Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • 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
  • Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    by Matthew Futterman

The audience in the theatre, looking over the footlights, view the play as do most of the gallery following the experts of golf. However, back-stage, there are a few eyes critically regarding the play from an entirely different angle. For many years I have preferred to observe golf shots from backstage, as it were. Seeing a man whack a golf ball is of little interest to me, and frequently it is a performance that had better be missed. That which concerns me most is where the ball lands and what it does after. A.W. TILLINGHAST



The 2016 PGA: Baltusrol In July, Major And Olympic Preview!

So soon after The Open--particularly one we'll never forget--and at a parkland course short on memorable holes, and played in July to accomodate America's obsession with football, all adds up to make it hard for many including the SI/ gang to get excited about the 2016 PGA Championship.

From the roundtable:

Bamberger: Yes, the PGA risks getting overlooked. But this year less than others. It's the lead up to the Olympics!

Shipnuck: You jest, Michael, but it will add a little extra juice and another needed talking point. We all know the PGA is the least prestigious of the majors, and as long as it’s going to boring tracks like Baltusrol, that won’t change. But the Olympics are the de facto 5th major this year—Sorry Players—and will continue the mojo for this blockbuster summer.

Bamberger: I don't jest. Not about this!

Shipnuck: Good, because these Olympics are life and death. Perhaps literally!

Ritter: Only if you drink the water in Rio, Alan! (Or, leave your hotel.) As for the PGA, Balty has produced some great winners, including Phil in ‘05 and Jack twice. If it gets a few high-wattage names in the mix on Sunday, it'll draw its share of eyeballs, even in a busy summer.

Probably more than had the event been moved to the early fall to help with the congested schedule. But football won that match before it even teed off.

David Fay filed some terrific Golf Digest thoughts on the history of Baltusrol and what makes it such a great club, even if you find the course a little uninspired on TV. And he addresses that silly wall installed by Robert Trent Jones at No. 4.

Alan Pittman offers this black and white photo tour of the club.


Phil's Baltusrol Defense: Changes In Game Means Change In How To Attack The Course

With the PGA Championship's return to Baltusrol, the spotlight will be on the course's defending champion, Phil Mickelson (Jason Day is of course the actual title defender).

In an unusually candid as-told-to with Mark Cannizzaro, Mickelson mentions the role of Baltusrol retiring pro Doug Steffen in helping him learn the green, Joe's Pizza for his favorite local pie, Wednesday golf at Pine Valley again with Jerry Tarde and other fun insights.

But for those wanting to know how the Open Championship runner-up plans to attack the course, Mickelson admits to a big change in approach worth noting.

I have to play it shorter off the tee and straighter and then more aggressive into the greens. A lot of times before, I couldn’t be aggressive into the greens because I was in trouble. But I could get away with that because my length off the tee was more of an advantage than it is now.

Now I have to be more conservative off the tee so I can then be more aggressive into the greens. You have to adapt as a player. During my 30s, length was key for me and there wasn’t as much rough as there is today and I was pretty wild. One of the things I’ve had to do as a player is adapt and become more consistent off the tee, and I’m in the process of that right now.

My anticipation of playing Baltusrol this time around is going to be much more methodical. I can’t overpower a golf course like Bubba Watson or Dustin Johnson. I’m going to give up strokes off the tee to them. Dustin gains 2 ¹/โ‚‚ strokes on the field. So I have to make up three shots elsewhere — chipping, putting, iron shots, whatever.


Scott Stallings & The Absurdity That Is The PGA Tour Drug Policy

This week's Tour Confidential got me to read Pete Madden's excellent piece about Scott Stallings' PGA Tour drug policy violation.

Needless to say the breathtaking hypocrisy of Commissioner Tim Finchem, once opposed to drug testing, now personally notifying Stallings of his suspension in a weird New Orleans hearing, stands out. But so does the oddity of Stallings self-reporting instead of being caught by the tour lab, yet earning no special consideration. And there's the secrecy of violations such as Dustin Johnson's suspension for use of recreational drugs, while a Stallings' case is made public.

This part is just creepy and pathetic that Finchem--vehemently opposed to drug testing at one time--personally dishing out the punishment that does not fit the crime:

The golfer reviewed his talking points in his head. He had made a mistake, but he also had immediately reported himself, as golfers are supposed to do, and apologized. Surely, the Tour would forgive him for acting hastily when his health was on the line. Finchem, he thought, would understand.

