Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • 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
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

Putting affects the nerves more than anything. I would actually get nauseated over three-footers, and there were tournaments when I couldn't keep a meal down for four days.
BYRON NELSON

 

   

Monday
May222017

"Behind the scenes at a $2,000 wedge fitting"

As PXG and others have established high-end club fittings that lead to eye-popping prices for clubs, Golfweek's David Dusek tells us about his experience with JP Harrington's setup at Titleist's facility in Oceanside.

While many of us can't comprehend spending $2000 on a set of wedges, clearly there is a market for these personal service fitting given that Harrington will do 50 to 60 days of fittings with customers. Dusek explains what they'll get for their $2000 besides some very futuristic-looking clubs.

First, the heads are forged from 1025 carbon steel before being milled to precisely the desired shapes. Internal weights made to fit each specific wedge head help raise or lower the center of gravity based on loft, then a large, highly polished tungsten weight is attached in the toe to pull the CG into the center of the hitting area. All that weight can be added because the back plate is made from brushed titanium, which is exceptionally light.

While the grooves are identical to those of Titleist Vokey Design SM6 wedges, the soles of JP Harrington wedges are CNC-milled. Most have aggressive heel and toe relief for increased versatility, but if there is a buzzword Harrington loves to talk about, it’s camber. His wedges tend to have a lot of curvature from the leading edge to the back of the sole, as well as from heel to toe. Harrington believes this helps players maintain speed through the turf for improved consistency.

Monday
May222017

Alice Dye Slams New TPC Sawgrass 12th: "It doesn’t fit the course."

I've been mulling the new 12th at TPC Sawgrass in the aftermath of this year's Players and in thinking back to the golf I watched out there, my admiration for its intricacies has grown.

Did it achieve perfection on the first attempt? No. But few of the great short par-4s were perfect from the get-go. Shoot, Riviera's 10th only ascended to its current place atop most lists when technology (and all of that core work) allowed more players to go for the green.

Did the new 12th achieve the goal of adding intrigue to the early back nine holes and some much needed nuance at what was previously not a good hole?

Definitely.

Did it take one of the most one-dimensional, unimaginative and strange short par-4s on a great course and improve it?

Absolutely.

The Dyes, apparently, do not agree. Tom Weiskopf also chimed in from afar with some astute and bizarre remarks. I believe had they watched some of the golf in person and witnessed the strategy sessions at the tee box, or have seen some of the player shotmaking that the hole elicited, they might judge the new 12th less harshly. 

Matt Ginella writing for GolfAdvisor.com quotes Alice, who watched much of the coverage and came away unimpressed.

"It’s an awkward hole," says Alice Dye. "It doesn’t fit the course. He OK’d it, but it’s not a Pete Dye design."

But many would counter that as much as we love a good Pete Dye design, interesting short par-4s are not of interest to him. Even Alice confirmed this.

"Pete has never believed in drivable par 4s," says Alice. "If a player is supposed to reach the green from the tee and you’re always allowed two putts, well, that’s a par 3."

Alice, who watched the tournament with Pete all week, on a course that is one of the most iconic of the Dye’s 100-course portfolio, was not impressed with the new 12th.

"Even for the players who laid up, they were left with an awkward shot to a target that was angled across their body, the pins were hidden and weren’t accessible and the green sloped away from them, towards the water. The players who laid up weren’t able to be on the offensive. Either TV didn’t do a good job of presenting it or the hole didn’t create the excitement or the drama they were hoping for."

Actually, the visibility issues were for those who played back in the fairway. Those who sneaked their lay-ups closer to the green got better views, a great nuance to the hole that developed as players got to know the features better.

As for any issues, I think there are two small tweaks that would encourage more aggressiveness without turning it into the automatic-driving situation that Alice laments: keep the lake bank at a higher cut and flip the tee over to the left so that the angle better fits the right-hander's draw-show eye. Currently the players are hitting across themselves a bit. The angle probably accentuates the narrowness of the hole opening and the lefthand lake bank that was declared too severe by many.

A move of the tee so that the hole to set it up more like a long Redan could mean more enticement to attack.

