Gear & Equipment
April 21, 2011

'Golf': Artistry on a grand scale

Obviously, this isn't for everyone given the sticker price, but this "book," for lack of a better term, is impressive for its artistry, presentation, attention to detail and, well, immensity.

It's called "Golf," co-authored by United Kingdom artists Simon Weitzman and Paul Skellett, who brought aboard who they call their resident golf professional, Colin Montgomerie, to lend his expertise on what serves as a subtitle to the book, "the game, the terrain and where it's all going." It's signed by the artists and Montgomerie.

"We started to construct the story about the way the land had been crafted for the game, how we play on that land and how the evolution of the game has continued to move forward, hence our line 'The game, the terrain, and where it's all going,'" Weitzman wrote in an email. "We saw a huge spirit in the game that perhaps has been clouded recently by too much money and the failure of the economy, so we wanted to see how the spirit of the game's design had been crafted and how that could be rediscovered through design in the 21st century."

The Luxury Edition, a limited edition of only 10, features "18 chapters, expressed through 140 pieces of uniquely self-contained and editorialized fine art pieces." The price starts at $48,000, irony included.

"The giant folio is designed to be an installation piece for higher end clubhouses, golfing hotel resorts and wealthy individuals who collect both golf and art," Weitzman wrote. It also can be commissioned as a club's tournament trophy, with the artists annually contributing another piece of art to the folio, depicting a victory by an individual or team in the club's tournament.

The cost, which obviously includes the artists' talent, also was boosted by the materials used: "400-year-old Russia Hide [reindeer leather], recently recovered by an American marine salvage operation, having been perfectly preserved in black silt," it said on the website. "The art pieces are hand printed using pigment based UV protected inks on 315gsm [grams per square meter] museum archive grade paper, with each edge individually hand torn. The folio is handcrafted in partnership with the Royal binders." The folio weighs more than 82 pounds.

Moreover, the design was based on a 14th-century medieval book. "We had studied The Book Of Hours at the British Library, looked at what Gutenberg had started centuries ago in publishing and researched the giant folios that artists, such as Miro and Picasso had put together.," Seitzman wrote. "We wanted to create something 'unique' for a unique game, something that showed the spirit and design of the game, the player's time spent on the land and produce something really different, and above all, fun."

There also is a limited edition (2,100) Collector's Edition, featuring "beautifully machine printed folio publication comprised of 18 chapters, expressed through 320 pieces of uniquely self-contained and editorialized fine art pieces." Its price is $630.

-- John Strege