"I walk into a room, Finchem is there with a few other guys, and before my butt hits the seat, I'm handed a piece of paper telling me I was suspended for three months," Stallings recalled. "I was very much in shock."

The decision to make Stallings the newest member of the most exclusive club in golf had already been made. He joined Doug Barron, Vijay Singh and Bhavik Patel as the only players known to have run afoul of the Tour's Anti-Doping Program since its inception in 2008, his name forever etched on a public naughty list in perhaps the only sport that prizes integrity over success. That culture is so strong that golfers routinely add strokes to their scores for missteps both real and imagined rather than risk the perception that unfair advantages were gained over the field.

Gary Van Sickle summed up the reporting by Madden this way:

DHEA is a hormonal supplement you can buy off the rack at CVS. The fact that it is somehow illegal is ridiculous. It is not a PED. I took it for several years with the understanding that it helped middle-aged guys have the energy to keep moving and maybe lose weight. Not sure that worked. The Stallings case, like Shaun Micheel’s, shows how much the tour just can’t wait to crack down to prove how effective its drug policy is, even if it is unrelated to reality. Stallings got hosed; Micheel got hosed. The guys who went to rehab over the years—whoever they were—for substance abuse, they got nothing. It’s just not a level playing field.


du Toit: Cinderella Story Of All Cinderella Stories?

Jason Logan at Score Golf explains that there were signs Canadian amateur Jared du Toir was playing well. But the last group of his national open in his first PGA Tour start, where no Canadian has won since 1954?

With a field including Day and Johnson? No matter what the ASU golfer does Sunday, it's an incredible achievement.

From Logan's story:

The young Canuck came into this tournament on a roll, having won the Glencoe Invitational in June and having fired a competitive course-record 63 at San Francisco’s Olympic Club at the Trans-Miss Amateur Championship three weeks ago. But this? Rounds of 67-72-70 in his first PGA Tour event to sashay his way into a Sunday game with 2013 champ Brandt Snedeker?


“I’ve never been in this kind of pressure, this atmosphere before,” du Toit said. “I’m here having fun and trying to go and play golf. It hasn’t set in so far, but I’m loving every minute of it.”

His Saturday eagle will be a memory for life:



Euro Tour Considering Radical New Format To Lure The Kids

Chris Cutmore of the Daily Mail reports that new European Tour Chief Keith Pelley is following the lead of Twenty20 and floating the idea of a radical format event, with just six holes, shot clocks, music (!?) and attire twists.

Cutmore writes...

'It would probably be a country competition,' Pelley told BBC Radio 5 Live. 'So you could see England playing Scotland in a six-hole matchplay.

'If you're not prepared to change, you're not prepared to be innovative, if you're not prepared to actually take chances, then sports will fall behind.'

He added: 'Yes, there'd be a shot clock. Yes, there'd be music and players would probably be dressed a bit differently.

'Maybe they'd only play with five or seven clubs.'

Throw in stymies and I'm in!

I feel like we've seen a precursor of this already


USOC Threatens #Rio2016 Hashtagging Companies

Darren Rovell with one of the more amazing point-missing exercises in the social media area, as the United States Olympic Committee has notified companies who are not official sponsors that they must pretend the Games are not happening.

In a letter send to sponsors of athletes, Rovell says the USOC warns of stealing intellectual property.

"Commercial entities may not post about the Trials or Games on their corporate social media accounts," reads the letter written by USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird. "This restriction includes the use of USOC's trademarks in hashtags such as #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA."

This is fun too...

The letter further stipulates that a company whose primary mission is not media-related cannot reference any Olympic results, cannot share or repost anything from the official Olympic account and cannot use any pictures taken at the Olympics.

Social media is largely a reminder and branding service that merely threatens to remind people to watch or enjoy the exploits of an athlete. While you can understand their need to protect the Team USA sponsors, it's got to be tempting for some to test the bounds of this to see just how far the USOC will go to "protect" its turf.


Spieth Debuts First "Smart" Shoe, Will It Be Brought To Market? 

Fortune's John Kell with an interesting look at the "Smart" shoe Jordan Spieth put into play at The Open.

Under Armour has been developing the shoe with the possibility of standing out in various markets, including golf, writes Kell.

Pro golfers aren’t allowed to track their movements with wearable tracking bands, like the UA Band, during competition. So Under Armour took the sensor technology it uses in the company’s recently launched “smart” Speedform Gemini 2 Record Equipped shoe and applied it to the brand’s first-ever, custom-made smart golf shoe.

