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 โ€“ A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ 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

Whenever there is a carry offered, two things are essential. First there must be a way around for those who are unwilling to accept the risk, and there must be a definite reward awaiting the man who takes the chance successfully. Without the alternative route, the situation is unfair; without reward, it is meaningless.


Entries by Geoff (20745)


Mickelson, Spieth Okay With Extending Augusta's 5th Hole

On news of plans filed to lengthen Augusta National's 5th hole,'s Will Gray went to players with the premise and while Graeme McDowell could not get excited, former Masters champions Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth were largely positive about the concept.

“I’m a big fan of making the hard holes harder and the easy holes easier,” Mickelson said Sunday at the Genesis Open. “So making No. 5 harder, which is perennially a difficult par, or should be one of the harder par-4s out there, I’m a big fan of. What I’m not a fan of is taking a hole like 7 and making it the second-toughest par on the golf course. I think that’s a mistake. I think making 5 more difficult is not.”

Jordan Spieth believes the proposed changes would force driver into players’ hands on what he described as a “3-wood hole” given the pitch of the fairway, and added that firm and fast conditions could potentially push a longer fifth hole to the brink of playability.

“It would make an already very difficult hole even harder,” Spieth said.


Bubba And GMac: Two Additions To 2018 Ryder Cup Intrigue

They can play the Ryder Cup on a polo field with 24 drones and we'd probably find intrigue in the biennial team match play event.

But the possibility of Graeme McDowell enjoying a resurgence and Bubba Watson playing his way onto the USA squad, adds so much personality should it happen.

Eamon Lynch at Golfweek has the McDowell angle and while the Northern Irishman downplays the Ryder Cup on his list of priorities, his play at Riviera reminds that he still has game.

Over at, Brian Wacker considers the Bubba angle, a topic that arose after his Genesis Open win. Bubba brought up the Ryder Cup and it seems after his high profile 2016 snub (7th in points, 5th cart driver), he knows that accumulating points is essential and he has Captain Furyk's support.

“I’ve been bugging Jim Furyk for the longest time,” Watson said of the American captain. “I told him I want to be a co-captain, and he’s been texting back to me this week, ‘No, you’re too good. You need to be on our team playing.’ ”


ShackHouse 54: Genesis Open And Tiger's Return To Riviera

House and I convene on Sunday night to discuss Bubba Watson's win, the Genesis Open week for Tiger and what to look for in his game at this week's Honda Classic.

As always the show is brought to you by Callaway and the new family of Rogue's, in stores now, as is the newest Chrome Soft that landed on shelves late last week.

Here is the Callaway Create team's short and very enlightening video on how Chrome Soft's are made in the USA referenced at the top can be viewed here.

The iTunes page for ShackHouse.

This and other episodes are here.


An Overview Of How The Distance Debate Got To This Point

For those who haven't read my 2005 thriller The Future of Golf, or perhaps who have friends needing to understand why the governing bodies are warming up on the distance issue, Golfweek's Alistair Tait sets up the reason for the shift in position as we anticipate a report in the coming days.

Tait gets to the key question many were asking here at Riviera: What’s happened in the last year to change Slumbers’ mind?

“There has been a significant move up across all tours,” he said. “We’re looking at the longest on-record average driving distance. It’s caused us as well as our colleagues at the USGA serious concern. We had talked for a number of years about slow creep. This is a little bit more than slow creep. It’s actually quite a big jump.”

“Our 2002 joint statement of principles put a line in the sand, or purported to put a line in the sand. Our view is when you start to look at this data now, that we have probably crossed that line in the sand and that a serious discussion is now needed.”

Now what?

The Allan Robertson testing facility seems ideally suited to get on top of hitting distance. A tour of this facility is like entering a new, high-tech world. Clubs and balls can be tested to the limit under the watchful eye of professor Steve Otto, the R&A’s director of equipment standards and chief technology officer. There doesn’t seem to be anything about golf equipment the former NASA employee doesn’t know.

