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
  • 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 – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer

Frequently the natives resent the invasion of the golf pioneer . . . Once an irate farmer emptied a thirty-three at myself and the engineer at a range of only five hundred yards, and he made us take cover too. He was a renter, and knew that we were there for no good. As he took no interest whatever in the Royal and Ancient.




Acushnet (GOLF) IPO Sets $17 Share Price

My eyes start glazing over reading these IPO statements and forecasts, especially given the track record of analysts, so here goes with a few copy and paste jobs on Acushnet's (Titleist/Footjoy) raising of $329 million on a $17 share price, below the projected range of $21 to $24/$435 million.

Analyst Eric Volkman at Motley Fool offered this take:

Meanwhile, Acushnet Holdings' fairly static top line and the high level of indebtedness would worry me if I were an investor. I'm also not really a fan of equity cash-outs, as the driving motivation of this activity is to put money in the hands of existing shareholders, not raise funds for the business.

Don Dion at Seeking Alpha had this to say:

Declining revenue and tough market for golf manufactures make us pass on investing in this upcoming IPO.

The fact that company insiders are selling 100% of the shares and that Fila Korea will have majoring voting power are additional detractors.

Its current valuation also looks like quite a significant mark-up from Fila Korea's 2011 purchase price.

While we do hear the deal is oversubscribed, we suggest investors play golf but avoid the GOLF IPO.


When Golf Pros Push Back: Steven Bowditch Edition

Sean Zak at backed up his case that Steven Bowditch made an extraordinarily large amount of money (Nearly $500k) given some historically poor play on the PGA Tour.

Nothing about the item was personal, but given the sensitive nature of pro golfers, who are coddled by the tour to believe they are doing the Lord's work, Zak received social slaps from giants in the game who apparently hold tour cards, notes Michael Shamburger at The Big Lead.

Steve Wheatcroft, Andres Gonzales, Colt Knost and Hudson Swafford all expressed their dismay, while an all-out blackout threat came from Graham DeLaet, who, while suffering through the yips this summer, blew off all writers at the Rio Games.

And I can tell you, none of us have been the same since.

Anyway, maybe Zak should have moved the dollar amount and easy-WGC money up higher in his item to not bury the lede exposing Tim Finchem's grand vision for rewarding something worse than mediocrity. Zak, because he's a nice fellow, actually portrayed it as good news in trying to find some silver lining in Bowditch's season:

Bowditch was 3.209 strokes worse than the field average in the 55 rounds he recorded last year. Robert Allenby finished 184th in strokes gained, albeit in 14 fewer rounds, but lost just 1.95 strokes per round. So the second-worst golfer, strokes gained-wise, was still a stroke better per round than Bowditch was. Just one player in the ShotLink era (David Gossett in ’04—sorry, David!) finished a season with a worse average. Those 3.209 strokes lost per round looks like this.

Alas, there was some good news among all the gloominess. Bowditch still managed to earn $458,891 last season, good for 158th on the money list -- a far cry from his 185th-best form.

Bowditch’s Tour wins in 2014 and '15 earned him spots in the no-cut WGCs that ensure a paycheck. Those three starts alone helped him rake in a cumulative $158,500, slightly more than 34% of his season earnings.

Bowditch took to Twitter to push back:

DeLaet's threat mentions something about a sit down, something (A) players rarely do anyway (B) no one but maybe some Canadian press, are dying to do with DeLaet:



Video: The Taylor Labourne Shot Has Copycats

And why not?

Just when we thought the art of trick shottery was dying, there appears to be a new generation of copycats inspired by Taylor Labourne's gem. With Sportscenter and others running with Taylor's shot, the expected samplers...

Joshua Kelly, aka HoleIn1TrickShots:

Joris Golf representing the younger set...

Max Hilty representing the Gilmore demo...


Trinity Forest Opening Photos, A Few Course Glimpses

G.J. McCarthy's photo gallery for the Dallas Morning News offers a few more glimpses of the new Trinity Forest course in Dallas. Designed by Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw, the course was built on a 400-acre landfill and sports a $150,000 initiation fee.

From the sounds of Bill Nichols' story on the opener, the course has gotten more private than was outlined in the original scope but remains the home course for SMU's golf teams. Architectural details, beyond being so starkly links-like and rustic, are pretty sparse.

The layout measures 7,300 yards from the tips and plays to a par of 71 with 11 par-4s, four par-3s and three par-5s. Three holes cross a deep ravine, and three others have split fairways. Most of the greens are slightly elevated with tightly mowed surrounding areas.

