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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

It should be added for those who like to play their golf in comfort, that the first tee, the tenth tee, the clubhouse and the hotel lie, all four of them, close together; not that Newcastle really needs these adventitious advantages, for it is one of the very pleasantest places for golf in all Ireland. BERNARD DARWIN on Royal County Down


    

Thursday
May282015

McIlroy Continues Links Golf Struggles; Rickie Posts Strong 71 

Rory McIlroy did little to dispel the view he is out of sorts on a links with an opening 80 at Royal County Down, leaving him in a tie for an Irish Open tie for last place.

The World No. 1 was a good sport, giving post round interviews to media and to Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte, but it's hard not to listen and sense he's got any answers to his continued struggles in wind and firm conditions. With the next three majors at exposed, linksy courses, should McIlroy attack this deficiency in his game? Or should he think long term and stick to a swing and game which functions perfectly well on 95% of tournament venues?

Either way, reading Derek Lawrenson's story on the opening day struggles suggest McIlroy was trying to change his ball flight for the windy, rainy morning conditions.

McIlroy blamed his poor score on being caught in two minds on his iron shots.

‘I had a good warm-up on the range hitting knockdown shots with my irons but when I got out on to the course the wind didn’t seem so bad and so I tried to hit normal shots,’ he said. ‘But I didn’t get the ball close and left myself a lot of eight to 10ft putts for par and none of them went in.’

McIlroy was out of luck as well. The last place you wanted to be when a squalling shower hit was the forbidding par-three seventh, and McIlroy duly missed the small target by fully 40 yards, finishing in the middle of the sixth fairway.

The news was better for Rickie Fowler, playing in the same conditions, posting a strong 71 to leave him four back of leader Padraig Harrington.

Thursday
May282015

WDitis Hitting Greater Dallas Area At The Worst Possible Time

It's a fickle disease. Often hitting players who have little chance of qualifying for an open championship, forcing them to leave their 36-hole qualifier early.

So it's always of note to see WDitis appearing at a regular PGA Tour event. This week's outbreak at the Byron Nelson has seen 12 players forced to WD due to the heavy rains this mysterious plague. Such an unfortunate coincidence!

Steve Elling with the lowdown and the Tweets by some explaining how the disease is striking at their immune system.

Thursday
May282015

Third Time's A Charm? Wentworth Headed Back To Surgery

Steve Elling at GolfBlot has Ernie Els' take on the latest bit of Wentworth grumbling, namely the condition of the greens in 2015 (once again).

Even though the May date is tough agronomically, it seems greens are headed for at least a re-grassing under the new ownership.

The club owners also are in agreement that some modifications need to be made, he said, to maintain the club’s reputation.

“We feel it should be the Augusta of Europe and we intend to make it that way,” Els said. “So there’s going to be changes made again, and hopefully, we’ll get it really rectified where everybody is going to be pleased.

“I was disappointed because it’s our flagship event and you want to putt in the best possible conditions, and we didn’t quite have that. But we are definitely going to work on that, I promise you.”

On a positive note, Els is handling the criticism much better this time around.

Wednesday
May272015

Video: Royal County Down From 1927 Women's Amateur

Among the run British Pathe films on YouTube and another sound reminder that people have been playing this game for a very, very long time: this film of the "Women's Open [Amateur] Golf Championship" at Royal County Down won by 19 year-old Mlle. Simone de la Chaume of France. Almost a millennial! (From the previous century.)

Note how much more exposed sand the dunes revealed back then. Dubai Duty Free Irish Open coverage begins soon on Golf Channel and wherever the European Tour airs.

Wednesday
May272015

Jack And Donald Open Ferry Point...Again

I feel like this is at least the third golden shovel event, but should be the last as Trump Ferry Point is off and running. And receiving favorable reviews.

And based on their comments Tuesday, as reported by Hank Gola in the New York Daily News, majors are still very much on their mind. However the calendar for U.S. Opens appears filled until 2024 and the PGA Championship through 2022. The course does host the Barclays in 2017.

"It's going to stand the test of time and you're going to have some great events here, whether it's a U.S. Open or PGA Championship," Nicklaus said. "You're going to have a lot of events through time. Donald and I will be in a wheelchair, but that's all right, we're going to look down at it and say we had a part in that, proud of it and we did something that is going to be enjoyed by people for a long, long time. I'm very proud of that and very pleased that we had the opportunity to be involved."

Nicklaus is in Far Hills today to open the new Nicklaus Room at Golf House.

Rich Chere with a list of items on loan for the opening, with this accompanying video featuring Mike Trostel discussing a painting anchoring the permanent exhibit hall:

Wednesday
May272015

Bad For Rory? Royal County Down Firm And Fast As Ever

Brian Keogh with Irish Golf Desk preview notes from Tuesday's Irish Open practice, anchored by Paul McGinley's defense of all things McIlroy, including the world No. 1's perceived vulnerability on fast, breezy links.