But to suggest the hole was a failure is to look past the intrigue, interest, variety and skill sets the new 12th hole introduced.

Sunday
May212017

Video: The Turf Chopper (New Age Golf Cart)

I'm normally not one to advocate anything but walking, however the Turf Chopper looks pretty fun (and stable?).  While I get the surf/skater appeal of golf boards, this looks like much less work and even exudes a cool, futuristic vibe.

To be determined? Their impact on turfgrass. But they have to be better than a much heavier golf cart.

H/T Golfballed...

I need one now. Please. Thank you. 🏍⛳️😝👍 via: @jbeeeeeeeeee @turf_chopper

A post shared by GolfBalled.com (@golfballed) on May 20, 2017 at 5:40pm PDT

 

Sunday
May212017

There Are No Words, Files: Greg Norman Shows Us How To Do Stomach Crunches On Crutches!

I can't imagine how he keeps hurting himself when you see this, but Shirtless Shark is back and taking advantage of some sort of ankle/foot injury to us how to keep the abs firm even when relegated to crutches.

Either way, I spell an instructional piece on this as part of his partnership with Verizon!

 

Just had to improvise.

A post shared by Greg Norman (@shark_gregnorman) on May 21, 2017 at 2:18pm PDT

 

Saturday
May202017

Artificial Surface Tee Gets Used At NCAA Championships...

The NCAA's plan to play men's and women's Division I finals at the same course is undoubtedly making their venue option list very short. And as Andy Johnson notes at FriedEgg.co, you can't fault them for going to a place like Rich Harvest Farms, which has generously opened its doors to Solheim Cups, Western Amateurs and more. But the course that was once ridiculously ranked by Golf Digest's panel only to suffer a fall, still has many wondering why Jerry Rich's design is even viewed as top 100 worthy. 

Things aren't off to the best start at Rich Harvest Farms, with a weather delay leading to a shortened event and an artificial surface tee box getting put into play.

Saturday's nasty weather wasn't Rich's fault, especially since superintendent Jeff VerCautren did all he could to have the course ready to take on an inch of rain (as it did for Saturday's women's D1 round two). Play was still cancelled despite beautiful afternoon conditions. Lance Ringler at Golfweek.com explains what went into the thinking behind cancelling the round and shortening the women's stroke play portion of the proceedings.

More disconcerting though was the Janet Lindsay's decision, forced by wind forecasts, to use an artificial surface tee that was difficult for players to actually penetrate with tees.

Brentley Romine reports for Golfweek.com.

“I thought to myself, some kids probably have never hit off a mat in their whole life,” said Ohio State head coach Therese Hession.

The mat made it difficult for players to put their own tees at proper heights. Some players used mini tees provided by officials, but even those weren’t suitable for everyone. One player grew tired of attempting, threw her tee on the ground and hit hybrid off the deck. Most every player hit some sort of hybrid on the hole on Friday.

“I hit a hybrid off the tee, and the tee wouldn’t go down,” Baylor’s Amy Lee said. “… I was kind of afraid of popping it up in the air. (The tee) was probably triple the height of what I normally put it.”

Saturday
May202017

Video: Alvaro Quiros Off The Cart Path

It's been a stunning decline for such a talented player, but Alvaro Quiros has a chance to restore some dignity (and world ranking status) in Sunday's final round of The Rocco Forte Open. The Verdura, Sicily course is an odd combination of rugged natural beauty interrupted by blinding white bunker sand, but No. 703 in the world whose six European Tour wins helped him once reached No. 21, will always have this juicy shot off the path to savor.

From the European Tour's Instagram account:

 

A touch of genius #RoccoForteOpen

A post shared by European Tour (@europeantour) on May 20, 2017 at 1:00pm PDT

 

Friday
May192017

Trinity Forest Deep Dive And The Nelson Going Forward

It might seem rude to be looking ahead to the Byron Nelson's move from TPC Las Colinas/Four Seasons, but it's a course not loved by players. With a Coore and Crenshaw project that has reclaimed rolling, rumpled land, Trinity Forest has the potential to raise the architecture bar in the Dallas area.

