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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
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • 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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • 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
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

In June of 1956 Wentworth hosted the Canada Cup (now the World Cup). Professional pairs from twenty-eight countries competed. Sam Snead and Ben Hogan were heavily favored to win. On the flight to London, Hogan, who had never played in England whose painstaking preparation for important competitions is legendary, took advantage of the long hours aloft to ask his partner to brief him on Wentworth's West Course. For a considerable time Snead silently weighed Hogan's request, giving him the clear impression that he was about to present a thorough analysis of the course. Finally he turned to Ben and said, "It's a sonofabitch."  JAMES FINEGAN


    

Thursday
May212015

Video: Flying Over Colonial Just Before The Invitational

The PGA Tour posted a nice package of drone footage above Colonial Country Club just prior to this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational.

While a few more of the low-flying shots would have been nice to see mixed with the more traditional bird's eye view, it's still interesting to see the property is by modern golf standards.

The video:

Thursday
May212015

Video: New Cabot Cliffs Teaser

Short but sweet, with Kiefer Sutherland narrating and images by Mike Robin.

And Cabot Cliffs continues to look spectacular as it nears its official opening...(h/t Ashley Mayo).

Thursday
May212015

Video: Andrew Johnston Hole-In-One & Chest Bump

The Wentworth ace by the Challenge Tour's top 2014 graduate was nice, but Andrew Johnston chest-bumping his best buddy gives this one a little more sizzle. For his 8-iron on the 151-yard, Johnson wins new BMW M4.

The clip:

Thursday
May212015

Rory Assures Horrified Masses That He Might Play Past 40

Apparently causing a run on antacids at the A329 Boots, Rory McIlroy received what felt like a staged question from Sky's Di Dougherty to clarify his perfectly rational suggestion that retirement will loom around 40. (Assuming he achieves his career goal.)

That's right, he even built in a caveat! Still not good enough!

That's because in the world of golf, where no week must be left open on a calendar and no career must end until the player is a shell of their former selves, McIlroy felt compelled to clarify. He opened the BMW Championship with 71 and suggested after that he's a bit tired in week four of five, writes Alistair Tait.

The career clarification clip:

Wednesday
May202015

Euro Stars Want New Chief To Raise Tour Profile; Golf World Wants New Euro Tour Chief To Have A Profile!

As the European Tour prepares to kick off its flagship event at Wentworth (Golf Channel covers the BMW from 5 a.m.-1 p.m. ET Thursday and Friday), Alistair Tait talks to players about the purported start to a new era this July when Keith Pelley replaces the retiring George O'Grady.

Perhaps respecting the tenure of his predecessor or maybe just not easily tracked down in his native Canada, Pelley has maintainted an amazingly low profile since landing the gig. But Tait says top European players have expectations, including Justin Rose.

“I think just a little bit more strength across the board on the European Tour,” said Rose, when asked what he wanted from the new man. “There's a huge variation in the events that we play, from prize fund and quality of golf course and excitement and crowd, from the top end to the bottom end. Just to try to make the mean average go up. I think for me that's what I want to see. That's what you have in America. You could almost throw the dice 20 times and build a good schedule on the PGA Tour.

“It would be nice to get close to that on the European Tour. I know there's a lot more factors in terms of where we play and a lot more going on and a lot more to manage, but to move towards that would be fantastic – just a more consistent product, I suppose.”

Pelley's marching orders from the committee that hired the television executive are undoubtedly clear, but what until he appears and starts cutting deals, we will be left to wonder what the European Tour future looks like.

Wednesday
May202015

Dan Jenkins On Tiger Beating "Nobodies"

There seems to be quite a bit of anger over Dan Jenkins' Q&A with the Fort Worth Light & Shoppers' Mac Engel, but I'm really sure Dan said anything he hasn't written.

Except maybe the word "nobodies" to describe some of Tiger's major runner-upperers. Strong for sure, but he's been pretty consistent in his view that history is showing many of Tiger's non-Phil, non-Els challengers to have been 50-1 shots.

From the Q&A, talking about Jordan Spieth:

Incidentally, there’s much more talent at the top (and the bottom) than there was during Tiger’s peak years. Tiger beat a lot of nobodies to win most of his majors.

Yeah, there was Phil [Mickelson] and [Ernie] Els around, in and out, but go back and look who was second to him in those majors and tell me where they are now.

Did we take Tiger Woods’ dominance for granted, and will he catch Jack Nicklaus’ record for majors?

I never took Tiger’s dominance for granted. The media loved him because he was golf’s only rock star, only dynasty, and people like dynasties in any sport. People also like to see dynasties crash and burn. Every golfer hits a wall eventually. Tiger has hit his, in more ways than one. He’s lost his game and putting stroke and his head. It happens. And I’ve only seen one player lose it all and come back. That was [Ben] Hogan, who damn near died in the car wreck. He came back and won six more majors. Tiger seems more confused about it than anyone I’ve ever covered. Maybe that’s partly because it came so easy for him in the beginning....