This Instagram image from Jordan Spieth gives a sense of the course location and scale:

You’re looking at the future home of the @ATTByronNelson! See you on the new track in 2018. #Dallas #ATTAthlete

A photo posted by Jordan Spieth (@jordanspieth) on



"The PGA Tour Sells Golf To China"

Not very well. At least, based on the insights from Scott Cendrowski who filed two features for Fortune as the tour arrives with the HSBC WGC in Shanghai.

Cendrowski's secondary feature looks at playing golf in China, but worth carving our a few reading minutes is the feature on PGA Tour efforts to start a satellite tour and the hopes of developing a great player in country unfriendly to golf.

Cendrowski notes that growth in China was largely the dream of a PGA Tour looking for new sponsorship, new players and playing opportunities despite the government's hostility toward the game (and human rights, and bloggers, and many things that democracy lovers cherish). So far, things haven't gone so great on the macro level. And as for the micro, aka PGA Tour China...

This year, continuing uncertainty forced PGA Tour China to announce its schedule just a couple of weeks in advance. Only 12 tournaments were scheduled; a 13th was added midseason. “It’s tough to find courses to work with us,” says Shao, the Chinese golf promoter. The head of a course in the lush southern province of Yunnan, who asked not to be named because he was nervous about local authorities’ reactions, said his club was now marketing golf as a fitness movement, to keep the government at bay. “The tough time in the past one or two years has prompted everyone to reflect,” he says.

Fun times, all in the name of the g word!


Video: The Taylor Labourne Trick Shot

Davis Park Golf Course instructor Taylor Laybourne pulls off one so absurd, so indescribable (H/T Alex Myers) that it can only be named after the purveyor his ownself.



"Who Is Hall Of Fame Worthy?"

The induction of Davis Love and Ian Woosnam raised the question from some: who is World Golf Hall Of Fame worthy?

Jaime Diaz of Golf World praises the hall for its new criteria and opening the door to worthy players based on the way the game has changed.

There is no doubt the WGHOF has set minimum victory requirement that is lower than what had unofficially been imposed. But it had to. While 15 lifetime victories seemed like a pittance when the game’s giants—several with more than 60 victories and in some cases double-digit majors—were being inducted, it’s also become clear that winning 15 times in the post-1975 era is a greater achievement than it would have been before, much like a .280 lifetime batting average is now more worthy of a spot in Cooperstown.

Recognizing the greatness in players who were stalwarts but didn’t win as much as the very best helps one understand the immense challenge of the game. Lowering standards increases appreciation, and keeps up the supply of candidates. It’s all good.

The hall continues to struggle with people who made contributions to the game in areas other than competitively. Tom Weiskopf was hugely influential as a television commentator and architect. And we know architects have struggled to gain respect from the hall, with people who made great contributions having not been recognized while Robert Trent Jones, whose positive impact becomes less understandable by the year, is in.

Also disconcerting is the even more backroom, old boys vibe to the selection process that only has two media members and decides who is HOF worthy in secrecy. Other sports HOF's succeed in part because the public knows who is eligible and even debates the merits of candidates.


Trinity Forest To Host Nelson Year Earlier Than Planned

The Coore-Crenshaw design, opening this weekend and reportedly considered a potential future major venue, will host the 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson. That is a year earlier than expected, ending the PGA Tour's run at Las Colinas (since 1983) this upcoming season.

Art Stricklin reports the announcement will be made Wednesday with Jordan Spieth, PGA Tour EVP Andy Pazder.

Salesmanship Club officials said the early move came about for two reasons: The club and the Tour came to an agreement with the Four Seasons Resorts owner, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, to get out of the contract early and the Tour's agronomy staff has signed off on when the course could host its first professional event.

Translation: they couldn't get away from TPC Las Colinas fast enough.

You can see a few Trinity Forest images at their official site.


Three Senators Call For USGA To Leave Trump Bedminster

An unbylined USA Today story first reported the letter to the USGA. It's from Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to USGA executive director and CEO Mike Davis.

The topic: the 2017 U.S. Women's Open.

“The decision that the USGA makes is more consequential than simply the geographic location of a golf tournament,” the Senators wrote in a letter dated Tuesday. “In declining future association with a brand that degrades women, the USGA and LPGA have an opportunity to make clear to the world, and most especially young Americans, that our nation will not tolerate nor do business with any company that condones or excuses action that constitutes sexual assault.”

The USGA does not want any part of the subject, in part for very obvious reasons: becoming part of the 2016 presidential election or upsetting a soon-to-be-president.

