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

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.



Faldo, Azinger Exchange

From Sunday's AmEx WGC telecast, as the leaders were on the short par-4 7th:

PAUL AZINGER: Nick, you mentioned in the break about strategy and the way these guys are just banging the ball up by the green. But [Henrik] Stenson left himself right there by the front of the green. Tiger missed left and had to play a miraculous shot and Stuart Appleby, the same thing. It's different than when you were dominating.

NICK FALDO: Well holes of this length, yeah, we really looked at the pin position. You always determined your strategy from the pin position. This one is tucked in the lefthand corner. It really makes sense to hit your 2-iron down the fairway, hit that 9-iron in to get that maximum spin. It's amazing how the guys now just blast away, you know, chance their luck with a lie. And they're able to produce some sheer magic around the greens.

Sergio Garcia soon holed out his approach, to which Faldo declared a wee bit sarcastically, "Strategy wins!" 


Woods and Daly Post AmEx Final Round

Tiger Woods talks about the final round. And here's John Daly's post round press conference.


Harding Buzz

One can only hope that Sunday's incredible buzz at Harding will lead to more public course a more reasonable cost. Though key holes played a role, it was the combination of personalities like Daly/Woods/Garcia and the enthusiastic crowds that made Harding special.

Gary Van Sickle wrote about the buzz after Saturday, while Doug Ferguson's AP notebook has some interesting quotes from Tim Finchem, who can already $mell the governing bodie$  moving in for a piece of the action...err, excuse me, the opportunity to position themselves in the the northern California marketplace.

"We know the USGA was already interested in Harding after we got it rebuilt,'' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday. "Looking at some of their different championships, I've got to believe the PGA of America would have some interest after this week. We want to sit down with all the interested parties and talk about the best possible schedule.''

Finchem said the key was to stage tournaments that would raise money for The First Tee and to continue repaying the city for the $16 million renovation. [That'll take a while!] A steady diet of championships would mean Harding Park stays in pristine shape, although residents would not be able to play as much in the weeks leading up to a tournament.

"If I owned this place -- if this is my baby, but it was not for profit -- I would want some texture to the communication of this place,'' Finchem said. "That would be being interested in having the best women play, the best seniors, and being interested in getting these guys back. That would round out the field.''

Texture to the communication of this place?


Nationwide Distance Watch

nationwide logo.jpgArchitects mark the "turning point" of a hole during planning and construction to help them get a sense of scale and tee placement. Over the years the typical turning point has gone from 250 yards to 270 to 300 these days. Looks like 320 isn't out of the question if you are designing to host the next generation. Or

Check out these Nationwide Tour distance increases:

  • 2005: 100 players averaging over 290 yards, 43 averaging players over 300 yards
  • 200474 players averaging over 290 yards, 24 players averaging over 300 yards
  • 2002: 63 players averaging over 290 yards, 15 players averaging over 300 yards
  • 1998: 7 players averaging over 290 yards, 2 players averaging over 300 yards

#1 in 2005 is Bubba Watson. He's picked up 13 yards from last year, to average, yes average, 336.4 yards this year. And that's on 78 drives, versus 61 last year.


Distance Devices and The Tour

During Sunday's AmEx WGC telecast from Harding Park, Mike Tirico was surprised when colleagues Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger said they were in favor of using distance measuring devices on the Tour. Faldo noted that he was curious if they would speed up play and liked the idea of not having to play practice rounds, while Azinger said he doesn't know how to play without his device when golfing at home.

So let's say they make them legal for Tour play. And the players are tackling a course like Harding Park, where the greens are relatively firm.  The players thus are not that just interested in the distance to the flagstick.

Yes, they want to know it, but yardages to the front of the green, left or right of the hole, over a bunker, etc... are just as important in the process of determining what shot to play if the ground is at all firm.

Anyone who has used a binocular style rangefinder knows that they are not reliable enough to gauge distances over bunkers or to specific areas of turf.

The Laserlink device only provides a yardage to the flagstick containing a prism.