Obviously saying Tiger's wins came easy is probably too strong. No major win comes easy. But some, in hindsight, meant beating less stout leaderboards and courses than others.

And this is where I would differ from Dan: the course and setup means as much as the competition. Tiger won at an Augusta National seemingly rigged to stop him from winning annually. He won at a Torrey Pines playing much firmer and faster than he was used to (and which Phil Mickelson has struggled on post-redo). And he won at the Old Course against some pretty stout leaderboards.

Wednesday
May202015

High Profile Drought Victim: Stevinson Ranch

Though there are surely many reasons for any course closure, the family-farming ownership of Stevinson Ranch says the course's July 20th date of death is all about the drought. Almonds or turf? Almonds win 7&6.

Here is the NCGA's story on the closure of a course beloved for hosting amateur qualifiers and college events, designed by the late John Harbottle to much acclaim over 20 years.

And Ron Agostini in the Merced Sun Star had this telling quote:

Owner George Kelley, who co-designed the acclaimed Merced County course with John Harbottle III on family-owned wetlands property, said the downturn in rounds played in recent years, coupled with serious water concerns, forced Stevinson Ranch’s closure effective July 18.

He informed his staff late Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Kelley said. “We were just getting hammered to the point where our water situation was awful. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We had to make a business decision – our family almond business had to come first over the golf business.”

The closure marks the valley golf community’s second major hit within the last year.

Wednesday
May202015

When Lightning Strikes, Files: Turfgrass Edition

Nice catch by Shane Bacon of this Reddit-posted image of a Utah course post-lightning strike.

Beautiful, artistic, and kind of scary what Mother Nature leaves behind.

Wednesday
May202015

Golf Is Indecent Files: FCC Complaint Division

Tiger was the headline grabber but the real fun in Alan Bastable and Pete Madden's golf.com scouring of the numerous FCC complaint forms filed against golf telecasts was found later in the story.

They write:

CBS Sports announcers David Feherty and Gary McCord were criticized in 2012 by a Brooklyn, N.Y., viewer for appearing in a commercial that made “a mockery of the Roman Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation.”

Two viewers asserted that commercial breaks during golf telecasts are an inappropriate forum for promoting erectile dysfunction medications. (You know the spots -- sunsets, bathtubs, knowing glances.) “Children and young people may be watching,” wrote a viewer from Alexandria, Va.

Groused another Virginian, from Ashburn: “I just feel so violated and disgusted when I am watching golf with my five year old daughter and then a barrage of sexual issue commercials come on. … I'm no prude believe me, but enough is enough!!!”

Wednesday
May202015

AP On Chambers Bay Scouting Trips To Win: "Impractical, bordering on arrogant, for the USGA"

The U.S. Open is now less than a month away, Chambers Bay closes soon to public play and the stars will descend upon the links to scout the possibilities.

Still lingering, however, is consternation that the USGA is saying a failure to do early reconaissance will eliminate your chances of winning. The AP's Doug Ferguson considers the player comments since Executive Director Mike Davis's comments last month and concludes the USGA stance to be borderline arrogant.

It's impractical, bordering on arrogant, for the USGA to expect golfers to drop everything and go to the far end of the country for one tournament.

''With the way the Tour is, no one is going to go out there and play 10 practice rounds,'' McIlroy said.

McIlroy believes preparation is meaningless if he doesn't have his game. He plans a few practice rounds the weekend before the U.S. Open, another one during the week. That's three practice rounds, which is one more than two, meaning Davis can't rule him out just yet. Right?

But what about the players who don't qualify until the Monday before U.S. Open week? Or the players – two of them last year – who qualify through the world ranking on the Monday of U.S. Open week?

''Will not win the U.S. Open,'' is what Davis said.

Someone will. Someone always does. It could be a surprise, much like the golf course.

Protests of a different kind may be an issue at Chambers Bay, too. As if the intrigue level wasn't already at peak levels. John Strege reports.

Tuesday
May192015

Amen: Shark Refuses To Take Up An Open Championship Spot

Greg Norman has told the BBC he's passing up his final year of Open Championship eligibility because he doesn't practice anymore and even more refreshingly, does not want to take an opportunity away from a younger player.

While we never want to see geezer champions pass up opportunities they are eligible for, the PGA Tour has seen its share of hanger-on types taking up spots. So it's refreshing to hear someone recognize their limitations.

The full interview is here, or Keely Levins has this summary of Norman's key reasons for not turning up at St. Andrews for one last bridge wave.

