January 28, 2023

In James Carbonetti’s store, guitars grace the white walls, red Persian rugs line dark wood floors, and vinyl records on a turntable. No corner is empty and the workspaces are cluttered but orderly. It’s a music lover’s paradise, and yet there are glimpses of a different obsession.

A Golden Tee arcade machine, a set of Ben Hogan irons, an iPad playing the ’86 Masters, and a long stretch of ‘turf’. Carbonetti grabs his putter and brushes a ball down the green runway. He holds the club in his hands as if it were a newborn child. As owner of Carbonetti Guitars, he has made instruments for musicians such as Richard Fortus of Guns N’ Roses, Matt Sweeney of Chavez and Willie Weeks of Joe Walsh’s band, but this putter is one of his proudest creations.

When you hold a Carbonetti Brooklyn putter, you are literally holding a piece of New York.

The Carbonetti Brooklyn putter was released on November 17th in a small batch, some of which are on the open market for thousands. It is a collaboration with Toulon Design and an ode to Carbonetti’s love of music, golf and New York City. It’s based on Toulon’s Atlanta model, but if you compare the two putters side-by-side, you’ll notice a number of changes, the most notable of which is the soleplate where steel has been replaced with wood. “It’s that thing with guitars: how the integration between metal and organic wood, when done right, can look very rich,” says Carbonetti. “It’s like an old one Rolls Royce or something with the wooden dash.

Carbonetti, 36, shares The Guitar Shop NYC with La Bella Strings and Mas Hino, a master builder or maker of stringed instruments. It is located in Sunset Park, an area of ​​south Brooklyn split by the Belt Parkway and surrounded by New York Harbor on one side and the Green-Wood Cemetery on the other. The MTA’s BMT line runs underground through the neighborhood, and less than five minutes from the 36th Street station on a modest residential block is The Guitar Shop NYC. In addition to running his business out of the shop, Carbonetti also plays guitar for the band Caveman who has toured with The War on Drugs and Weezer and performed at Coachella, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and more.

He grew up on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan and has since lived in just about every neighborhood. “I like the weird things about New York and I think growing up on Roosevelt Island was the weirdest thing,” says the luthier. His grandmother introduced him to the game, along with his grandfather, who was both a skilled woodworker and a scratch golfer. “I think golf and woodworking is in my blood. I just added guitars to the photo.

“I have always been obsessed with going down the rabbit hole looking for the story of what the meaning is or who made it. It doesn’t always have to be mainstream to put your soul into it.”

About two years ago, when Carbonetti met Toulon Design founders Sean and Tony Toulon at a friend’s bar in Manhattan, he discovered they shared a passion for golf and music. Fast forward and this putter is now the second the two have collaborated on, with more in the pipeline. And like his guitars, it is both a work of art and a finely tuned performance instrument. Carbonetti has always had a penchant for vintage rarities, and the things he makes are meant to look wise beyond their years. “I have always been obsessed with going down the rabbit hole looking for the story of what the meaning is or who made it. And it doesn’t always have to be mainstream to put your soul into it.”

The story of the Carbonetti Brooklyn goldfinch begins in 1870 when a European elm was planted in Prospect Park, one of New York City’s most beloved urban retreats. 150 years later, when the great Elm had to be demolished, the luthier was able to acquire it and integrate it into his last collaboration with Toulon. Which means when you hold a Carbonetti Brooklyn putter you are literally holding a piece of New York.

That’s not the only nod to New York history. A special mill pattern has been used on the front to evoke the suspension cables of the Brooklyn Bridge, while a rose gold finish that matches the tones of the elm wood is preferred over the normal black finish. There are other meaningful details, such as a pack of La Bella guitar strings with a photo of Prospect Park from the 1860s, as well as an original New York subway ticket as a ball marker.

Together, all these considerations tell the story of the New York golfer who plays at the local muni, who takes the train to the course, who goes along with that one friend who has a car. Carbonetti knows because he is one of them. You have to really like the game to play in New York. “It’s about 50/50 with golf and guitars in my head right now,” says Carbonetti. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

In other golf related news, Nike is preparing to release the Air Max 1 Golf in ‘Sport Red’.

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