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  • 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
  • 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 is a wonderful tribute to the game or to the dottiness of the people who play it that for soe people somewhere there is not such thing as an insurmountable obstacle, an unplayable course, the wrong tie of the day or year. ALISTAIR COOKE



Historic? Varner Earns PGA Tour Card Via

Symbolically it's a start, but I admire that's Kevin Prise downplayed Harold Varner's race in reporting that the Tour player earned his card and is eligible to tee it up in The Show starting at the Open.

Considering how few African American players have even made it to the tour, Varner's story should be celebrated. As Joel Beall noted for, this is historic in a number of ways for a sport that has an lousy track record of developing a diverse group of players.
More notable than his skin is Varner's story as a product of municipal golf, a tale we need to hear more about.

Farrell Evans wrote about this when the North Carolinian played the Northern Trust Open last year on a sponsor's exemption.


Forward Press: Looking Ahead To Golf's Light Labor Day Week

We do a lot of looking back on the web, so with that in mind check out my column at looking ahead to the week.

Granted, it doesn't seem like the best week to preview tournaments and other goings on, but as you'll see the lack of Thursday PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, or Champions Tour golf means some fun Golf Channel programming.

And how to find Patriot Golf Day-friendly golf. That, and more in the Forward press.

(BTW this is the first of hopefully many, so the themes and content will vary, but I'm open to suggestions and tips for this early week table-setting-minded column.)


There's A 2015 Player Of The Year Debate?

Normally MVP's and Player of the Year awards aren't of much interest, so it was surprising to see the reaction to the chat we had on Morning Drive.

Damon Hack took the view that Jason Day has entered the Player of the Year debate, while I just can't see how Jordan Spieth's 2015 can be overlooked considering his 2015 performance in the majors goes down as one of five best of the modern era alongside efforts by Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods.

Day could win the next three playoff events--Deutsche Bank, BMW, Tour Championship--but he still won't be remembered by history the way Spieth will be. Yes, Day would be very rich, the leading money winner and the player of the year most years based on wins and capturing the PGA. It might cause the vote to not be unanimous, yet perhaps in a nod to dwindling attention spans, the idea of overlooking Spieth winning the Masters, U.S. Open and missing The Open playoff by one, is still hard to fathom.

Then again, we are in a "what have you done for me lately culture," so maybe Spieth's going to be old news if Day keeps up the amazing golf. After all, memores for some suggest Tiger beat nobodies!

Doug Ferguson took on the topic and got this from Day:

“Right now, Jordan Spieth gets my vote,” Day said. “Winning two major championships at such a young age is big. Winning four tournaments overall is great.”

Then again, there are still three FedEx Cup playoff events remaining, including the Tour Championship that determines the $10 million bonus. It’s already been a banner summer for the 27-year-old Australian, and he’s not done yet.

“I think winning the FedEx Cup and maybe one or two more tournaments, that could put my name in the mix for player of the year,” Day said. “I’m not sure. I’m going to leave that to the peers, to the people. That will definitely throw my name in the mix.”


And your vote right now for Player of the Year, with an option to wimp out...

Who Is The 2015 PGA Tour Player Of The Year? free polls


R.I.P. Jamie Fay

Alexis Krell of the News Tribune with the horrible news of Jamie Fay's passing. He was the asst. GM at Chambers Bay, who also worked at Bandon Dunes prior to his tie at the 2015 U.S. Open host.

Fay was killed by a falling tree during a recent windstorm in the University Place area. His daughter was with him by unharmed.

Aaron Levine of Q13Fox files this remembrance of Fay:

And as our thoughts go out to his family, it also goes out to the entire staff at Chambers Bay – clearly a tight-knit group that went above and beyond in the lead-up to and aftermath of the U.S. Open in June.

Even Michael Greller, current caddie for Jordan Spieth and a former caddie at Chambers, tweeted his condolences this morning. I spoke to Greller this afternoon, and he described Jamie as “a gentle soul with an infectious smile” – a man, in charge of coordinating Greller’s wedding at Chambers Bay, who went out of his way in taking care of the smallest of details. Greller says he’ll write something on his hat next week in memory of Jamie as well.

