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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
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • 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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • 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
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 second best nine in golf might be the front nine at Pine Valley or the back at Ballybunion or Cypress Point. Or even the back nine at Augusta National. The best, however, is surely the front side at Royal County Down, as exhilarating a stretch of holes as exist in our game.
THE CONFIDENTIAL GUIDE TO GOLF


    

Tuesday
May192015

Amen: Shark Refuses To Take Up An Open Championship Spot

Greg Norman has told the BBC he's passing up his final year of Open Championship eligibility because he doesn't practice anymore and even more refreshingly, does not want to take an opportunity away from a younger player.

While we never want to see geezer champions pass up opportunities they are eligible for, the PGA Tour has seen its share of hanger-on types taking up spots. So it's refreshing to hear someone recognize their limitations.

The full interview is here, or Keely Levins has this summary of Norman's key reasons for not turning up at St. Andrews for one last bridge wave.

"I'm not going to walk up to the first tee and feel like I'm taking the space of a young kid who could learn a heck of a lot more from it. I don't believe in doing that. I think it's so unfair to do that."

Tuesday
May192015

Flash: "Proof! CEOs hurt companies by golfing too much"

CNBC's Jeff Cox files the stunning revelation coming out of University of Tennessee and Alabama labs confirming what we all feared: excessive CEO golfing can lead to weaker returns.

Of course, any CEO who still turns in scores at this point will actually confirm something about them to their shareholders, the researchers dug deep into handicap info to expose this disturbing finding.

Using the records from 363 chief executives in the S&P 1500, the study drew some conclusions sure to scare more than a few of them off the course.

For one, it found that executives who use their time to lower their handicaps also often lower their firms' returns. The study also concluded, not surprisingly, that these same executives who play more often than their peers are more likely to lose their jobs.

"Top traders want to know everything they can about a company before they get involved in a name—down to where its C-level executives dined the night before a big day of investor meetings, for example. You never know how an overdone steak or disagreeable conversation will affect their mood after all, and inadvertently the stock price," New York brokerage Convergex said in a note that unearthed the study from August 2014.

So that's what it's come to, eh? So it's dachshund racing in suits?

In companies where the CEOs played more than 22 rounds of golf a year the return on assets was about 1.1 percentage points lower than firms where the top executives played less frequently. That's significant because the average ROA for the sample was about 5.3 percent, so the performance was equal to about 20 percent lower.

"Some CEOs in the database play in excess of 100 rounds in a year!" the study said. "While some golf rounds may clearly serve a valid business purpose, it is unlikely that the amount of golf played by the most frequent golfers is necessary for a CEO to support her firm."

Here is the deeper analysis from CNBC...

Tuesday
May192015

Video: Hole-Out To Advance To NCAA Finals, From Two Views

Troy's Tolver Dozier (say that three times in a row) went to a playoff with Ohio State's Addison Coll for the invidual spot out of the Yale-hosted NCAA men's DI regional.

With the team facing a tight flight schedule (and who wants to be stuck in Connecticut?), Dozier holed his approach and his teammates caught both the fairway and green views. Nice work!

The New Haven Register's Jim Fuller with all the fun details, which got a nice pick-up from the Big Lead too.

“It’s crazy,” Dozier said. “I was just trying to hit it close and I got lucky that it went in. It’s pretty cool. It’s my senior year and it’s kind of icing on the cake.”

The combo viral clip edited into one piece by Troy Athletics:

Tuesday
May192015

If DJ Wins, Your (PGA Tour Superstore) Driver Is Free

Here's a clever promotion involving Golf Digest's U.S. Open cover model, Dustin Johnson.

From the folks at TaylorMade who deserve some points for an imaginative stunt that isn't totally out of the realm given Johnson's recent form: DJ wins, you either get a refund on the driver you bought in the month leading up to the U.S. Open, or you get a free one for filling out the PGA Tour Superstore form.

All the details here.

