Forethoughts: To The Good Life?

More than 20 years ago when I was managing editor of the blueblood of society magazines, Town & Country, one of our junior copy editors came into my offi ce holding a manuscript about one of the doyennes whose lifestyle we lauded.

“I have an issue,” she said. “It says that Mrs. X’s custom bedding costs $20,000.”

“Holy sheets!” I joked. I asked if her “issue” was that the price was factually incorrect. Maybe the writer confused it with thread-count or mistakenly added a zero?

“Factually incorrect, no. But morally…” she sputtered. “I mean, that’s more than what some people—including me—make in a year.”

I wondered if this was a creative ploy to get a raise. It wasn’t. More than the exorbitant amount Mrs. X spent on sheets, pillowcases and a comforter, the young copy editor couldn’t fathom why Mrs. X would want the world to know about it. “It makes her look ridiculous,” she said. I countered, somewhat hollowly, that our readers might actually admire Mrs. X and want to know the source for her bespoke linens.

Colorado AvidGolfer isn’t Town & Country. But, as this issue celebrates “the good life,” I’ve found myself more than once hearing that junior copy editor’s voice questioning why anyone would, say, want to pay $44,000 a night to stay in the Hilltop Estate on the private South Pacifi c island of Laucala—unless, of course, they could sleep on the same sheets as Mrs. X did.

But then I considered the relevance to our reader and re-read our mission statement of viewing golf “as a matter not only of performance but of pleasure, not as an isolated pastime but as the center of a constellation of interests including far-fl ung travel, great cars, wonderful wines, fabulous food and stylish clothing.”

We’ve never really strayed from that vision. This issue only amplifi es it. Is some of the content—like the Laucala story on page 48 —“over the top”? Yes. But whereas an over-the-top golf swing rarely produces good results, going over the top in life can occasionally provide eminent satisfaction.

The following pages don’t promote an existence defi ned by extravagance— what socio-economists once called the “conspicuous consumption of leisure”—but one defi ned by “wealth,” which Henry David Thoreau described, albeit with a split infi nitive, as “the ability to fully experience life.”

The “Good Life” is about living deeply and richly. That philosophy expresses itself in this issue in all its protean forms: from Chauncey Billups’s aspirational approach towards career, family and golf, to Garth Hystad’s and Dave King’s home courses, to the aforementioned world of exceptional objects and experiences that nourish the spirit and make life good. The indulgence starts on page 39.

Oh, and about that $20,000 bedding? I wound up cutting the reference. Everyone presumably slept better as a result.