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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
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • 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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
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

The greater the experience I have of designing golf courses, the more certain I am that blindness of all kinds should be avoided. ALISTER MACKENZIE

 

    

Wednesday
Oct222014

It's Already Back! Royal Melbourne Returns To Our Screens

Thanks to the folks at Augusta National and ESPN, the sublime Royal Melbourne already returns to our televisions a year after hosting the Australian Masters and World Cup in back-to-back weeks and seemingly feeling like the best place to hold an international PGA Championship (but no go).

The Asian Pacific Amateur Championship will be played on the composite course of years prior to the 2011 Presidents Cup, and it'll be interesting to see what the Pacific Rim's finest amateurs do on Alister MacKenzie and Alex Russell's masterpiece (I've heard the greens have been too firm of late...so we'll see if they have found a happy medium.)

Bruce Young with an iseekgolf.com preview of the event.

This unbylined AP story notes that Yang Gunn, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and master handshake bluffer is playing even though he already has a spot in the Masters. But he has a history with the sandbelt that made the event irresistible.

"This is one of the best tournaments in the world," Yang said. "I'm really excited about being here and kind of competing on my home soil. I grew up here, and I really love the way they play golf here on the sand belt. It's like links golf."

Also in the field is 16-year-old Australian phenom Ryan Ruffels, whose home course is Royal Melbourne. Martin Blake profiles Gunn and Ruffels.

My photos from the 2011 Presidents Cup, an event that sticks with me and those who were lucky enough to attend. Here, here, here, here, here and here.

You can follow the event through it's vibrant Twitter account.

Here are the ESPN telecast hours and channels, all times Eastern:

This is that magical time of year for West Coast viewers when we get the best Australian pro events in prime time, featuring fine telecasts highlighting top quality courses with intriguing fields. Though the pro opener is on tape delay to avoid the Asian Pacific Amateur, the European Tour's first event Down Under should still be worth watching even. And by no means is the ISPS Handa Perth International to be taken lightly as many top Aussies, Europeans and a few Americans (Duf is back!) tee it up at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in the final event to qualify for the Race To Dubai.

Golf Channel times (Eastern) for the ISPS Handa telecasts:

Thursday         9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Tape delay)
Friday              9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday          6:30-10:30 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday            6:30-10:30 a.m. (Tape delay)

Tuesday
Oct212014

Roundup: Rory's Trial-Induced Sabbatical

Brian Keogh files his usual smart take on the dynamics involved in Rory McIlroy's two week leave from events in China the World No. 1 had committed to, and notes that by citing the trial preparation, McIlroy buys a way out of the early Race To Dubai events without disqualifying himself from the finale.

Keogh writes:

McIlroy has such a massive lead —  he's €3.1m clear of second placed Sergio Garcia — that if it weren't for the small print,. he could probably afford to miss Dubai too and win his second European money title.

Even if he has to take that week off to better prepare himself for the trial, O'Grady has the power to grant him a  waiiver for a "Mitigating Circumstance” (injury, serious disability or acceptable personal emergency).

Whether a March court battle could be considered an acceptable personal emergency is a matter of opinion. But it's certainly not good news.

Given how well-controlled his every move has been this year, it's hard to see how he could not have seen this coming.

Ewan Murray is having a hard time seeing how McIlroy's early 2015 schedule is not thrown into chaos heading toward Augusta.

Now there is uncertainty over what the upcoming months will entail. McIlroy would routinely play in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to start the new year before crossing the Atlantic to appear at the Honda Classic. With a trial looming in February, or at the latest early March, his schedule cannot be mapped out with any great certainty. This would not be welcome in any year but with the opportunity to secure a grand slam of major titles at Augusta National in April at the summit of his priority list, there is added cause for anxiety.

Kevin Garside suggests it’s cynical to think McIlroy is using the trial as an opportunity to not unpack his smog mask and stay home.

It is hard to imagine how anyone is well served by this, least of all a man who could, in abstract terms, settle the commissions owed without batting an eyelid. McIlroy obviously has his reasons, the validity of which will be decided by a judge who has already warned of the toxic nature of the revelations he knows are coming.

