Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

A golf course that invades a hundred or more acres, and is actually visible in its garish intrusion from several points of observation, is an abhorrent spectacle. The less of man’s handiwork the better a course. PERRY MAXWELL

  

Wednesday
Feb212018

Tiger Wheels It Right Back At Honda, Meets Stoneman Douglas High Student Volunteer 

Tiger's wheeling himself right back into the PGA National fray and as Dan Kilbridge reports for Golfweek, there wasn't much to this new normal to say in advance of a 7:45 am ET tee time with Patton Kizzire and Brandt Snedeker.

There was, however, what sounded to me like an admission that his fused back, while making him pain free, may be complicating his feel for certain shots.

“I can’t create the same angles I used to be able to create naturally,” Woods said. “Obviously I’m fused, so it’s a little bit different and I’m starting to learn what it feels like under the gun. Some of the shots I like to play, they’re not the same as they used to be and that part I’m going to have to learn. It’s not something that I’m used to because I’ve never felt like this, but this is the new norm.”

Tiger Tracker had some interesting observations on Tiger's Pro-Am round, which sounded similar to low-key approaches he took at Torrey Pines and Riviera, but with some stingers thrown in this time.

Kara Duffy of the local CBS affiliate detailed Tiger's impromptu meeting with Stoneman Douglas high student Kevin Shanahan, who is again volunteering at the tournament and who was introduced to Tiger by caddie Joe LaCava.

On Wednesday, the caddie for Tiger Woods got wind that Shanahan is a student there. Moments later, the golf great called him over during warm ups at the driving range, and what may have been a minor exchange in his mind, meant the world to Kevin.

“It was really a majority of me thanking him because I thought, ‘oh my God I’m getting this signed by Tiger Woods,’ but it really felt like he talked from the heart,” Shanahan said. “It didn’t feel scripted, it felt like it really came from him being sincere and saying, ‘I’m really sorry that you’re going through this,’ and it made me feel awesome!”

Last year’s Honda Classic winner Rickie Fowler also stopped for a photo with the teen.

Wednesday
Feb212018

Na, We Don't Have A Problem: Retired Cricketeer Mocks PGA Tour Slow Play

H/T to Alex Myers for spotting the latest gem for the slow play files: a cricketeer mocking last weekend's Genesis Open slow play and in particular, prime culprit Kevin Na. As we know, the PGA Tour embraces slow play and seems to think that as every other sport on the planet tries to speed up, apparently this kind of nonsense will fly.

Retired English cricketeer Kevin Pietersen is my kind of guy, he’s trying to save the rhinos and he’s openly mocking Kevin Na taking over a minute to hit a tap in putt last week at Riviera. Do I need to point out that it’s not a good look for golf when athletes in other sports are openly mocking golfers for taking too long? Or, in the case of the former cricketeer with 3.6 million followers, filming a follow up how-to video?

And his follow-up how-to for Na:

 

Wednesday
Feb212018

Jack Nicklaus Singles Out Titleist In Distance Debate

I was flipping through some books last night reading quotes about the distance debate and one in particular actually made me laugh at its ridiculousness. (More on that below).

Not coincidentally, the quote came from the subject of Jack Nicklaus' frustration.

From Randall Mell at GolfChannel.com, offering even more from Nicklaus's distance comments and suggestion of pending USGA/R&A action.

“Titleist controls the game,” Nicklaus said. “And I don't understand why Titleist would be against it. I know they are, but I don't understand why you would be against it. They make probably the best product. If they make the best product, whether it's 20 percent shorter ... What difference would it make? Their market share isn't going to change a bit. They are still going to dominate the game."

Titleist representatives could not be immediately reached by Golf Channel.

Huh, they're hovering around media center all the time even though they're not media and in general, despise the media!

“It's not about [Titleist]. It's about the people watching the game and the people that are paying the tab. The people paying the tab are the people that are buying that television time and buying all the things that happen out there. Those are the people that you've got to start to look out for.

“And the growth of the game of golf, it's not going to grow with the young kids. Young kids don't have five hours to play golf. Young kids want instant gratification.”

Forget the kids, the rest of us don't want five hours either!

As for the laughs, here was the quote mentioned above, reprinted in The Future of Golf, from now-retired Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein in full conspiracy mode, way back in July 2003, Sports Illustrated:

"The print and electronic media have promoted a technophobic agenda since the start of the season, featuring such tabloid-ready headlines as 'The Weapons Race,' 'Ban this Ball or Els,' Going the Distance With Souped Up Golf Balls, and 'Cooling Hot Drivers.' The 24-hour Golf Channel contributes to the hysteria by allowing selected talent to spew one-sided antitechnology commentary and conduct 'leading the witness' interviews."

