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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

The best way to whet the appetite and improve the game of any golfer is to offer an incentive and provide a reward for high class play, and by high class play is meant simply the best of which each individual is capable. Placing a premium on accuracy with due consideration for length should be the aim of all men who design courses, for accuracy in the play signifies skill, and skill is generally the master of brute force. WILLIAM FLYNN

 

    

Tuesday
Sep022014

Tiger's First Teacher: Stop Worrying About Distance!

Tiger's been obsessed with distance ever since John Anselmo first met the pupil and the now-93-year-old first instructor to Woods and the Obi-Wan to Tiger's Luke says it's time to stop worrying about hitting it far.

Ryan Herrington reports.

Anselmo said it's been several years since he saw Woods and the idea of speaking again with him would be gratifying. "Lots of things I'd like to tell him," Anselmo told Golf World. "First, quit trying to kill the ball. And I would ask him what he feels during the swing, because he was a feel player. I don't know if it's possible for him to be the player he was. But I know he hasn't forgotten how to create a swing. There's still some greatness in there."

Tuesday
Sep022014

Rapid Round-up: McGinley Picks Gallacher, Poulter & Westwood

Great minds think alike as the top three in the poll here (thanks for voting) were also selected by Captain Paul McGinley to round out the 2014 European Ryder Cup team. The poll only surprised me by how little you all think of Luke Donald's game, especially since he played well yesterday and, unlike Lee Westwood, played!

The only real shocker from the press conference at Wentworth? Jackets and ties from the inkslingers in attendance. Must be a requirement to be invited to lunch?

Anyway, a quick look at Paul McGinley's selection of Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

Jason Sobel highlights the team-first method McGinley used to announce his picks. Video of the announcement is included with the item.

Ewan Murray focuses on the Luke Donald omission.

“Luke was very, very disappointed and rightly so. My personal relationship with him goes back to the first shot he ever hit in a Ryder Cup because I was his partner.”

Asked about Donald’s response, McGinley replied: “Luke said to me: ‘You know, Paul, I publicly backed you to be captain. Even though you haven’t picked me, I still think you’ll be a great captain.’”

Phil Casey has the selected player comments and it's interesting that Lee Westwood touted his first round lead at the PGA as part of his case.

Martin Dempster with the Scotland angle on Gallacher's selection to the first Ryder Cup played in Scotland since 1973, back when they went to golf courses of merit.

Bob Harig notes that Donald’s lack of a top 10 since April could not have helped.

A Sky report suggests from McGinley’s comments that a Poulter pick was even more inevitable than first thought.

In case you want to relive the announcement or slept through it like I did, Rob Bagchi covered it as it happened for the Telegraph and Nick Miller did the same for The Guardian.

The Telegraph with the full team in slideshow form.

The full press conference transcript is here.

Monday
Sep012014

Biden Says Workers Deserve Fair Share In A Sebonack Shirt

Like something concocted by the writers of HBO's superb Veep, the current Vice President Joe Biden made an impassioned speech on Labor Day, telling Detroit-area union members that they deserve their fair share and stuck "with populist themes" according to this WXYZ report.

Not mentioned in the report? The veep was wearing a golf shirt with the logo of Sebonack, 2013 U.S. Women's Open host, seemingly extra-fine club, but most definitely a club costing upwards of a half-million dollars to join in the early years of its existence. And I'm guessing there hasn't been a reduction in these tough economic times for the down-on-their-luck Hamptons set.

Thanks to reader Todd for noticing this.

Monday
Sep012014

PGA Tour Player Bucket List Courses: Situation (Mostly) Normal

Michael Whitmer polled around 100 PGA Tour players about their bucket list courses and for the most part, they named all of the usual suspects.

Naturally, there were some who refused to answer (no Bubba, shocking I know!) and several who understandably said their bucket list spare time would be spent somewhere else other than a golf course.

Those who have never played in the Masters often said Augusta National, and those who have never played in an Open Championship at the Old Course frequently included St. Andrews. Not surprisingly, private clubs that don’t host PGA Tour events were named the most, led by Pine Valley, Cypress Point, Seminole, San Francisco Golf Club, and the exclusive designs on Long Island: National, Shinnecock Hills, Maidstone, Friar’s Head, Sebonack. Two players — Matt Kuchar and J.J. Henry — said The Country Club in Brookline.

