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Le sport

Taavo Somer Can Make Anything Cool, Even Golf

Mr. Somer, in other words, made a career out of making the unlikely inevitable. Now, he’s betting he can get the cool crowd, now older, into golf.

“Is it a game or a sport?” Mr. Somer, 48, said on a sweltering Friday last month, peering down from a grassy hill at the meandering nine-hole golf course at Inness, his reimagining of a country club in the Hudson Valley town of Accord, N.Y.

The 220-acre resort features a clubhouse (actually a sleek farm-to-table restaurant with Scandinavian Brutalist furniture), 14 duplex cabins, a 12-room hotel in a rustic Colonial style, two saltwater swimming pools, two tennis courts and a rustic golf course designed by King Collins of Chattanooga, Tenn., which Mr. Somer described as the “bad boys of golf.”

But it is not a country club. “I’ve never felt comfortable hanging out with all the bankers at country clubs,” Mr. Somer said, dressed like a groundskeeper in grimy rolled jeans and a sweat-drenched black T-shirt and cap.

Mr. Somer, in fact, does not play golf. “I’ve never even touched a club,” he said.

“What I connect with is that it looks like a park,” he added. “Maybe this is naïve, but I think that one of the big draws for golfers to a golf course is the natural environment. I think it also happens with fishing or hunting, too. You can’t just go walk a park as a guy. You’ve to say, ‘Oh, look, I killed this deer, I hit this ball.’ You have to be productive.”