Tuesday
May192015

It’s Back! PGA West Stadium Hosting TFKA The Hope

Last time we saw it on the PGA Tour, poor Tip O'Neill was stuck in a bunker and Corey Pavin won there barely making it to some of the fairways. But since then players started doing yoga, ditched the persimmons and even played a bunch of Q-School rounds at PGA West's Stadium course.

The iconic Pete Dye design returns to the Bob Hope Classic CareerBuilder Challenge In Partnership With The Clinton Foundation.

Larry Bohannan reports the addition of PGA West Stadium and the Nicklaus Tournament Course to replace the Nicklaus and Palmer private courses. It was, gulp, 29 years ago that the Stadium got its one shot at hosting the Hope.

The Stadium Course is famous in the desert for hosting the Skins Game from 1986 through 1991, but also for the one year it was played in the PGA Tour event known as the Bob Hope Classic. Designed by Pete Dye, the Stadium Course was different than almost any golf course in the course in 1987, and the scores reflected the course difficulty. Corey Pavin won the event, then a 90-hole tournament, at 19-under 341, well above the typical low winning scores of the time.

With an island green on the par-3 17th, a 200-yard carry over water on the par-3 fifth and a 20-foot-deep bunker on the par-5 16th, the Stadium Course presented strong challenges to the tour players and 384 amateurs in the field in 1987. The pros grumbled, with Ken Green saying the course needed a few sticks of dynamite and other players saying the one-year-old course was just unfair. The pace of play was slow for amateurs and celebrities, including Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill who found himself flailing away at the bottom of the bunker on the 16th hole on national television.

Monday
May182015

USGA Grants Alison Lee A One-Day Qualifying Reprieve

Great news for those who were following the rain-delayed LPGA Kingsmill Championship and realized Alison Lee would miss her U.S. Women's Open round due to a Monday finish: The USGA found her a spot at Goose Creek in Southern California.

While not her preferred venue, as Beth Ann Baldry reports, Lee has a chance to make it to Lancaster CC where she has a strong history.

“It kind of freaked me out,” said Lee, of the possibility of not being able to qualify for the Women’s Open, to be held July 9-12 at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club.

Lee won the 2013 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions at Lancaster and was particularly excited about getting back there to see her host family and friends.

“I have a lot of good memories there,” she said.

Lee first qualified for the Women’s Open in 2009 at age 14. She won a two-hole sudden-death playoff to get into the championship and missed her flight to the next event. She and her father wound up eating dinner at Denny’s at 10 p.m.

Lee lost to Minjee Lee in Monday's finish at Kingsmill, which would have earned her a place in the U.S. Women's Open.

Monday
May182015

PGA Tour Responds To Garcia Heckling Concerns

I've noticed a greater tolerance of loud and rude types at PGA Tour events and the conspiracy theorist in me chalks it up to fear of upsetting the only people who matter (18-34 y.o.'s). Hopefully I'm wrong. And while it's part of the fun at Scottsdale and good times are not to be discouraged in the appropriate places, there is a concern with too many drunks getting too close to the action. Because as we saw at The Players, where the group behind the 17th tee desperately needed to be coralled, folks worldwide noticed.

The Guardian's Ewan Murray followed up with the PGA Tour and a statement was issued to clear the air, preventing an international incident. For now.

“If players were subjected to inappropriate comments and heckling during their rounds at The Players, that behaviour is completely contrary to our goal. Over the last several years, we doubled uniform police, significantly increased our private security presence and hired more senior officers to help with crowd control.

“We will continue to evaluate ways in which we can be more diligent in reducing any distraction to players and ensuring our no-tolerance policy is implemented. Fans who act inappropriately and affect the tournament experience with disrespectful behaviour will be ejected immediately.

“The Players 2015 was one for the record books and we are dedicated to ensuring a few poorly behaved fans do not impact the competition or the experience for our players and fans.”

Monday
May182015

Quail Hollow '15: CBS Draws A 2.4 Final Round Rating

No, a 2.4 rating doesn't sound so great in the world of Nielsen, but the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship went up against Game 7 of the Clippers-Spurs on ABC and featured a Rory McIlroy runaway.

