Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    Sports Media Group
  • 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
  • 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
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

I don't suppose anybody alive has ever done more for the game, not Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, not anybody, except possibly the Scotsman who invented it in the first place. The Scots invented it, but Hope and Bing Crosby popularized it. When they used to do their wartime fund-raising tours, the game was popularly believed to be the private reserve of guys who ran railroads or owned oil wells. It was restricted to posh country clubs the average Joe got into only for school dances. Hope changed all that. He brought the game down to the level of the common man. If Hope could play it, anybody could.



Lawrenson's Rebuts Golf's "Most Boring" Status

1616 members of the British public were asked to vote on the most exciting and boring sports to watch and even though it's a country that can be enthralled by a three-day cricket match, golf and American football got the most votes.

A few days later, the Daily Mail's veteran golf scribe Derek Lawrenson penned this measured and proper rebuttal. A highlight:

The truth of the matter, though, is that golf will never score highly in such polls. It really isn't for everyone. It's like reading a book. It's time-consuming and requires serious levels of concentration but, oh, what a world awaits if you knuckle down.

That's why people who do love golf or reading books or watching cricket tend to be such devotees.

If you think golf's boring, I wouldn't seek to convince you otherwise. I get it.

However, just as hardback book sales refuse to dip, there will remain enough of us with an appetite for sports that fall back on the old adage: 'The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.'


Chairman Of The (PAC) Board? Spieth v. Hurley!

The PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council and Policy Board are about as first world as it gets in terms of debate serious life questions, but as Will Gray notes at, Jordan Spieth has been selected by current PAC members to face Billy Hurley for a chance to sit on the PGA Tour Policy Board.

In the best interests of the game, players please vote for Mr. Hurley. Golf needs its superstars eating, sleeping, practicing and doing everything but sitting in meetings voting on executive compensation. Besides, if Jordan needs anything from Policy Board member Randall Stephenson, he knows where to find the AT&T CEO.

From Gray's report, the voters:

In addition to Spieth and Hurley, other PAC members for 2018 include Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, James Hahn, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Geoff Ogilvy, Sam Saunders, Chris Stroud, Justin Thomas, Kyle Thompson and Cameron Tringale.

Speaking of Spieth, we discussed biggest needle movers in golf under 40 on Golf Central. I took Spieth, Matt Adams picked, well, several.


Instagram Golf From 1-16-18: HSBC Antics Are Back (Sort Of)

So much for the HSBC folks toning down the pre-tournament hype activities following last year's Shanghai &*^%show.

Henrik Stenson gets on a moving camel at an HSBC tournament...there's a joke in that somewhere.

When in the Middle East 🐪 @henrikstenson #ADGolfChamps

A post shared by European Tour (@europeantour) on

Pre-tournament falconry, that's more like it!

‘1 up Rory. First birdie of the week!!’ 📸 @justinprose99 #ADGolfChamps

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A fun old image of Arnold Palmer and Bob Hope in the good ole days of the Careerbuilder Challenge. You know Palmer won five Careerbuilders, right?

Sam Saunders was on hand for the Arnold Palmer statue dedication at The King's beloved desert home club.

There was no golf at Royal Dornoch Tuesday...


Rosaforte: Tiger Plays With Obama, Gets Rave Review From (Claude) Harmon

Nice to see Barack Obama getting some lessons from a Harmon, in this case Claude.

Nice to hear everyone, from the Harmons on down to the former President, apparently seeing a different Tiger than a few years ago.

And nice to see The Floridian enjoying such a resurgence under owner Jim Crane.

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reported on Morning Drive today about Tiger Woods’ recent round there alongside President Obama, who played another day there with Michael Jordan.


Coul Links Fight: "The billionaire vs. the fly"

Thanks to reader Steven for Chris Baraniuk's pretty one-sided take on Coul Links and the efforts to block this proposed Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design near Dornoch.

It was hard to forge through the piece after seeing the architects identified as "developers." And I am curious about branding Mike Keiser a billionaire, but mostly I was struck that the fight now seems to be over preserving the site due to a fly.

Now, I love all critters and never want to see golf invading a rare habitat but...

The specimen is a few millimeters in length, but it’s easy to make out the chunkiness of its thorax and the proud shape of its wings.

This is Botanophila fonsecai, Fonseca’s seed fly. It was caught in 1996 on a beach beside Dornoch in northeast Scotland, and it’s part of a collection being cataloged by Stephen Moran, an entomologist who lives nearby.

Presented in a box full of remarkably similar species, the fly does not look particularly special — and yet it is.

