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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 true links have an intimacy with the waves; they are much on the same level, in close relation, almost cousins and part of the ocean if you can imagine sea turned into land or the land suffering sea change into something rich and rare.  H.N. WETHERED

 

    

Sunday
Jul122015

Vide: "Best 3-putt, ever" By Pinehurst's Kelly Mitchum

Thanks to the folks at Pinehurst for passing along the best three putt ever from academy instructor Kelly Mitchum.

Have to admire the reverse order scenario at play here...

Sunday
Jul122015

Stinks Getting Old: Tiger And Rory Texting Over Their Injuries

Not too far removed from two old fogies discussing their hemorroid remedies, it seems Tiger the chiropractor is getting texts from Rory McIlroy asking for rehab advice.

From Steve DiMeglio in USA Today, reporting from St. Andrews where Tiger showed up early to do a clinic...for aspiring golfers.

"He sent me a photo the day he did it. We talked about it for a little bit," Woods told reporters from USA TODAY Sports and ESPN.com on Saturday after spending much of his day with junior golfers to kick off his preparation for the third major of the season. "He said, 'You've been through a lot of injuries over the years,' so he picked my brain a little bit. We had a good talk. He's doing the right thing, taking care of his body first before he gets back out here.”

The doctor has spoken!

Saturday
Jul112015

Photos And Third Round Wrap: Scottish Open 

A nice steady breeze restored order at Gullane Saturday, as proper links conditions followed two days of relatively benign weather. The late gusts and showers didn't quite separate the leaderboard as much as hoped, leaving a final round shootout in order.

England's Daniel Brooks holds a one shot ead over Raphael Jacquelin and is two ahead of Rickie Fowler, Joost Luiten and Tommy Fleetwood, while Eddie Pepperell, Russell Knox and Matt Kuchar are well within range three back. 

A few images from the past couple of days here at Gullane, where all seem to be having a good time and the atmosphere surrounding the experience is excellent. Of course I write this just after having enjoyed a dessert pastry from the otherworldly Falko Limited, so all is right with the world...

Saturday
Jul112015

Tiger Shocked To Find Old Course Soft And Slow

Bob Harig of ESPN.com on Tiger's first practice round at the 2015 Open Championship, his first appearance there since 2010.

From Harig's story:

"I was shocked," Woods said. "I had seen photos of it a month ago. It was bone dry. It looked like it was going to be one of those dust bowls again; hard, fast, like the years I've played St. Andrews. It's changed. They got big rain and a lot of sun. It's totally changed.

"I'm going to have to do a little bit of feel around the greens, my putting. I wasn't expecting the firmness to be that soft. We made ball marks on the greens. I don't ever remember making ball marks around this place."

Saturday
Jul112015

The “Other” North Berwick Links Is Pretty Sensational Too

The signage in North Berwick points to the “East Links.” The locals barely know what else to call it. But to the few people in the world who have played the 6,275-yard links overlooking North Berwick and framed by the glorious Bass Rock, it’s known as Glen Golf Club.

While North Berwick’s West course deservedly ascends to elite world status after many years of having been branded too "quirky", anyone visiting the East Lothian golf region would be thrilled to have a day at the East Links. That is, if you like your views on the sensational side, no shortage of fun shots, an all-world first team par-3 and a relaxed setting overlooking the idyllic town.


Admittedly, this unheralded East Lothian gem is in a highly competitive and diverse neighborhood for golf. As I noted in this 2013 story for Golf Digest and recent video tour, there is no better place to set up shop for a full week of links golf than the area branded as “Scotland’s Golf Coast.” Even if you never get the invite to play Muirfield, you can enjoy Gullane’s three courses (a composite of which is hosting the 2015 Scottish Open). Then there are gems like Kilspindie, Dunbar, Longniddry, Archerfield and even the modern Renaissance Club, along with the wondrous North Berwick West. Yet it’s borderline criminal that Glen Golf Club is not on the tip of tongues as a must play.

A few things may conspire against this council owned and Glen Club operated links, starting with the less than sexy name. "The East Links" would sport more punch, but “The” word is off limits here.

The clubhouse staff is most welcoming, but the club’s building as an extension of the glorious town aesthetic leaves much to be desired architecturally. And like so many links, the first and closing holes play over the least interesting ground in order to maintain a connection to the town, but that’s never hurt the reputations of places like the Old Course, North Berwick West or lesser known gems like Fraserburgh.

