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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

Match play, you see, is much more of a joust. It call for a doughty, resourceful competitor, the sort of fellow who is not ruffled by his opponent's fireworks and is able to set off a few of his own when it counts. HERBERT WARREN WIND


    

Monday
Apr272015

Match Play Bracket Notes, GeoffShackelford.com League

The first ever WGC Match Play live draw turned out to be more fun than anticipated, especially when the first group selected was a doozy, followed by plenty more appearling pods. (There were some expected downers too, but not as many as feared.)

Stephen Hennessey with the nine matches he's most excited about Wednesday-Friday.

For those entering the free Dell bracket challenge at PGATour.com (GeoffShackelford.com league here), Golfweek's Jim McCabe has some important notes on telling match play records and player history at Harding.

Check out these records in match play:

• Hunter Mahan may not shine in the majors, but he’s 17-7 in the Match Play and that includes a championship.

• Henrik Stenson has made it to the final twice and his overall mark of 13-7 includes one championship.
• Defending champion Jason Day boasts a 14-4 overall record.

• Before he fell from WGC status, Paul Casey had proven quite good at this match-play stuff; though he lost two trips to the final, he is is 16-9 overall.

Rex Hoggard on the various pods and notes this on arguably the toughest group.

Similarly, Jimmy Walker drew match-play magician Ian Poulter, who won this event in 2010, long-hitting Gary Woodland and Webb Simpson in Group 11.

“It’s match play and you have to learn to expect the unexpected,” said Walker, who played Poulter in a four-ball match in last year’s Ryder Cup. “It’s going to be fun.”

FYI for those liking Rory to advance late Saturday to Sunday morning's semi-finals, he's got tickets to the big fight Saturday night. He won't be getting much sleep. Ashley Clements reports for the Daily Mail.

Here are the groups with notes from PGATour.com.

And here is a league I've set up with my bracket posted. Join us! I'm working on a prize now. Don't get your hopes up.

Monday
Apr272015

R&A Pace Of Play Findings: Golfers Don't Know What They Want!

Just in glancing at the R&A's press release on their pace of play survey findings, and looking over the downloadable report, you do have to wonder if golfers are not helping matters.

Where does one start with findings like this? Besides picturing R&A officials scratching their heads as they try to make sense of the 56,000 (!) responses.

The survey revealed that while 70% of golfers are largely happy with the duration of their rounds, 60% of golfers expressed the view that they would enjoy golf more if they played in less time.

Ok golfers...that makes sense.

Importantly, of the 25-44 year-olds who said that they were never happy with pace of play, 21% said that golf would need to take as much as one-and-a-half hours less for them to play more often. Of the 8,468 golfers in this age range who responded, 19% said they would welcome the opportunity to play nine holes more often as an alternative format.

So they're never happy with pace of play but only 21% felt a 90 minute reduction in time would get them on the course more? These kids today...

 

Monday
Apr272015

Video To USGA Staff: "Get Excited For USGA On Fox"

While the USGA prepares to transition from NBC/ESPN/Golf Channel as their television partner to Fox Sports, the organization's "Creative Services" division was commissioned to rally the troops in advance of a lucrative handover that should net the organization an additional $56 million or so annually (From $37 million to $93 million).

The video below was circulated to all USGA staff with the subject heading "Get Excited for USGA on Fox" and was accompanied by a poll asking the staff, "why are you excited for the FOX partnership?"

Here is a screen capture of the results to date that appear on screen when the link is hit (I'm holding back the link in case it can be traced to staffers...no need to have the USGA police spending their Monday plugging leaks):

The video:

 

Fox will be debuting its first non-documentary programming from U.S. Open media day. 

For Immediate Release:

FOX SPORTS 1 PRESENTS FIRST EVER U.S. OPEN MEDIA DAY SPECIAL

Hour-Long Program Previews 115th U.S. Open at Chambers Bay
Joe Buck, Greg Norman, Holly Sonders and Brad Faxon Host
 
New York – With the U.S. Open Championship just around the corner, FOX Sports presents U.S. OPEN MEDIA DAY SPECIAL, a one-hour showcase previewing the 115th U.S. Open Championship. Originating from the United States Golf Association’s Media Day at Chambers Bay, the program, recorded earlier in the day, airs in primetime Monday, April 27, (9:30 PM ET) on FOX Sports 1.
 