The problem is trying to please all facets of the game. No avid amateur golfer wants to hit the ball shorter. The manufacturers have worked within the governing bodies’ guidelines and will feel miffed if the two bodies take drastic action. Many tour pros obviously won’t welcome a rollback.

It’s a big job, but long overdue. It’ll be interesting to see what the two bodies propose next.


Must Read: Kimmage Chats With Harrington, McIlroy

Carve out a few minutes or Instapaper this Sunday Independent conversation moderated by Paul Kimmage and featuring Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy chatting.

This is a nice teaser:

Harrington says: "We would like to spend more time with Rory in the evenings. But we have a very different way of preparing for tournaments. He likes to play early, I like to play late. I’m not prepared to do his thing, he’s not prepared to do mine. And that’s fine because when I was his age I would do nothing for nobody in terms of (making compromises). Everything was: ‘What was the best thing for me?’. . . I’m prepared to compromise now.”

And Harrington says that he prefers the version of McIlroy that he occasionally comes across in private to the public face.

"I wonder sometimes about how you present yourself to the world,” he says. “It always seems much colder than who you really are. I don’t think I’ve ever been in your company where I haven’t walked away thinking you’re a nicer guy than I thought beforehand. And yet, media-wise, you can sound quite cold and clinical at times and I think: ‘He’s trying to be Tiger Woods.’ Because you present this . . . wall."


Genesis: Bagdad's Bubba Gets His 10th Win But Won't Be Retiring Any Time Soon

Love him or wonder about him, Bubba Watson is now a three-time winner at Riviera, joining elite company and solidifying his place as a genuine LA golf legend. He's now the PGA Tour's second-winningest lefty, still 32 wins behind Phil Mickelson. He also reached the win that would set retirement in motion, but quickly shot that down following play.  Doug Ferguson's AP game story with all of the details.

A few of the fun wrap-up stories capture what turned out to be a more bunched Riviera leaderboard than normal and a very typical ending where the leader emerges convincingly. Eamon Lynch for Golfweek on that topic and Adam Schupak at on Bubba's wacky week.

Other than a few hiccups at the third, sixth and ninth holes, Watson plotted his way around Riviera in the appropriately caution fashion. The hole-out at the 14th all but sealed the tournament just moments after the leaderboard suggested a four man playoff was looming.

And because it's Bubba, there is a story behind the madness. G.C. Digital with the story.'s Mike McAllister with a roundup of the week and some nice notes and stats from Bubba’s win.

Slow play and players not finishing the round at Riviera may finally get a hard look via a reduced field size, reports The Forecaddie.

Tiger turns up at the Honda this week and I assess his Riviera and upcoming prospects for Golfweek's Monday weekly edition.

Rory McIlroy
says his T-20 did not reflect how he played, reports Will Gray.

Jordan Spieth leaves Riviera bullish about his game after a backdoor top 10. Gray reports for

Martin Kaufmann takes issue with some of Ian Baker-Finch's Sunday commentary related to Patrick Cantlay and celebrates the latest technology tool rolled out by CBS.

The full final round highlights


Genesis Final Round Preview: There Are No Tracy McGrady's In Bubba's Way Today

An even numbered year aligns nicely for 2014 and 2016 Genesis Open winner Bubba Watson, who, as I note in my five dream scenarios for Sunday's final round, is chasing elite company as a three-time winner of this event. Only Macdonald Smith and Lloyd Mangrum have won four Los Angeles Glen Campbell Nissan Presented by Countrywide Northern Trust Genesis Opens. 

Watson, who played Friday's celebrity game, will never live down Tracy McGrady's blocked shot but he did put a great spin on it.

Doug Ferguson's round three game story.

Golfweek's Live Final Round blog.

TV and tee times.


Augusta National Files Plans To Lengthen 5th Hole

John Boyette with the exclusive Augusta Chronicle details on plans filed by Augusta National to realign the Old Berckmans Road to extend the 5th hole by a significant yardage. The plan submitted does not appear to significant change the angle of the tee shot, though the original bunkering has been pushed down the fairway.