Let's face it, other than getting our first national TV look at the emerging Patrick Rodgers, there was no reason to watch and yet as Paulsen notes, the 2.4 is the event's highest rating since 2010 but also is down from the event's early years. Then again...

The numbers look less impressive if one goes further back. The 2.4 is tied as only the seventh-highest overnight for the tournament since it began in 2003 (12 telecasts).

Overnights have now increased for seven of the past ten final round PGA Tour telecasts (including The Masters and WGC Match Play). With that said, Sunday’s 2.4 is just the ninth-highest final round overnight of the season (16 telecasts).

Monday
May182015

Video: 30 Days From The U.S. Open At Chambers Bay

Do I notice a little more green after the recent rains? Of course, when this feature 30 days out from local TV news cuts to the shot of Rory at Quail Hollow, Chambers Bay still looks wonderfully lean, barren, crunchy and other-worldly.

Chris Francis
reports for KIRO TV on the various preparations, with updates from on-site man Danny Sink and footage of the repaving effort on that one road leading in that the golf world will get to know too well!

Monday
May182015

"Mickelson’s most important battle is about motivation."

Golf World's Jaime Diaz takes a look at the State of Phil heading into the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and beyond.

Besides getting some insight into how Dave Stockton helped with Mickelson's putting at the Masters, there was also this about speed and motivation.

He’s definitely still capable, but it’s complicated. It would appear that Mickelson has lost a bit of his fastball in the past couple of years. By 2012, his PGA Tour-measured average clubhead speed had dropped from 122.04 miles per hour in 2007 to 116.81, and then last year, to 115.62. Simply not enough for the big game Phil prefers to play. Moreover, the technical changes he began with Butch Harmon in 2007 seem stagnant, as his swing remains overly long, overly steep and overly wild off the tee. And perhaps the psoriatic arthritis Mickelson was diagnosed with in 2010 is a bigger issue than he lets on.

But he vowed to work out hard over the offseason, and so far this year, his average is up to an impressive 118.32 mph. Still, his out-of-nowhere, near-peak performances in majors demonstrate that Mickelson’s most important battle is about motivation.

“I’ve been able to get some of my best golf out in [majors] when I focus in on them,” he said at the Masters, where he tied with Justin Rose, four behind Spieth. “But I don’t have a great answer for you why or how that is.”

44, been there, done that at tour events? And is there anything wrong with veterans like Mickelson or Woods doing as Hogan did by centering their year around the majors? Adam Scott seems to be in that mode as well.

Monday
May182015

"You'll be better at basketball if you go play golf.' It's true." 

Okay maybe not all of us, but if you're Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors, it's to have a golf-loving coach in Steve Kerr.

Tim Kawakami with the instructions from Kerr to two of his stars to hit the links between games with Memphis. They found Justin Timberlake's Mirimichi and refreshingly talked openly about how golf helped their game.

-Q: Steph and Andre went out to play golf in Memphis on that day off. Is that something that’s easy for you to approve?

-KERR: Oh, I encourage it, for sure. I think sometimes the best thing to do is to get away from the gym and do whatever it is you do that relaxes you.

For those guys, I know it’s golf. The other guys, it might just be, go out to dinner, see a movie, whatever. But you’ve got to do that.

-Q: So when Steph asked you if they could go play golf, you’re…

-KERR: I encourage it. Like, there have been times this year where I’ve just told them, ‘Go take tomorrow off and you guys go play golf.’

The first time I think Andre kind of looked at me, ‘Really?’ ‘Yeah, go play golf. You’ll be better at basketball if you go play golf.’ It’s true.

-Q: With Steph, I can see how important it is.

-KERR: You need an outlet.

-Q: And you’re still competing.

Curry is currently entered in the California State Amateur qualifying, but there are questions about his amateur status and his schedule, reports Sam Weinman.

The Warriors open the Western Conference Finals this week against the Houston Rockets.