More importantly, the 2018 Nelson could be a test run for bigger things, with the USGA having paid visits and the club thought to have major championship aspirations. With AT&T's golf-living bigwigs backing the project, don't be surprised if the Nelson is short-lived there and we see the PGA of America and USGA jockey for something bigger.

Anyway, Jonathan Wall at PGATour.com has done a wonderful deep dive piece into the project and has more details on the architectural elements than previous pieces. As always, please hit the link but here's a teaser:

Instead of attempting to alter the contours, Coore and Crenshaw embraced the character flaws and built Trinity Forest around the gentle rises and falls in the land, along with the native grasses and rolling, rumpled sand that are hallmarks of the design.

"The set of circumstances are we let the holes fall where they are," Crenshaw said. "The character of the topography of the ground dictates what the end result will be, and we are very traditional in that regard. We've borrowed ideas from the old architects such as Donald Ross, [A.W.] Tillinghast and Perry Maxwell, and they all basically have the same interwoven philosophies in that the holes must fit the ground.

"Perry Maxwell had some fascinating statements about that. He said, if you take a piece of land and tie it into a natural theme, your golf course will be different than anyone else's. I always thought that was a fascinating statement. So wherever we go, we try as hard as we can to not alter the land so much."

Thursday
May182017

Phil Commits To Colonial, Columnist Welcomes Him Back With Tough Love

I don't think Star-Telegram columnist Mac Engel will be getting many warm and fuzzy vibes next week from Phil Mickelson at the 2017 Dean and Deluca Invitational.

Even though Mickelson has committed for the first time since 2010 to set off a potential three week run into the U.S. Open (he's also committed to the Memorial), Engel welcomes Lefty back to Fort Worth with multiple jabs.

“With the (course) redesign, I’m afraid I won’t be playing it (Colonial) anymore,” Phil said in 2011. “It doesn’t give me a power advantage. I know all the shotmakers will be there every year. But I don’t see any of the long hitters playing there anymore. There’s no decision making now. It’s all irons, irons, irons.”

It was a tee-shot blast at course designer Keith Foster, and a tone-deaf comment about his own game. Phil sounded like a coward.

Most (all?) of the tournament directors and club members were furious and insulted. Phil wanted to play tournaments where he could birdie a Par 5. Colonial wanted PGAers who at least expressed some degree of gratitude for their hospitality, which in Phil’s case was generously extensive.

By 2011, the happily married couple only shared mutual middle fingers.

Welcome back!

Thursday
May182017

Pinehurst Breaks Ground On New Short Course

Gil Hanse explains the concept (embed below) of what hopefully joins the list of influential short courses inspiring more to be built.

Given the location of this one in front of the Pinehurst clubhouse, it's sure to be popular when completed.

 

 

Thursday
May182017

Poll Result: "How important is it which pros play those clubs?"

Golf Channel Equipment Insider Matt Adams asked his followers on Twitter if tour pro endorsements influence purchasing, and also set up the question with this Morning Drive segment on TaylorMade's recent Rory McIlroy signing.

Granted, his followers are likely core golfers who are prone to have been with the game longer, but it's still fascinating to see how voters believe that professional endorsements translate to buying influence:

The segment:

Thursday
May182017

Golfweek's Sand Valley Review

Bradley Klein and Martin Kaufmann with early impressions of Sand Valley, the Mike Keiser-led midwest development featuring a Coore-Crenshaw design, with more on the way.

They write:

Sand Valley’s grass-covered dunes, some of them 50-60 feet high, are the product of massive outwash from glaciation and an abrupt flood 15,000 years ago. Coore and Crenshaw’s routing meanders through broad valleys, climbs atop those dunes and at times circulates through flatter ground that had been planted for decades in the dead straight rows of a pine tree farm.

The scale of the place can be disorienting, given the wide berth of playing options available. The par-72 layout tips out at 6,909 yards (72.6 rating/128 slope). But those black-tee numbers are virtually meaningless in the midst of the prevailing wind and the intensity of ground-game roll. The vast bulk of rounds will be played from more comfortable yardages of 6,514 yards (orange), 6,087 (sand), 5,574 (green) and 4,586 (blue). Get it – no gender-biased red colors here. Just play it from where you think you can have fun.