Hosted by Holly Sonders and Joe Buck, with insights and special features from analysts Greg Norman and Brad Faxon, the special also includes sit-down interviews with USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and President Tom O’Toole Jr., who provide a comprehensive preview of our country’s national championship.
 
“We are excited to present the first ever U.S. Open Media Day show,” said Bill Richards, senior vice president of FOX Sports production. “Chambers Bay is one of the most unique courses in the country, and we look to capture those iconic images for viewers and bring a one of a kind behind-the-scenes look at the preparation for golf’s greatest championship event.”
 
Course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. also joins the show, providing a detailed look at the course layout and challenging links design. Reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer appears via satellite, sharing insights on his championship experience and what he expects from this year’s venue. Norman and Faxon walk viewers through each hole, offering analysis on particular points of interest and spots that could spell trouble for competitors during championship week.
 
U.S. OPEN MEDIA DAY SPECIAL also showcases the innovative technology which FOX Sports expects to integrate into the U.S. Open telecast. Featuring never-before-seen enhancements, such as augmented reality graphics illustrating the contours of greens as well as wind speed and direction, in addition to drone fly-overs and 4k Flex technology that brings super slow motion shots and drop down robotic cameras for unique angles throughout the course, FOX Sports promises a golf broadcast with new and distinct perspectives.

Sunday
Apr262015

Late WD: Mickelson Gives Up His Match Play Spot

The makeup of the 16 pods that will compete Wednesday to Friday this week is to be determined, but after Phil Mickelson's late WD from the WGC Cadillac Match Play, we at least know the top seed in the 16 groups.

Mickelson cited "personal reasons," reports Rex Hoggard. With Players and Wells Fargo commitments, plus the upcoming Memorial and the St. Jude Classic, it's easy to see why Mickelson is taking a pass in his U.S. Open run-up.

Those pods will consist of four players each who play three matches. The best records in each group advance to Saturday's quarterfinal.

On Monday the makeup of each pod will be determined by a blind draw based on World Rankings. Golf Channel is televising the draw at noon ET. Outside of immediate friends and family there probably isn't much interest in who goes where, but come Wednesday the refreshed Match Play figures to be intriguing. There will inevitably be fun match ups and look for the fan energy to be severely upgraded from recent years.

Here are the top 16 seeds post Mickelson WD.

Sunday
Apr262015

Video: Lydia Wins The Swinging Skirts Again

Here is Doug Ferguson's report on Lydia Ko's first win as an 18-year-old, edging Morgan Pressel in sudden death after catching third round leader Brooke Henderson.

Courtesy of the LPGA Tour's crack PR team, a few notes on Lydia's win:

-Ko birdied the 2nd sudden-death playoff hole to defeat American Morgan Pressel for her second win this season and first win since turning 18 years old (birthday was on Friday).
 
-Ko started Sunday three shots off third-round leader Brooke Henderson. She birdied three of her final six holes in regulation that included a 45-foot birdie putt on No. 15 (7:48pm ET) and an 8-foot birdie putt (8:46pm ET) on the final hole to force the playoff.
 
-Ko will be ranked No. 1 in the world for the 13th consecutive week; youngest world No. 1 in men’s or women’s golf history

The highlights:

 

Sunday
Apr262015

Video: D.H. Lee's 210-Yard Ace, 17th At TPC Louisiana

This one tried to lip out but didn't, so D.H. Lee really enjoys his 17th hole ace in the Zurich Classic final round. As did whoever gets their mortgage paid for a year.

Justin Rose edged Cameron Tringale to win the Zurich and took his inspiration from Steph Curry, writes John Strege. And the PGA Tour's final round highlight package.

The clip:

Saturday
Apr252015

Portrush Renovation Update: 2019 Open Seems More Secure

This week's YouTube upload depicting to captivating affect the Turnberry renovation plans got the Irish Golf Desk's Brian Keogh thinking about Royal Portrush's similar situation.

Keogh downloads and links to the 45.6 MB PDF by architects Mackenzie and Ebert, who have been charged with giving the course The Treatment finding two new holes while resolving what will happen to the Valley Course when those holes are created. And for anyone who has been to Royal Portrush, there has always been sadnessa bout what would happen to "Big Nellie," the 17th hole's larger-than-life fairway bunker.