Throughout the four days of competition, Spieth walked around 54,000 steps, averaging 13,500 steps per day during The Open. (Fitness trackers generally recommend 7,000-10,000 steps per day for optimal activeness).

This was an eye-opening number...

The golf segment is a relatively new opportunity for Under Armour. The company only began selling golf shoes in April of this year, a collection that Spieth tested and gave some key input. If Under Armour were to bring “smart” golf shoes to the market, it could help the brand stand out even more in the estimated $9.6 billion global golf market. About 39% of those sales comes from footwear, according to research firm Technavio.


Tagging Along With Steph Curry In Tahoe Pro-Am

Longtime golf writer Ron Kroichick also covers the Warriors and got tag along with Steph Curry in the American Century Pro-Am.

There isn't much golf talk, but plenty of Durant, Olympics and NBA Finals insight.

However this video gives a good look at his game. Graeme DeLaet would love his short game.


Video: Henrik On Dan Patrick Talking Zone Of All Zones

Great chat with Dan Patrick by The Open champion, Henrik Stenson who confirms he was, indeed, in the zone.

The clip:


Review: Trump Turnberry

I made two visits to Turnberry around The Open at Troon, and as The Donald prepares to accept the nomination, I hope you can set your views aside and just appreciate what he and his family have done to replinish and update Turnberry.

Every element of the experience is exceptional. Granted, I'm happy at the Brora's and Cruden Bays of the world, but I don't knock the person with money wanting to enjoy a luxurious, five-star experience. Trump and his team, spearheaded by golf architect Martin Ebert, has delivered for that audience and brought new life to one of the world's most amazing resorts, as envisioned over 100 years ago.

My review at


Rota Fun: Clubs May Be Getting Annoyed With Stingy R&A

Lewine Mair in Global Golf Post considers the Muirfield situation and, it turns out, that the vote over female members might have been tainted by members feeling the R&A hasn't been generous enough.

Included in the overheard gripes: only one free pass per member. She also talks to a member at another rota course and it's not just the famous club in Scotland that feels the R&A, enjoying plenty of revenues, should be more generous with the courses hosting The Open.


Asian Tour Players Read Google Translations Of Their Names

Fun bit from the Asian Tour who read how Google translates the names of Asian Tour golfers.

The Tweet:



Four-Ball: The USGA Is Headed Back To Chambers Bay

It will be interesting to see if any modifications are made to the course or surrounding mounding...

For Immediate Release...

USGA Selects Chambers Bay as Site for 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship

The Home Course To Serve As Stroke-Play Co-Host

FAR HILLS, N.J. (July 20, 2016) – Chambers Bay, in University Place, Wash., has been selected by the United States Golf Association (USGA) as the site of the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. The dates of the championship are May 25-29.

The Home Course, in DuPont, Wash., which is cooperatively owned and operated by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) and the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA), will serve as the stroke-play co-host.

The 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball is the third USGA championship to be held at Chambers Bay, which is owned by Pierce County. The public facility also hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur, won by Peter Uihlein, and the 2015 U.S. Open, won by Jordan Spieth.

“Bringing the USGA’s newest men’s championship to Chambers Bay underscores our strong relationship with Pierce County as well as with the PNGA and the WSGA, since it will be the third USGA championship there in a decade,” said Stuart Francis, chairman of the USGA Championship Committee. “We have a long history of returning to host sites with excellent golf courses, where we have conducted successful and memorable championships.”

Chambers Bay, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., opened in 2007. The Home Course was designed by Mike Asmundson and also opened in 2007. The Home Course was the stroke-play co-host for the 2010 U.S. Amateur, as well as the site of the final U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship in 2014, won by Fumie (Alice) Jo.

“We are thrilled to welcome the USGA back to Chambers Bay and the Pacific Northwest for the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship,” said Pat McCarthy, Pierce County executive. “Our community wrapped its collective arms around the record-setting 2015 U.S. Open and I’m confident we will host another successful championship in 2019.”

The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship is strictly for amateurs with no age restrictions. Partners comprising teams or sides will not be required to be from the same club, state or country. Entry is limited to individuals with a Handicap Index® not to exceed 5.4.

The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball will consist of 128 two-player teams each playing their own ball throughout the round. Each team’s score will be determined by using the lower score of the partners for each hole. After 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, the field will be reduced to the low 32 teams for the championship’s match-play bracket (all matches contested at 18 holes).