James Corrigan practically weeps for the plight of the lad who he says doesn't have "a bad bone in his body," even though it’s the lad who goes through agents at a blistering pace, dumped Caroline Wozniacki in less-than-classy fashion and filed the lawsuit that is causing all of this consternation.

He is a decent bloke who, as far as I can tell, does not have a bad bone in his body. The setting will not only be alien to the man, but alien to his reputation. McIlroy should be bouncing down a fairway, not humbly mounting the steps to swear his testimony.

We can only pray that a late deal is struck and McIlroy, and, indeed, golf, does not have to go through this humiliating experience. Details will emerge, his riches will be raked over and the full scale of what many will consider to be the obscene economy of professional golf will become apparent.

Did I mention that McIlroy filed the first lawsuit and there are suggestions the timing was orchestrated to put a damper on Graeme McDowell's wedding? There is no tear to be shed for McIlroy in this instance and a case could be made that whatever damage is done to his game or reputation is entirely self-inflicted.

Tuesday
Oct212014

Living Brand Assures Us He Has No Chainsaw Fears 

Ron Green Jr. talks to Fox Sports analyst Greg Norman (formerly known as the Great White Shark) about why a multi-millionaire and living icon/living brand is using a chainsaw.

The Living Brand assures us won’t stop living vicariously through his many chainsaws stationed at his various estates even after his recent accident.

“Am I an expert with a chainsaw? No, but I know what I’m doing. I don’t have any fear of them.”

There’s a load off.

Tuesday
Oct212014

First Look: Tiger's El Cardonal Course In Cabo

As a connoisseur of architecture I was thrilled to pore through golf.com's gallery and I see saw all sorts of neat stuff in the design details, including a few really exciting surprises (the wacky 17th green embedded at right for starters).

However, like a bandaged patient pushed out of the hospital in a wheelchair after plastic surgery--or the radically altered Renee Zellwager--a golf course during grow-in should absolutely not be photographed and then shared with the world. (I realize typing this is a bit like when the local news warns you that graphic images are coming. Most make sure not to miss the carnage.)

Unfortunately, these first legitimate images of El Cardonal are not going to leave a great impression unless you can look past the typical construction scars, rough maintenance and overall raw nature of the decidely midday images, I suggest you wait until mid-December when Tiger's first 18-hole design opens and the course can be captured in proper circumstances and light.

golf.com's gallery.

Tuesday
Oct212014

SBJ: Golf Executive Promotions & Shuffle Roundup

Michael Smith of Sports Business Daily offered a roundup of executive moves, including PGA Tour executive and longtime Tim Finchem sidekick Tom Wade moving to the title of Chief Commercial Officer.

That's an upgrade from his current Global Commercial Officer post that sounded a tad too much like a TSA job, not that there's anything wrong with the TSA. Love the TSA!

The item also notes the resignation of Champions Tour president Mike Stevens, who will be replaced by longtime Tiger Woods Foundation President Greg McLaughlin.

And finally, the Back9Network has added former Deutsche Bank CEO and current Florida East Coast Industries Vice Chair (!?) Seth Waugh to its newly created advisory board. Also named were Tony Ponturo and Fran Shea and the "trio will help the startup network develop strategic opportunities and aid with its business operations."

Tuesday
Oct212014

Suzy Whaley Headed For PGA Of America Officership?

Alex Miceli reports in Golfweek and on Golfweek.com that Suzy Whaley, the second woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event after Babe Didrickson Zaharias, is moving up the PGA of America latter and could be breaking up that steady sea of navy blue and grey hair that traditionally stands in for PGA Championship trophy ceremonies.

From Miceli's report (thanks reader PhilGC), which says Whaley is the clubhouse leader for the secretary job:

If Whaley were to be nominated in mid-November at the PGA’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, she would be on a path to join a small sorority to have led major golf organizations. Judy Bell served as U.S. Golf Association president in 1996-97; Carolyn Bivens oversaw the LPGA as commissioner in 2005-09; and Cindy Davis will retire this month after six years as Nike Golf’s president.

Dottie Pepper currently sits on the PGA of America board.

