Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Posts from March 2005
Observations by Geoff Shackelford

Arnold Palmer Center At Far Hills 

The USGA’s Fred Ridley and Arnold Palmer were in the "Palmer Cabin" at Bay Hill to announce the USGA’s new “Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History.” Palmer had all of the enthusiasm of a passenger standing in line at airport security.

For some reason I thought that the name of the new center gave the impression that Arnold had donated some of his small fortune to get the thing jump-started. Naturally, I was delusional once again. details the $16 million add-on to Golf House and quotes Ridley about Palmer’s devotion to the USGA, which has been steadfast. Well, except for that time when Palmer backed Ely Callaway’s non-conforming driver…oh picky, picky, I know. They also post Palmer's thank you letter.


$45 To Watch Golf?

The Orlando Sentinel’s David Whitley writes about the appearance fee issue. Read a bit further down into his piece for the good stuff.

“The players say they don't like appearance fees, and most of them mean it. [Arnold] Palmer has come out against guaranteed money and said IMG wouldn't be doing this if McCormack were still alive.”

"Mark was a businessman and used a lot of business tactics," Palmer said. "But."

But what? McCormack drew the appearance fee line just short of the PGA Tour? Right!

Whitley also points out that fans and charities would ultimately pay for the mess left behind by appearance fees. He notes something rather startling about Thursday at Bay Hill: “It is example 13,198,384 of what IMG does quite well -- make money for its clients…Example 13,198,385 comes today, when anyone holding a Thursday ticket will have to spend $45 on a Friday ticket. Sorry, no rain checks despite the fact about half the field didn't get its feet wet Thursday.”

Forget the rain checks! Uh, $45 to go to a golf tournament?


No Stars, Just Talent* 

TGC's Kraig Kann is conflicted about the current power-driven domination by superstars and raises some interesting questions about whether the lack of diverse playing styles is a good thing for the long term good of the Tour.

*That’s Griffin Mill’s pitch in The Player . The pitched film ended up starring Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts.


No Respect For Weiskopf

In another head scratcher of a “Front Nine” list,’s Scott Wraight gives the nine top pro-golfers turned architects. Ian Woosnam comes in at #9. Who even knew he was in the design business?

Nicklaus lands first with his vast collection of mediocrity. Palmer second because he devotes so much time to each project. Norman finishes third even though he holds the distinction of having a course bulldozed before it ever opened for play. Crenshaw (Sand Hills, Friars Head, Bandon Trails) lands fourth. The honorable mentions are fun: Ernie Els (using Jack’s design staff), Colin Montgomerie (who knew he designed courses!?), Tom Watson (didn’t he do that course at Kiawah with the bad name and funky mounding?), Bernard Langer (who knew, redux!?), Hale Irwin (ugh).

So does this mean Tom Weiskopf's generally well-received roster of excellent work was considered that bad, or is he not a big enough name?


Tiger’s Slump V. Jack’s Slumps 

Golf Digest’s Dan Jenkins (not Dave Kindred as the online version says) has an interesting statistical comparison looking at Jack’s majorless droughts versus Tigers.


Raynor’s Cypress Point!?

George Bahto and Gib Papazian will be glad to know that architect Tony Cashmore gives Seth Raynor credit for most of the Cypress Point routing. He refers to some mysterious 1924 plan of Raynor’s, and other minor changes by MacKenzie to the "1924" routing. And Cashmore goes on about some stuff related to the 18th hole that is a bit out of left field. That's when he completely lost me. It’s almost like he’s talking about a different Cypress Point. Ugh.


Misc. Reads, St. Patrick’s Day Edition 

Jeff Rude's online column features some nice whiny quotes from Scott Hoch about Phil and Tiger’s flogging approach. Naturally they all say the rough should just get thicker. I’m so glad MacKenzie, Jones and Behr aren’t alive to read this stuff. Rude also touches on the subject of a shorter season, sand divots needing to be ground under repair and other interesting notes.