Here is the video from GolfChannel.com with Alex Miceli asking questions:

Tuesday
Feb202018

And Then Mike Davis Told Jack: "We're Going To Get There" On Ball Rollback

With the Honda Classic in town and a role in the tournament, Jack Nicklaus talked to media about a variety of topics, including distance.  Over dinner Sunday night, USGA CEO Mike Davis suggested a solution along the lines of what Nicklaus has long proposed is now on the table.

Golfweek's Dan Kilbridge reports:

“Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

Nicklaus said sarcastically he assumed that meant the USGA would be studying the issue for ‘another 10 years or so.’

“(Davis) says, ‘Oh, no, no, no. We’re not going to do that. I think we’re getting closer to agreements with the R&A and be able to do some things and be able to help.’ Because the R&A has been – sort of doesn’t want to do anything. I’m hoping that’s going to happen. I’ve talked to Mike a lot. Mike’s been very optimistic about wanting to get something done but hasn’t been able to get there yet.”

Oh joy, here we go! This is going to get very interesting very fast.

Tuesday
Feb202018

Bubba Has Had A Hall Of Fame Career, By Some Standards

With two majors--both Masters--and a career total of ten wins, he's moved into World Golf Hall of Fame status in the Monty/Freddie era where standards changed. Matt Adams and I discuss on Golf Central's Alternate Shot...

Tuesday
Feb202018

Shock: PGA Tour's Procter & Gamble CMO Has All Of The Best B-Speak Down Pat 

WSJ's Brian Costa gets the first in-depth interview with PGA Tour Chief Marketing Officer Joe Arcuri (thanks reader John) and the ex Procter & Gamble man is the first true B-speak and M-speak artisan at Tour headquarters since the Finchem brand-platform years.

Surely this authentic frontier gibberish works with corporate types, and you have to admire the consistency levels to ensure total buy-in, but when you break the words down there just isn't much substance here.

WSJ: How is marketing professional golf similar to marketing consumer packaged goods, as you’ve done for much of your career, and how is it different?

MR. ARCURI: What I’ve found similar is how fundamental the power of your ideas is, and the ability to create authentic and engaging connections with your consumer, or in our case our fan. That remains the fuel of great brand-building, and the Tour brand is no exception.

The biggest difference is the higher degree of unpredictability inherent in marketing a sport, given the week-to-week variables of live competition. What you have to get really good at is real-time storytelling. You need to be very nimble week-to-week on the story lines that are occurring.

Why didn't I think of that! Though I would have gotten a platform mention in.

WSJ: What are the Tour’s biggest marketing priorities for 2018?

MR. ARCURI: My overall focus is to grow new fans. We have a very strong and affluent core fan base to build on. But to future-proof the Tour,

Whoa...future proof, so good. Go on...

we need to make sure that we’re attracting and growing new fans.

Grow 'em baby, grow 'em!

We’ve been shaping our marketing plans through a fans-first lens to ensure that our media, our partnership deals, our content across all platforms, right to our on-site tournament experience, will allow us to reach beyond that core fan and attract new fan segments.

So good and yet you ask, do people listen to that gibberish and nod their heads?

WSJ: Who are those new fans?

MR. ARCURI: We’re trying to attract millennials, but also what we call sports socialites. Those are a more diverse group of fans. They skew a little bit younger than our core base. They’re more diverse in general, and they consume the product at a high rate on both digital and social platforms.

Do they now? I best they just love five hour and 20 minute rounds too.

WSJ: What makes “sports socialites” distinct from millennials?

MR. ARCURI: It’s not an age thing. It’s more a mind-set of how they want to interact with the sport. They are as interested in what we call outside-the-ropes stories as inside-the-ropes stories and competition content.

Spring Break 2 K! Wooohooo, yay let's yell on their backswing! Woke!

They’re interested in what’s going on with our players beyond just the competitive action. They have a broader sense of the sport and want to engage with it on different levels.

Good for them. Please tell us how you reach these special people...

The same example from Jordan’s hole-out to win a playoff at the Travelers Championship comes immediately to mind. Our suite of social analytics and listening tools showed us quickly that the content was getting tremendous traction through our own channels, and we did two things.

Action! Activate!