"During his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump has made some remarks that are at odds with our belief that golf should be welcoming and inclusive for all. We have reiterated for more than a year that we do not share his views, and that is still true,” the statement read. “With the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open less than a year away, our focus is still on conducting an excellent championship for the players, the spectators, the fans, and the volunteers."

“Beyond that,” Driscoll wrote in an email, “we simply will not comment on politics.”

Given that the players are not crying out to leave the venue and that Trump stands a chance of being elected, there is no incentive for the USGA to intervene at this time. However, where things get interesting: if Trump maintains a high-profile role post-election should he not be elected. If he somehow overshadows the biggest women's golf tournament on the planet, that would be unfortunate at best.


Rory's Got A New Driver, But About Those Shoes...

Lots of attention has been given to Rory McIlroy using Taylor Made woods at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai starting tomorrow, and rightfully so given his influence and prowess off the tee.

Steve Hennessey with the details here at

But of far more interest to me is the Nike shoe McIlroy is debuting. The actual shoe look and design doesn't move any needles here, but the sole has the potential to be groundbreaking if it passes two tests: player and greenkeeper.

From McIlroy's point of view the traction is there. Now we await the reaction from greenkeepers and how the sole impacts putting surfaces.

G.C. Digital with the details of Nike's new "Lunar Control Vapor."

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve played golf in spiked footwear, and up until two years ago those spikes were metal,” he is quoted on Nike's website. “Through its drive to innovate and bring the sport to new places, Nike has created a new traction system that provides me with a stable base to push off the ground and deliver the distance I need off the tee.”

Nike says the sole was inspired by the tread on snowmobiles. The upper is lightweight microfiber with a two-year waterproof guarantee.

The shoe, explained here at Nike's site, will be available in the United States in limited colors via the Nike+ App on Nov. 22, with a wider release slated for November 25th.


Golf Pros Who Read Files: Padraig Harrington Credits Book (Really!) After Portugal Masters Win

Shockingly there is a golf pro willing to confess his love (and good use) of the written word.

Even better than the idea a future Hall of Famer is searching so hard, is that Padraig Harrington credited the mental performance book after winning the European Tour's Portugal Masters on Sunday.

From Brian Keogh's account of the tournament:

What pleased him most about his win was his mental attitude and he credited coach Dave Alred with the turnaround having read his book, The Pressure Principle: Handle Stress, Harness Energy, and Perform When It Counts, earlier in the week.

"I feel really good," Harrington said. "I was very relaxed all week. I was in a nice place mentally.

"I've been reading Dave Alred's The Pressure Principle and it gave me a few pointers that maybe I'd been missing out on and I stuck to those all week. It was a big plus for me.

"I just realised how poor my own language is about myself and my game. So I was very focused on my self-talk this week and what I was saying to myself and very focused on my posture walking around on the golf course and it was a tremendous help."


More Stroke Play! PGA Tour Adds "The CJ Cup" In South Korea

I held out hope that the PGA Tour adding an event in Korea with "cup" in the title might give us something to get excited about. Instead it's following the same old script beyond the massively unsustainable ($9.25 million) purse: limited 78-player field, 72-holes of stroke play.

The CJ Cup "@" Nine Bridges does bring us closer to our first tournament title including an Emoji in the title, and as far away as possible from a format that will inspire interest. It also just adds more clutter to the fall wraparound that isn't working well for players or fans, as we discussed on Morning Drive.

From the PGA Tour release on what we first learned about last week from Doug Ferguson, only with not as many CAPS.

THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES will feature a field of 78 players, with 60 coming from the PGA TOUR FedExCup points list. The remaining players, with many of the best Korean players represented, will come from a number of different exemptions to be named at a later date.

“This announcement is a historic landmark for the PGA TOUR as we add another tournament in Asia. We had such a phenomenal experience in Korea last year at The Presidents Cup, and we hoped an official, permanent event in this great country would be the result of that success,” said Monahan. “Partnering with a respected business leader like the CJ Corporation means this tournament will be on the Korean sports landscape for years to come. We have a tremendous population of Korean golfers on the PGA TOUR, and we anticipate that will continue as THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES inspires a new generation of players, not only in Korea, but also around the world.”


The 72-hole tournament will feature competition Thursday through Sunday, with a pro-am on the Wednesday of tournament week. The host site of the tournament will be announced at a later date.

