, which explains the familiar pungent scent I was initially greeted with. I was then introduced to Carol Risley, Seamus Golf's leather extraordinaire, who joined the team in 2015 (you'll learn more about Carol in the coming months).
And that’s when I saw it. It wasn’t simply an ordinary wall. It was and is perhaps the most important wall in Seamus Golf’s entire facility. It is the database, the library. It is the glorious, esteemed tartan wall, containing north of 400 different tartans.
Was it a little overwhelming? Absolutely. But with all the possibilities before my eyes, I realized that there wasn’t an end in sight. My new journey was just beginning.