He answers that question and more in analyzing the plans which should result in the R&A committing the 2019 Open to Portrush, as previously announced.

As for the two new holes, the downhill seventh will be a 572 yard par five, restoring the yardage lost with the elimination of the 17th, which features the much loved Big Nellie fairway bunker on the right.

Fear not, there will be a new Big Nellie on the new seventh for The Open, which will almost certainly be held in 2019 now that planning permission has been granted by the local authority.

“It is proposed that ‘Big Nellie’ from the existing 17th hole is recreated to the right of this new hole,” the architects explain. “It would fit in very well into the huge dune bank.”

The booklet is a must read for anyone interested in the evolution of a classic course and to see how much sand was exposed in the old days and how intimately-integrated golf and town once were.

Saturday
Apr252015

Inside The World Of Free Clubs For NCAA Golfers

Connor Smolensky of the Grady Sports Bureau--it's "part of the sports media program at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication"--files a detailed look at college golfers accepting free equipment and how NCAA rules are not violated. Thanks to reader Edward for passing this along.

Smolensky talks to several current and former college golfers about their "promotional deals" with manufacturers. In college, coaches must deal with manufacturers for team gear, but top players still can deal separately with their preferred company. Beats me how it all works for the NCAA...

Almost every Division I school holds a promotional deal with some company across all sports. Georgia is a Nike school, and golfers are required to wear Nike shoes and apparel, but aren’t locked in to using Nike clubs.

The Georgia golf team has 11 players on its team, but features players that hit a variety of clubs. Georgia head coach Chris Haack said most of the golfers on the squad came to college with promotional deals, and those players continue to get free clubs from their respective manufacturers.

To avoid any possible NCAA violations, manufacturers must deal directly with the golfer’s coaches rather than individual players. When Georgia golfers notice that the grooves in their clubs are wearing or see a new set of clubs that they want to try out, they simply communicate that to the coach and he or she puts in the order.

“I’ve never had a guy who hasn’t changed clubs, or at least got a new set of clubs, two or three times when they’re in college,” Haack said.

Saturday
Apr252015

5 Of Last 6 PGA Tour Final Round Telecasts Up Double Digits

Paulsen at Sports Media Watch reports some good news for PGA Tour ratings of late, even with a tape-delayed final round telecast from Hilton Head.

The RBC Herirage drew a final round 2.3 and finished up 77%.

The nine-year high marks a dramatic turnaround from last year, when final round ratings were the lowest since at least 1996. It is just the latest strong performance for the PGA Tour, coming on the heels of a 10-year high for the final round of the Houston Open and record ratings for the Tampa Bay championship in March.

Five of the past six final round PGA Tour telecasts — including The Masters — have had double-digit increases in ratings and viewership.

Saturday
Apr252015

"Another challenge for golf is how conspicuously it uses water."

The Wall Street Journal's John Paul Newport does an excellent job looking at the pros and cons of California golf courses addressing the drought's impact.

Two key areas to note: his explanation of the Coachella Valley's required cutback of their ground water use and and role perceptions play. The latter component to his story:

Another challenge for golf is how conspicuously it uses water. Oil refineries, food and beverage processing and microchip manufacturing companies use comparable amounts of water, but do so behind factory walls. A single semiconductor chip can take more than 2,000 gallons of water to produce. Golf’s lushly green product, by contrast, is on display for anyone driving past to shake a fists at. Golf in California generates $13.1 billion in economic activity and employs 128,000 people, according to a 2013 study by the California Alliance for Golf. But the game is not viewed kindly by all.

If the current drought continues unabated into 2016, there will probably be fatalities. Most vulnerable are courses that aren’t located near recycled water pipelines and are already weakened by the last recession and a shrinking golf market.

Thursday
Apr232015

Equipment Sales As A Barometer For Golf, Rovell Edition

Earlier this week Darren Rovell Tweeted a short item on a 21% drop in 2014 golf equipment sales at sporting goods stores, citing the Sports & Fitness Association.

Golf Digest's Mike Stachura took issue with the number for not telling the full story. Though my extremist view is that any golf equipment sales numbers are unfair as long as companies insist on rapid-fire product cycles, let's at least accept the premise for Stachura's rebuttal:

In fact, a check of golf industry research firm Golf Datatech’s sales figures for 2014 paint a slightly different interpretation. Sales in 2014 of just the core hard goods in golf (woods, irons, wedges and putters) were down, but only by 3 percent (2.97, actually). In fact, the $1.413 billion in sales of those four categories marked the seventh highest annual sales figure since Golf Datatech began tracking the golf business in 1995.