From Boyette's story:

According to the preliminary plans, filed by Augusta firm Cranston Engineering Group P.C., a total of 23.1 acres would be affected. The approximate start date would be May 1, which comes after this year’s Masters, and the approximate end date is Nov. 1. Masters Week begins April 2 this year, with tournament play April 5-8.

Work is also scheduled to begin this spring at neighboring Augusta Country Club with changes to its eighth and ninth holes, the two holes affected when Augusta National purchased land from the country club last year.

Work at the Augusta Country Club, according to plans filed Feb. 9, is expected to begin in May and end by November

From the purely Jones-MacKenzie point of view, it will be interesting to see if the fairway bunkers and slopes require recontouring to retain the original dynamics intended to reflect some Old Course strategies.


Report: Organizers Expect To Keep Playing Genesis Open Even After Tiger's Missed Cut

Multiple sources are confirming on deep background that the Genesis Open will carry on with the likes of Spieth, McIlroy, Johnson and Thomas making the weekend and still very much able to make a run at leaders Cantlay, McDowell and Saunders.

With a stellar weather forecast, firm, fast greens and some clever architectural problems to solve, organizers decided to forge ahead even after Tiger Woods posted a second round 76. My Golfweek report on a bad day for Woods on the greens, with his irons and the driver, where the misses weren't as bad but brought in the left side of the course.

For all the cute kids and their parents who came out to see a legend, there were more yahoos than normal on Friday and it gave Rory McIlroy a headache, notes The Forecaddie.

While some major star power is lurking dangerously, co-leader Graeme McDowell is one of the more exciting stories of the weekend. Eamon Lynch's Golfweek game story sets up what should be a fun weekend.



Goodbye Yellow Brick Of Flowers...

With apologies to Bernie Taupin for modifying your lyrics and the millenials who don't have the album...
So goodbye yellow brick of flowers
Causing the dogs of Carmel to howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough
Back to the cool season grasses overlooking the bay
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond a yellow brick of flowers
Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh...ahhhhh, ah, ahhhh
And thanks reader George for spotting this modification to the modification at Pebble Beach.

Quick Roundup: A Familiar Feeling First Round At Riviera, Only With Crowds!

The confluence of mega-stars and the strongest field of 2018 brought out the people, but if you watched any of round one you know Tiger-Justin-Rory got most of the eyeballs.

The three certainly didn't disappoint from the perspective of providing memorable shots--Tiger with two all-time recovery shots on the 5th and 9th holes--but each had their issues too.

As I noted for Golfweek, Tiger's driving gets all the attention but it was the iron play that let him down, while on the greens the contrast between Thomas and McIlroy is telling.

Others had similar takes, including James Corrigan at the Telegraph who labeled McIlroy's putting lousy. At, Will Gray has all of the details on the day, including Tiger's bizarre early morning lost ball at the 11th.

Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay lead with afternoon 66's reports Eamon Lynch at Golfweek. That's a particularly strong showing for Cantlay given that his two previous professional appearances here were missed cuts.

Cantlay told a really swell Masters-related story during a long and insightful press session. The Forecaddie shared it at

As for the crowds, attendance figures are no longer attempted by touranment director Mike Antolini shared this when queried:

We've nearly doubled ticket sales from last year and demand continues to build in large part due to our terrific field, including Tiger. Today's crowds were strong and we expect them to grow even larger as we enter the weekend. It's great to see the fans come out to Riviera to experience the Genesis Open.

Tiger's first round highlights followed by the overall first round best of, courtesy of PGA Tour Entertainment.



Bamberger Explains The Milstein Purchase, Direction Of Golf Mag

With Howard Milstein purchasing Golf Magazine and, we're finally getting a sense of why the banker and financial partner to Jack Nicklaus is purchasing the operation.