Monday
May182015

Callaway Live Debuts With Dick Enberg

Callaway kicks off a new live talk show Monday, May 18th at 6 pm PT with the legendary Dick Enberg discussing his career and undoubtedly, his days doing golf as well as his views on the state of the game.

The new online show is part of an interesting play by the manufacturer to produce their own content. However, they take a serious plunge into the abyss on a future episode by having yours truly as their guest. That's right, I'll be entering San Diego County on a non-Farmers Insurance Open, non-Del Mar racing day to talk about golf architecture and whatever Harry Arnett asks.

Here is the trailer for Callaway's new show and the Live homepage.

Note to self: it's live, so don't say anything too controversial.

Sunday
May172015

The History Of (Golf) Concessions

The recent WGC Match Play and USGA Four-Balls brought up the increasingly debated topic of when to concede or not concede. In our non-confrontational world, any three-footer or less not conceded is seen as an act of tyranny worthy of armed invasion.

But as the USGA's Michael Trostel and Victoria Student write, the history of concessions has been fascinating, entertaining, stymie-related and a tad controversial. All of my favorite things!

Trostel and Student write:

In the 1920s, conceding putts was still a hotly debated issue on both sides of the Atlantic. In the July 1927 issue of Golf Illustrated, William Henry Beers blamed “generous British golfers” for the custom’s introduction to the game, arguing that it cheated players of valuable practice and brought to light the differences in British and American opinions on the topic.

“American golfers have been criticized for holing out in all matches, which is done for the practice thus gained, and to keep accurate scores for club handicaps. For doing this, American players have been accused of ‘being passionately fond of keeping scores’ and delaying the progress of the players behind by holing out. There is no golf player in the world today who is so good on the putting green that he can afford to lose a large percentage of putting practice that he is deprived of with an opponent who picks up his ball whenever he pleases, or knocks his opponent’s ball away from the hole and concedes the putt.”

British writer and GB&I Walker Cupper Bernard Darwin felt differently. Darwin contended that “the holing out of putts which cannot affect a match, but which are holed purely for private satisfaction, is ‘frankly a bore.’”

That's our Bernie!

According to Darwin, “Americans make a fetish of keeping individual scores. This insistence upon scribbling little figures on a card is not only a waste of time but actually defeats the sporting spirit which is a fundamental principle of match play.”

Did I mention I love Darwin? Go on...

Golf Illustrated writer George Trevor vehemently opposed Darwin’s views. He described the American practice of always holing out a result of values integral to American culture, writing:

“This American insistence on keeping personal scores is basically sound as well as satisfying to the soul. It is the cornerstone upon which our national golf progress is founded, making, as it does, for the precision of play rather than sloppy, slipshod habits. The American feels that anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. Holing out putts breeds confidence and puts the stamp of finality on a man’s game. Not holing out cultivates a sloppy mental attitude.”

Twitter spat before there was Twitter!

Sunday
May172015

Some Pebble Beach 17th Photos Under Construction

Thanks to reader Jay for these photos of the revamped 17th at Pebble Beach under construction/grow in. The green has been sodded, in case you were wondering.

The reclaimed square footage and basic bunker shapes look excellent. The final details remain TBD.

Thanks Jay:

Plenty of drainage in the approach!

Sunday
May172015

Video: Rory Turns A 514-Yard Par-4 Into A Drive And Pitch

For the millionth time, all kudos to Rory McIlroy for the gym time and to his team for launch monitor work allowing him to turn a 514-yard par-4 into a drive and gap-wedge hole. Still, does it not at least raise a few eyebrows of those wondering when the distance chase will end?

On Quail Hollow's 16th, en route to a dominating Wells Fargo Championship win, McIlroy's overpowering of the 16th is impressive. But is there a point when the numbers become so silly that the fan finds them farcical and views the game as juiced?

Either way, as long as it makes Johnny Harris spend more money on new tees for the 2017 PGA and prompts him to send the bill to the USGA and R&A, I'm good with it!