Thursday
Apr232015

State Of The Game Podcast 55: Another Magnificent Masters

Gil Capps, author of The Magnificent Masters and overseer of Golf Channel's Editorial Research Unit, joined us again to recap the Masters and talk about a few other matters with Rod Morri, Mike Clayton and myself.

Yes, we are a few weeks past the Masters but this is often the best time to reflect and I think you'll enjoy the discussion. Gil's book on the 1975 Masters is now available in paperback.

As usual, you can listen here, download the MP3 here, listen via iTunes or subscribe to the show there too. Or listen here:

Thursday
Apr232015

EA Delays Rory Game To Open Championship Tuesday...

Does this mean Rory McIlroy will be prepping for The Open on the typically exhaustive EA ad creation and promotional circuit? Following his pre-Masters workout regimen to get ready for his workout shoots?

Anyway, Nick Menta with the latest on the eagerly anticipated follow up to the dormant Tiger Woods/PGA Tour edition, including the addition of Jordan Spieth to the game.

Details about the game have been slow to emerge but EA did confirm Masters champion Jordan Spieth as the game's second playable character earlier this week. Confirmed courses thus far include TPC Sawgrass, Wolf Creek and Royal Troon.

For gamers, Luke Kerr-Dineen adds this:

But Thursday proved a significant development. EA officially finalized its July 14th release date, and released a new trailer showing graphics and some actual gameplay features. There will be three different playing options, the hardest being the “tour” mode. In that setting, users won’t be able to zoom into the green, and they’ll use the analog stick to control the power of their shots.

Noted!

The trailer, which I suppose highlights just how beautiful Rory's swing is. Or how all of those sensors just can't quite capture the grace and athleticism of his move.

Thursday
Apr232015

36 Years Separate 1st & 2nd At LPGA's Swinging Skirts

In LPGA years, that's not a one generation divide, but two!

Steve Kroner of the San Francisco Chronicle with the round one game story from Lake Merced, where 54-year-old Juli Inkster trails (now) 18-year-old Lydia Ko by one.

Kroner writes of the amazing play by Inkster:

“I just think it’s really cool,” Stacy Lewis (69) enthused about Inkster’s performance. “You should take a picture and do a hashtag with 'Throwback Thursday’” with Inkster’s name on top of the leaderboard.

For a few moments in her post-round news conference, Inkster, 54, was among those surprised to see her in first place.

“I didn’t know I was” atop the leaderboard, she said.

Then after a bit of reflection, Inkster took a mulligan in terms of expressing doubt about her first-place standing.

“The way I played today,” Inkster said, “no, I’m not surprised.”

Thursday
Apr232015

“Tiger Woods Returns to Asia to Energize Young Athletes’ Love for Golf” (And Launch A New Design)

Nike has announced (as expected) that Tiger will be making one of his goodwill tours of Asia replete with clinics (oh not the short game right now, please...) and no doubt to show the Swoosh to prospective customers.

And in the it's-a-mitzvah department, the April 24-25 trip will be preceded by Woods appearing in Beijing to confirm a lucrative course design gig in the land where golf is stalling, if not banned or illegal to build a course.

What a world!

Wednesday
Apr222015

Video: Aerial Tour Of Turnberry Ailsa Changes

If you were on the fence (like me) about messing around with Turnberry's Ailsa course, this computer aerial simulation of the holes as they are now, with faded in looks at the proposed changes, will probably convince you that the course is going to get better.

It's seven minutes but well worth your time if you are interested in architecture. While the par-3 9th has been getting the attention, the revamped 10th and all new 11th really caught my eye. Not a lot of strategy to the holes but the setting is so divine that few will care. It's also interesting to note how much The Open is mentioned in hole change plans and in the 18th hole setting as presented. Turnberry is not currently scheduled to host The Open, which is booked through 2018, with three of the four venues locked up in Scotland (and 2020 almost assuredly going to St. Andrews).

Thanks to reader John G for sharing this which, I believe is the most impressive tour of proposed course changes I've seen.