Tuesday
Oct212014

Fun Read: The Donald's Lively Golf Digest Q&A

Instead of the traditional Golf Digest Q&A, John Barton inserts observations, fact-checking and commentary into the November Donald Trump interview now posted in its entirety. I'm sure The Donald won't be pleased, but oddly you come away from it respecting him for partaking in the back-and-forth.

Here's a sampling of the fun that I didn't want to end (even though it's a pretty long piece), picking up midway through the Turnberry conversation.

JB: I saw somebody on your Twitter feed (@realDonaldTrump) said to you, don't mess it up.

DT: 
And I said, don't worry about it. I will not make any changes to the course without the strict approval of the Royal & Ancient.

JB: You're rebranding it Trump Turnberry. Could you say a little bit about that?

DT: Right, so my brand is a very hot brand...

JB: What does your brand stand for?

DT: 
It stands for quality and luxury. If I didn't use my name, Turnberry would not be nearly as successful as it can be. This isn't an ego thing; this is business. I've got the hottest brand in the world.

At this point, a somewhat fractious exchange ensues. One Trump tactic is to cite unnamed sources who agree with him. At a press conference in July, for instance, when asked about renaming Turnberry, Trump said: "I actually asked some people that are very important in Scotland, although I won't get them in trouble by saying their name, but I've spoken to very important and very powerful political people, and I said, 'What do you think of the idea of Trump Turnberry?' Everyone said that they would love it."

I decide to employ a bit of trumpery on Trump by citing unnamed sources who disagree with him. I tell him that I asked people in the golf industry what they think the Trump brand stands for, and offer an example of one that was less than flattering.

Trump bristles. He demands to know the source. He says, "If you put that in, it's no longer a good story, it's not even a fair story" and adds that the unnamed person is "gutless" for not going on the record. Trump says, "There is nobody more aesthetic than me."

Monday
Oct202014

Daily Mail: Ian Poulter's Book Light On Candidness

Derek Lawrenson is one of the first to get a copy of Ian Poulter's autobiography. The Daily Mail writer calls the book a "good stocking filler" and notes that "there’s a certain irony in the fact that a man who has only read one book in his life should have the cheek to come out with one of his own."

Lawrenson says "Poulter’s story is so inspirational it certainly deserves to be preserved in hardcover" but in another bit of irony, says few candid stories or views he shares off the record with scribes are offered "presumably because he can’t afford to fall out with people when he’s in the prime of his career, and a stint as Ryder Cup captain lies on the distant horizon."

Nick Faldo, however, was one of the few not spared.

Monday
Oct202014

Tiger Breaks Away From Ryder Cup Task Force To Hit Balls Again

Steve DiMeglio with the exclusive news that Tiger Woods has taken time away from his duties as part of the Ryder Cup task force Task Force where he is said to not be sitting in the back making paper airplanes, all to start working on his game and listening to his doctors. Whoever they are.

From DiMeglio's USA Today report:

"The doctors said he could hit golf balls again, and he's listening to his doctors and to his body," Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. "He will keep listening to his doctors and body."

Steinberg's text to ESPN.com's Bob Harig also reiterated the "still listening to his doctors" line, which an otherwise skeptical person might believe is not a coincidence.

Woods is targeting a return at his Hero World Challenge in December, where another strong field will be showing up.

Monday
Oct202014

Golden Bear Defends Jameis, Too

On Morning Drive Monday we talked about Jack Nicklaus defending old pal Tom Watson's forgettable Ryder Cup captaincy. Being that they are pals, the Golden Bear's defense of his old pal was certainly understandable.

But then there's Florida State football, where Nicklaus' grandson is on the defending national championship squad, compelling the Golden Bear to defend quarterback Jameis Winston's autograph signing, admittedly, the least offensive of the QB's various actions over the last two years that have seen sexual assault allegations derailed by investigative errors and well, whatever this was about.

Tom D'Angelo reports:

“I just hate to see them hammering a 20-year-old kid,” Nicklaus said. “Has he made mistakes? Maybe. But you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, I think. Not charged and convicted and sentenced.