The video:

Sunday
May172015

Golfweek: Fox Sports Brings No Energy To First Golf Coverage

Martin Kaufmann of Golfweek was the only person excited about Fox Sports doing golf, so it was with some amusement that I read his slamming of their first two forays into golf coverage. Even more amusing, the energy-lacking, bad-announce effort Kaufmann documents still has him somehow optimistic without any evidence other than Fox once eventually getting NFL coverage right.

More interesting is that he glosses over what time has made clear: Fox not only dropped the ball on the production side, they are not even promoting the events in a way that is resonating, which was a prime reason behind the USGA's interest in a fresh and innovative broadcast "partner." Many golfers were shocked to learn that Fox was debuting with its coverage of the men's and women's four-ball events at iconic American venues Olympic Club and Pacific Dunes.

Kaufmann writes at Golfweek.com:

Throughout the past two weeks, I got the impression that Fox was holding back, waiting to make a splash next month at the U.S. Open. I got this feeling despite assurances from Fox producer Mark Loomis that he would unveil much of the network’s new technology during the Four-Balls.

The evidence suggests otherwise. I don’t recall seeing any gauges showing wind speed and direction, an obvious omission on a seaside links such as Pacific Dunes or during the windy final at The Olympic Club. The graphic showing yardages was good, but rarely used. There were few interesting camera angles, no graphics to illustrate green contours and, despite the intimate nature of amateur golf, we heard no conversations among teammates or between players and caddies – something Loomis has said would be a point of emphasis. And there was little or no background on the players. You can do that when you’re showing Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie. But when you’re showing anonymous amateurs, you need to introduce them to viewers and share their personal stories. We didn’t get any of that during the Four-Balls.

Ouch.

He also touches on the weird obsession with former players as announcers along with Holly Sonders already not appearing in week two of a whopping eight weeks of USGA-Fox broadcasts, something I questioned in my far more kind review!

I’m so weary of producers continually trotting out former players to do godawful post-round interviews. I’ve made this point repeatedly for years. Week after week, we have to listen to Roger Maltbie, David Feherty and Peter Kostis do dreadful post-round interviews. And now we can add Gulbis and Pavin to the mix. I suppose Fox could argue that Gulbis and Pavin are new to TV and their interviewing skills will improve with time. But that’s probably not true, if our experience with Maltbie, Feherty and others is any indication. And so we go through this exercise every week – former players suddenly thrust into the role of interviewer rather than interviewee. Enough! Is Steve Sands the only TV personality capable of asking a couple of coherent, concise questions? Isn’t that why Fox hired Holly Sonders? Why was she sitting on the sidelines when she should have been doing all of those interviews?

Finally, he goes back to true believer mode that Fox will have answers for making golf more interesting and takes a poke at the guy whose team just had an epic Players telecast (no Golfweek review), and, who Fox tried to hire.

Rightly or wrongly, Fox is under the microscope. There are those who view Fox as nothing more than a monied interloper who crashed golf’s cozy little party at the country club, flashed enough Benjamins to make Al Czervik blush, and walked away with the USGA’s TV rights. Then there are those who believe that all knowledge of how to televise golf resides in the mind of NBC producer Tommy Roy. (News flash: It doesn’t.) '

Big note to Marty...Fox tried to hire Roy within hours of inking the USGA deal. Probably need to drop that one from the repertoire of potshots going forward since Fox thought he was pretty worthy. Best, Geoff.

Saturday
May162015

“On a 7500 yard golf course Rory McIlroy hit 9-iron or less into 15 of 18 holes”

Rory McIlroy posted a spectacular 61 at Quail Hollow to erase his previous course record. It's hard to take such a moment and highlight the absurdity of the ball going too far, but it has to be done! This is in no way a disparagement of McIlroy's accomplishment, merely a consideration of whether this is good for the professional game when 7,500 yard courses appear too short to defend themselves without resorting to absurd measures?

A deeper look at the numbers should be wake-up call No. 20,391 for the authorities that the "test" for elite players just isn't what it used to be and that nothing positive is gained from stretching the "championship" distance serves the long term interests of the sport.