"I'm not going to walk up to the first tee and feel like I'm taking the space of a young kid who could learn a heck of a lot more from it. I don't believe in doing that. I think it's so unfair to do that."

Tuesday
May192015

Flash: "Proof! CEOs hurt companies by golfing too much"

CNBC's Jeff Cox files the stunning revelation coming out of University of Tennessee and Alabama labs confirming what we all feared: excessive CEO golfing can lead to weaker returns.

Of course, any CEO who still turns in scores at this point will actually confirm something about them to their shareholders, the researchers dug deep into handicap info to expose this disturbing finding.

Using the records from 363 chief executives in the S&P 1500, the study drew some conclusions sure to scare more than a few of them off the course.

For one, it found that executives who use their time to lower their handicaps also often lower their firms' returns. The study also concluded, not surprisingly, that these same executives who play more often than their peers are more likely to lose their jobs.

"Top traders want to know everything they can about a company before they get involved in a name—down to where its C-level executives dined the night before a big day of investor meetings, for example. You never know how an overdone steak or disagreeable conversation will affect their mood after all, and inadvertently the stock price," New York brokerage Convergex said in a note that unearthed the study from August 2014.

So that's what it's come to, eh? So it's dachshund racing in suits?

In companies where the CEOs played more than 22 rounds of golf a year the return on assets was about 1.1 percentage points lower than firms where the top executives played less frequently. That's significant because the average ROA for the sample was about 5.3 percent, so the performance was equal to about 20 percent lower.

"Some CEOs in the database play in excess of 100 rounds in a year!" the study said. "While some golf rounds may clearly serve a valid business purpose, it is unlikely that the amount of golf played by the most frequent golfers is necessary for a CEO to support her firm."

Here is the deeper analysis from CNBC...

Tuesday
May192015

Video: Hole-Out To Advance To NCAA Finals, From Two Views

Troy's Tolver Dozier (say that three times in a row) went to a playoff with Ohio State's Addison Coll for the invidual spot out of the Yale-hosted NCAA men's DI regional.

With the team facing a tight flight schedule (and who wants to be stuck in Connecticut?), Dozier holed his approach and his teammates caught both the fairway and green views. Nice work!

The New Haven Register's Jim Fuller with all the fun details, which got a nice pick-up from the Big Lead too.

“It’s crazy,” Dozier said. “I was just trying to hit it close and I got lucky that it went in. It’s pretty cool. It’s my senior year and it’s kind of icing on the cake.”

The combo viral clip edited into one piece by Troy Athletics:

Tuesday
May192015

If DJ Wins, Your (PGA Tour Superstore) Driver Is Free

Here's a clever promotion involving Golf Digest's U.S. Open cover model, Dustin Johnson.

From the folks at TaylorMade who deserve some points for an imaginative stunt that isn't totally out of the realm given Johnson's recent form: DJ wins, you either get a refund on the driver you bought in the month leading up to the U.S. Open, or you get a free one for filling out the PGA Tour Superstore form.

All the details here.

Tuesday
May192015

It’s Back! PGA West Stadium Hosting TFKA The Hope

Last time we saw it on the PGA Tour, poor Tip O'Neill was stuck in a bunker and Corey Pavin won there barely making it to some of the fairways. But since then players started doing yoga, ditched the persimmons and even played a bunch of Q-School rounds at PGA West's Stadium course.

The iconic Pete Dye design returns to the Bob Hope Classic CareerBuilder Challenge In Partnership With The Clinton Foundation.

Larry Bohannan reports the addition of PGA West Stadium and the Nicklaus Tournament Course to replace the Nicklaus and Palmer private courses. It was, gulp, 29 years ago that the Stadium got its one shot at hosting the Hope.

The Stadium Course is famous in the desert for hosting the Skins Game from 1986 through 1991, but also for the one year it was played in the PGA Tour event known as the Bob Hope Classic. Designed by Pete Dye, the Stadium Course was different than almost any golf course in the course in 1987, and the scores reflected the course difficulty. Corey Pavin won the event, then a 90-hole tournament, at 19-under 341, well above the typical low winning scores of the time.

With an island green on the par-3 17th, a 200-yard carry over water on the par-3 fifth and a 20-foot-deep bunker on the par-5 16th, the Stadium Course presented strong challenges to the tour players and 384 amateurs in the field in 1987. The pros grumbled, with Ken Green saying the course needed a few sticks of dynamite and other players saying the one-year-old course was just unfair. The pace of play was slow for amateurs and celebrities, including Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill who found himself flailing away at the bottom of the bunker on the 16th hole on national television.

Monday
May182015

USGA Grants Alison Lee A One-Day Qualifying Reprieve

Great news for those who were following the rain-delayed LPGA Kingsmill Championship and realized Alison Lee would miss her U.S. Women's Open round due to a Monday finish: The USGA found her a spot at Goose Creek in Southern California.