There is a page devoted to raising money for Fox's wife and two daughters. I went through the process and it's remarkably easy, if you have the ability to make a donation.

On August 29th 2015 Jamie was coming home from Costco with his daughter, Eilee, when a tree fell on the car. Both were taken to the hospital. Thankfully Eilee only had a few bumps and bruises, but Jamie was taken from his family too soon. Jamie was a wonderful guy with a goofy sense of humor that delighted his daughters, and a love for his wife that was steady and strong. His passing was abrupt and unexpected, leaving behind 2 young daughters and his wife, Jen. Jamie was the sole breadwinner of the family. Please consider donating to help his family financially through this unimaginably difficult time. Money will go towards funeral expenses, food, and basic necessities. We can't help their grief or pain, but we can help lightened the financial burden, leaving Jamie's loved ones with one less thing to worry about.


The Donald Takes Plainfield By Storm!

The Star-Ledger's Steve Polti with a wonderful recap of Donald Trump’s whirlwind visit to Plainfield CC during the Barclays final round? The occasion?

A meeting with the other Don...Finchem. And a little campaigning.

Anyway, Polti's piece (thanks reader Jeremy) is a keeper from beginning to end. The setup...

I have seen some unusual things on a golf course, including Tiger Woods returning to professional golf at the Masters after his made-for-the-tabloids sex scandal. Nothing tops this for sheer insanity. The best golfers in the world were lining up putts for a $1.4 million prize, but the bigger galleries were formed around the businessman and reality TV star who suddenly is the frontrunner for the Republican party's presidential nomination.

And make no mistake: He loved every minute of it. An impromptu security detail of six Edison police officers surrounded him, but Trump made it clear that he wanted no special "inside the ropes" access that would take him away from the people. He wanted to be seen.

"This is an affirmation," he told me. "People want our country to be good again. This is a great affirmation. You see it. Not a heckler in the whole group out of thousands of people."


Photo Caption Fun: The Donald And The Great One

There's a superb photo gallery accompanying Steve Polti's most enjoyable Star-Ledger column on Donald Trump taking The Barclays by storm.

While most of the photos were pretty self-explanatory, I just felt like this caption on John Munson's image didn't quite tell us everything:

Donald Trump and Wayne Gretzky watch Dustin Johnson on the 14th hole during the final round of The Barclays golf tournament at the Plainfield Country Club.

Don't get me wrong, it works, but I feel like we, as fans of the Star Ledger, might be able to do better...


LOL: Jason Day Could Ascend To No. 1 This Week

The best player on the planet right now actually has a chance to get the algorithm's attention at this week's Deutsche Bank Championship. Why is this funny?

Because we could be in for a lot of discussion, speeches, thank yous and cutting of bonus checks for one of the three lads vying for the typically-six-weeks-behind "World No. 1" label.

Anyway, Rex Hoggard explains how Day can pull a Keen Ice and come flying down the lane while American Pharoah and Frosted were outdueling most of the way. Hint: Day needs to win this week, not that this is a reach given the courses power bias, his affinity for TPC Boston and the way he's playing.

Brian Wacker touched on this and five other things from Sunday's Barclays, where Day dominated.

“Really trying to manage that has been tough. But over the years it's starting to become a lot easier. The last six weeks, they've been crazy. U.S. Open, The Open Championship, you mix that in with three other wins. The good thing about it is it's not over. I have this great momentum going into next week to a course I absolutely love. It's only positive stuff moving forward from here.”'s Jason Sobel notes how Day suddenly makes winning look easy after having done so little of it up until this year, where he has four victories.

Entering the current season, Day had competed in 151 PGA Tour events and won only twice. For most players, the "only" qualifier in that sentence wouldn't be applicable. That type of victory ratio throughout a career will keep any player employed at the game's highest level and, yes, extremely wealthy.

Hoggard says the difference may be in the lag putting. The stats back him up.

Maybe a more detailed explanation would be dramatically improved lag putting, like when Stenson gave Day something to look at on the leaderboard on Sunday, moving to within two strokes with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 13 and 14. Your new FedEx Cup front-runner answered by rolling in 61 feet of birdie putts at the 14th and 15th holes.