As far as we know, Botanophila fonsecai exists in only one place in the world: a roughly six-mile strip of coastline, adjacent to Dornoch and the nearby village of Embo. Its entire world is estimated to be less than a single square mile; its population size is unknown.

If this fine project dies because of a fly, then we know co-developer Todd Warnock was right, this was about the current American president and his course near Aberdeen.


“We play four or five each year that are very solid. Most of the others are pretty weak, honestly.”

Golfweek's Eamon Lynch talks to some interesting male golfers who are tuned into golf architecture and who generally have to tune out most courses week-to-week.

Besides great insights from Geoff Ogilvy and Zac Blair, I enjoyed this from Frank Nobilo on elite players, which is even more reason to step up the design nuance and risk-reward setup!

“He finds the weakness and exploits it. You take the liberties that your own game allows,” Nobilo said.

Nobilo notes that Johnson hit driver on eight of the last nine holes at the Plantation Course.

”At no stage is he considering what the designer had in mind, or for that matter who they are,” Nobilo said. “He only thinks what advantage he can gain.”

A man doesn’t need to waste time mulling risk when he can fly it all and reap the reward.

And this from Ogilvy on non-major tour courses he's play if architecture and brain engagement were the only pre-requisites for schedule-making.

I asked Ogilvy how many non-major events he’d compete in if he only played courses that engaged his brain. Kapalua. Riviera. Pebble Beach … Long pause.

“I’m starting to run out of courses,” he said. “Which is a shame. It’s a business and we have to go where the money goes. But strategically interesting architecture generally produces better tournaments and winners. Augusta National is so good at finding the guy who has got every part of his game – including his head – going that week. That principle remains everywhere. The more interesting questions a course asks, the more the cream rises to the top.”


Monday In MLK Day Instagram (Golf) Posts, 1-15-18

Mercifully, the golf world minimized any painful and desperate efforts to somehow drag non-golfer Dr. Martin Luther King into our sport (okay, I saw a couple but will protect the well-intentioned).

The best of what I saw scrolling Instagram...

Jaeger Kovich has conclusive evidence that The Ladies Putting Course at St. Andrews is still beautiful and getting through the winter just fine.

Pinehurst is getting a refreshed “Maniac Hill” driving range.

The reaction to this trick shot gone wrong by Carly Booth and Hannah Davies is a keeper. You can feel the genuine shock and awe.

Sabastian fro Zurich loves his Mavic drone and captured this incredible but decidedly non-golf image:


Monty's Lamenting Injuries, Lack Of Playing-Style Variety In Modern Power Game

Colin Montgomerie has been fairly subdued on the topic of distance and its impact on courses--who knew he had it in him!--but the former Ryder Cup captain comes out firing in comments to Lewine Mair of Global Golf Post, lamenting what he sees in the game.

You can read the full piece here, but I was pleased to see him highlight the lengths Augusta National goes to (successfully, to an extent) in combating roll. 

He cites Augusta National as another famous venue which is struggling to keep the powerhouses in check. “They’re already cutting the fairways from the greens back to the tees so that you’re not hitting down-grain. That helps, only the gains are wiped out by higher agronomy standards which make for firmer, more consistent surfaces and better bounces.

“The authorities are talking about how to bring things back a bit and I think you’d find that a lot of spectators would like to see the same. Yes, people enjoy watching tee shots of 350 yards, but I’m sure they got just as much of a kick out of following the top players in the days when they came in all shapes and sizes and knew how to work their way round a course.”


Jim Nantz On The Game Of The Century, Dick Enberg's (Final) TV Appearance

The Houston Chronicle's David Barron talks to Jim Nantz about being one of the final subjects of Dick Enberg's podcast and in what is likely the final appearance by Enberg. I have a rooting interest in this for all of the usual reasons besides a Nantz production and Enberg contribution.

Enberg, who called the 1968 UH-UCLA game with Bob Pettit for Eddie Einhorn's TVS sports network, joined Nantz, Hayes, Chaney and CBS Sports analyst Seth Davis last November for a panel discussion at UH's Moores Opera House. Their discussion accounts for most of the hour-long program, which also includes clips from the rarely seen game broadcast.

A few weeks after their meeting in Houston, Nantz and Enberg spent 90 minutes talking shop and trading stories for Enberg's podcast series. Enberg died nine days later.

There was also this...

Younger fans also will learn much about the historic nature of the game in college basketball's emergence from relative obscurity to a sports TV staple.

"It set the standard and orchestrated what the future was going to be," Enberg said during the UH event. "It was the intersection of the great game of college basketball (with) television as a growing medium. … Everything was so much bigger than life."

Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News also revisited (in fantastic depth) Enberg's views on the game and its impact on sports television.

Matt Norlander at CBS Sports previews the hour long piece making its debut Monday night at 9 pm ET, 6 pm PT.


UK Golf Guy On Golf Digest's Latest World Ranking: "The methodology for selecting the list is fairly awful."

UK Golf Guy maintains a compilation hybrid list of the world's best courses based on various lists, but he's decided to no longer include Golf Digest's stab at an international list due to a long list of problems.

He details them in this post and while his concerns are not shocking given the awfulness of their last attempt in January 2016, the latest effort seems even more peculiar.

He writes:

Well, the 2018 edition is out and despite the title 'World's 100 Greatest Golf Courses' they have stopped bothering to rank golf courses from all over the world. Instead they have made this a list of their top 100 golf courses outside of the USA. And thoroughly disingenuously, they have shown the previous positions of the golf courses in the rankings - despite the comparator including courses from the USA.

This allows many courses to claim they have moved up places in the world rankings. The tweet below from Bluffs Ho Tram in Vietnam is a prime example.

The methodology for selecting the list is fairly awful. The Golf Digest team ask 'international panelists organized by our affiliate magazines around the world'. Oh dear, that would be the affiliate magazines who rely on the course's advertising to pay their bills, the associate magazines whose staff get wined and dined by the latest new courses wanting to make a splash.


The Weekend Of (Golf) Instagram, 1-14-18 & 1-15-18

Thomas Lombardi, err Bjorn is pretty pumped about that EurAsia Cup win over Team Asia. Guess he's warming up the voice for this fall in France...

Olé olé olé!!!! Very proud of my players today 👊

A post shared by Thomas Bjørn (@mrtbjorn) on

A lost Coore and Crenshaw seen long after its closing

The 9th at Sugarloaf Mountain by Coore & Crenshaw (NLE) #PlayorPerish

A post shared by Sugarloaf (@sugarloafsocialclub) on

Lit cups on Rolling Hills Country Club’s new Himalayas-style putting green, courtesy of Seamus Golf.

Who says the kids today don’t work the ball?

Grass skipper! Rate 1-10 #GMgolf @snipergolf

A post shared by Garrett Clark & Micah Morris (@gm__golf) on


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Instructive Day: Sony Open Telecast & The Golf Channel Dispute

No one feels good about a labor dispute and we certainly didn't need to be caught in the middle of negotiations between Golf Channel and the union representing the channel's technicians.

Fan feedback was obviously not kind.

Mercifully, the NFL put on two thrilling playoff games, so thanks to PGA Tour scheduling a final round against the second game, few saw much of the broadcast. And when they checked in, there was no way of knowing what was going on without checking golf website.

The telecast did start with this:


The taxing day for all involved, which started with a rough Tour telecast, followed by a shockingly competent Diamond Resorts Invitational, was not helped by going deep in sudden death for the Sony. Insiders say buses took a huge haul of staffers down to the Diamond Resort outside Orlando to fill in for the striking workers, while the Sony Open was less fortunate. In Orlando, George Savaricus, Bill Kratzert and Jim Gallagher Jr. handled five hours of broadcast commentary, while the pictures were presented from on-site by a few non-striking technicians and even on-course commentator Jerry Foltz.



While the day revealed a dispute between employee and employer, the effort to get something on the air from Honolulu reminded us how many people are devoted to bringing us the world of golf. The six hole playoff won by Patton Kizzire over James Hahn, with limited production values, also reminded us how good the pictures and sound tend to be during golf's neverending days.

Of course we all have our quibbles with how golf is presented or how to move the golf broadcast into the future, but if nothing else the dispute highlighted just how devoted Golf Channel is to the game, and how competent the men and women are at bringing pro golf into our living rooms. Let's hope both sides agree and we never have to do this again!



Sony Open Coverage May Be "Limited" Due to Labor Dispute

No Laying Up first reported the issue and Golfweek's Forecaddie fleshes out what could be an uneven day of golf coverage on Golf Channel, with statements from some of the parties.

The issues involve a rejected contract by the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts) and Golf Channel/NBC Sports.

Early coverage from the was very rocky, with PGA Champions Tour coverage from the Diamond Resorts Invitational smoother with only some audio and camerawork issues so far.

Sky Sports has already warned of Sony Open coverage being upended:



Rory Gives British Press Heart Scare With Heart Scare Revelation

Rory McIlroy gave The Telegraph's James Corrigan an update on his last three months of tournament inactivity and the Northern Irishman says his rib is fine, but revealed a recent heart scare.