While not her preferred venue, as Beth Ann Baldry reports, Lee has a chance to make it to Lancaster CC where she has a strong history.

“It kind of freaked me out,” said Lee, of the possibility of not being able to qualify for the Women’s Open, to be held July 9-12 at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club.

Lee won the 2013 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions at Lancaster and was particularly excited about getting back there to see her host family and friends.

“I have a lot of good memories there,” she said.

Lee first qualified for the Women’s Open in 2009 at age 14. She won a two-hole sudden-death playoff to get into the championship and missed her flight to the next event. She and her father wound up eating dinner at Denny’s at 10 p.m.

Lee lost to Minjee Lee in Monday's finish at Kingsmill, which would have earned her a place in the U.S. Women's Open.

Monday
May182015

PGA Tour Responds To Garcia Heckling Concerns

I've noticed a greater tolerance of loud and rude types at PGA Tour events and the conspiracy theorist in me chalks it up to fear of upsetting the only people who matter (18-34 y.o.'s). Hopefully I'm wrong. And while it's part of the fun at Scottsdale and good times are not to be discouraged in the appropriate places, there is a concern with too many drunks getting too close to the action. Because as we saw at The Players, where the group behind the 17th tee desperately needed to be coralled, folks worldwide noticed.

The Guardian's Ewan Murray followed up with the PGA Tour and a statement was issued to clear the air, preventing an international incident. For now.

“If players were subjected to inappropriate comments and heckling during their rounds at The Players, that behaviour is completely contrary to our goal. Over the last several years, we doubled uniform police, significantly increased our private security presence and hired more senior officers to help with crowd control.

“We will continue to evaluate ways in which we can be more diligent in reducing any distraction to players and ensuring our no-tolerance policy is implemented. Fans who act inappropriately and affect the tournament experience with disrespectful behaviour will be ejected immediately.

“The Players 2015 was one for the record books and we are dedicated to ensuring a few poorly behaved fans do not impact the competition or the experience for our players and fans.”

Monday
May182015

Quail Hollow '15: CBS Draws A 2.4 Final Round Rating

No, a 2.4 rating doesn't sound so great in the world of Nielsen, but the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship went up against Game 7 of the Clippers-Spurs on ABC and featured a Rory McIlroy runaway.

Let's face it, other than getting our first national TV look at the emerging Patrick Rodgers, there was no reason to watch and yet as Paulsen notes, the 2.4 is the event's highest rating since 2010 but also is down from the event's early years. Then again...

The numbers look less impressive if one goes further back. The 2.4 is tied as only the seventh-highest overnight for the tournament since it began in 2003 (12 telecasts).

Overnights have now increased for seven of the past ten final round PGA Tour telecasts (including The Masters and WGC Match Play). With that said, Sunday’s 2.4 is just the ninth-highest final round overnight of the season (16 telecasts).

Monday
May182015

Video: 30 Days From The U.S. Open At Chambers Bay

Do I notice a little more green after the recent rains? Of course, when this feature 30 days out from local TV news cuts to the shot of Rory at Quail Hollow, Chambers Bay still looks wonderfully lean, barren, crunchy and other-worldly.

Chris Francis
reports for KIRO TV on the various preparations, with updates from on-site man Danny Sink and footage of the repaving effort on that one road leading in that the golf world will get to know too well!

Monday
May182015

"Mickelson’s most important battle is about motivation."

Golf World's Jaime Diaz takes a look at the State of Phil heading into the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and beyond.

Besides getting some insight into how Dave Stockton helped with Mickelson's putting at the Masters, there was also this about speed and motivation.

He’s definitely still capable, but it’s complicated. It would appear that Mickelson has lost a bit of his fastball in the past couple of years. By 2012, his PGA Tour-measured average clubhead speed had dropped from 122.04 miles per hour in 2007 to 116.81, and then last year, to 115.62. Simply not enough for the big game Phil prefers to play. Moreover, the technical changes he began with Butch Harmon in 2007 seem stagnant, as his swing remains overly long, overly steep and overly wild off the tee. And perhaps the psoriatic arthritis Mickelson was diagnosed with in 2010 is a bigger issue than he lets on.

But he vowed to work out hard over the offseason, and so far this year, his average is up to an impressive 118.32 mph. Still, his out-of-nowhere, near-peak performances in majors demonstrate that Mickelson’s most important battle is about motivation.

“I’ve been able to get some of my best golf out in [majors] when I focus in on them,” he said at the Masters, where he tied with Justin Rose, four behind Spieth. “But I don’t have a great answer for you why or how that is.”

44, been there, done that at tour events? And is there anything wrong with veterans like Mickelson or Woods doing as Hogan did by centering their year around the majors? Adam Scott seems to be in that mode as well.