That said, the 332-yard opening hole is by no means dull. A wide open tee shot with a magnet of a fairway bunker leads to an 75-foot rise for the approach shot. The heart rate climbs and juices begin flowing, because the view atop the hill looking back at the town will make the day a success for any skeptics who questioned booking the “other” course in town. From there the second plays over so-so golf ground but then it’s off to the races, with a routing that changes directions, looks and challenges. The backdrops are mostly stunning: whether it’s the Bass Rock out to sea or the Berwick Law standing guard over the town as a constant landmark, you always feel like you are playing golf at a special place.

 More standout holes liven things up at the seventh, eighth, and 204-yard par-3 ninth holes while teasing you with glimpses of playing immediately next to the sea. That moment happens at the world-famous 148-yard par-3 13th. Semi-blind and hanging on a cliff ledge, the thrill of the shot is similar to that of the 7th at Pebble Beach.


Though playing into the prevailing wind, the short par-4 14th offers a fun rush up to a blind fairway and a relatively simple pitch, while the 473-yard par-5 15th is a nice chance at birdie before a challenging finish is made more difficult by the distraction of looking down on that charming village where pints and good meals await. 

Though the ground features and character of the holes as individuals never amounts to the genius that is North Berwick’s West Links, the East as an 18-hole experience tells its own story of scenery, shotmaking and memories that will remain with you long after you’ve left Scotland’s charming golf coast.

Saturday
Jul112015

In Hindsight USGA Regrets Two Things About Chambers Bay

The regret? Not factoring the lack of visibility for spectators, check. Not better preparing the players for the afternoon condition of the greens? Check! Two biggies really in hindsight looking back at the 2015 U.S. Open. One was preventable, one perhaps inevitable. Either way, the USGA is wisely admitting having made a mistake it seems.

However, it's interesting to read in Randall Mell's story for GolfChannel.com how the USGA's Mike Davis feels that better preparing players for bumpy greens would make them less critical. Or, perhaps he realized that the broadcast position of the announce team, as I noted here, was sending out seemingly false messages that players heard and got frustrated by when facing bumpy four footers?

Also increasingly common is the view that a great winner helps change the perception of a week, no matter how many problems there were.

“We had an exciting finish, a great player win it, a great leaderboard, and that is what really does matter,” Davis said at the U.S. Women’s Open. “We were pleased about the ending.”

The ending may end up overshadowing all the spectator and player complaints.

About the spectators, Davis said the USGA would have liked to have  improved the viewing experience with better ways to move people around the course.

“We knew it was going to be hard, but, honestly, we didn’t know it was going to be that hard,” Davis said. “We were so focused on spectator safety.”

Friday
Jul102015

Video: Old Course Eleventh And Twelfth Hole Flyovers

One of the most emulated par-3s in the way of greenside bunkering schemes has otherwise not been very well replicated by architect who have been inspired by the Eden. (Unlike the Redan, which has been improved on and which this golfer posted a nice five on today.)

The 11th features a softened green to make a portion over the sand more pinnable during The Open. Next week we'll find out if the effort succeeded.

The flyover:



Outside of the finishing holes, this stretch

The short 12th is one of the lesser known influences on the modern driveable par-4 movement and probably continues to live in a form of architectural anonymity due to its location in the round and the lack of spectating options during The Open. Nonetheless, it's a fascinating hole and one when, played with a helping wind, may be best approach from over the green.

The flyover:

Friday
Jul102015

USGA On Trump: "We're Evaluating" 

I'm just getting around to today's Trump reading and all signs point to the golf v. Donald matter not really subsiding.

Randall Mell on the USGA Thursday press conference at Lancaster CC during the U.S. Women's Open where Executive Director Mike Davis was asked about the controversial host of the 2017 U.S. Women's Open.

“I can’t speak for the other golf organizations, but I can for the USGA say that we have not wanted to get involved in politics, presidential politics, but at the same time we are about diversity, about inclusion, about growing the game,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said Thursday at the U.S. Women’s Open. “We are evaluating things, and at this point that’s all we can say.”

With Trump Bedminster just down the street from Golf House, there's no telling how much needs to be sorted out here. Oh, the joys of neighborship!

Bradley Klein considers the Trump golf brand and how the unraveling of golf v. Trump impacts the cache built up of late.