“But I’ve got a bit of an irregularity with my heart that I have to keep on top of.

“I have a flat T-wave and I’ll have to get an echo [cardiogram] on my heart every six months and an MRI scan every year.”

After the story spread a bit uncontrollably, McIlroy took to Instagram to calm everyone down on Fleet Street. And among his fan bases.

A post shared by RORY (@rorymcilroy) on

More noteworthy were Rory's comments to Corrigan in this item about Tiger's game, which he saw up-close before the Hero World Challenge following an invite to play from Woods.

“I was on my way there worrying thinking, ‘what will I see?’, but it was incredible,” McIlroy told Telegraph Sport. “My dad [Gerry] also played with us and we both couldn’t believe it. I remember mouthing to Dad, ‘WTF?’. And on the drive home afterwards, we said: ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ Tiger was that good; playing every shot, not having to hold back.


Whoa Nellie: R.I.P. Keith Jackson

The lifelong golfer and legendary broadcaster who will be remembered for his iconic college football work, gave one of his last on-camera interviews to Callaway Live.

This is from October, 2016:


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Brett Favre Would Rather See His Grandsons Play Golf

It's nice to see the quarterbacking great acknowledge the safety of the Royal and Ancient.

From Tom Schad of USA Today, quoting Favre on a concussions documentary the former Green Bay Packer has produced:

"I got three grandsons. I'm not going to encourage them to play football, I'm not going to discourage them, but I would much rather be a caddie for them in golf than watch them play football," Favre said on Tuesday's show. "And that's crazy. People say, 'I can't believe he would say that.' But you know, head injuries are going to continue. The quality of player is only going to go up, and that means concussions are not going to go down. So it's a scary issue."


“This new tax bill will really hurt golf.”

Golf course operator and former PGA of America President Ted Bishop opines for on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's elimination of a the 50-percent tax deduction for business expenses.

Bishop says the golf industry changed for the worse when that deduction went from 100% to 50% and sees the problems continuing with the move to zero percent. He says this to President Donald Trump, who signed the bill into law:

Regardless of golfers’ political-party affiliation, the fact that a president who owns and operates golf clubs signed the legislation into law Dec. 22 was no Christmas gift for a struggling industry and is rich only in irony

Bishop isn't the only one seeing problems. There is this from Linda Rogers (R), Indiana State Senate candidate, a former president of the National Golf Course Owners Association.

“When the business write-offs for golf were cut to 50 percent in the 1990s, that was the start of the decline of the golf business, in my opinion,” she said. “This new tax bill will really hurt golf.”

We Are Golf head Steve Mona was unavailable for comment but there was this from Jay Karen, the chief executive officer of the National Golf Course Owners Association:

“No one has measured the scope of business golf spending, nor the behavioral changes that might occur with the removal of the deductibility,” Karen said. “Despite the chance for a negative impact, my hope is the effect will be marginal, at best.”


"If Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth were hitting the same clubs into greens as Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, or Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, they would be no less appealing."

Those who worry about distance gains expanding the footprint of golf used to be mocked and in general, were anti-capitalist technophobes. We still are in certain parts of Massachusetts.

But the worrying types are no longer mocked thanks in part to the USGA and R&A suggesting all was well and gains weren't happening in the same year we saw a reachable 687-yard par-5 in the U.S. Open. Now, a younger generation isn't really buying that massive distance gains are making professional golf more fun to watch, causing heartburn in the millennial-obsessed executive ranks who think the kids are shallow and only about the long ball.

So I urge the few stragglers who aren't buying our view to check out Bill Fields' short piece entitled "Too much of a good thing."

I don’t know a critic of the current situation who has contempt for the golf-equipment R&D folks smart enough to design multi-layer, solid-core balls, big, thin-faced metal drivers or machines that allow players to optimize their gear – ingredients that have fueled where we are. But appreciating their ingenuity isn’t the same as believing that it has improved the essence or aesthetics of golf, particularly as played by the best in the world.

If Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth were hitting the same clubs into greens as Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, or Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, they would be no less appealing. If Justin Thomas were using the same iteration of club and ball as Greg Norman three decades ago, there is no reason to think his skills wouldn’t stand out as they did in his 2017 Player of the Year season. If, eventually, there occurs a sane throttling of what our eyes are seeing and the stats are documenting, the best still will be the best – and that will be so for those who manufacture the equipment as well as play it. Think of it as returning to the moon instead of trying to reach Mars. In a game, this game, the moon is enough.

You go Bill!

Anyway, read the whole piece. It's short. And good.