Michael Bamberger explains who Milstein is and what drives the thinking about the future. Including this:

Part of it, of course, is writing a competitive check. (Terms were not disclosed.) But part of it, too, was Emigrant's vision for us. Expand, in this age of media contraction. Our new owners believe more is more and better is better. In time you'll see enhancements to the magazine, and the website will have a cleaner look. You'll find more original content in our channels, in our game stories, profiles, interviews, travel stories, videos and rubrics not yet invented. We also intend to offer you even more help in improving your game, and finding the best places to play, the best places to buy clubs, the best ways to get fitted for clubs, the best methods to get those clubs to perform under the scrutiny of your friends and frenemies.
On Wednesday afternoon, Howard talked to the staff for the first time as the new boss. He was asked what our message to the golfing public should be. He said he wants GOLF magazine and to be the go-to source for all your golfing needs. Full stop.


2018 Genesis Open Preview, Instagram Style: Tiger, Wahlberg, Cubs, Sugar Ray, Wesley, Champ, Thomas, Bell, Tirico

An intentionally lively pro-am atmosphere had the Genesis Open beginning to feel like the old L.A. Open days, with some star power adding a needed jolt following the event’s comatose Northern Trust/Championship Management years.

So to set things up, an all-Instagram post with a few helpful links for you dinosaurs who like to read!

and Mark Wahlberg teed up in the pro-am. The Forecaddie notes Marky Mark’s antics that included, yes, AirPods the whole way. Golfweek's Eamon Lynch on Woods’s final preparations that included some socializing and another driver tweak. Tiger Tracker, who went for seconds today in the media lunch room, sums up everything he saw.

Tiger wowed the little guys who came out to watch, including Jaden Soong, a fellow Dodger fan and sweet swinger of the club.

Wesley Bryan teed it up with Sugar Ray Leonard.

Sifford Exemptee Cameron Champ took delivery of a Trackman, hopefully one with extra CPU for his swing speed. Check out slide two for some big numbers, if that’s your thing.

I never talked to more players who put the 10th hole down as goofy instead of architecturally interesting. The old photo/new photo comparison I posted on Instagram offers clues to some of the issues, but not all.

And with thoughts of 1992 always on minds when Tiger plays Riviera, how about this cool Sportscenter with Mike Tirico setting up the piece as he’s hosting the Winter Olympics for NBC this week?




Tiger and his cubs at Riviera.

A post shared by Eamon Lynch (@eamonlynch) on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:41am PST





Ready for this week to get underway @genesisopen

A post shared by Wesley Bryan (@wesleybryangolf) on Feb 14, 2018 at 5:37pm PST









Video: Why The Bunker In Riviera's 6th Actually Works

We took the putter out to explain for Golf Central why a bunker in the middle of Riviera's 6th works--hint, the short grass around the green really helps!


Chatty: Tiger's Giving Rides On The Jet, Admitting The Oddity Of His Riviera Struggles And Still Taking This Comeback Slowly

This new Tiger sure is fun, if nothing else for writers who used to fear a clipped answer now getting the kind of responses that show off why Tiger is not only one of the golf's all-time most engaging figures, but one of its smartest.

Golf is "new to him," and a few thoughts for Golfweek on his lengthy, engaging and insight-rich press session.

Doug Ferguson considers the mentor role Tiger has taken with young players, including Justin Thomas who Woods gave a jet ride to from Florida and seems to genuinely like.

Tiger has changed shafts and lofts in his driver in an effort to not repeat the Torrey Pines struggles.'s Brian Wacker focuses on just how long it's been for Woods at Riviera and how much has changed in the Big Cat's world.

Jason Sobel considers a hypothetical Woods schedule for and throws in some fun suggestions. And this Tiger might even consider them!

