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When in Maui

Aloha, and welcome to Maui!

My name is Alex Urban, class of 2011. I majored in political science and minored in communications studies at Clemson and now work in professional golf as the executive director for the Sentry Tournament of Champions played at Kapalua each year on the PGA Tour. I have been living on Maui for more than two years, and the beauty and spirit of the island has captivated me since day one — let me show you around the Valley Isle!

 

1 | The Plantation Course at Kapalua
Of course, I am biased, but there is no better place to kick off the new year than the Plantation Course at Kapalua during the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January each year. Located on West Maui, Kapalua hosts the winners of the PGA Tour, and if you make it to the tournament, you can be just feet from the stars of professional golf. If you aren’t on Maui in January, make your way to the Plantation Course for a world-class round of golf.

 

2 | Honolua Bay
For the surfers out there, Honolua Bay is one of the most legendary surf spots on the planet. When the waves are pumping, it is common to see hundreds of surfers in the water, including the world’s top professionals.

 

3 | Lahaina
Just down the road from Kapalua is the town of Lahaina, a former capital of Hawaii and whaling town that is now a hotspot of restaurants, shops and culture. Grab a drink and some food from Down the Hatch, and if you’re a music lover, try Fleetwood’s on Front Street. Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac calls Maui home, and his restaurant is a great place for rooftop cocktails at sunset. If you’re up for an adventure, you can take a sunset or snorkel cruise out of Lahaina Harbor. 

 

4 | Kapalua and Napili Bays
These two bays are right next to each other and feature two of the best beaches in the world. Maui beaches boast crystal clear water, soft sand, great snorkeling, water sports and easy access. When you have finished up a day on one of these pristine beaches, head over to Merriman’s for a sunset mai tai on their lanai. 

 

5 | Haleakalā and the Upcountry
Haleakalā National Park is home to the tallest mountain on Maui and is known for its spectacular sunrises (don’t forget to make a reservation in advance!). The park has numerous trails and lookout points, and you can even rent bikes and take a guided ride on the twisty road to its summit. On your way down from the peak, Kula Lodge is the perfect stop if you get hungry. Don’t worry about any eruptions; Haleakalā is dormant — the largest dormant volcano in the world, in fact.

 

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information.

 

 

Time Well Spent: Michael Sims ’03 and Gash Clayton ’03

The founders of the sophisticated sports watch company Hook + Gaff are settling into their success — and their product’s higher purpose.Michael Sims '03 and Gash Clayton '03

“Watches have been made since the late 1800s. There’re a few that have tackled the idea with one or two models, but they’ve never gone all in with this concept.”

The concept that Michael Sims is referring to is a watch designed specifically to alleviate discomfort while playing golf or casting a fishing rod by having a crown placement (the small knob on the side of the watch face that adjusts the time) on the left side rather than the right. This way, the crown doesn’t dig into the skin on the back of the left hand when it’s bent or in motion.

When Sims first came up with the idea, he was playing golf.

“I’m one of those weird guys who doesn’t take . off his watch when playing golf,” he laughs. “At the end of the day, I’d have a callus on the back of my hand from the traditional crown placement.” In the midst of juggling his insurance company in Anderson . and helping with his wife’s Chick-fil-A business in Columbia, Sims started researching watches for a solution. The idea for Hook + Gaff began to take shape in his mind, and he knew he’d need a logo, designs and other assets to move forward.

So, he turned to his college buddy Gash Clayton. Clayton, a lawyer by day and artist by night, drafted the sharp, red logo for Hook + Gaff in just a few hours, sending it back to Sims, who was immediately sold. The partnership only grew from there:

“We give each other opinions,” says Clayton, “but at the end of the day, there’s no argument over who makes the final call.” Clayton controls the company’s designs and brand while Sims oversees the day-to-day operations. After launching the company in 2013 with 300 Sportfisher watches manufactured in Switzerland, Sims and Clayton entered Garden & Gun magazine’s “Made in the South” competition. The watch didn’t make the cut, but it was included in the Southern magazine’s gift guide, which “really jumpstarted the brand,” Sims says. Now, Hook + Gaff is growing rapidly with stateside assembly and celebrity ambassadors like Carter Andrews of National Geographic’s Legendary Catch and Brad Leone of Bon Appétit.

Durability is Hook + Gaff’s bread and butter. “We knew that our [customers] were really going to put these through the ringer,” Sims explains. Materials like titanium, scratch-proof sapphire glass and Italian dive straps are staples in each collection. Despite their high-quality product, the question Clayton and Sims get all the time is, “What does your watch do that my smartwatch can’t do?” Their answer may surprise you: “To get away from technology, every once in a while, is a good thing because what you’re going to remember down the road is the time you spent with family and friends, doing things you love to do. … Our hashtag has become ‘Time Well Spent’ over this last year as we try to push that message.

“What is time well spent for you?”

ALUMNI CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Golden Tiger Reunion

June 11-12, 2015

Madren Conference Center

The 2015 Golden Tiger Reunion will be held Thursday and Friday, June 11–12, at the Madren Conference Center. We will be celebrating the class of 1965 with the Golden Tiger induction ceremony. Make your plans to join us this summer! Call the Martin Inn at 888-654-9020 for reservations. For more information and registration details, go to alumni.clemson.edu/reunion.

Welcome Back Festival

Aug. 17, 2015

Downtown Clemson

Join us to kick off the school year at the annual Welcome Back Festival, sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Council. College Avenue is closed down and local restaurants, businesses and University organizations line the street with food tastings, prizes and merchandise from more than 70 vendors. Entry is free; food and merchandise can be purchased with 50-cent tickets sold to raise money for the Student Alumni Council Endowment Scholarship Fund. If your company is interested in being a vendor, contact Stewart Summers at 864-656-5653.

Alumni Golf Tournament

Sept. 11, 2015

Walker Golf Course

Join us for the 6th annual Alumni Golf Tournament on Friday, September 11, 2015, at the John E. Walker Sr. Golf Course on the Clemson campus. Limited to 20 teams, this tournament is an opportunity to compete for bragging rights as the best Clemson Alumni golf foursome and the chance to represent Clemson on the national stage at the Acura College Alumni Team Championship at Pinehurst in October. Sponsorships also are available, beginning at $250 and ranging to $5,000. For more information and to register, contact Randy Boatwright at brandol@clemson.edu or visit alumni.clemson.edu/alumni-golf-challenge.