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Published: Thursday, July 15, 2010
Page: 1A

To mark the inaugural Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament, organizers tapped the Steuben Glass company to design a trophy for permanent display at the resort.

The Greenbrier Classic, sure to be a one-of-a-kind event for both players and spectators, is deserving of an equally unique award.
New York-based Steuben Glass has announced the completion of a handcrafted crystal trophy to commemorate the addition of The Greenbrier Classic golf tournament to the PGA Tour.
The 3-foot-tall, 60-pound trophy was commissioned especially for The Greenbrier in celebration of the event and soon will go on display in the resort’s lower lobby. It will remain on permanent display at the hotel following the tournament.
“We really pulled out all of the stops for this,” said Robert Nachman, vice president of marketing and design at Steuben.
The trophy is a replica of The Greenbrier’s springhouse, the dome-and-column structure on the hotel grounds that marks the spot where people first began to bathe in the healing waters near White Sulphur Springs in 1778.
Nachman said The Greenbrier approached Steuben last year to create a trophy for the tournament. Designers began formulating several ideas in October to present to the tournament committee.
“In the end, they ended up choosing the one most tailored to the springhouse,” Nachman said. “It’s been a six-month process to do the blowing and etching and the assembly.”
The fluting for the dome was created with copper wheel engraving — a rare 17th century technique — and is topped with a sterling silver golfer.
“At Steuben, we train our own copper wheel engravers, and it’s a six-month apprenticeship to master. I really think there are less than 250 producers in the world that still practice this technique,” Nachman said.
He described the apparatus used as something akin to a dentist’s drill hooked up to a sewing machine. Artists make their own drill bits and switch them out as they’re etching the glass.
Nachman said exposition pieces made using this process can require 75 to 100 hours of labor in the etching alone.
“It’s a very specific and laborious process, which is why very few people still do it,” he said.
To fill in the area under the dome, artisans used pieces of blown bubble glass to represent the bubbling spring.
“That’s a special Steuben technique we used,” Nachman said.
The wood base of the trophy is embedded with a crystal block, where the winner of each year’s Greenbrier Classic will be engraved. Winners will receive a companion piece of similar design while the main trophy will remain on display in The Greenbrier lobby.
Nachman said the piece was particularly exciting for Steuben to create, given the history of both The Greenbrier and the art glass manufacturer.
“We feel they’re a venerable American institution — being around for over 200 years,” he said. “And with Steuben being around since 1903, we felt a great kinship with them and really understood the statement they were trying to make.
“We really loved working on this project, and I think it makes a really impactful statement.”
Those at The Greenbrier feel the same way.
“The Greenbrier is thrilled to have this exquisite trophy, specifically made in America by Steuben, as a permanent part of the resort,” Greenbrier owner Jim Justice said. “This piece will display The Greenbrier’s dedication to golf and its participation in the PGA Tour.”
Golfers will begin competing to be the first person engraved on the new trophy at the inaugural tournament, which begins July 26 and runs through Aug. 1 at White Sulphur Springs.

To mark the inaugural Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament, organizers tapped the Steuben Glass company to design a trophy for permanent display at the resort.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at or 304-348-5148.

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