“I wonder how many autographs I have out there. Every game I go to I sign, probably 20 or 25 (people) and four or five each. Start adding that up. And he’s a lot more available than I am. He’s not the only kid with a couple thousand out there. A bunch of those kids have to have a couple thousand.”

Here's guessing Mr. Nicklaus passed on the recent NY Times piece on FSU.

Monday
Oct202014

Rory Taking A Few Weeks Off To Spend More Preparing For Trial

An unbylined Irish Independent story says this weekend's mediation failed and therefore Rory McIlroy has decided to take time off for a few weeks to prepare for a trial in February.  McIlroy was photographed over the weekend as the mediation unfolded.

Sounds like an excuse to skip an event or two he wasn't in the mood to play, but only he would know.

"I'm going to need time away from tournament golf to prepare for the trial over my legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management," Rory said today.

"The court-directed mediation process failed over the weekend to resolve the issue."

McIlroy will sit out the forthcoming BMW Masters or the WGC - HSBC Champions and is expected to return at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on November 20.

Monday
Oct202014

Sand Valley "Biggest sand barrens restoration in Wisconsin history"

Gary D'Amato with an update on Sand Valley, the Mike Keiser development in rural Wisconsin where the 165 people who paid $50,000 each got to play some sand golf on Coore and Crenshaw's routing.

The course is not slated to open until 2017 but a second course architect search is already underway and I was fascinated to learn how much of a dunes restoration component is part of the project. I hope more is shared on that going forward.

There is also this on the future...

Plans already are in place for a second course, likely to be designed by Tom Doak, a name that resonates with architecture geeks. There is room for three more courses after that, but expansion will be dependent on the success of the first course.

"We're very deliberate and we're just focusing on making the first course as good as we can make it, because we know if the first one doesn't exceed your expectations, there won't be a second," Keiser Jr. said.

Fully realized, Sand Valley would join a redesigned SentryWorld in Stevens Point, two fine courses at nearby Lake Arrowhead in Nekoosa and Northern Bay in Arkdale to make north-central Wisconsin one of the best golf destinations in the Midwest, if not the nation.

Tiny Rome, population 2,720, would be at the epicenter.

"Wisconsin, we're finding, is very welcoming," Keiser Jr. said. "The Town of Rome has been so supportive. Day 1, they got it. They knew what this could mean for the poorest county (Adams) in Wisconsin."

Monday
Oct202014

81-Y.O. Makes Four Aces On Four Courses In 33 Days

Gerry Dulac introduces us to Dom DeBonis, 81-year-old resident of The Villages and former Duquesne college golfer during the Eisenhower Administration, who this month made four aces in 33 days at four courses.

And then DeBonis posted a photo on Facebook of himself with some of his witnesses/golfing buddies, making it his profile pic.

Dulac writes:

So when he had the opportunity to go to Myrtle Beach with 11 friends on a golfing trip to the Grand Strand, he couldn't resist. On Oct. 6, Mr. DeBonis carded an ace at Farmstead Golf Club in Calabash, N.C. He used a 9-iron from 112 yards out on the seventh hole.

The next day, he added a second hole-in-one at the Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach, N.C., using a 7-iron at the 129-yard sixth hole.

And the topper came on Oct. 8 at Blackmoor Golf Club, where Mr. DeBonis added his third ace in three days with an 8-iron at the 118-yard fourth hole.

Best of all, he's playing from the proper set of tees. Or Teeing It Forward. (Remember that initiative? It's hard to keep up with all of them.) 

Sunday
Oct192014

Ian Poulter Rips Sir Nick Faldo In New Book

I love it when the British bicker!

As Ryan Lavner notes, Ian Poulter must have pulled his book from the printing press or it was waiting on a final chapter involving this year's Ryder Cup. Either way, the candid take should get his autobiography attention and make for plenty of fun tension between the two sons of the empire.

Gary Slater reports in The Telegraph that Poulter slams Nick Faldo for his put-down of Sergio Garcia during the 2014 Ryder Cup, for his captaining in 2008 and for just being Sir Nick.

"It makes me laugh. Faldo is talking about someone being useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup. That's the Ryder Cup where he was captain. That's the Ryder Cup where the Europe team suffered a heavy defeat.