So if the ground is at all firm, the caddy will still use a yardage book to provide the player with the yardages to the front, over hazards and to areas away from the flagstick.

How does that speed up play on the PGA Tour? 


Huggan and Torrance

John Huggan catches up with Sam Torrance and of course it provides a fun read.



Did anyone hear a decent explanation as to why the AmEx WGC is playing threesomes with a field of 70?


Daly For President

He hits as soon as Monty plays. His caddy talks to him as he stands over the ball. How can you not love the guy!?

Here's the AP story on Daly taking the 3rd round lead at Harding Park, including the details of his 378-yard drive (no doubt thanks to the stairmaster and weight work John has been doing). Here's his post round press conference.

Q. Everybody has been incredibly enthusiastic, you, Tiger, Sergio, Colin, about this golf course and the city. Did you guys have any idea of what you were getting into? Did anybody play this before? Did anybody talk about it and say, hey, it's good, or was this completely blind walking in?

JOHN DALY: This is a hidden secret. We were at Olympic Club at the Open and I had never heard of Harding Park, I really hadn't until I got here. It's just amazing. What I was telling some other guys, you know, there's so many great public golf courses that we need to find. The older, the better, because they just seem to be more friendly towards driving and anyway you want to play a shot. Torrey Pines is well noted one of the greatest golf courses in the world and it's public. St. Andrews. I mean, I think every player that's playing in this field this week loves this golf course.

Q. What would you say if they told you this course was a parking lot for the 1998 U.S. Open, which it was? They used it to park cars?

JOHN DALY: Well, they need to park cars at Olympic Club and play here (laughter).


Nothing That A Fairway Couldn't Cure

WGCAmExLogo05.gifThe PGA Tour's finest are still slamming the 18th at Harding Park, a perfectly fine hole...with a fairway. Yes, the trees hugging the lake off the tee are not idea, but under normal setup conditions adequate fairway width makes it more than fair. But with the AmEx setup, someone decided to buffer the lake with rough in an apparent attempt to make the hole play longer (or closer to the tent village eerily resembling the cool-looking Denver International main terminal).

From Joe Stiglich in the Monterey County Herald:

 Howell arrived at 18 -- which bends left around Lake Merced and leaves little fairway to land a drive -- tied with Montgomerie. But he found the trees on his tee shot and bogeyed.

On Thursday, Woods said the tee box needed to be moved to the right. Calcavecchia's opinion was more sharp Friday.

"I don't want to say anything bad about the hole, but it's the worst one on the course," he said. "... It just doesn't really fit the rest of the course, in my opinion. Neither does the green."

The green is also not as bad as the players say. Frankly, it's one of the few interesting ones on the course, with a rightside catch basin that looks better this week because it's buried in rough.

This episode displays how faulty setup work only can't be detected and explained by today's players. (Or maybe they don't want to criticize the Tour staff?).  



Daly Unplugged

John Daly after round 2 of the WGC event at Harding Park:

Q. Tiger came in here with a turtle neck and a vest and Colin Montgomerie is wearing a sweater. You played in short sleeves today.

JOHN DALY: You put both of them on the scale and they'll weigh just about what I weigh right now. I'm a lot warmer than they are (laughter).

Q. When is the last time you played with Monty?

JOHN DALY: It's been a while. It's been a while since I played with Colin.

Q. Do you enjoy his company?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, we always chat it up a little bit.

Q. About what?

JOHN DALY: Whatever (laughter). Sometimes it's golf. I mean, both of us have had plenty of divorces so we can always talk about that (laughter). I've had a lot more than he has.


Kann on WGC's

Kraig Kann tactfully criticizes the World Golf Championship concept and it's failure to do much more than further separate the "Haves and Have Nots."  Though Kann can get overly enthusiastic at times on air, he demonstrates (again) a knack for quality constructive criticism. And The Golf Channel web site provides yet another reminder that it's doing...a heck of a job. ;) Interesting that a television channel has a more complete and active web presence than the print world, isn't it?