In 2017, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be conducted at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., and in 2018, the championship will be conducted at Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Fla.


The Open In The UK: 3 Million Fewer Viewers, Pricing Out Some?

While the move to NBC actually expanded the number of homes for The Open, the shift from BBC to Sky Sports in the UK was expected to mean a drop in audience size.

John Westerby
in The Times wrote about a variety of topics, including the Sky ratings. The drop is pretty staggering.

Peak viewing figures on Sunday were around 1.2 million, compared with the 4.7 who watched Johnson's victory on the BBC on the extra day at St. Andrews last year. The highlights package on BBC2 on Sunday attracted about 1.5 million viewers.

On Monday in Glasgow, I had a random chat with a 22-year-old fan who was raving about the final round drama. I asked why he didn't go and it was cost related. He was genuinely dejected by the lost opportunity. When returning my car, the representative also raved about the final round and said his father attended, sitting on 18 all day. I asked why he didn't go. Again, cost was cited.

This year's Open did include free entry for those under 16 and special pricing for those 16-21. There was also the camping village to appeal to the festival-goer mindset. But the £80 entry fee, coupled with £15 for parking, is cost prohibitive for many and probably explains the small crowds Thursday through Saturday.

Given the R&A's desire to be accessible to more young people, the combination of millions not seeing the golf and plenty more feeling like they're unable to afford the event, can't be positives for The Open.


Tiger Done For '15/'16, Next Start In '16/'17

Ryan Lavner at with the report and email confirmation from Steiny.

In an email to, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said: "Continuing to make progress, but simply not ready for PGA. Will not play in the '15/'16 season and will continue to rehab and work hard to then assess when he starts play for the '16/'17 season."

Unless he's had a setback, this is great news for those hoping Woods would take the year off to get well and to clear his head. Hopefully.

On another note, it's amazing to think that getting golf in the Olympics and some of the structure was developed in consultation with Woods and Mickelson. Neither is going and while one is still in top form, the other isn't even playing. Let that be a lesson to all of the players skipping this year and presuming they'll be able to go in four years.


Prestwick: "The whole place has the patina of legend about it."

Before the focus turns away from the west coast of Scotland and the epic 145th Open, I hope we can also remember the importance of Prestwick Golf Club and all that it means to the game. Daydreaming a bit while walking around the clubhouse with club historian Andrew Lockhead, one an easily imagine what that first gathering of professionals was like, capped off by Tom Morris hitting the opening shot. But what strikes most is how, based on the documentation and formality of the proceedings, how those involved knew they were on to something historic.

The Guardian's Paul Weaver took the full tour as well, and captures the essence of this great clubs, which maintains an amazing reverece for its history without the attitude that could come with having such a vital place in golf.

The Archive Room, with pencilled-in scores from the 1860s, tells tales of terrible traumas outside. Darwin added: “Holes and bunkers that can bring down great men with so terrible a crash deserve great names and in these Prestwick is rich; the Slough of Despond, Purgatory, the Goose Dubs, Lion’s Den, the Pill Box, the Precentor’s Desk and Sandy Neuk.” It feels friendlier in the clubhouse.

“I am obviously biased,” says Goodwin, “but I think Prestwick is unquestionably the best golf club in the world. The whole ethos is to have fun, and lots of it.” 

Thanks to Lockhead and secretary Ken Goodwin, I was able to see the magnificent club archives where all of the key old scorecards from the Opens at Prestwick are lovingly bound into a permanent volume, while each important letter related to The Open is still in the club's possession. (We discussed on Morning Drive earlier in the week.)

Check out the actual scorecard from Young Tom Morris' 3 on the then 578-yard first hole:

Detailed look at the face of the belt, from an exact replica on display at The Open this week.

While the initial contest was for the Champion Belt and was essentially an invitational open to those with ties to ten or so clubs, it was the realization that the "world" needed to be part of "Open" competition that proves so mesmerizing to see put on paper. It makes the branding emphasis on open take on greater meaning.

As for Prestwick's architecture, the course retains its playing charm and design fascination, an astounding notion given how so many courses do not age well. The appreciation heard last week for its merits is heartening and offers more evidence that a greater awareness for design is in the game. Just like North Berwick's recent renaissance, Prestwick no longer is getting tagged with a negative "quirky" or "bizarre" labels. Instead, the overall walkability, memorability, variety and at times, audacity of the holes appeals to a broader golf audience than 20 years ago. The fun word is getting throw about too, and never in that demeaning way suggesting the course is too "easy."