That brand is now two-fold: in the form of marketing and of a recognizable aesthetic. By putting his name on each of his 17 properties, he has unavoidably, and in fact quite systematically, created a unique mode of consumer identification with his product. No one else has done that in golf course development. Not in such personal terms.

And James Corrigan of The Telegraph warns that golf might want to be careful in cutting ties to Trump and opening up other worm cans.

But what should the R&A do about keeping Trump Turnberry on the Open roster?

My advice would be nothing. After all, Royal Troon may be having a review into their membership policy but next year’s Open venue still does not allow women to be members. Neither does Muirfield.

Meanwhile, many of the sponsors which keep the sport awash in greenbacks could hardly be said to be squeaky clean. Golf should stay away from the high ground for a while yet. Otherwise that tremendously infectious disease called hypocrisy could pour across its borders.

Friday
Jul102015

Green Speeds And Pace Of Play, Gullane Edition

Out watching Scottish Open opening day play, an odd thing happened: players routinely putted out 3-4 footers. The overall pace seemed brisk, but relaxed.

Case in point: the group of Fowler, Donaldson and Poulter were at the 17th green. Both Donaldson and Fowler hit mediocre first putts, leaving 3-4 footers for par. Both briefly marked their ball, repositioned for alignment, then putted out.

This is hardly unique in the annals of golf, particularly on links. Except that such putting-out rarely happens any more due to professional event green speeds consistently in the Stimpmeter 12-foot range.

The green speeds at Gullane for round one? According to the European Tour course setup "table": 10 feet, 3 inches.

The "time par" for day one threesomes at Gullane was 4:20. That's about what it took the faster twosomes to get around Chambers Bay this year.

According to the European Tour's charts of player pace for round one, groups played in the 4:28 to 4:48 pace, with the final two threesomes of the day taking a very respectable 4:48. And that's with a few long walks between greens and tees, along with enough breeze to make things interesting (and some rough too).

The moral of the story? Green speeds impact pace of play, not to mention what they do for maintenance cost and architectural integrity.

Thursday
Jul092015

Video: Taking Your Golf Pilgrimage To East Lothian

Two years ago I filed this piece for Golf Digest about the importance of making East Lothian ("Scotland's Golf Coast") the sight of your golf pilgrimage. Not only does the area afford several of the most important places that shaped the game's history, but the opportunity to set up shop in one general area to enjoy a more centrally located golf vacation beckons.

After playing Glen Golf Club this evening (aka North Berwick East Links), I'm more convinced than ever that this is the planet's most idyllic place to experience the links game at its purest and most diversified. What a perfect, breathtaking and endearingly bizarre set of holes. (More on Glen tomorrow).

In the meantime, here's an UnShackled video to encapsulate my feelings for this special place. Check it out...

Thursday
Jul092015

Photos: Day One Scottish Open At Gullane

With little breeze, excellent turf and crisp (light sweater) weather at Gullane, opening day scoring in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open was excellent.

Thorbjorn Olesen opened with a 7-under-par 63 and leads a lost of players including a trio of Americans--Jimmy Walker (65), Rickie Fowler (66), Matt Kuchar (66)--along with a resurgent Graeme McDowell. I watched Fowler for a few holes and he looked particularly relaxed, as if the U.S. Open never happened (a short write up here at The Loop). Ewan Murray's Guardian game story also focused on the fine scoring by the Americans along with Olesen's hopes to qualify for The Open.

As hoped, the tournament setup at Gullane captured the essence of this special course and town. It never hurts to have an Archie Baird sighting either! He held court at his museum just off the pro shop, receiving a visit from European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady while giving a few tours to impressionable lads who got their first lesson in golf and clubmaking history before heading out to find, who else, Rickie.

That, plus Nike's special Scottish/Open Championship logo and some scenes from a well-attended Thursday at Gullane:

Thursday
Jul092015

Video: Old Course Ninth And Tenth Hole Flyovers

The back-to-back long par-3s (in the modern game anyway) now feature a new bunker 301 yards off the 9th tee and no changes to the 10th, or Bobby Jones.

The 9th hole flyover:



And the 10th, which features a green best approached from the right center of the fairway for those days it's played without the help of wind. The flyover.

Thursday
Jul092015

GMac: Rory Would Have Loved Bomber's Old Course Advantage 

Opening the Scottish Open with a 66, Graeme McDowell spoke of starting to find his game at Gullane and of his Saturday practice round at St. Andrews.