Thanks to J Held for posting this chart of all the short irons McIlroy had into what was once thought of as a strong test. Maybe more shocking than hitting 9-iron or less into 15 of the 18 holes? Look at the long par-3 clubs.

Quail Hollow hosts the 2017 PGA Championship when the ball will (theoretically) fly longer and the course could have more roll.


The McIlroy highlights...

Saturday
May162015

Why Is The R&A In A Hurry To Sign A New American TV Partner?

Folks in the TV and advertising world are buzzing over the R&A's desire to sign a new U.S. television partner even though ESPN is obligated to televise the next three Open Championships.

The Worldwide Leader is paying $25 million annually, losing money on the deal and it hasn't been a perfect programming fit (what is when you can rack up a Sportscenter rerun?). 

We are expected to believe the R&A is considering making them a three-year lameduck network by as early as late June, reports Ron Sirak.

Interestingly, the IMG man representing the R&A with the networks, Alistair Johnston, speaks pretty candidly with Sirak as negotiations heat up. That could be construed as desperate by some, adding to the mystery surrounding the sudden rush to lock in that 2018-and-beyond television partner. Despite Johnston's claim this week that Bristol is very much interested, ESPN appears ready to say goodbye. Still, Johnston reveals that the R&A hopes to have a decision by the U.S. Open, and jokes that even if they do reach their conclusion no announcement will be made U.S. Open week as the USGA did during the 2013 PGA.

But why else be in a rush for a sports property that doesn't resonate much in the U.S.? Perhaps trying to beat the English Premier League bidding? Or trying to lock in a new partner before the Fox-USGA deal kicks in an the red ink flows? Or maybe the R&A see the cable model and it's lucrative subscription fees leveling off and hopes to cash in? To grow the game, of course.

Or some combination of all the above?

After touching on the slow ad sales for Fox's USGA package, including lukewarm interest from the USGA's corporate partners, Sirak writes:

Asked if Fox would lose money on the U.S. Open, Johnston said: “That sounds a little bit like stating the obvious, but no one will know until 12 years from now [if they overpaid for the USGA contract]. Fox has been aggressive and conscientious in putting together a golf team.”

The source in the advertising community agreed with that assessment, saying Fox will make its money back through subscription sales of FS1 and FS2 and not through advertising.

“If they can grow FS1 and FS2, they can get that money back,” said the source. “On the surface, Fox is going to lose a lot of money. But if FS1 is building an arsenal, they will easily get that money back on cable fees over time.”

Saturday
May162015

Global Handicaps May Be Coming...

I'm not sure how much of an issue this is for the sport unless there have been accusations of sandbagging when R&A and USGA officials whap it around at elite courses, but whether anyone was clamoring for it or not, it seems there will be a unified global handicapping system.

John Paul Newport
in the WSJ:

“The handicap system is effectively a fourth set of rules,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s point man for the initiative. Not all golfers keep a handicap, of course, but for those who do the score-posting requirements enforce a rules-like discipline. Yet those rules deviate from country to country. “We feel it would benefit the game enormously, and add to its enjoyment, if golfers everywhere had a single, portable handicap number that worked the same wherever they traveled,” Bodenhamer said.

More important was this update on the rules simplification effort, which unlike the 2003 ball study, has not been relegated to a file cabinet:

Simultaneously, the USGA and the R&A are working on a rules simplification project that would have a similarly unifying impact. “Shorter, simpler and less legalistic is the goal,” Bodenhamer said. If successfully completed, the new rules code would roll out in the same time frame as the World Handicap System and make extensive use of pictures, graphics and new modes of presentation using modern technology. The underlying principles would remain fundamentally the same, but the rules themselves would look and feel entirely different. Also on the horizon are clear new translations of the existing rules in multiple languages.

Friday
May152015

Review: Golfers Should Love The Apple Watch

I've been using it for three weeks and offer these thoughts from a user and golf perspective.

Check it out at The Loop.