First, we amplified the content we had already produced by pushing it through advertising to targeted new audiences that hadn’t yet seen it. And second, we moved to quickly produce new content, including the mix of fan-collected video I mentioned to create other ways for fans to experience the moment.

Such a fancy way of saying we edited together some fan video for Snapchat. Give this man an SVP title, another million a year and a Pablo Creek membership, stat!

Tuesday
Feb202018

Tiger, Stricker Land Assistant's Carts For 2018 Ryder Cup

Jim Furyk's answering questions now on Golf Channel--surely there will be stipulations for cart key access should Tiger Woods make the team on points--but for now we're up to three and all have been fitted for earpieces (and their designated assistants to the assistants) already!

The PGA of America press release:

U.S. Captain Jim Furyk Names Two
More Vice Captains For 2018 Ryder Cup

Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods join
Davis Love III as U.S. Ryder Cup Vice Captains in Paris
 
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA (February 20, 2018) – United States Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk today announced that Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods would serve as Vice Captains for the 2018 Ryder Cup, which will take place September 28-30 at Le Golf National in Paris, France.
 
Upon being named U.S. Captain on January 11, 2017, Furyk immediately appointed former Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III as a Vice Captain.
 
Furyk will name additional Vice Captains at a later date.
 
“To win in Paris will be a great challenge, and to have Steve and Tiger share in the journey is important for me and for American golf," said Furyk, who made today’s appointments from PGA of America Headquarters. “The deep appreciation they both have for competition, the concept of team, and the Ryder Cup is infectious. Their knowledge and experience will be an invaluable resource in our effort to retain the Ryder Cup.”
 
This is Stricker’s third stint as a Ryder Cup Vice Captain, having served at Gleneagles in 2014 and in the 2016 U.S. victory at Hazeltine. Stricker, 50, played for the U.S. in three Ryder Cups: 2008 (won by the U.S. at Valhalla), 2010 and 2012. A native of Edgerton, Wisconsin, Stricker has 12 PGA Tour victories on his resume, as well as five Presidents Cups. As a captain, he piloted a winning effort in the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National.
 
“This is a great honor for me, and I am once again thrilled to be a Vice Captain and to join Jim and the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup Team,” said Stricker. “We plan to keep the momentum and the spirit of Hazeltine alive and channel it to our advantage in Paris. I am ready to get to work and do all that I can to ensure that we hold on to the Cup.”
 
Woods’ appointment is his second as a Vice Captain, as he debuted in this role at Hazeltine. A 42-year-old native of Cypress, California, Woods will draw upon a wide array of playing experiences gained in seven Ryder Cups (1997, ’99, 2002, ’04, ’06, ’10, ’12) and eight Presidents Cups. Fourteen of Woods’ 79 career victories on the PGA Tour have come in major championships, including four PGA Championships. Woods is a record 11-time recipient of the PGA of America’s PGA Player of the Year Award.
 
“The Ryder Cup is incredibly special to me,” said Woods. “I am thrilled to once again serve as a Ryder Cup Vice Captain and I thank Jim for his confidence, friendship and support. My goal is to make the team, but whatever happens over the course of this season, I will continue to do what I can to help us keep the Cup. I’m excited about the challenge ahead.”
 
The 47-year-old Furyk played in nine consecutive Ryder Cups (1997, ’99, 2002, ‘04, ‘06, ‘08, ‘10, ‘12, ‘14), which is the second-most in U.S. Ryder Cup history (Phil Mickelson, 11). A West Chester, Pennsylvania native, Furyk was twice a member of winning U.S. Ryder Cup efforts as a player (1999, 2008), and once as a Vice Captain (2016).
 
A two-time Captain, Love led the U.S. to a 17 to 11 victory at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2016 during the most recent Ryder Cup.
 
In the event that any Vice Captains qualify for, or are named to, the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, Furyk will have the option to name replacements.

Monday
Feb192018

Mickelson, Spieth Okay With Extending Augusta's 5th Hole

On news of plans filed to lengthen Augusta National's 5th hole, GolfChannel.com's Will Gray went to players with the premise and while Graeme McDowell could not get excited, former Masters champions Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth were largely positive about the concept.

“I’m a big fan of making the hard holes harder and the easy holes easier,” Mickelson said Sunday at the Genesis Open. “So making No. 5 harder, which is perennially a difficult par, or should be one of the harder par-4s out there, I’m a big fan of. What I’m not a fan of is taking a hole like 7 and making it the second-toughest par on the golf course. I think that’s a mistake. I think making 5 more difficult is not.”