He lamented (for Rory) a lost opportunity, with course conditions setting up nicely for long hitters.

Bob Harig reports for ESPN.com.

"It is a golf course I look at and feel the bombers have a great shot around there because they can hit it over trouble,'' McDowell said Thursday at Gullane Golf Club, site of the Scottish Open. "I played it on Saturday, and the first name that jumped into my mind was Rory (McIlroy), you have to say. I really felt like he had a big shot next week."

Thursday
Jul092015

Trump! What Will The Golf Bodies Do Next?

Brendan Prunty's New York Times story quotes The Donald, who is not backing down in the face of losing the Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National. 

From Tuesday's story:

 “I’ve been very loyal to golf,” Trump said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “I own 17 clubs. They all do great. We will see whether or not golf is loyal to me.”

Former PGA President Ted Bishop noted his lack of surprise that the PGA stopped at the Grand Slam.

“I think a lot of people are surprised that it wasn’t all or nothing,” said the former P.G.A. of America president Ted Bishop. “I don’t know what kind of statement the P.G.A. of America makes by saying, ‘We’re not going to do this for one year, but we’re going to go back for all these others.’ ”

Which leaves us with the future and also questions now about why golf got so heavily invested in Trump properties knowing the man's proclivity to generate controversy.

Alex Miceli reveals in Golfweek that the previous PGA of America regime was not interested in working with Trump, but that changed with the Bevacqua and Bishop.

“When Pete came to me about Trump, I was 100 percent in favor of working with him,” said Bishop, recalling the beginnings of the relationship. “Under former CEO Joe Steranka, the PGA was not interested in working with Trump. It was just a non-starter with Joe.”

For his part, Steranka, who retired in 2012 and now leads the charitable arm of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, was unwilling to discuss his dealings with Trump.

“I’m not going to comment on that,” Steranka said from his office in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. "The PGA is sorting through this, and looking back about what was going on when I was there doesn’t address today’s things they have to focus on.”

Up next and much grander on the big ticket item list: what happens to the 2017 U.S. Women's Open at Trump Bedminster, the 2022 PGA at the same venue, and of course, rumored Scottish Open's at Trump International or Open Championship at Turnberry.

Wednesday
Jul082015

Q&A With Graylyn Loomis

You may recall Graylyn's name from the days when we first learned (late on a Friday) that changes were to be made to the Old Course. Then a student at the University, Loomis documented the work (here and here) and was the architecture world's man on the ground. Unlike the local paper that morphed into the R&A house organ, Loomis helped shine a light on the work without expressing strong views.

However, I have little doubt his sharing of information and images helped fuel worldwide concern for the scope of the work, which, mercifully, was downscaled for reasons we can only surmise had to do with international concerns.

Since graduated and living again in the United States, Loomis has moved his old blog to the elegantly GraylynLoomis.com where he's posted Scotland travel itineraries, guest trip-planners (I contributed an East Lothian pilgrimage option), in-depth coverage of St. Andrews the town and other course reviews. He's also contributing to Ru Macdonald's Scottish Golf Travel podcast.

In advance of The Open returning to St. Andrews, Graylyn kindly answered questions about life there for student-golfers and offers his best advice for visitors. Try not to hate him when he reveals the annual cost for a university student to play golf at St. Andrews.

GS: You ended up staying at St. Andrews for four years instead of one, right? Was it just the golf that sucked you in and made you change plans? Or did you fall for the town too?

GL: That is exactly right. I ended up applying to spend all four years at St Andrews during the second semester of my first year. While the golf played a major role in my decision to stay, it was actually the town (and its people) that pulled me back the most. Anyone who has spent much time in St Andrews will know that it can sink its claws into you. I can remember walking up the 18th on the Old Course one winter evening during sunset thinking, “How could I seriously choose to leave this place?!” After graduation and 185+ rounds on the Old Course I look back on that decision to stay in the town as one of the best I have ever made.

GS: Give us a sense of you, the university and golf. Do the students embrace the golf component of the town? The faculty? Would you say there are many students like yourself who attended in part because of your love of the game?