"And he was captain. So who's useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror. I have always got on great with Faldo in the past and I have a great deal of respect for everything he has achieved but this feels like sour grapes. It feels like a guy who is still bitter that he lost in 2008.

"Faldo has lost a lot of respect from players because of what he said. There were plenty of things a lot of the players were unhappy with at Valhalla but none of us criticised him. He may find that begins to change now."

We're listening!

Faldo, incidentally, apologized for the remark.

Sunday
Oct192014

Rory Spotted In "Lurid boots, jacket and mobile phone combo"

The Irish Independent mercifully left an item on Rory McIlroy unbylined as I'm pretty sure the world would like to know what the writer meant by a mobile phone combo.

Actually, it was more like lawsuit negotiations-couture, since the item reports Rory was slipping out for some fresh air and a few texts from court-mandated mediation with Horizon Sports Management.

RORY McIlroy went green as he stepped out in Dublin in a striking sweater - before changing into a lurid boots, jacket and mobile phone combo.

He emerged yesterday from the Westbury Hotel in Dublin looking preoccupied as he checked his phone and took a call.

Of greater interest? Jeans purchased this century, that haven't been placed on a hanger or, dare I put this in writing, ironed. Perhaps like you know who...

Sunday
Oct192014

Jarrod Lyle About A Fifth Of The Way To Securing Card

GolfChannel.com's Nick Menta files an update on Jarrod Lyle's first two starts and where this leaves the two-time cancer survivor in making enough money to turn his medical exemption into a PGA Tour exemption.

Menta writes:

Lyle has 20 total starts, including the two he's already made this season, to earn the $283,825 that will allow him to retain his card. After making the Frys.com (T-31) via a Monday qualifier and playing the Shriners (T-42) thanks to a sponsor exemption, he has racked up $53,795.

Lyle now heads Down Under for the big Australian events before returning to the PGA Tour.

Saturday
Oct182014

Jack: “(Europeans) just played better," Task Force "Overkill"

Jack Nicklaus whittled away few words in discussing the 2014 Ryder Cup while appearing to celebrate his (latest) changes to PGA National.

Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post quotes the legend talking about the Ryder Cup, with this to say about the post-match bickering and subsequent task force:

“When I had teams and guys had problems, we went back to the team room and talked about it. That’s where the conversation should be. (And) I feel the same about the task force thing. That’s sort of overkill. We’ve had 70 years of the Ryder Cup and it’s gotten along just fine. The pendulum will swing back without making a monumental thing about it.”

Saturday
Oct182014

Video: Another Hospitality Tent Up Recovery Shot

This time it's Justin Thomas at the TPC Summerlin's driveable 15th hole.

The shot is first up in the PGA Tour Entertainment recap of round two, Shriner's Hospital Classic.


Friday
Oct172014

Several More People Watched Frys.com Final Round This Year!

Great news for wraparound golf as the PGA Tour’s season-opening Frys.com Open final round went from a 0.1 final round with a 187,000 viewer average in 2013, to a .2 and 219,000 average in 2014. Growth!

Even better, the final day didn’t suffer the embarrassment of losing to the Big Break this year, as last year’s final round did when NFL players made up the cast. This year’s Tuesday broadcast of Big Break Myrtle Beach drew a .1 and 94,000 viewer average compared to 227,000 last year watching the NFLers do the long-running reality show.

Douglas Pascucci at Awful Announcing with the numbers showing Golf Channel up slightly for the week overall compared to last year.

Also worth noting for those thinking a Saturday/away-from-the-NFL finish might be better in the fall: the third round Frys.com Open telecast tied for 6th with the Champions Tour event proceeding it, both registering a .1 and 141,000 viewers.

Thursday
Oct162014

The Infamous Evans Scholar Is Still An Evans Scholar

I'm feeling so much better about America after we resisted losing our collective minds over a little college football Saturday silliness.

Teddy Greenstein reports that Ohio State engineering student Anthony Wunder, who was tackled in spectacular fashion, gets to finish his education and keep his hard-earned Evans Scholarship with a few stipulations.

The Evans Scholars Foundation gives tuition-and-housing scholarships to caddies in financial need.