Jordan Spieth believes the proposed changes would force driver into players’ hands on what he described as a “3-wood hole” given the pitch of the fairway, and added that firm and fast conditions could potentially push a longer fifth hole to the brink of playability.

“It would make an already very difficult hole even harder,” Spieth said.

Monday
Feb192018

Bubba And GMac: Two Additions To 2018 Ryder Cup Intrigue

They can play the Ryder Cup on a polo field with 24 drones and we'd probably find intrigue in the biennial team match play event.

But the possibility of Graeme McDowell enjoying a resurgence and Bubba Watson playing his way onto the USA squad, adds so much personality should it happen.

Eamon Lynch at Golfweek has the McDowell angle and while the Northern Irishman downplays the Ryder Cup on his list of priorities, his play at Riviera reminds that he still has game.

Over at GolfDigest.com, Brian Wacker considers the Bubba angle, a topic that arose after his Genesis Open win. Bubba brought up the Ryder Cup and it seems after his high profile 2016 snub (7th in points, 5th cart driver), he knows that accumulating points is essential and he has Captain Furyk's support.

“I’ve been bugging Jim Furyk for the longest time,” Watson said of the American captain. “I told him I want to be a co-captain, and he’s been texting back to me this week, ‘No, you’re too good. You need to be on our team playing.’ ”

Monday
Feb192018

ShackHouse 54: Genesis Open And Tiger's Return To Riviera

House and I convene on Sunday night to discuss Bubba Watson's win, the Genesis Open week for Tiger and what to look for in his game at this week's Honda Classic.

As always the show is brought to you by Callaway and the new family of Rogue's, in stores now, as is the newest Chrome Soft that landed on shelves late last week.

Here is the Callaway Create team's short and very enlightening video on how Chrome Soft's are made in the USA referenced at the top can be viewed here.

The iTunes page for ShackHouse.

This and other episodes are here.

Monday
Feb192018

An Overview Of How The Distance Debate Got To This Point

For those who haven't read my 2005 thriller The Future of Golf, or perhaps who have friends needing to understand why the governing bodies are warming up on the distance issue, Golfweek's Alistair Tait sets up the reason for the shift in position as we anticipate a report in the coming days.

Tait gets to the key question many were asking here at Riviera: What’s happened in the last year to change Slumbers’ mind?

“There has been a significant move up across all tours,” he said. “We’re looking at the longest on-record average driving distance. It’s caused us as well as our colleagues at the USGA serious concern. We had talked for a number of years about slow creep. This is a little bit more than slow creep. It’s actually quite a big jump.”

“Our 2002 joint statement of principles put a line in the sand, or purported to put a line in the sand. Our view is when you start to look at this data now, that we have probably crossed that line in the sand and that a serious discussion is now needed.”

Now what?

The Allan Robertson testing facility seems ideally suited to get on top of hitting distance. A tour of this facility is like entering a new, high-tech world. Clubs and balls can be tested to the limit under the watchful eye of professor Steve Otto, the R&A’s director of equipment standards and chief technology officer. There doesn’t seem to be anything about golf equipment the former NASA employee doesn’t know.

The problem is trying to please all facets of the game. No avid amateur golfer wants to hit the ball shorter. The manufacturers have worked within the governing bodies’ guidelines and will feel miffed if the two bodies take drastic action. Many tour pros obviously won’t welcome a rollback.

It’s a big job, but long overdue. It’ll be interesting to see what the two bodies propose next.

Monday
Feb192018

Must Read: Kimmage Chats With Harrington, McIlroy

Carve out a few minutes or Instapaper this Sunday Independent conversation moderated by Paul Kimmage and featuring Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy chatting.

This is a nice teaser:

Harrington says: "We would like to spend more time with Rory in the evenings. But we have a very different way of preparing for tournaments. He likes to play early, I like to play late. I’m not prepared to do his thing, he’s not prepared to do mine. And that’s fine because when I was his age I would do nothing for nobody in terms of (making compromises). Everything was: ‘What was the best thing for me?’. . . I’m prepared to compromise now.”

And Harrington says that he prefers the version of McIlroy that he occasionally comes across in private to the public face.

"I wonder sometimes about how you present yourself to the world,” he says. “It always seems much colder than who you really are. I don’t think I’ve ever been in your company where I haven’t walked away thinking you’re a nicer guy than I thought beforehand. And yet, media-wise, you can sound quite cold and clinical at times and I think: ‘He’s trying to be Tiger Woods.’ Because you present this . . . wall."