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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

The course lies among the sandhills under the shadow of Slieve Donard, the tallest of the Mourne Mountains, and so close to the sea that we may reach the shore with our first tee-shot...trouble lurks at the sides as well as in the centre of the fairway, and for all the boldness and bigness of the hazards it is really a straight rather than a long driver's course.
BERNARD DARWIN on Royal County Down



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

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

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

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

Alistair Tait with all the details from Walton Heath.

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


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

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

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

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

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


Chambers Bay Scouting Report: Morning Drive Edition

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

Check it out:


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

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

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

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

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


Photos: 17th At Pebble Beach Update

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

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

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


Not Cancer Related: Jarrod Lyle Taking Break From Tour

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

But it has not been a straight line of success.


Video: Britany Lincicome Enters The Trick Shot Game

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

From her Instagram account:

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

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



Primer: Chambers Bay's Fescue Grass

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

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

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

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

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

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


Video: Another Jimenez Ace, Fleetwood Albatross

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

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


Yikes: Top Of The Rock's Sink Hole...Err...Geological Event

Just weeks after hosting the Champions Tour, the par-3 only Top Of The Rock Golf Course in Ridgedale, Missouri has seen massive sink holes open up.

John Strege
at with the funny-if-it-weren't-so quote from the course rep calling this a "geological event."

The sinkhole was located between the practice tee and a pond near the entrance to the property, Tammy Sapp, director of communications at Bass Pro Shops, said.

“We discovered at about 6:30 this morning a geological event at the Top of the Rock,” Sapp said. “We reported it to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Our team and their geologic survey team were doing a geologic assessment of the area.

Wes Johnson and Trevor J. Mitchell of the Springfield News-Leader with a more extensive story and multiple images of bunker liner doing things it was not designed to do.

Nick Penzenstadler of the local TV station Tweeted this image:


Not Again! Players Talking Up Yet Another Wentworth Redo

Remodeled to the point of looking, well, remodeled, Wentworth's greens have not exactly been the smoothest at the BMW Championship.

As Phil Casey reports in his round two game story (including a Keith Pelley sighting!), the oft-maligned layout has players calling for yet another remodel to provide better playing surfaces. Though H.S. Colt fans wouldn't mind someone having a go at the Ernie Els architecture, too.

Two-time winner Luke Donald carded a second successive 70 to finish four under par, but suggested that the greens needed replacing for the second time in six years.

"I guess the only way to fix them is to redo them again," said Donald. "If there's one tournament you should expect them to be perfect, it's this one.

"It's not a question we haven't talked about over the years. It has happened a few times.

"When they redid the greens (in 2009) and I look at the success I had (finishing second in 2010 and winning in 2011 and 2012), I would certainly be a proponent of doing them again."

Former US Open champion Justin Rose agreed after a 72 left him one under, adding: "I just watched myself on TV knocking in a four-footer on 18 and it looked easy, but that was different from the running commentary in my head.

"They are bouncy and then it becomes a mental thing, you don't quite trust your reads.

"It's disappointing in the sense that the whole reason we changed this course was that if a player has a six-foot putt to win and hits a good putt, it should go in.

"We are back in the situation where that six-footer might not be true come Sunday afternoon."

If you must, the opportunity a sampling of past redesign controversies involving Wentworth can be viewed here, here and for giggles involving Ernie pouting, here.


Video: Flying Over Colonial Just Before The Invitational

The PGA Tour posted a nice package of drone footage above Colonial Country Club just prior to this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational.

While a few more of the low-flying shots would have been nice to see mixed with the more traditional bird's eye view, it's still interesting to see the property is by modern golf standards.

The video:


Video: New Cabot Cliffs Teaser

Short but sweet, with Kiefer Sutherland narrating and images by Mike Robin.

And Cabot Cliffs continues to look spectacular as it nears its official opening...(h/t Ashley Mayo).


Video: Andrew Johnston Hole-In-One & Chest Bump

The Wentworth ace by the Challenge Tour's top 2014 graduate was nice, but Andrew Johnston chest-bumping his best buddy gives this one a little more sizzle. For his 8-iron on the 151-yard, Johnson wins new BMW M4.

The clip:


Rory Assures Horrified Masses That He Might Play Past 40

Apparently causing a run on antacids at the A329 Boots, Rory McIlroy received what felt like a staged question from Sky's Di Dougherty to clarify his perfectly rational suggestion that retirement will loom around 40. (Assuming he achieves his career goal.)

That's right, he even built in a caveat! Still not good enough!