“I’d love to do all of Long Island properly, and play them all as the members play them,” said Geoff Ogilvy (his list: National, Crystal Downs, Pasatiempo). “We see these courses in such ridiculous setups.”

Monday
Sep012014

Poll: Your Three USA Ryder Cup Captain's Picks

I can't imagine this was the dilemma Tom Watson envisioned he'd have when he signed up to be the USA Ryder Cup Captain. But here goes....

The options listed below for the three captain's picks are in order from the final Ryder Cup points list, not the faux list incorporating the post-PGA Championship events (if the PGA of America feels it's worthwhile to keep making a list after the final list, maybe it's time to have the points decided at the last possible event ala Team Europe?).

The Deutsche Bank Championship win by Chris Kirk certainly would seem to vault him onto the team based on season points and late form. Kirk, however, says he has plans to be watching the Tennessee-Georgia game that weekend and didn't want to make the team as a pick, reported Peter May. Here's guessing he'll have a change of heart.

Captain Tom announces his team Tuesday at 6 pm ET from New York City.

The poll:

Your three USA Ryder Cup captain's picks?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Monday
Sep012014

Poll: Your Three European Ryder Cup Captain's Picks

On Tuesday, September 2 at 7 am ET Paul McGinley announces his three choices in the often political and always sensitive European selection race. You can view the final points lists here and see the live announcement from Wentworth on Golf Channel.

Before voting, a few food-for-thought items to check out.

Brandel Chamblee calls Ian Poulter's selection a no-brainer and in the same piece you can hear from the classy Stephen Gallacher kicking off the same Golf Central piece. It's quite interesting to see Poulter's past success has bought him a place on the team considering his season. Ewan Murray in his Observer preview of the captain's picks and the various elements involved also makes the same statement.

Regarding Gallacher, Martin Dempster points this out about the Scotsman's track record at the Gleneagles Centenary course.

...it will not escape his notice surely that, in addition to the fact Gallacher came within a whisker of making the team at Gleneagles, the player has also recorded seven top-ten finishes over the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in his last 12 appearances in events at the Perthshire venue.

Monty says Gallacher should make the team. That and many other thoughts from the former Captain in Kevin Garside's reporting.

James Corrigan suggests Luke Donald may be the odd man out because of Gallacher's great run, and says this about passing on Gallacher:

Believe it, McGinley would be the golfing equivalent of the man who shot Bambi if he snubbed the local hero, particularly after the events at Circolo Golf Turin.

Cameron Morfit makes one final case for Bernhard Langer and includes Captain McGinley's quote all but ruling out the former captain and now-Champions Tour player. But note what McGinley says about the basis for his feelings.

“It's very hard for me to evaluate Bernhard because he's not playing in World Ranking points,” McGinley said recently. As captain, he added, he makes up his team based on World Ranking points and European Order of Merit points. “Now, Bernhard doesn't count in either of those,” McGinley said. “The only event he's played in that has World Ranking points or European Order of Merit points is the Masters.” (Langer tied for eighth place with, among others, Rory McIlroy.)

And Lee Westwood and Luke Donald and Ian Poulter!

Based on McGinley's view that the world points will factor most in his decision, I've listed the players below in approximate order related to their 2014 points.

Please, just three votes...

Your three European Ryder Cup captain's picks?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday
Aug312014

Mickelson Part Of Group Buying Fairbanks Ranch

The well-located by pretty dreadful design in San Diego that also hosted equestrian events in the 1984 Olympics has been purchased by Union-Tribune publisher Doug Manchester and Phil Mickelson, reports Roger Showley of the Union Tribune.

The group outbid a proposal from Club Corporation of America.

But a former board president, Louis Ferrero, said the Manchester-Mickelson bid came out of an earlier proposal to sell to ClubCorp, operator of the University Club in downtown San Diego, Morgan Run Club & Resort in Rancho Santa Fe and the Shadowridge Golf Club in Vista.

While ClubCorp offered top management credentials, Manchester offered a more ambitious improvement plan and a link to his Grand Del Mar property in Carmel Valley, Ferrero said.

Sunday
Aug312014

Gallacher Misses By One But He Better Be Ryder Pick Now!

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher needed to win or finish second in the Italian Open. He finished third after a final round 65, but as Ryan Lavner spells out in this case for Gallacher as a Ryder Cup pick, Paul McGinley will have a hard time showing his face in Scotland if he denies Gallacher.