Wednesday
May172017

Vijay Loses TPC But Wins In Court Monday, Trial Coming Soon

The beacon of misery and bitterness that is Vijay Singh faded from contention at The Players, but the 54-year-old won a key court decision Monday, reports Brian Wacker at Golf World.

On Monday, Judge Eileen Bransten issued a decision favorable to Singh on motions that had been pending since last fall, denying in part the tour’s motion for summary judgment.

“We can proceed to trial,” said Singh’s attorney Peter Ginsberg when contacted by Golf Digest.

The suit, which was filed a few days prior to the 2013 Players Championship, claims the tour was negligent in its handling of Singh’s anti-doping violation and breached its implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which caused harm to the now 54-year-old Fijian’s reputation.

The tour had no comment.

Meanwhile, Singh's caddie at The Players announced he was moving on Sunday night. So it was a split decision week...

 

Wednesday
May172017

NCAA Regional Roundup And Madness: Jacksonville Player Drops Ball In Water By Accident, Strips Down To Help Team 

You know this blogging thing yields some strange stories, and in reading about the NCAA men's regionals I'm not sure it gets any more peculiar than the plight of Jacksonville's David Wicks who...oh let GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner explain.

He crouched on a steep bank to read his putt, but as he stood up and reached for the ball in his right front pocket, he dropped it.

Of course, it didn’t just fall straight down. No, it kicked off the back of his shoe, rolled off the green, around a bulkhead, and after a brief chase he watched it tumble into the water on the left side of the green.

“I looked at my playing partners, they looked at me, and there was that awkward silence where we both knew it’d be a penalty,” Wicks said by phone Wednesday night.

Said his coach, Mike Blackburn: “Just a stroke of bad luck.”

Here was Wicks’ predicament: He needed to find his original ball or he would be assessed a two-shot penalty, under Rule 16-1. In contention both in the team and individual race, Wicks said, “I was always going to go in. If I hadn’t gone in and we’d lost by a shot, the nine-hour drive back I would have been thinking about it the whole time. At least I know now.”

Here is the video of Wicks making the desperate search as his playing partners look on in silence.

 

 

Jacksonville made it through for the first time ever in a playoff over Northwestern, as Brentley Romine notes in Golfweek's roundup of that wild and wacky region.

Oklahoma State edged Texas in the Austin regional, Romine notes in this roundup.

UCF advanced in a region that also saw Lipscomb make it to the finals.

As Golfweek's Kevin Casey reports, Oklahoma and Stanford headline the west region qualifiers that also included Pepperdine.

Go Waves!

The NCAA finals start Sunday for the women and a week later for the men.

Wednesday
May172017

Steph On Tiger: "He made me want to watch every single shot of every single tournament he played."

As Kyle Porter notes at CBSSports.com, the Players ratings news seemed conveniently timed with Steph Curry's comment to David Feherty that Tiger Woods inspired him not just as a golfer, but as an athlete.

"He was a ground-breaker obviously. For me when I was watching him, he made me want to watch every single shot of every single tournament he played."

And isn't this ultimately at the heart of why it's so hard to pinpoint the sagging numbers in pro golf?

There is no one like Tiger, except Phil at his best, who exudes a must-see quality due to their ability to surprise, excite and awe.

There are other factors to the recent ratings drop, from the presidential campaign, to the daily dramas in Washington, to cord cutting. The absense of mega-star power is one thing. But more than anything, the absense of players with an indefinable crossover intangible is dragging the numbers down. As the kids like to say, it is what it is.

The full clip:

Wednesday
May172017

London Calling: Guardian Says PGA Tour Opens UK Office

Nice scoop by The Guardian's Ewan Murray to highlight the PGA Tour's opening of a satellite office in London.

The news comes as some look at golf's bloated offerings and hope for more PGA Tour/European Tour cohesion. Could such a move be a positive or hostile action aimed at battling over sponsorship dollars?