Keogh writes:

Even if McIlroy's game has led to some debate over his perceived weaknesses on hard and fast tracks, McGinley can only see positives in the 26-year old's game, and who can argue.

"He’s only in his early 20s and he’s still got a lot to achieve and different conditions to get better at," he said. “But as far as I am concerned he’s way ahead of schedule, that’s for sure. It’s easy to be critical. Debate? There is no debate. He is comfortably the No 1 player in the world.”

As with more and more courses in the age of drop kick drivers rolling 150 yards, the driver won't get much use this week. Keogh notes the thought of Reeve Whitson, a local and former Spanish Amateur Open winner.

“The whole course is playing fast and much shorter than usual,” said the former Spanish Amateur Open winner, now an EPD satellite tour player, who has shot 63 around the course. “I’d hit driver quite a few times out there but today it stayed in the bag on the fifth, eighth, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 18th… I just hit three woods there today because driver would run into trouble."

Tuesday
May262015

Match Play Strikes Again! Women's NCAA Dynasties Shocked

If you had the luxury of watching any or all of the NCAA Women's Golf Championships Tuesday from Florida's The Concession, you'll know that the consensus top two teams were knocked off, giving us Wednesday's surprising Stanford-Baylor final. Mercifully, there wasn't too much grousing about the vagaries of match play (at least yet), perhaps because the setup yielded a bit and seemingly let the players win with their skill. Besides, both Duke and USC had their shot at winning and simply failed.

The emotions and athleticism conveyed during Tuesdays grueling 36 holes also served as reminder #459 that team match play of some form would be so much fun in the Olympics, even if it was trimmed from college golfs five players to three and the coaches were famous retired golfers driving carts around for no decent reason.

Either way, the stellar coverage from Golf Channel--including live plane shots of shots and great reactions captured the passion of college golf--sets up what should be another dramatic match play final Wednesday.

Jay Coffin files this roundup of Baylor vs. Stanford and how they got to the finals by beating the season long 1-2 punch of Duke and USC.  And here's the video roundup with Golf Channel's team.

But the craziest story of the day was summed up by Ryan Lavner here, covering the 24-hole match between two struggling players who decided the fate of Duke and Baylor. Lauren Whyte of Baylor was not having the best week, yet because of the match play format was vaulted into the national television limelight and ultimately won with a bogey on the 24th hole.

Whyte’s high scores kept piling up at Concession: An opening 81. Followed by an 85. And then a 94. And an 82. Four days of stroke play, and not once did her score count toward Baylor’s team total.

Of the 84 players who finished four rounds here, Whyte was dead last, 54 over par, 57 shots behind winner Emma Talley.

“She was down,” head coach Jay Goble conceded.

“It’s really been hard for her,” Davis said.

The closest to Whyte in the individual standings was Duke freshman Lisa Maguire, who has endured her own struggles this season. And incredibly, both Baylor and Duke’s fates came down to those two players Tuesday during the semifinals of the NCAA Women’s Championship.

The day was spiced up a bit by controversy when Duke's Leona Maguire found herself in the middle of a rules controversy after making gestures to her coach and teammate about a hole location. It turned out she was trying to tell them the committee had the wrong hole location sheet and after an investigation, Maguire was cleared of wrongdoing because the hole location sheet was, in fact, woefully wrong.

From Lavner's report:

After playing her 10th hole at Concession in the afternoon semifinals, Maguire said she motioned back down the fairway that the hole location was in a different spot on the green than what was shown on the pin sheet.

The rules staff had marked that the cup was 21 paces deep and 10 from the right. It was actually cut 9 on and 7 from the right.

“We just screwed that one up,” NCAA director of rules Jerry Lemieux said later. “We just gave players the wrong paperwork.”

The video of the incident and follow up from Lemieux:

Golf Channel airs Wednesday's Stanford-Baylor finale from 3-7 pm ET.

Tuesday
May262015

Luck Of The Irish! Rickie & Rory Paired In Irish Open

It's the mitzvah of all mitzvahs as Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler will rekindle their Walker Cup days--minus a few pounds of hair and subcontaneous fat--in an 8 am pairing Thursday morning at Royal County Down.

For us USA west coasters, that should have them teeing off at the start of Golf Channel's midnight Thursday live coverage window (3 am ET).

From the Irish Times, on a pairing that also includes non-millenial hope Martin Kaymer, there is also this fun grouping:

There is little love lost between three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia and the two will start together from the 10th tee along with 2014 winner Mikko Ilonen at 12.50pm.

Rickie is on site and spoke to Golf Channel about returning to the site of his team USA triumph. Like many of his interviews, he doesn't say much of interest, but the photos that run as he talks are superb.