The King won't play the par-3, practice rounds or serve as an honorary starter at Augusta. And naturally, he gets plenty of publicity out of it.

This news ought to really break the satellite radio war: PGA Tour Agrees to XM Radio deal. The Commissioner manages to issue a quote without using product or platform. Oh well. Meanwhile, Wally Uihlein wins the PGA Distinguished Service Award and best of all, gets to be called a "statesman" by the PGA of America. And he also gets to attend the PGA at Baltusrol. The perks!

Steve Elling livens up the Golf World pages again, this time with a story on Orlando as the center of the golfing universe. Makes you almost want to live there. Almost. He even lists all of the Tour pros who've moved there for tax pur...for the great climate, thrilling night life, wonderful golf architecture and rich culture. He explains the tax benefits too.

And in a packaging idea gone awry category, Golf Digest's otherwise outstanding April issue pairs up Phil Mickelson and great guy/non-golfer Ken Jennings in a dreadful "match play" that managed to top the embarrasing Fazio-Rees duel from a few issues ago. That’s the one where the Faz didn't know where the next U.S. Open was being played (Pinehurst, where he's making a small fortune) and where he named Pine Valley as the oldest 18-hole course in America (where he's making his mark).


It’s A Win-Win-Win! 

At some point you have to figure Tim Finchem is going to get pretty tired of columns like this one by Ron Sirak, where the Golf World scribe offers sound suggestions about appearance fees, slow play and other concepts the Tour should consider to deal with when and where Tour stars play.

Why should Finchem get agitated? Because such columns reveal the awkward (and often powerless) position he’s in with his "product." That can’t be good as he prepares to enter into television contract talks with the networks, who see the "product" controlled much better in other sports. Of course, I'm assuming that your average television network executive reads these columns. A stretch, I know.

On the appearance fee issue, Sirak has an exclusive with Tiger's IMG agent Mark Steinberg, who defends the Doral Monday event. and says (really): “That was not pay for play. Ford was looking for a way to entertain its dealers and we provided it. The week of the tournament was a logical time when they were all together. Ford was a customer of ours and the dealers had a phenomenal time. It was a win-win-win for the Ford, its dealers and the players."

If you aren't laughing yet, Steinberg said the leaked IMG solicitation letter offering to arrange similar Monday win-win-wins was "a vulgar breech of trust" and told Sirak that it was not a solicitation by IMG, but rather a response to a request by a client.

"The proposal that fell into the hands of the media and the PGA Tour was prepared for a specific company that we had been in talks with for months," Steinberg said. Clients! Sheesh. Just can't trust 'em.

Meanwhile AP's Doug Ferguson reports , and prepare to be shocked: Tiger “doesn’t find fault with Ford or any other tournament willing to shell out money for a good field, especially during his campaign for a shorter season.”

“There are 48 events, and with the economy the way it is right now, the players aren’t going to be playing 38 events,” Woods said. “So it’s tough to get all of the guys. And that’s one way of getting the guys. You’ve seen what they did up in Nemacolin (84 Lumber Classic), down at Doral. They do perks, and that’s one way of getting around it to make sure you get a quality field.”


McDonald On The Latest Magazines

Tim McDonald on uses his Inside Media column to take a look at magazine “tips” and he doesn’t like what he finds. He also reviews other recent Golf and Golf Digest’s, and like many doesn’t quite get what he’s looking for from Peter Kostis’s column.


Moneyball: Golf Style

My latest column on the flogging approach to Tour courses, is now posted. Warning, a lot of stats in this one.


17-Mile Fight

The USA Today takes an in-depth look (did I just write that?) at the Pebble Beach Company's development plans and the (understandable) outrage over cutting down 17,000 trees.