Wednesday
Apr222015

Mike Whan Keeps Asking Augusta National To Host The LPGA

I'm picturing Chairman Billy Payne seeing LPGA Commish Mike Whan coming and muttering to himself, "don't they have 9 majors already?"

But Mike Whan, even answering himself in a way, keeps on asking Augusta National about hosting the LPGA for an event. Michael Collins reports for ESPN.com.

"Would it be great? It'd be great. I don't know how you become a member at Augusta National but it's probably not by saying you wanna be! And I don't know how you have a tournament at Augusta National but it's probably not by saying that you want one! So, we've said our piece and it would be great someday, so why not dream?"

Dream, but don't ask again? It's not going to happen.

Wednesday
Apr222015

Jack & Tiger Talk For More Than A Minute Or Two!

You may recall a few years ago when Jack Nicklaus mentioned in passing under the Big Oak that he and Tiger had never really had many long talks. Not for more than a minute or two, to be exact.

Now it seems the Happy Tiger who flew onto the Masters practice a new man was also chatty at the Champions Dinner. Tiger was so giddy he even committed to the Memorial Tournament, Nicklaus told reporters Wednesday.

Rob Oller reports on this and Jordan Spieth also giving a verbal commitment to The Memorial.

Woods and Nicklaus chatted about family and golf form during their visit at Augusta National Golf Club.

“It’s as much conversation as I’ve ever had with Tiger. ... He’s been struggling. We talked a little about that, but we talked more about his kids and events that are going on and what he’s been doing with his preparation,” Nicklaus said. “I’ve said many times, ‘He’ll be fine.’”

Fox Sports Ohio Tweeted this clip of Nicklaus talking.

Wednesday
Apr222015

Joe Buck On Fox's First Telecast: "It sounded like golf and it looked like golf.”

Fox's Joe Buck talked about the first golf telecast last year from Fox Sports, which seems a bit more confident than the admirable "we're not worthy" homage paid to the other networks when kicking off last fall's Franklin Templeton Shootout.

Talking to Craig Hill of The New Tribune:

“Believe me, everybody was watching us — especially the networks that cover golf — and wondering what they were going to get from golf on Fox,” Buck said. “And I would submit to you that they came away really disappointed because it sounded like golf and it looked like golf.”

Buck said Shanks addressed the crew afterward and said, “That was the best launch of a sport we’ve had at this network.”

Fresh and innovative is the bar set for Fox by the USGA, which kicks off with the U.S. Four-Ball Championship in less than two weeks. Buck should probably leave the tech talk to Mark Loomis, the supervising producer whose team will inevitably deliver some fun stuff either this year or more likely, over the next few years.

Buck is excited to try new ways of covering golf, too. Fox Sports wants to use drones at Chambers Bay (it is awaiting Federal Aviation Administration approval), plans to have a leaderboard constantly displayed on the screen, is experimenting with cameras and angles in hopes of giving viewers a better idea of how the course plays and will use graphics to better show the contours of the greens.

Buck says Fox is also looking for ways to add more natural sound (including golfers’ conversations with caddies) to the telecast. It is sound he says he’ll be careful to not talk over.

And on some broadcast teams, that would be fresh and innovative!

Tuesday
Apr212015

Trump's Turnberry Overhaul Is A Go

Alistair Tait of Golfweek reports on the official green light given to a Turnberry Ailsa course redo by new owner Donald Trump. The layout hosts the Women's British Open this summer, then goes under Martin Ebert's knife, with a planned reopening in July 2016 when The Open is at Troon.

No future Open has been awarded to Turnberry but but all accounts, Trump is carrying out many of the design ideas of R&A Chief Inspector Peter Dawson.

Next year, the hole will play as a 235-yard par-3, most of it over water, with the lighthouse providing the backdrop to the green.

Many will applaud the change given the current ninth is unfair. A camelback fairway means good drives often end up in the rough.

Other changes see the 10th altered from a 457-yard par-4 to a 562-yard par-5. This hole sits near the sea, curving around a small bay called Castle Port Bay. Changes will see a new championship tee closer to the sea, and the green also shifted more towards the water.

The par-3 11th will also feature more of the sea than it currently does, and be extended by 40 yards to 215 yards. The 17th changes from a 558-yard par 5 to a 505-yard par 4.

Considering the 17th's role in past Open's at Turnberry, that final change is a bit scary, but there is little doubt the cliffside holes have never quite been as dramatic as the land suggests.