The Himalayas remains such a thrill to play, and a great reminder that blind can be exhilarating. What I can't figure out: why the blindness is better received in 2016 than even 2006? Is it the awareness before arriving at Prestwick that has people prepared?  Or just the overall desire to have a sense of a natural adventure that has been re-introduced by more lay-of-the-land courses? Either way...

And the 17th/Alps remains as bizarrely nutty as ever. How did they play this with a baffing spoon!?

Prestwick's place in the game is as vital as the Old Course is today. It was the birthplace of professional golf and a testing ground for golf architecture both manmade and natural. Because of its place through golf history as a joyous locale for the game--continued on by today's club--Prestwick should always be one of your first stops for a Scotland golf pilgrimage.

Furthermore, many clubs with a trace of the history Prestwick enjoys could learn from the way this grand place in the game proudly shares itself with the world for all to come and see and play. Every professional golfer should pay a visit out of respect for those who gave birth to their pastime.


ShackHouse 14: The Open Championship & Scotland

The Open! For the ages. We kick around all things Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, Royal Troon and a grand championship.

We are also joined later in the show by Ru Macdonald to give you an appetizer for planning a golf trip to Scotland. Here is Ru's website

Here is The Ringer's page for the show.

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device subscription page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 14 is here.

And the ShackHouse Stitcher page.

Here is Episode 12 that included Henrik Stenson, referenced in today's show.

As always, ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, makers of everything in Henrik and Phil's bag and also leader of the putter count at Troon with their Odyssey brand. Also, the Team Callaway Collection is a limited run of meticulously curated Callaway and Odyssey branded items that you can only find on And visit the Callaway Team Collection. Use promo code HOUSE in your shopping cart to get 20% off. Offer expires 7/31.

We also want to thank Athletes Collective, which makes a great longsleeve I used on my trip as a golf undershirt. They are making solid athletic wear out of some incredible fabrics. Use promo code House for 15% off your first order.

Also, for a limited time, ShackHouse listeners get fifty dollars off the Ring of Security Kit. Go to RING.COM/SHACKHOUSE now.

And of course, drink that Avión responsibly!


The State Of The Rota And Where Turnberry Fits

These are issues I delved into in this week's Golf World after Troon successful hosts another Open.

With Muirfield's current suspended status leaving the R&A with nine choices, I point out that avoiding Turnberry because of Donald Trump (and after recent improvements) would be a mistake for the rota.

Troon? Very fine venue and every dozen years, is just right for The Open. Shoot, 12 years from now the R&A media hotel suggestion, the Adams Family House, may even have internet and fire extinguishers attached to the walls!

More disconcerting is a likely return to Royal St. George's in 2020 without some restoration and softening of bad modern era tweaks (when the superior Deal/Royal Cinque Ports is available). Throw in possible pouting over The Donald's comments, eliminating Turnberry from the rota, and the R&A will suddenly have a much weaker rota if they avoid Turnberry (and have Muirfield on the outside looking in).

Here is the column.

A more extensive Turnberry review is in the works.


Reminder: Feherty Lands A New Trump Interview

As Donald Trump heads to the Republican national convention to accept the nomination, David Feherty sits down on June 22 with the nominee (again).

    •     Why he doesn’t consider himself a politician
    •     U.S. Presidents playing golf
    •     Whether or not he will use a teleprompter at the Republican National Convention
    •     Reaction to the PGA TOUR’s decision to move its World Golf Championship (WGC) event from Trump’s Doral property in Miami to Mexico
    •     Distrust for the media: Trump – “The media to me is one of the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever dealt with.”
    •     Golf’s return to the Olympic Games: Trump – “I think it’s a great thing for golf, having it in the Olympics”
    •     An admiration for professional golfers, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and today’s current wave of young stars
    •     His recent trip to Scotland for the reopening of Turnberry
    •     What’s next if he doesn’t win the presidential nomination
    •     Highlights from Feherty’s initial interview with Trump in May 2012

The first airing is Monday at 6 pm ET:


Lions Muni Added To National Register Of Historic Places

Ralph K.M. Haurwitz of the Austin American-Statesman reports that Lions Municipal has been added to the National Register of Historic Places due to its place in the civil rights movement.

The University of Texas has wanted to convert course into mixed-use development. The centrally located course was home to Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite.

You can read up on some Save Muni posts here and here.