The sense golf is edging towards one global tour is impossible to ignore, as is the fact the PGA Tour clearly regards London as an important commercial hub. Fresh business partners for golf have been hard to come by in recent times.

The European Tour offered no comment on news that the PGA Tour, whose headquarters are in Florida but which has offices in Beijing and Tokyo, has taken on premises in their backyard and is believed to be relaxed about the situation. The European Tour has full-time staff in the United States, for whom permanent premises may be forthcoming.

Wednesday
May172017

Journal-Sentinel's "Making Of U.S. Open Course Erin Hills"

As we wrap up the Players and move to the next big golf event, Gary D'Amato and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel are doing a deep dive into the creation of Erin Hills, site of next month's U.S. Open.

The descriptions from this ambitious series that concludes Sunday with part 5.

Part 1: 'The most perfect site.' How this intoxicating patch of land came to be Erin Hills, site of golf's prestigious U.S. Open next month, is a story filled with drama and conflict, triumph and tragedy. But it started with a small ad in the newspaper.

Part 2: 'You should really give him a call.' Delafield businessman Bob Lang is looking for a piece of land to build a small golf course for his employees and friends. Steve Trattner is looking for a job in golf. Together, they embark on a journey that will transform hundreds of acres in the Kettle Moraine.

Part 3: 'Best piece of golfing property I'd ever seen.' Bob Lang passes on Jack Nicklaus and other big-name course architects to design Erin Hills. Instead, based solely on a gut feel, he hires the relatively unknown trio of Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten.

Part 4: 'It was just craziness, is what I remember.' Years pass without a shovel of dirt being turned and the architects have their doubts that Erin Hills will ever be built. Then Bob Lang attends the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and everything changes.

Wednesday
May172017

PGA President Levy: Decision On May PGA In Next Six Months

Thanks to reader PG for PGA President Paul Levy’s comments on Morning Drive today on the topic of a PGA Championship move to May.

Answering Cara Robinson’s question, Levy says the PGA of America is not yet committed to moving and is going to do what’s best for its championship, not necessarily what’s best for the PGA Tour.  He suggested the move has been studied for 18 months already and that we’ll see a “culmination” to that decision in the next six months.

His comments come at the 5:50 mark after talk of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Olympia Fields with LPGA Commish Mike Whan.

Morning Drive-Paul Levy, PGA & Mike Whan from PGA of America on Vimeo.

Tuesday
May162017

Ratings: Players Down, Second Best Overnight Of 2017

The leaderboard's lack of star power was expected to hurt ratings and it delivered!

Paulsen at SportsMediaWatch.com points out the good news first: Si Woo Kim's 2017 Players win was the second best PGA Tour overnight rating of the year. Unfortunately it's a year that has seen a ratings decline, with this year's Players the lowest (2.6) since a rain delayed 2005.

Final round coverage of the PGA Tour Players Championship earned a 2.6 overnight rating on NBC Sunday afternoon, down 16% from last year (3.1), down a third from 2015 (3.9), and tied as the tournament’s lowest Sunday overnight since at least 1998.

And if you're hunting for the positive...

It ranked second for the weekend among sporting events behind Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on ABC (5.6).

 

 

Tuesday
May162017

Obama To Make RTJ Golf Club His Home Course

CNN's Kate Bennett reports that former President Barack Obama has opted to take the presidential comp membership of Robert Trent Jones Golf Club over Woodmont Country Club. You may recall some members at Woodmont reportedly protesting the prospect of an Obama membership.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, however, is an upscale, golf-only, private club, with a par-72 course on the shores of Lake Manassas. One member, speaking on condition of anonymity, says annual membership fees and dues total about $15,000, though another source indicated every former president has an honorary membership, and fees are waived.

A spokesperson for Obama declined to comment.

Monday
May152017

Preview: Steph Curry On Feherty At 9 PM ET

Ok so a few basketball fans might be watching the Celtics-Wizards game 7, but just in case you lean toward the left coast and love watching Golden State Warrior Steph Curry, he's on Feherty at 9 pm ET.

Here is David Feherty previewing the hour-long chat.