Faldo Q&A

An SF Chronicle Q&A with Nick Faldo talking about his announcing work.


Ostler Column On Harding's 18th

harding 18.jpgThanks to reader Scott for this heads up on Scott Ostler's column about the par-4 18th at Harding. No mention by any player of the goofy-narrow fairway contouring.

Actually, no one really quite explains that it's a goofy setup and not the hole's fault.

This tee shot view was taken a year ago, before someone brought the rough in on the left, oh, at least 20 yards.


Erin Hills...No Signature Hole

Here's a nice story on Erin Hills and its hopes of landing a U.S. Open. Well, the story seemed well-informed until reaching this point:

Designers Dana Fry, Michael Hurdzan and Ron Whitten have done some brilliant bunkering around the greens and fairways. Lang and general manager Steve Trattner also had some input into the overall course design.

Rather interestingly, while the dropoffs, undulations, rough and wetlands come into play on just about every hole, very little earth was moved on the course. On 14 of the 18 holes, not a single shovel of dirt has been turned.

The course has no signature hole. All of the holes qualify for that distinction in their own ways.


Harding Day 1

Boy, the par-4 18th sure looked great during day one of the AmEx World Championship. I loved how the 25 yards of rough between the lake and fairway really tempts the player to cut the corner!

The player has to try to fit their ball into what, 22 yards of width resting at an angle from the tee?

And they wonder why the guys flog it out there with little regard for strategy.

Here's Doug Ferguson's Round 1 story.  And Ron Whitten's rave review of the renovation.


Hensby on Captain Player

Mark Hensby: "I'm not saying Gary [Player] was a bad captain, but he didn't know the players well enough and the personalities well enough and pick the teams well enough."

He wasn't bad, but...

"To me, the communication wasn't great all week. Our team gelled very well but I feel a lot of players weren't put together who should have been together.

"If he'd picked the teams better, we would have had a better chance."

Hensby threw his support behind assistant captain Ian Baker-Finch, implying the popular Queenslander should have had more influence.

"The team would have been better off if Ian had had more say," he said.

So his picks were bad, he didn't know the players, communication was lousy and he didn't listen to his assistant captain. Other than that, Hensby thinks Player did a heck of a job.


Trump National Victim?

Jay Coffin reports that longtime LPGA official Barb Trammell has resigned after 18 years, and he indicates that the slow play debacle at Trump National may have helped to push her out the door.

Trammell, 47, had been with the LPGA since 1987; the last major championship she did not attend was the 1991 U.S. Women's Open at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. She was at the Office Depot Championship last week at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, where the course got mixed reviews – good for its scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, bad because of logistics that hindered gallery movement and contributed to rounds that lasted at least six hours for most players. The first day, 60 rulings were requested and officials had difficulty arriving quickly because of the course's routing.


Harding Numbers

golfobserver copy.jpgHere is the link to my column looking at the renovation of Harding Park, with some questions about how $16 million was spent to rebuild an existing course.

More On Wie

Here's more on Michelle Wie's announcement, starting with Doug Ferguson's AP story, Chris Lewis at and Lawrence Donegan from Harding Park. Wie is still planning to go to Stanford. Tiger offered this on his Stanford experience:

"I think you [miss out] on several things by not going to college, the most obvious being educational," Woods said. "The things I learned at Stanford were just phenomenal, and the people I got the chance to talk to, like Condoleezza Rice, and all the guys in the business department - they influenced my life so dramatically."

Rubenstein On Measuring Devices

Lorne Rubenstein writes about distance measuring devices and reader email he has received on the subject.

The light is this and this only, as I concluded in my Globe and Mail column: "See, feel and swing: That's the fast way to play."

I believe it's also the best way to play, the most rewarding way to play, and the most enjoyable way to play.

I support the right of any golfer who wants one to use a distance-measuring gizmo. Lasers are here to stay, any some readers will call me a loser for not loving a laser. Let 'em have it. I don't want it.