If At First You Don't Succeed Vol. 2

Bring the original architect back to fix the mess he made! Well, that might be a bit harsh, but it sounds like Ron Whitten of Golf Digest is fascinated by the trend of architects getting a chance to redo their original butchery (as he should be!). Nicklaus's Loxahatchee, Golf Digest's Best New Private of 1985, sounds like it may be eligible for the 2006 award after Jack recently redid it? Whitten writes:

You surely remember Loxahatchee, with every fairway and green framed by high knobs covered in weeping lovegrass. Some called them mammary mounds; I called them conehead mounds; we can all call them departed now.

"I decided I really didn't like them," Jack said at a press conference recently. "So we tried to modernize it, bring it into the framework of today's game."


Juniors Memberships

Jerry Tarde’s “letter” in the April, 2005 Golf Digest focuses on David Leadbetter and his campaign to get more aspiring junior golfers access to private courses.

"I don't know of a single club in a big metropolitan area that invites kids to join without requiring parents to be members," says Leadbetter, "and that's the key."


Did You Catch...

...That ridiculous segment near the opening of the Honda Classic? Dick Colliver, the VP of Something for American Honda, told us how happy Honda is to have another weakfield on another golf course no one likes, while he shared the screen with the "World's Most Advanced Humanoid Robot," ASIMO (the robot), who was dancing on a digital green. Brutal. My TiVo remote refused to let me rewind for fear of being hurled at the television during a repeat viewing.


Huggan On Appearance Fees/IMG

You'll be shocked to learn that John Huggan offers a provocative and entertaining take on the appearance fee brouhaha.


Blind and Sideways

Now posted is my Golfdom column incorporating Max Behr's comments on blind shots. And Thomas Skernivitz of Golfdom writes about filming Sideways at Alisal's River course, with comments from course superintendent David Rosenstrauch.


Thomson and St. Andrews 

This unbylined story in The Scotsman looks at Peter Thomson and his love for St. Andrews. Do not miss the story at the end of the piece about Thomson’s son taking the Claret Jug to school for show and tell.


Appearance Fees Under (More) Scrutiny

Steve Elling in the Orlando Sentinel (reg. required) has the best write-up yet on the appearance fee issue, with extensive comments from Arnold Palmer and a detailed breakdown of IMG's fee-scheme. Elling also notes that the Tour signed off on the Doral situation because they are trying to re-sign the automaker as a sponsor.

The IMG letter listed 18 players, claiming that if hired, "these professionals would look favorably upon staying for the tournament, which would enhance the strength of field." Appearance fees are forbidden by tour rules.

"They said that in the letter?" Palmer said Thursday. "Who wrote the letter? That's a surprise. That is unreal. That's terrible."

The IMG letter, posted this week on GolfWorld magazine's Web site, lists players in two price tiers, like items on a restaurant menu. The agency suggests hiring five players for Monday outings with corporate clientele: "IMG recommends securing two players from Tier One and three from Tier Two." That could cost a tournament up to $700,000, according to the price list.

Palmer's outrage is pretty funny considering that he helped create the IMG monster,, he's made millions in appearance fees, and his course design fee is nothing more than an appearance fee. But put that tournament host cap on, and no way is this right!


Bamberger On Kite

In the new SI Golf Plus, Michael Bamberger does his typically excellent job, this time explaining why Tom Kite is taking up a spot on the regular Tour every week instead of playing on the Valiant Competitors, err, Champions Tour. You don’t have to be a subscriber to read it, but you do have to sign up for SI Extra. Also in the issue, Jim Kopenhaver pens a “My Shot” on how the golf industry fudges its numbers. That is not online yet. And in the “what Tour are you watching department,” guest instructor Wayne DeFrancesco writes that “with generous fairways and little rough, Tour courses are set up to give the top players a huge advantage because they’re all long bombers and great putters.” Since when did 25-30 yards become generous?


Hawkins: Brewing Storm?

John Hawkins offers the most thorough look yet at the possibility of changing the Tour schedule, with some tough anonymous comments from a TV exec.