GL: The students wholeheartedly embrace the golf aspects of the town. It is largely due to the fact that the St Andrews Links Trust welcomes the students with open arms. A yearly “links ticket” to play unlimited golf on the seven St Andrews Links courses cost a mere £180 ($280) last year – you make your money back by playing one round on the Old Course. Students are also considered locals, meaning they have access to the blocks of Old Course tee times saved for St Andreans. It goes deeper as well with many of the local St Andrews golf clubs embracing the students as junior members. The R&A even reserves all of the 18th green grandstand marshaling positions at every single Open Championship for University of St Andrews students. Not only do the students get to fill the coveted positions, they also get paid in addition to their free tournament badges. I took up the opportunity to marshal the 18th green at Royal St George’s in 2011. The golf in the town definitely plays a role in many students’ decisions to attend and in nearly all cases that love for the game grows while in the town.

GS: You were one of the few to track the recent changes to the course. Tell us how you stumbled on them, what you think of them and where you found any shredded R&A ties in your bed? Or whatever they do to intimidate people there…

GL: Like you said, I literally stumbled upon the changes taking place. I went out for a morning round one day to find a small dump truck on the 11th green. It happened to be the day the changes were starting to take place. After finishing the round I went to the Dunvegan for a pint and none of the locals knew what was happening. I ended up going back out with my camera to take photos every couple of days to document what was happening. The only tense moment came during the second round of changes when Martin Hawtree gave me a pretty serious stare down at the fourth green. He must not have liked someone standing awkwardly close taking photos of him with a telephoto camera while he worked…

I go back and forth with myself about the changes. To my eye the changes all made sense architecturally, but the idea of altering the Old Course to keep up with equipment changes doesn’t sit well in my stomach. At the end of the day I remind myself that the Old has changed and evolved quite a bit over the centuries, so this can be considered the latest iteration in a long process.

GS: Did you get to play the course after the changes and if so, what kind of impact did you see on the playability of the course? Tougher, easier, more playable, more difficult?

GL: I was able to play the course quite a bit after the changes. Generally, I think the changes added a reasonable level of difficulty to the renovated areas of the course. The bunker move on the second green has made a lower right pin placement much more difficult. The re-contouring right of the 4th and 6th greens certainly makes you think twice about missing right. The 11th green re-shaping has created much more “pin-able” square footage on the left side of the green. A cup on that left side of the green also brings in a vicious left bunker that many golfers have never seen or noticed. I found that the re-shaped area around the Road Hole Bunker has made a left miss much more penal around that green. That being said, the Road Hole Bunker seemed bigger after the changes, making it quite a bit easier in my book (before it always seemed that a lie up against the bunker wall was inevitable).

GS: You’ve devoted a page to your site listing the best pubs in town. During Open week they’re all busy, but give us a sense what the scene is like the rest of the year(s) when a major is not descending on the town? Where do the students go? What are the best experiences for golfers?

GL: Outside of the golf season (tourist season), the pubs around St Andrews are always busy with locals and students. During the winter they become much-needed social centers to escape the cold and catch up with friends. You will likely find students at Ma Bell’s, the Vic, or the Student Union (University of St Andrews bar) on any given night, especially when a DJ is playing or a sporting event is happening. Golfers should certainly experience the Dunvegan and the Jigger Inn – both legendary 19th holes next to the Old Course. However, visiting golfers should also get a taste of local St Andrews and head away from the area around the Old Course. Get the nachos and a pint at the Whey Pat or enjoy a locally brewed ale at the St Andrews Brewery Pub. Take in local musical talent on Monday nights at the Criterion Pub or challenge a local caddie (if you dare) to a game of darts at The Keys.  

GS: What other things to do you recommend golfers do besides golf, eat and sleep while in St. Andrews? Any parts of the town, historic monuments or parts of the University that you recommend the more refined sightseer check out?

GL: My biggest recommendation is to explore the areas of St Andrews away from the golf courses. Walk up The Scores, which is a beautiful road running along the coastline bordering the town. Halfway up the road, pop through the ancient stone wall on one side of The Scores to see the beautiful St Salvator’s Hall (my freshman dorm) and St Salvator’s Quad, where the University of St Andrews was founded in 1413. Continue walking and you will hit the castle ruins, followed by the cathedral ruins with the pier and East Sands beyond. At the cathedral ruins you will find an ancient graveyard where Old Tom Morris is buried. After pondering the life of Old Tom, head one minute down South Street to Janetta’s Ice Cream, where a fourth generation St Andrean continues to make gelato in the shop his ancestor opened in 1908. It is easy to stick around the golf courses, but those who explore more of the town will be extremely happy they did. 