“The addition of  THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES to our schedule gives us three strong tournaments in consecutive weeks in Asia, and they will play a significant role in shaping the early part of the FedExCup season and the FedExCup chase overall,” Monahan continued. “The CJ Group is well-trusted and highly valued in the global marketplace. We couldn’t be happier to partner with such a strong, vibrant company that taps into the lives of consumers worldwide through food and food service, bio pharmaceuticals, homeshopping and logistics, entertainment and media, and now golf.

“South Korea is a beautiful country with a rich golf tradition,” Monahan added. “Many of our players who have been to the country already know that, and those who haven’t are in for a treat. The fact that valuable FedExCup points will be offered only enhances this tournament’s position on our schedule.”

As long as the Nine Bridges folks aren't hoping for big ratings, the event should succeed though prove utterly unremarkable beyond the purse.

Last week's CIMB Classic drew dismal ratings for the first three rounds (here, here, here) with the usual competition (baseball, football) and unusual (debate coverage) drawing viewers elsewhere.

Would a different tournament format boost audience sizes into six-figures? Probably not, but we'll never know apparently, either.


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie Files: Tiger and His Stanford Regret

During Tiger's rebranding/Foundation 20th media tour, he understandably didn't have much to talk about given the state of his game. This unfortunately led to the strange comment of only having one regret: leaving Stanford with two years of eligibility remaining.

This opened the door for this analysis of the many reasons Woods had no choice but to flee Stanford. From's John Strege, who closely covered Tiger's junior and college career and said the comments "ring hollow".

1. The NCAA’s influence. It began when he was a high school sophomore and had accepted an offer of an honorary membership at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach. The NCAA was concerned that Woods might be jeopardizing his college eligibility. The NCAA eventually ruled that that there was not a rules violation.

Once Woods started at Stanford, several NCAA conflicts or potential conflicts arose, among them: Writing diaries for magazines from his first Masters appearance, warranting a one-day suspension; using, in the same Masters, balls and equipment not provided by the university in potential violation of rules. “If you look at this situation objectively,” his father Earl said, “this is the perfect opportunity for Tiger to say, ‘kiss my yin, yang’ and leave school.”

Woods also was suspended briefly for having lunch with Arnold Palmer at the Silverado Resort and allowing Palmer to pay for it. “I don’t need this. It’s annoying,” he said.

Tiger was also mugged by someone who knew his name, reason enough for most of us to get out of Palo Alto!

The SI/ gang kicked the topic around in this week's Tour Confidential and if you can handle the constantly wiggling web page, the discussion is interesting. From Gary Van Sickle:

VAN SICKLE: Tiger isn't delusional, he's utterly competitive. What's delusional is that he regrets leaving Stanford, where he was mugged at knifepoint on campus by someone who knew his name, and that he could've possibly remained eligible for NCAA or amateur golf after his first two years and all that went on. Other than that, it was close to the vest and, to be honest, kind of a snooze despite Rose's best efforts.


Lions Muny Gets Endangered Places Landmark, Still Needs Help

Jenni Lee of KVUE reports on the dedication ceremony bequeathing official national endangered status on Lions Municipal. The course land is owned by the University of Texas, the former football power mired in another rough season, which wants to turn the historic course into a mixed-use development.

Among those turning out where golfers who enjoyed the links thanks to integration and affordability.

Such rich history is the reason Muny was added to the National Register of Historic Places in July.

But it was also added to the list of Most Endangered Historic Places earlier this month. The University of Texas Board of Regents wants to shut down Muny when its lease expires in 2019 and replace it with a mixed-use development.

"Here we go again," said Mary Arnold, a member of the group Save Muny.

This is the third time 81-year-old Mary Arnold is fighting UT. The university’s Board of Regents has already sold off acres of the donated Brackenridge tract of land for development twice before.

A stone lion has been greeting visitors at Muny since 1924. Supporters hope it sticks around.

I would argue that the fight for Lions is important in establishing the vitality of city-center golf courses as green spaces, but when they are in deteriorated shape, they become more expendable. One more reason we need a serious program restoring important public courses and WPA project links.

A video from KVUE's reporting on the ceremony:


An Arnold Palmer Jack O'Lantern Tribute

Thanks to reader Andrew for this photo from the Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns where there are some pretty tremendous efforts on display, with a big emphasis on celebrities we've lost in 2016.

The King...


Photo Caption Fun: Gary Player And Yao Ming On The Course

What's Yao saying to Gary, or thought bubbles on both...(thanks reader Brian).



Repot: Dick's Sporting Goods Wins Golfsmith Bankruptcy Auction, Loves Golf Again!