On paper it would explain how Day, who hasn’t ranked outside the top 30 in strokes gained-putting the last five seasons, is second on Tour in putts outside of 25 feet this year, converting 10 percent from that neighborhood.


Rickie Fowler & Jordan Spieth Scout Baltusrol Because They May Not Get Another Opportunity 

With next July's PGA Championship starting just 10 days after The Open Championship, Barclays cut-missers Fowler and Spieth wisely headed over with their caddies for a game at Baltusrol, site of 2016's final major.

Thanks to Joel Beall for the heads up on what may be about their last chance for a scouting mission before the PGA, which speaks to the madness that is next summer's schedule.

Missed cut pillow fight round today at Baltusrol but still some good action from @rickiefowler

A video posted by Jordan Spieth (@jordanspieth) on Aug 29, 2015 at 2:22pm PDT

A little @PGAChampionship practice round today with @jordanspieth and our tour loopers

A photo posted by Rickie Fowler (@rickiefowler) on Aug 29, 2015 at 2:50pm PDT



Video: Brian Harman's Second Ace In One Round

Brian Harman's second ace of The Barclays final round came at the 228-yard 14th. Two in one round! Harman posted a 68.

The video:

To put in perspective how rare the feat is, Golf Central put together this graphic:

And in case you still can't believe it, here's how the scorecard looked...

According to Melissa Blanton at, the last to record two aces in one round was Yusaku Miyazato at Reno in 2006. There's a Final Jeopardy stumper.



Sangmoon Bae's Military Plight, The Good And The Bad

The good news? The 54-hole co-leader at The Barclays could win and not lose his PGA Tour exemption when he starts fulfilling his Korean military service reports Jason Sobel at

Sobel writes:

According to an amendment that has already been preliminarily approved by the policy board and is scheduled to be ratified next week, Bae's exempt status would receive an extension following his military service. In other words, when he completes his duty, he won't need to reclaim his playing privileges.

The bad news for Bae? Even if he wins, the Presidents Cup as a captain's pick--he's currently 25th in points--is unlikely unless Captain Nick Price wants to be a total rebel. I saw you go Nick, pick him as a statement to the host country, then replace him if he can't go.

Rex Hoggard on Bae and the other intriguing elements going into Sunday's final round.

Bae is scheduled to report for his mandatory 21 months of military service next month after losing a legal challenge last month in South Korea. Without a significant policy change, his participation in the matches doesn’t seem likely.

“I'm not sure if Mr. Nick Price is going to pick me. I'm definitely going to go back [to Korea] after the FedEx Cup,” said Bae, who is currently 25th on the International Presidents Cup point list but can move into the top 10 automatic qualifiers with a victory on Sunday. “[Military service is] mandatory in Korea. I have a little mixed emotion. I have to go and I have only a few tournaments, and I will play really hard and work really hard.”

Bae and Jason Day are paired again Sunday and the drama of Bae's situation, along with the incredible showing of a heartbroken Ryan Palmer, actually threatens to overshadow the playoff points permutations. I know, shocking.

The highlights from Saturday at Plainfield:


Video: Phil Tries The Backwards Shot In Competition!

The definitions of success will vary I'm sure, but I'd say that it was a success in that he did go backwards and almost got the ball out of the bunker. No doubt some will insist that he had to hit the green to make this work.

Phil Mickelson says he used the shot once in competition at the AT&T National Pro-Am, but this is the first attempt caught on video.

Either way, unlike the past ones, including this one I got at Muirfield, the effort was a noble one for Mickelson at the 2015 Barclays, 18th hole, third round.

The clip:


Playoff Pressure! Bubba Aims At Tent; Jordan Goes Home

You can literally see the playoff vibe at Plainfield.

In the form of large, Impact font lettering along the fairway, just in case you forgot these were playoffs where algorithms rule!

That's the good news for Jordan Spieth, who misses his third cut of 2015 but is still very much alive in the FedExCup points race despite stepping on his ball. Reinforcing just how vital these playoffs are, Spieth put new irons in the bag this week, reported Jonathan Wall (and noted by's Brendan Moehler).

