Hal Phillips, 45, spent seven years reporting for and editing daily newspapers in Massachusetts before joining the business journal Golf Course News as editor-in-chief in 1992. During his tenure he would oversee the launch of both Golf Course News Asia-Pacific and GCN International. In 1997, Phillips left to form his own firm, Mandarin Media (www.mandarinmedia.net), though he never stopped writing: His published pieces have since appeared in GOLF Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Travel+Leisure Golf, The Portland Press-Herald, Links and Golfweek.
Phillips reckons his New Gloucester barn, from whence he holds forth on sporting and travel matters (when he’s not directing his Southeast Asian-based media firm), is the most cosmopolitan out-building in the Great State of Maine. While recognizing the bar on globalism might be set higher elsewhere, Phillips nevertheless derives considerable satisfaction from this juxtaposition of the rural and remote with the internationalist and urbane. “It’s one thing to come all the way back from Lisbon or Saigon to such a tiny place as New Gloucester,” he says, “but it’s even more of a freak to conduct so much overseas business from here: amid the spiders, upstairs from my tractor, just a few feet from where we play music and poker come the weekend.”
Raised a Boston suburbanite, Phillips never dreamed he’d own a tractor, or a barn, much less make his living in one — half a mile down a dirt driveway, with vital assistance from something called Skype. Phillips hastens to point out that he does have company down the dirt road (his wife and two children) and hasn’t had the urge to take an axe to any of them “in some time”. And when he says “poker”, he pointedly excludes Texas Hold ‘Em: “The game is a blight, a colossal dumbing-down of an entire genre. Imagine if something noble and pure, like golf, were so completely co-opted by something so plainly derivative — like long-drive contests. We wouldn’t stand for it. Something should be done.”