By winning the Golfsmith auction, Jessica DiNapoli of Reuters says Dick's Sporting Goods will become the leading golf retailer based on number of stores (it may already be now).

Pending bankruptcy judge approval, DiNapoli says:

Dick's plans to keep open at least 30 Golfsmith stores and wind down the rest with liquidators from Hilco Global and Tiger Capital Group, the people said. It plans to keep about 500 of the company's employees.

Golfsmith had 109 stores in the United States at the time of its bankruptcy filing last month, and has been closing stores since then.

With the bid, Dick's, the largest U.S. sporting goods retailer, also won Golfsmith's intellectual property and inventory, the people added, asking not to be identified because the results of the auction are not yet public.

Mike Stachura of notes Dick's bullish attitude towards golf continues after the retailer gave indications that it saw golf as in "structural decline" and layed off its professional fitters not long after buying into Mark King and Adidas' Taylor Made vision of three new driver releases in one year.

Now, it looks like Dick's Sporting Goods, whose sporting goods store model is megasized but its Golf Galaxy brand model is a more conservative sized store, will be dictating a big part of golf's retail footprint going forward.


Video: Alvaro Quiros Is Reminded His Plane Is Off

Alvaro Quiros, six time winner on the European Tour, either needs to do a lot more work on his plane or lose the sticks...

There is good news though. A tour van was on site to help.


PGA Tour Rules: McGirt, Sanderson And Perils Of Membership

Thanks to the readers who sent in Rick Cleveland's look at world No. 42 William McGirt--winner of this year's Memorial Tournament--passing up this week's no cut, no blue skies, no good greens, WGC in Shanghai.

Why? To show his support for the Sanderson Farms Championship, even though Cleveland claims McGirt is not "allowed, by PGA Tour rules," to play a non-WGC when you are eligible for the WGC.

“Last year, Joe Sanderson (Sanderson Farms CEO) stepped up and guaranteed to sponsor the tournament for 10 more years,” McGirt said. “That’s huge. We, as players, need to support that. We need to support what that tournament does for that children’s hospital there. That’s why I am coming there, to support all that.”

Joe Sanderson did sign an agreement with the PGA Tour to continue sponsoring Mississippi’s only PGA Tour event through 2026. Last year, the tournament raised more than $1.1 million for Batson Children’s Hospital at University of Mississippi Medical Center.

And this was nice:

“There’s something else. Joe Sanderson is bringing one of his poultry places to the area I grew up in in North Carolina,” McGirt said. “That’s going to be a lot of jobs for a lot of folks that need jobs where I come from.”

McGirt goes on to explain that the Asian swing isn't of much interest to him which (A) will probably get him a fine and (B) doesn't bode well for the PGA Tour's fall expansion into Asia. At least, if they want to draw players inside the top 50.

This WGC rule was a new one to me. And this, on top of an issue Rex Hoggard wrote about this week, makes one struggle to understand what exactly is the vision for the PGA Tour "product."

Hoggard examines the unintended consequences of a new PGA Tour rule asking players with less than 25 starts to add one tournaments they haven't played in the last four years.

“What you have to avoid this year is to not play a bunch of events that you haven’t played in five years,” Casey said. “I could shoot myself in the foot because if I don’t play 25, again, then you run out of options and you may have to play something that doesn’t suit you or doesn’t fit nicely in the schedule.”

For Casey, that means not returning to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which he hasn’t played since 2002 but was looking to add to his schedule thanks to the re-worked West Coast swing. Instead, he’ll wait a year or two to play Pebble Beach, just in case he doesn’t get his 25 starts in 2017.

While these various rules are no doubt well-intended efforts to get players to tee up more often, they ultimately speak to there being too many playing opportunities. Yet, the PGA Tour continues to look for more playing opportunities, which will, in turn, require more rules to make players show up.

But as the Hoggard examples highlight, there are unintended consequences galore. The only one he leaves out: an overworked, irritable athlete that begins to resent the structure of the tour asking them to play high-intensity golf without a break.

Yes, it's a first world problem. But one that is an outgrowth of trying to block off any growth by competing tours and chasing ever dollar imaginable. How can this end well?


Pebble Beach Raises Green Fee For First Time Since '08

Mike Bailey of reports on the first increase at Pebble Beach Golf Links since 2008, just in time for its busiest season.

Starting this month, the rate to play the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, host of five U.S. Opens and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, has been increased to $525. It's the first price increase in eight years (since April 2008 when it was set at $495) and it comes during the resort's two busiest months.

While the 5% increase isn't that much given the overall cost to play, it would suggest that times are more than decent at Pebble Beach.