Normally, the store takes out the customer; yesterday, the customer took out two stores. Sort of.
Golf Digest ranks the Top 100 Courses in the World, and #2, repeatedly, is Cypress Point in Carmel, California (Augusta is #3 if that’s any indication). It’s private, with a very small membership, and golf geeks can argue over whether it is the toughest course to get onto in the country, or 2nd, or 3rd, but no one would argue that it’s really, really hard to get an invitation. A few months ago, I was invited to play, and a vacation 18 months overdue was postponed to accommodate the opportunity.
When we opened our first store in late 2008, we had a customer that worked one tower over that would buy a donut from the bakery next door to us almost every morning. He’d buy stuff from us on occasion: Pantherella socks, Toschi shoes, shirts, jackets, and eventually tailored clothing. But for every visit that involved a purchase, there were a handful of visits that were just to socialize. He has been a great supporter of ours almost since the day we opened our store, and we have done our best to take care of him. Whatever we have done to endear ourselves to him, apparently, his watch & jewelry store has done the same, as he invited myself and his connection for watches out to play Cypress Point.
Unaccompanied guests go out before members by 8am, so we arrived a little after 7am. We quickly toured the locker room where you can’t pass a few lockers without seeing a recognizable name of someone rich, famous, or both. The pro shop staff was all really nice; I got the sense they all know how much the round means to those that may never get to play it again. We had two great caddies that guided us around the course, although I failed at executing their advice pretty much every shot. With so few groups out there, we finished the round in well under four hours even while taking it all in throughout the course.