Tuesday
May262015

CEO: "One of the things we'll do at TaylorMade moving forward is build out an experiential platform."

I may be less interested than most in the latest technology and utterly bored with the distance chase, but I do want to see our manufacturers prospering while innovating within the rules and making golfers happy.

So reading Mike Johnson's Q&A with the new TaylorMade CEO David Abeles I was hoping for something to get excited about. I didn't find it. But the jargon was fun.

What did you learn in your time that away from TaylorMade? (Abeles left in 2014 to become CEO of Competitor Group Inc., an operator of marathon and half-marathon races.)

I learned that running and golf are different. Running is an inspiring sport to those who run. They run for health and wellness, for charity, for personal records. Golf is a very aspirational sport. When we see Dustin Johnson, Jason Day or Justin Rose hit a shot, we want to hit that shot -- and from time to time we actually do. So we aspire to that level. But the biggest learning for me was the interaction of brands and how it can elevate your business practices. One of the things we'll do at TaylorMade moving forward is build out an experiential platform. To engage golfers on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis so they can experience our brands and products in new ways.

Experiential platform. Noted.

What is one thing individuals can do to grow the game?

It's incumbent upon all of us as golfers to grow the game. To reach out to people of all skill levels. They're friendships for life and they are experiences that grow the game. There's a responsibility for us to play with those who are less skilled. This will bring more golfers to the sport along with all the formal initiatives. There's a lot of energy surrounding golf now. We need to capitalize on that positive energy rather than the negative things people are saying about the sport.

No disagreement there!

Tuesday
May262015

A Royal County Down And Irish Open Primer

For us west coasters the coverage from Royal County Down starts at midnight Wednesday, but with Golf Channel devoting at least 21.5 hours to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, we should have plenty of opportunity to see one of the world's great courses.

Thanks to Rory McIlroy joining forces with the event, a strong field has assembled to see Royal County Down, relive Walker Cup memories or just collect a nice appearance fee.

Either way, I've assembled a primer on the course and Irish Open week at The Loop. We also previewed RCD on Morning Drive.

Also, do read Ran Morrissett's 2006 review of the course. If you haven't been to RCD in a while like myself, or you just want to know about some of the particulars before the telecast starts, it's well worth your time.

Anyone who has a ticket to the sold out event, please let us know how it all goes.

Monday
May252015

Chambers De Facto Defending Champ Uihlein Misses U.S. Open

The U.S.Open Sectional Qualifying kicked off with the annual Walton Heath/post-BMW Championship qualifier and as longtime readers know I'm obligated to dwell unfairly on the number of WD/DNF's (22 this year).

Though for a change the bigger news out of England may be the misses by Peter Uihlein and Padraig Harrington, two players who, when healthy, would have been more than just showing up hoping to make the cut. Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champ at Chambers Bay and by default the de facto host-site defender, missed by two.

Harrington, who has enjoyed a resurgent game and who should embrace the conditions at Chambers Bay, battled through shoulder issues to make a playoff for the alternate spot only to miss after a two-hour wait.

Alistair Tait with all the details from Walton Heath.

The full field scores,
including those who had better things to do.

Monday
May252015

Fox President Shanks: U.S. Open Part Of Big Event Strategy

SI's Richard Deitsch sat down with Fox Sports President Eric Shanks to mostly talk about the possibility of Bill Simmons joining the Fox team.

But in his weekly media column, Deitsch includes Shanks' thoughts on picking up golf coverage. His words will be closely followed by those looking to Fox to bid on The Open or PGA Tour coverage should the tour opt out of its current deal with CBS and NBC.

Sure sounds like the The Open fits the Fox approach while PGA Tour golf does not. On the USGA's 12-year-deal:

“It wasn’t necessarily the start of a large golf strategy but we are big believers in broadcasting big event sports on broadcast TV,” Shanks said. “This is a big event that captures the attention for at least a week if not more. It’s a major sports championship where you get to crown a champion at the end of it, and that was the appeal. It fits well with our big-event strategy. It’s not about us getting us into 23 weeks of golf.”

Monday
May252015

Chambers Bay Scouting Report: Morning Drive Edition

The Morning Drive gang went to Chambers Bay to scout out the course and record some pieces for the upcoming U.S. Open week. And since we'll take all the scouting advice we can for this little seen course, I got to ask the Gary Williams, Damon Hack and Cara Robinson their impressions. The most interesting insight: local caddies and the possibility for players to either employ them during practice, or for the week. Qualifiers take note!

Check it out:

Sunday
May242015

Setup Run Amok Files: NCAA Women's Finals At Concession

As the NCAA Women's Golf Championship prepares to whittle its field from stroke play to the match play finalists (and gets Golf Channel coverage Monday-Wednesday), Ryan Lavner assesses a course setup that appears to have gotten out of hand. (17 of the 24 teams posted their worst 18-hole score of the year.)