Lavner writes:

It’s not just that Gallacher rose to the challenge and contended for the title in Italy – his eight top 10s this season are the most of any European Tour player. Plus, he has an intriguing history at Gleneagles, residing only 40 kilometers from the club and losing in a playoff there last year.

With Gallacher seemingly a no-brainer wild-card pick, Paul McGinley will have to decide between veterans Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald for the final two spots.

Saturday
Aug302014

Landslide: Portrush Members Vote 235-2 To Hold The Open

Even though R&A Chief Executive Architect Peter Dawson has all sorts of changes in mind for perennial world top 15 Royal Portrush, the members of the Northern Irish course were not deterred, voting overwhelmingly to join The Open Championship rota and allow major changes to the course, including two new holes and moving another green 60 yards.

Brian Keogh with the full report and details of the renovation work planned. It still sounds tight to have the new holes finished and mature enough for a possible 2019, which the R&A has made clear is not set in stone as the year of Portrush's long awaited Open Championship.

With planning permission now being sought, it is likely that work will not begin on the new holes proposed for the Valley Course until the winter of 2015 which means that the two new holes proposed for the Dunluce Links will almost certainly not be built until the winter of 2016 for play in the spring of 2017.

Friday
Aug292014

MJ (Unsuccessfully) Heckled Ian Poulter At Medinah

I'm not sure this will bode well for Michael Jordan getting an inside-the-ropes badge at future Cups after fessing up to heckling Ian Poulter down the stretch in the 2012 Ryder Cupi.

In the first of three "Road To The Ryder Cup" shows airing on NBC Sunday at 2:30 PM ET and Golf Channel Wednestday at 6:30 ET, Mark Rolfing sheds light on the little known battle between Poulter and Jordan. Tune in for the first episode of 'Road to the Ryder Cup' on NBC Sunday 8/31 at 2:30PM ET and Golf Channel Wednesday 9/3 at 6:30PM ET.

The preview:
Thursday
Aug282014

R&A Asks Members: "Open to letting 15 women in at once?"

Sam Weinman looks at the upcoming Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews vote on adding women as a membership options. The results will be revealed September 18th and a miraculous bit of timing to coincide with Scotland's vote on independence.

Besides asking members if they would accept the other gender, there was also another curious question.

Weinman reports:

In the ballots that went out last week to its roughly 2,500 members, the club asked two questions: Are you in favor of women members? And if so, would you be open to letting 15 women in at once?

What if you have strong feelings against the number 15? Do you vote no?

No one ever said this was going to be easy!

Thursday
Aug282014

U.S. Amateur Champ Playing Year Of Pro Golf As An Amateur

This may be a new one, but U.S. Amateur winner Gunn Yang has decided to take a leave of absence from San Diego State to play professional events around the world...as an amateur.

Tod Leonard
reported this on Twitter a day after the San Diego Union Tribune writer profiled Yang's meet-up with 84-year-old Gene Littler, WGHOF member, former U.S. Open winner and owner of one of golf's all-time great swings.

Of course, Yang had no idea who he was but at least he did his homework.

“I had to search for him on Google. His old bio came up on Wikipedia,” Yang said.

He laughed at himself.

“I’m not even on Wikipedia! I’ve got to play better, so I can see myself on Wikipedia.”

What he found on Wiki was this: Littler is in the World Golf Hall of Fame with 29 PGA Tour victories, including the 1961 U.S. Open championship. He played in seven Ryder Cups, with the United States either winning or tying every one of them.

Thursday
Aug282014

2023 U.S. Open Going To Los Angeles Country Club?

Potentially historic news--pending a member vote and signed contract--but it appears the USGA would like to bring the first United States Open to the Los Angeles area since Ben Hogan's 1948 win at Riviera.

Here is my story at GolfDigest.com working off of an LA Times report by Mike James revealing that an email has gone out to all Los Angeles Country Club members notifying them of an upcoming vote.

And of course--full disclosure--I worked with architect Gil Hanse on the 2010 restoration of the North Course.

The North Course most recently hosted the 2013 Pac 12 Championship won by California and Max Homa. You can see photos of that event here and here.

Wednesday
Aug272014

Ryder Deadline: Euro Captain McGinley's Options & Dilemma 

There's a nice pre-Italian Open interview here with European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley who is not shying away from the options he faces in selecting three players to round out his team for Gleneagles.
 