The 36-hole leader, Bubba Watson, apparently doesn't care much for Plainfield due to the blind shots, so he's aiming at tents and not worrying if he moves the ball. He's also using driver on holes where the play seems iffy, but the strategic tactic is to secure a few of the next shot.

Kevin Maguire on the tent play:

The two-time Masters champ said previously this course just doesn't suit his eye. Blind shots, of which there are many on the classic Donald Ross design, are difficult for Watson and he is an extremely visual golfer.

"The reason why I hit driver is to make the hole visually better for me on the next shot," Watson said.

Asked about his hole after the round, Watson simply gave the answer that many a weekend golfer would after making a par in a non-traditional.

"There's no pictures on the scorecard," he said.

But it doesn't really matter because the golf should still be fun. Example 4.5 million of how much more fun golf is when the ground game matters, Jason Day style at Plainfield's superb 7th hole:

Aug272015 "Breakup & Makeup: The Bromance Between PGA [Tour] Golfers and Caddies" 

Cameron Morfit at files a fun look at the on-again, off-again bromances of certain players and their luggage handlers.

I'm exhausted just trying to keep up with Vijay and his various loopers.

Although Singh and Tesori promised each other that their second partnership wouldn't revert to the way it was, old habits die hard. Having amassed six wins in their first collaboration, they raked in six more the second time around. The bad news? Singh, as driven as ever, was still dragging Tesori to the range on their off weeks.

"After another year and a half, I quit," Tesori says. "[Going back] was a decision I never liked. I did it for the money, the notoriety and the respect, and none of those were the right reasons. Jerry Kelly was top 30 in the world at the time, we'd done the 2003 Presidents Cup, and he was treating me well. It was something I said I wouldn't do again. When it's time to split up, it's time to split up."

Except, of course, when it's time to get back together.


Industry Leaders On How They Fell For The Game, Golf's Future

Jim Achenbach at goes to various golf industry leaders to ask how they fell for the game and where they see it going.

While there are no breakthrough revelations on how these interesting and intelligent people would help the sport going forward, I consider it a breakthrough that not one saw it as the job of governing bodies to create new consumers for the various companies who stand from growing the sport.

I enjoyed this most from Dave Schnider, president of Fujikura USA.

About the game’s future, Schnider compares golf to music.

“When I was growing up, I would never listen to Frank Sinatra,” he said. “Now I do, because it’s really good quality art. In the same way, I think kids will come to the game of golf. I think it will have another resurgence because it’s a fabulous game that can be played for a lifetime.

“I truly believe this in my heart. More players will come to the game because of what the game represents: good people, smart people, men and women who appreciate golf.”

And I believe he's right.


Another Course Bites The Dust; A Dozen We'd Like To Have Back

Imran Ghori in the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that the Pete Dye-branded Moreno Valley Ranch, once home to a Nike Tour event, closed its doors on August 25th.

The course goes to auction September 1st with an openign bid of $3.6 million for the 27 holes and clubhouse.

On the sad topic of lost courses,'s Jason Scott Deegan looks at a dozen shuttered golf courses that we all regret having seen gone to seed.


Bubba Thrives On A Tighter, Shorter Course!

He's the most talented, creative and fearsome player on the planet when he wants to be. So it never surprises when Bubba Watson plays well, it only surprises when he decides this is the week to put his mind to it.

Plainfield has a lot of rough and is not thought to be a course you'd overpower, but Bubba used his driver a whole bunch to open with a 65 in The Barclays.

Rex Hoggard on Watson's unlikely low round from the Spieth-Day-Watson grouping Thursday morning.

Although it’s taken the better part of 36 years, the player one national magazine recently featured under the headline “Bubba: Why we love him and why we don’t” has learned to embrace the rub of the green.

In the age of the “we” generation it is conversely refreshing that Bubba is still an old-school “me” kind of guy.

When Spieth talks about a golf shot or a decision it’s always a group, “We've gone about our business the way we wanted to,” the 22-year-old said earlier this week.

Conversely, Watson often appears alone on an island of his own making. One outlook isn’t better than the other, just different.

