David Coggins Doesn't Play Golf

By Michael WilliamsSeptember 21, 2021In Partnership with Loro Piana

There's something exhilarating about discovering the love of golf in a stranger. Sometimes that happens at a dinner party or at an airport, but when it does a certain easiness of conversation takes hold. A shared appreciation of golf is enough common ground to sustain an entire friendship, but sometimes we struggle to convey our love of golf to people who don't indulge in this kingly pastime. We partnered with Loro Piana to highlight unique perspectives on life, style and the game of golf. 

What many don't know about golf are the simple pleasures that it holds. The sheen of early morning day, the pure snap of a well made shot or the long shadows and quiet of a solo twilight walk. These expressions are unique to golf, but you might not need to play golf to find the subtle joys of leisure.

David Coggins is many things; author, aesthete and avid fly fisherman, but one thing he is not is a golfer. We went to Wisconsin —home of the Ryder Cup— to talk to him about the universal joys that we can all find when we are doing the things we love. 

ACL: What is your perspective on leisure activities?

David Coggins: Leisure is how we express what we love, it’s what we choose to do. The people I admire are most themselves when they are relaxed and doing something they’re passionate about, whether it’s cooking, gardening, or sailing.

My philosophy is that often leisure is overlooked and undervalued in our lives but it can enable success in work and with family. How do you approach time away doing things you love?

I think you have to make an effort to relax. That might sound counterintuitive, but your passions are not going to make their own time—you have to make time for your passions. The people who care about you will understand that.

What does fishing mean to you?

Fishing is a chance to connect with the natural world. And it’s a chance to do something I care about in a beautiful setting. Trout live in beautiful settings and I’m happy to seek them out in Montana or Patagonia or the Catskills or wherever they may be.

Whistling Straights is in the spotlight now with the Ryder Cup being played in Kohler. What role has Wisconsin played in your life?

We have a family cabin on a lake in Wisconsin. It’s where my parents and my sister and I come together each year and I think it’s where we’re the best versions of ourselves. We swim and read and cook and boat and walk in the woods. It’s a good place to be.

Photos by Christian Hafer

What does it mean to you to get out of the city?

I love New York and have lived there longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. But it’s important to get away from the city to find a slower rhythm, away from the traffic, away from social media. A slower pace is good. And if there are no honking taxis then that’s even better.

Do you see any similarities between golf and fishing?

There are certainly similarities between golf and fishing. They’re both self-contained sports that are, to a certain extent, solitary. You are measuring yourself against yourself and skills that you have work on. Golf certainly has more rules. But both have great traditions and both are good if you take a break for lunch and have a beer.

Any final thoughts?

I think it’s good to make space to do something you’re passionate about. As a wise man said, take time for paradise.

David is the author of the new book The Optimist: A Case for Fly Fishing. He lives in New York City.

Loro Piana is Official Supplier for Team Europe during the 2020 Ryder Cup. A selection of the golf collection is available in Loro Piana stores and online. Golf lovers and beyond will be able to experience the sophistication, innovation and comfort characteristic of this charming sportswear that is ideal for all weather and playing conditions.