This European Tour unbylined story focuses on the one player who still has a chance to make the team on points: Stephen Gallacher. Easily the sentimental choice because of his Scottish heritage, efforts to make the team and overall genuine nature, Gallacher has to win or finish second to make the team on points.

“This is the last lap of qualifying for The Ryder Cup and from the World Points angle this tournament could make a contribution,” said the Irishman who is at Circolo Golf Torino this week to also compete himself after a number of weeks on the sidelines nursing a shoulder injury. All eyes will be on Stephen Gallacher, the Scot needing to finish in the top two to force his way past Graeme McDowell into the final qualifying place, but the likes of Joost Luiten and Francesco Molinari will be among those hoping to impress McGinley in this final week as he weighs up his wild card options.

Alistair Tait files an excellent piece weighing the easy way out for McGinley--pick stars Poulter, Donald, Westwood--or the more European Tour friendly choice in Gallacher, who has made a gallant effort to get on the team and has shown loyalty to the home tour.

What some commentators might not be taking into consideration is McGinley’s European Tour loyalty. He’s an establishment figure, serving on the European Tour’s tournament committee for many years. He will feel honor-bound to choose a player like Gallacher who’s fully committed to the European Tour.

The case for Gallacher also includes the new blood argument in a year when Europe appears so strong on paper that putting Gallacher on the team doesn't seem a stretch, especially as he's shown plenty of game.

And for what it's worth, Jason Sobel reported the strange remarks of Lee Westwood from last week, who said he'd next see the golf world at the Ryder Cup even though he's well outside the points cut off on either European list.

“Off until the Ryder Cup,” he said. “After that, I don’t know.”

Westwood currently isn’t qualified for one of the nine automatic spots on the European team through the world points list or the European Tour list. Which means that if he’s not playing again between now and then, he’ll need to rely on captain Paul McGinley as being one of three wild-card selections.

For Americans, Italian Open coverage begins on Golf Channel at 5:30 am. ET Thursday from Turin.

McGinley announces his picks Tuesday at 7 am ET.  Morning Drive will have the coverage.

Wednesday
Aug272014

Frank Deford: "You think Angela Merkel poses in a golf cart?"

Opinions vary widely on President Barack Obama's love of golf and when it's appropriate for him to play--that's my nice way of saying save your polical rants. But I think we all can get behind Frank Deford's NPR plea to the President and his handlers: lose the carts!

The audio can be listened to here. Or there was this version in text form:

But here's a tip to the White House media office. Never, never again let the president be photographed in a golf cart. What is the wussiest item in all of sports? A golf cart — that electric chaise lounge. A movable divan. Could you ever picture Vladimir Putin in a golf cart? You think Angela Merkel poses in a golf cart? In a pig's eye.

Wednesday
Aug272014

Photo Caption Fun: Bill Clinton And Rory McIlroy

Loved the photo of President Bill Clinton and Rory McIlroy deep in conversation, though Rory's Tweeted caption left me feeling a sense of what might have been.

Maybe you all can help. Are they talking about how to get Rory to Clinton's January tournament in the desert? Hillary's New Hampshire strategy? Or maybe bickering about Hogan's Secret?

Anyway, the Tweet and remember, this is a family website. Keep it rated PG!

 

 

 

Wednesday
Aug272014

Video: 2014 PGA Championship Final Round "Quad Supercut"

Michael David Murphy's supercuts of major final rounds are always revealing, but this one combining McIlroy, Fowler, Mickelson and Stenson is mind-blowing. How he came up with this I have no idea but it's fascinating viewing. And btw, nice consistency on the overlay of first tee announcer Derek Sprague's calls.

You can follow Michael here.

The video:

Tuesday
Aug262014

Johnny And Brandel Chime In On Tiger's Coaching Move

To promote the positively spellbinding playoff chase looming over the next few weeks, Johnny Miller and Brandel Chamblee took reporter questions Tuesday to hype the upcoming events on NBC and Golf Channel.

After the Denver crowd got in a few questions about the superb Cherry Hills, host to next week's BMW, the talk turned to what else? Tiger. As expected, Johnny and Brandel had plenty of interesting things to say about Tiger Woods parting ways with his third high-profile swing instructor this century.

Randall Mell filed a couple of pieces, starting with this on Tiger's "explosiveness" obsession.