“I had some issues growing up where I was very angry at the world and at the golf, and so I've tried to get better at that,” Watson said. “Over the past few years, I've grown up, I guess you'd say, and my thinking, my processes, either I'm getting better as a person or I'm just tired of hitting bad shots on the golf course. So I'm thinking better.”

Embracing Plainfield and all its quirkiness may not exactly have the look and feel of a hard self-examination, but for Bubba it’s an indication that he’s at least interested in improvement and that’s a start.

At least on Thursday. He can always change his mind, sadly.

Though as Helen Ross noted, it was love at first site for Bubba at Plainfield so the man-boy genius might stick around. Works for me!


Correction: Koepka Did Earn Presidents Cup Points

I know how the Presidents Cup dynamics are constantly in your hearts and minds so it is with my deepest apologies for passing along incorrect information. It regards Brooks Koepka's non-member days not counting toward his Presidents Cup standing. I regret not having fact checked the blog post I linked to.

In fact, Koepka is credited with Presidents Cup points dating back to start of the qualifying period, the 2013 BMW Championship

However, I do stand by the rest of my views that the PGA Tour needs to reconsider how it treats "non-members" who make the playoffs but don't make the playoffs, and consider the long term ramifications on college golf if there is a view that players can't finish the school year without harming chances of making the playoffs of either tour. (WGC winner Shane Lowry could have been part of the venting too, but I'm more concerned by the route from elite college player to tour.)



Playoff Fever: Plainfield! Plainfield! Plainfield!

Let's be honest, no one cares about the playoffs unless points resets are your thing, which is why we at least have our Fantasy League (with prizes from Avis and Callaway!) to keep us company. Two top players are limping in if they're playing at all (Hank Gola reports), Rory McIlroy is sitting out the first round and it'll be tough to top the 2015 majors.

But we have Plainfield for this week's first playoff event, The Barclays! This means two weeks in a row of Donald Ross designs, and as we saw last week at Sedgefield, there is something about those green complexes, the strategy and the intimate scale of the old style venues that makes for great tournament energy.

In 2011, Plainfield was soft from a wet summer and then was made even more forgettable by Hurricane Sandy.

This time around, the course is said to be in amazing shape by the PGA Tour's advance staff, the hurricane's are staying away and this Donald Ross masterwork should be a lot of fun to watch this week.

Ran Morrissett's Golf Club Atlas review is several years old but he makes the key point that this is one very special use of a property with more standout Ross holes than just about any course he created.

Gil Hanse has overseen restoration work here, with more tweaks in advance of this year's event at holes 15 and 16, as Tripp Isenhour reveals in this video report. The 18th will be driveable again, as Isenhour explained in this Golf Central report.

Coverage begins Thursday on Golf Channel at 2 pm ET, but those who've signed up to the PGA Tour's streaming option can start soaking up playoff tension at 8 am ET.


Video: The Story Of Plainfield's Wes Mensing

Tim Rosaforte looks at the short but prolific life of instructor Wes Mensing, who died in January at 27 but left his legacy at Plainfield (site of this week's Barclays) and beyond with his many students.

The moving and beautifully told 8-minute feature:


Met Open's 100th Is Underway...

While the Barclays plays out at Plainfield, the MGA's Met Open is playing its 100th event at Winged Foot, with the final round set for Thursday on the recently restored East Course. You can view the scores here heading into the final round.

Bill Fields
reviews this important event and its remarkable history in this New York Times piece.

But the Met Open endures: It will be contested this week over 54 holes at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., in a celebration of the tournament’s rich history as one of the oldest in the United States.

The 100th edition of the event — once a marquee tour stop and still one of the country’s strongest regional competitions — will begin Tuesday morning with a field of 138 on Winged Foot’s East Course, designed by A. W. Tillinghast and recently restored by Gil Hanse.

“It’s our flagship tournament,” said the three-time Met Open champion Darrell Kestner, director of golf at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, N.Y. “There are so many really good players in this area. The event is played on classic courses that have stood the test of time and is basically run like a tour event.”

The MGA has put together videos commemorating the 100th, including a tribute to Winged Foot.