Wednesday
Jul082015

Video: Old Course Seventh And Eighth Hole Flyovers

The High hole crosses the 11th and begins a very scoreable stretch when the wind is down. When the Old Course received Peter Dawson and Martin Hawtree's "treatment," a peculiar ancient depression was filled over due to maintenance concerns.

The flyover:

The 166-yard 8th plays slightly downhill with the green sloping away from the players.


Wednesday
Jul082015

Defending Champion Rory McIlroy Officially Out Of The Open

There go the images of Rory handing off the jug to Chief Inspector Dawson, dreams of a shootout with stars young and old, or even an appearance at the champions go-round Wednesday afternoon. All in the name of being a guys guy, or whatever all that jibberish was we read the last few days to rationalize a huge mistake in the heart of the season.

The message posted on Instagram just two days after revealing the injury that happened four days ago:

After much consideration, I have decided not to play in the Open Championship at St. Andrews. I’m taking a long term view of this injury and, although rehab is progressing well, I want to come back to tournament play when I feel 100% healthy and 100% competitive. Thank you for all your support and best wishes. I hope to be back on the course as soon as I can.... In the mean time, come on Andy!!!

Wednesday
Jul082015

Gullane Must: Archie Baird's Heritage Of Golf Museum

Any golfers who have been to Scottish Open host Gullane only get the complete experience by visiting Archie Baird's Heritage of Golf museum.

While I'm not on the grounds yet at Gullane and am unsure what the museum's status is within the tournament setup, this Brandon Tucker story gives a nice synopsis of Archie's tribute to the game.

Baird especially enjoys talking about the golf ball, which went from an expensive, feather-core ball to a cheaper, more mass-produced ball made of a black, gum-like Gutta-Percha, just after 1850. This allowed the number of golf clubs in the world to go from just a handful to thousands by 1900.

The tour ends rather abruptly, as Baird notes:

"Then the modern, rubber-core ball came along in the 1920s, courses had to adapt to it, and I lost interest. Any questions?"

That's our man!

Here's a video taken by some American visitors...

Wednesday
Jul082015

Architecting A Plan For The Old Course In A Day And A Half

I wasn't surprised to read Jordan Spieth making an eloquent case for playing the John Deere Classic over getting to Scotland sooner to prepare for The Open. (Though a "good feels" reference was jarring to see in this Ryan Lavner piece. Then again, feels travel according to the feels maestro his ownself.)

More interesting was coach Cameron McCormick's assertion that a plan for attacking the most complicated course on the planet should be "architected" by Tuesday afternoon. Considering the number of players over time who have said they could never fully know grasp all there is to know about the Old Course and its changing winds, surprise bunkers and intricate contouring, dare I say this sounds a bit presumptuous?

From John Strege's report for The Loop:

“The other side of that is developing a game plan and acclimating to both time and weather conditions. Jordan’s always been a quick study — developing tactical intelligence, where the right places to be on the course — and with [caddie] Michael [Greller] amplifying that, I see no reason why he can’t have the right plan architected by Tuesday afternoon.”

Tuesday
Jul072015

Lancaster CC And The U.S. Women's Open

Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Lancaster Country Club moving into the national spotlight this week while hosting the U.S. Women’s Open.

Of the William Flynn design, Fitzpatrick writes:

The 95-year-old layout that occupies a snug but handsome slice of land between New Holland Pike and the Conestoga Creek doesn't have a big-tournament pedigree. Though this will be the 83d USGA event conducted in the state - by far the most of any - it will be Lancaster's first.

Its staid membership traditionally has shunned big events, though in the late 1940s LCC's Billy Haverstick defeated Arnold Palmer, 4-3, here in the final of the Pennsylvania Amateur.

Ben Crenshaw and Walter Hagen played here - a framed letter from the former, praising its classical design, hangs in the clubhouse - and a young Jim Furyk honed his game at Lancaster while a member of Manheim Township High School's golf team.

But what Lancaster did have, and what sets it in a class with many of the East's most renowned courses, was one of the best and most prolific designers from the golden age of golf architecture.

William Flynn, 29 at the time and the greenskeeper at Merion Golf Club, began mapping out LCC early in 1920 for a weekly fee of $44.92. The course opened 10 months later, but he would spend the next 25 years tweaking and refining his creation.

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