“Tiger needs to quit being Ponce de León, looking for that fountain of youth,” Miller said. “He's looking for explosive power. What he really needs to do with the long game is swing a little smoother, instead of exploding into it, and blocking everything right and flipping it left . . . I think it would help his long game if he used a little smoother action, like he does with his irons . . . He’s trying to explode up through it, and his feet are hopping, and he's squatting down and hopping, and he's raising up, instead of just swinging level.”

And Brandel added this...

“Even on Jimmy Fallon's show, he was talking about how he needed to get more explosive, and in another interview he said he needed to get stronger glutes,” Chamblee said. “He keeps referring to getting stronger and stronger and stronger, which is bizarre to me, because he just needs to be faster. He traded speed for strength.”

Yes, but he looks so good in that Jack LaLanne estate sale gear!

I asked a question about the rise of celebrity swing instructors and Mell wrote a separate item on the remarks there, which were equally fascinating.

“It's interesting for all of us to talk about,” Chamblee said. “It's fun for us to sit down and talk to these instructors and listen to their ideas, but I don't know that this helicoptering, this helicopter teacher, this constant hovering, well‑intentioned, well‑informed constant teaching, is doing the player a great service.”

Chamblee believes a player can become too reliant on a teacher.

“I think the very nature of the way golf is taught now has led to a timidity in players, and it's certainly upped the profile of the teacher . . . A lot of theory is being put forth, and golf is in sort of a revolutionary stage, of lots of number, lots of ideas, lots of geometry, lots of science being thrown at these players,” Chamblee said. “It's intriguing, it's interesting, and I think a lot of these teachers have done a great job of promoting themselves. But, unfortunately, I think that there's discovery and there's confidence that's found in solitude."

Chamblee elaborated on these thoughts in a GolfChannel.com column released around the same time:

Tiger at 21 knew enough about his swing to orchestrate the changes that lead to the greatest stretch of golf in history. At 38 he may be golf’s version of Humpty Dumpty and all the king’s men hopeless to place him back into his origins. Perhaps he should tell all the king’s men to take a hike.
Alone in thought, watching the video from the 1997 Masters Tiger was in as powerful a state as any athlete can be. He decided what needed to be done, he had a game plan, he could feel it, taste it, smell it and he executed it.

Who should be his next coach is likely the difference between him breaking Jack’s major record or not and because of what he means to golf, that decision means a lot to the game. This is all precisely why I hope his next teacher’s name is Tiger.

Tuesday
Aug262014

The Greater New York Area Venue Obsession...

The Barclays is slated for the greater New York area on an annual basis, with an unofficial rota of Ridgewood, Plainfield, Liberty National and Trump Ferry Point (2017). Batting .500 isn't all bad. Anyway...

Tuesday's excessive commitment to Liberty National for ten PGA Tour events over the next 25 years ensures the Manhattan skyline will get no shortage of airtime.

However it's not just the PGA Tour that is staking a claim to this amazing region for great golf.

Consider...

2016 PGA Championship  Baltusrol Lower
2017 Presidents Cup  Liberty National
2018 U.S. Open   Shinnecock Hills
2019 PGA Championship  Bethpage Black
2020 U.S. Open   Winged Foot
2022 PGA Championship Trump National Bedminster
2024 Ryder Cup  Bethpage Black

I can't think of a bigger logjam of major events in one region over such a short period. Yet if there is one market that can handle the workload, it's this one. But it still seems like overkill.

Tuesday
Aug262014

Spieth's Ideal 21st Birthday: Golf At Preston Trail!?

I love the kid's passion, but come on, a round at Preston Trail, where they don't accept anyone under 21, as your big birthday celebration?

Okay...whatever Jordan says!

Doug Ferguson reports on Jordan Spieth's idea of a perfect 21st celebration at the all-male and apparently anti-early-millennial Preston Trail Golf Club:

"I must have played Bent Tree about 50 times and I always looked over at Preston Trail knowing I couldn't go over there," Spieth said. "When I was playing in college, or even last year as a professional, I'd get home and a couple of buddies would say, `Yeah, we're going over to Preston Trail.'"
 
He was invited to play by Malcolm Holland, a Preston Trail member and prominent USGA official. Spieth said the superintendent prepared for their visit by rolling the greens twice and finding some of the toughest pin positions. He played with former U.S. Amateur champion Colt Knost and Carlos Ortiz, who tops the Web.com Tour money list.
 
It was everything Spieth thought it would be.