That's because in the world of golf, where no week must be left open on a calendar and no career must end until the player is a shell of their former selves, McIlroy felt compelled to clarify. He opened the BMW Championship with 71 and suggested after that he's a bit tired in week four of five, writes Alistair Tait.

The career clarification clip:


Euro Stars Want New Chief To Raise Tour Profile; Golf World Wants New Euro Tour Chief To Have A Profile!

As the European Tour prepares to kick off its flagship event at Wentworth (Golf Channel covers the BMW from 5 a.m.-1 p.m. ET Thursday and Friday), Alistair Tait talks to players about the purported start to a new era this July when Keith Pelley replaces the retiring George O'Grady.

Perhaps respecting the tenure of his predecessor or maybe just not easily tracked down in his native Canada, Pelley has maintainted an amazingly low profile since landing the gig. But Tait says top European players have expectations, including Justin Rose.

“I think just a little bit more strength across the board on the European Tour,” said Rose, when asked what he wanted from the new man. “There's a huge variation in the events that we play, from prize fund and quality of golf course and excitement and crowd, from the top end to the bottom end. Just to try to make the mean average go up. I think for me that's what I want to see. That's what you have in America. You could almost throw the dice 20 times and build a good schedule on the PGA Tour.

“It would be nice to get close to that on the European Tour. I know there's a lot more factors in terms of where we play and a lot more going on and a lot more to manage, but to move towards that would be fantastic – just a more consistent product, I suppose.”

Pelley's marching orders from the committee that hired the television executive are undoubtedly clear, but what until he appears and starts cutting deals, we will be left to wonder what the European Tour future looks like.


Dan Jenkins On Tiger Beating "Nobodies"

There seems to be quite a bit of anger over Dan Jenkins' Q&A with the Fort Worth Light & Shoppers' Mac Engel, but I'm really sure Dan said anything he hasn't written.

Except maybe the word "nobodies" to describe some of Tiger's major runner-upperers. Strong for sure, but he's been pretty consistent in his view that history is showing many of Tiger's non-Phil, non-Els challengers to have been 50-1 shots.

From the Q&A, talking about Jordan Spieth:

Incidentally, there’s much more talent at the top (and the bottom) than there was during Tiger’s peak years. Tiger beat a lot of nobodies to win most of his majors.

Yeah, there was Phil [Mickelson] and [Ernie] Els around, in and out, but go back and look who was second to him in those majors and tell me where they are now.

Did we take Tiger Woods’ dominance for granted, and will he catch Jack Nicklaus’ record for majors?

I never took Tiger’s dominance for granted. The media loved him because he was golf’s only rock star, only dynasty, and people like dynasties in any sport. People also like to see dynasties crash and burn. Every golfer hits a wall eventually. Tiger has hit his, in more ways than one. He’s lost his game and putting stroke and his head. It happens. And I’ve only seen one player lose it all and come back. That was [Ben] Hogan, who damn near died in the car wreck. He came back and won six more majors. Tiger seems more confused about it than anyone I’ve ever covered. Maybe that’s partly because it came so easy for him in the beginning....

Obviously saying Tiger's wins came easy is probably too strong. No major win comes easy. But some, in hindsight, meant beating less stout leaderboards and courses than others.

And this is where I would differ from Dan: the course and setup means as much as the competition. Tiger won at an Augusta National seemingly rigged to stop him from winning annually. He won at a Torrey Pines playing much firmer and faster than he was used to (and which Phil Mickelson has struggled on post-redo). And he won at the Old Course against some pretty stout leaderboards.


High Profile Drought Victim: Stevinson Ranch

Though there are surely many reasons for any course closure, the family-farming ownership of Stevinson Ranch says the course's July 20th date of death is all about the drought. Almonds or turf? Almonds win 7&6.

Here is the NCGA's story on the closure of a course beloved for hosting amateur qualifiers and college events, designed by the late John Harbottle to much acclaim over 20 years.

And Ron Agostini in the Merced Sun Star had this telling quote:

Owner George Kelley, who co-designed the acclaimed Merced County course with John Harbottle III on family-owned wetlands property, said the downturn in rounds played in recent years, coupled with serious water concerns, forced Stevinson Ranch’s closure effective July 18.

He informed his staff late Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Kelley said. “We were just getting hammered to the point where our water situation was awful. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We had to make a business decision – our family almond business had to come first over the golf business.”

The closure marks the valley golf community’s second major hit within the last year.


When Lightning Strikes, Files: Turfgrass Edition

Nice catch by Shane Bacon of this Reddit-posted image of a Utah course post-lightning strike.

Beautiful, artistic, and kind of scary what Mother Nature leaves behind.