Yes, most of the top teams will advance to match play, but in recent years the NCAA's have suffered from questionable setups (Prairie Dunes bathed in rough for the men last year) and the women facing what sounds like an excessive test at Concession has many worried about what we'll see on TV.

Women’s college golf hasn’t been on national television in years, and everyone hopes to make a good impression when the cameras start rolling for real Monday afternoon. That’s problematic now, Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur says, because “people will see teams 40 over par in the mix, and it doesn’t make us look very good.”

“This setup is the most difficult I’ve been on,” Alabama coach Mic Potter said. “And I don’t think that’s a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t hurt the perception of our sport.”

Sunday
May242015

Photos: 17th At Pebble Beach Update

Many thanks to MenWorking for Tweeting some photos of the restored 17th green at Pebble Beach.

While there's plenty to quibble with, there's even more to like. And so soon! Considering work started April 29th or thereabouts, they don't mess around. (But when your green fee is $500 you need to get the penultimate hole back into play.)

The images of the famed hole after much needed green expansion and bunker modification:



Sunday
May242015

Not Cancer Related: Jarrod Lyle Taking Break From Tour

An AAP report explains Jarrod Lyle's situation as he tries to keep his card after his second bout with cancer. And with 10 more starts to make enough money to secure his status, Lyle says he's taking the summer off to work on his game for a fall return.

Most importantly, Lyle's statement says this is game related and not a health issue.

"I need to stress that this decision has nothing to do with my recent illness - I am still healthy and cancer-free," he said.

"As the year progressed, it has become increasingly obvious that I am simply not in a position to compete on the PGA Tour.

"My goal every single week out here, just like the rest of the field, is to play my best and to be competitive.
"Unfortunately I haven't been in real contention in any of the 10 events I have played so far this season.
"At the moment, I am out here making up the numbers."

Sunday
May242015

Punters Note: BMW Winner An Was A Semi-Finalist At Chambers

Bettors and fantasy players will take any crumb so note Scott Hanson's story on BMW Championship winner Byeong Hun An's win at Wentworth that earns the former U.S. Amateur Champ a berth to the U.S. Open.

An, besides winning the Amateur, reached the semi's in 2010 at Chambers Bay, making him one of the few to qualify who has a track record of success over the mysterious layout.

Anything seemed possible when An was one of the big stories entering the U.S. Amateur in 2010. The year earlier, he had won the event, becoming its youngest champion at age 17.

He proved his title was no fluke at Chambers Bay, making it all the way to the semifinals before losing to David Chung. He played six competitive rounds at Chambers Bay, which will give him an experience edge at the U.S. Open.

But it has not been a straight line of success.

Sunday
May242015

Video: Britany Lincicome Enters The Trick Shot Game

LPGA great Britany Lincicome, most recently the winner of 2015's first LPGA major at Mission Hills, gets points for originality and execution with this trick shot.

From her Instagram account:

Candy on top of ball trick. Take 1. Got it Hahahaha. Funny ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š @dewald_gouws @trevthemachoman

A video posted by Brittany Lincicome (@brittany1golf) on May 22, 2015 at 1:24pm PDT

 

Saturday
May232015

Primer: Chambers Bay's Fescue Grass

As we inch closer to the first U.S. Open played on a fescue grass course, Craig Smith in the Seattle Times files a primer on what makes this strain of turf different.

Thanks to Larry for sending this in...and this about superintendent Josh Lewis and the key trait of fescue (bounce) was interesting.

The “they” he refers to are course owner Pierce County, operator Kemper Sports and the Chambers Bay greenskeeping crew headed by director of agronomy Eric Johnson and superintendent Josh Lewis.

The relationship between golf turfgrass and the professionals is fine-tuned. Lewis said he makes it a point to walk a lot on the course and said his feet transmit information to his brain about the health of the grass. He said when he was an intern Gilhuly told him, “Don’t ever stop walking around.”

One trait of fescue is that it doesn’t stay green in hot months. It can turn brown but still be playable. Chambers Bay was brown in 2010 when the U.S. Amateur was played in August. June is a transitional month, so it should be more green than brown. Still, don’t expect fans to say, “I want my lawn to look like that.”

Gilhuly noted that fescue isn’t as dense as other grasses and said, “You can’t mow this grass low.”

Saturday
May232015

Video: Another Jimenez Ace, Fleetwood Albatross

He's already back with another ace, his 10th on the European Tour just a week after securing his record-tying ninth (and third of season). And Miguel Angel Jimenez appears to have his post-ace reaction down.



Tommy Fleetwood's
7-iron second shot from 198 yards, fueled by extra work in the Pilates studio and not by the dank English air, vaulted Fleetwood into contention at the BMW Championship.