A par-3 swing I posted and a driver swing:

@tigerwoods on 16 at Riviera @genesisopen practice

A post shared by Geoff Shackelford (@geoffshac) on


A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on


Coming Soon To A Theater Near You: Governing Bodies Engaging With The Golf World On The Distance Issue

The distance chatter around Riviera has included a great deal of shock over R&A Chief Martin Slumbers conceding that the line has been crossed, with nearly everyone I talked to then saying something to the effect of: "but a year ago they said everything was fine."

And I would note, that stance was taken with no shortage of hubris in some parts of the world.

I suspect the position reversal will be the first stumbling block faced by golf's governing bodies when they begin to discuss what to do about the distance explosion. And those discussions will be a big part of 2018, at least according to a Slumbers comment from Alistair Tait's Golfweek story:

Slumbers wouldn’t say what the governing bodies are planning, but they’re intent on reducing distance.

“There are a lot of options. There’s a lot of work still to be done with a lot of people, and engaging with not just the game but the equipment manufacturers and all sorts of things, but that work we now feel needs to be done."

I sensed after hearing different views at the PGA Tour level today that the R&A and USGA may not realize how few friends they've made over the years. Former R&A Chief Inspector Peter Dawson and his condescending, inconsistent positions were referenced more than once.

Those with opinions on both sides of the aisle will expect an explanation of the status quo position. Otherwise I don't expect the conversations to last very long.

Perhaps the upcoming distance report will address why there is a change in position when it was apparent long ago that there were issues on multiple fronts. If not, the discussions Slumbers referenced above will not go smoothly.  Or very far.


Another Pro Golfer Bites The Twitter Dust: Lee McCoy Complains About Children, South America

I can't put a finger on what might have gone wrong for Lee McCoy--wait I can, he has proven to not know what he doesn't know and is a defender of backstopping. The Bobby Jones Award is not in his immediate future.

Seems the Tour player took to Twitter to complain about South American children wanting some more than a free autograph for coming out to watch the developmental tour play in their country and also insulted the country.

As Joel Beall reports for, the offending McCoy Tweets now sleep with the fishes and McCoy has taken the Grayson Murray path of suspending his account. And we know that how well that turned out for Murray.

McCoy tells Beall he has learned his lesson.

"To say I learned a valuable lesson would be an understatement," McCoy said. "More importantly I want people to know that I am, and always have been, a strong supporter of growing the game and doing everything I can to give back to the community."

Grow that game!


Video: Why Take On Riviera's 10th Hole Bottlebrush? 

Why there are still non-native shrubs on the fascinating 10th at Riviera is a question for another day, but the obvious answer is that they now serve as a defense of a hole rendered too easily drivable. They were planted long ago for no good reason and have been kept to keep the hole from becoming even more of a bomb-and-gouge-fest than it already is.

For the purposes of this Golf Channel Morning Drive piece, I try to explain why taking on these shrubs is the lesser of two tenth hole miss evils.


A New Year Means Lydia Ko's Been Firing People!

Lydia Ko may be 20 but she's now projected to surpass caddie and coach firing totals of every legendary golfer--combined.

Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols reports on the latest changes that saw Gary Gilchrist replaced as her instructor by Ted Oh and Jonny Scott taking over the bag.

And it's all just normal...

Ko’s management team said “it’s just a normal transition and exploration that everyone does in their offseason. They’ve only been working together for one to two months. She is hoping to make a great result with them.”


Tiger Woods Rekindles His Unusual Riviera Relationship

All systems are a go as Tiger Woods returns for the first time since 2006 to play a PGA Tour event at Riviera.

His memories are mostly good here, as are his Riviera stats. But there was that unfortunate last appearance in 2006 (WD, illness) and other issues that kept him away from what is now the Genesis Open run by his foundation.

I write for Golfweek about the unusual relationship Woods has had with the course and everything that has changed since his last appearance.

Given where he was a year ago--not able to attend even basic tournament functions--that we're at this place a year later is a credit to his doctor and Tiger's renewed focus. Couple that with a stellar field and it should be a fun week.

In other Woods news, Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte says Woods has not decided on his next start, with a looming Friday the deadline for next week's Honda Classic.