Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    by Matthew Futterman

What is the cry we hear today -- this or that is unfair! A golfer comes in from a round, and some bunker or green has spoiled his score, and he proceeds to damn the course and the whole world. And all this because he approaches golf selfishly, with such an exaggeration of ego that he is convinced he is not only equal to coping with nature, but that he should never be humbled by her. MAX BEHR


    

Monday
Aug082016

Video: Hanse Discusses Rio Olympic Course Finishing Holes

An exclusive to GeoffShackelford.com, architect Gil Hanse discussed with me about the finishing holes as we look at his renderings. Tomorrow he'll explain why you're going to see different colors of sand through the property and the look of the bunker style. (Thanks to Sean Gilroy for the crack editing work!)

As I have with all the previous flyovers, I encourage a look at Golf Digest's drone shots sponsored by Adobe. They really are a pleasure to watch, as narrated by Hanse.

The 16th hole flyover and Hanse's final rendering.

The 17th hole flyover and Hanse's final rendering.

The 18th hole flyover and Hanse's final rendering.

Monday
Aug082016

The War on Cargo Shorts: Country Clubs Looking Prescient! 

Nicole Hong of the WSJ reports that men are trying to stick with their cargo shorts as women find them deplorable.

Country clubs, which have long hated cargos for mysterious reasons (too working class?!), are suddenly looking like pioneering trendsetters after years of being badgered for disallowing certain fashion, including cargos.

Hong notes golf's role in the cargo pant/short war.

Many upscale golf courses have banned cargo shorts in recent years. In 2012, Michael Jordan was playing golf in cargo shorts at a Miami country club when he was asked to change his pants, according to news reports at the time. He reportedly refused. His agent released a statement afterward saying Mr. Jordan had previously worn cargo pants at the club without incident.

Around 2010, slimmer men’s shorts started to replace baggy silhouettes. By then, the backlash against cargo shorts was well under way.

Fashion guru Tim Gunn said in a 2007 interview with Reuters that cargo shorts were the least fashionable item of clothing in his closet. British tabloid Daily Express called cargo shorts “a humiliation for any man over 21 and should be sold only after proof of age has been presented.”

Monday
Aug082016

Furyk's 58 Card Keeper Is Grateful For Erasers

Miguel Angel Carballo marked Jim Furyk down for a 3 at the par-4 14th hole instead of 4. Thankfully he discovered his mistake before Furyk could sign and another disaster for golf averted! 

Sunday
Aug072016

Scottish Golf Travel Podcast 98: Highlands And Turnberry

If you aren't already subscribing to Ru Macdonald and Graylyn Loomis' Scottish Golf Travel podcast for all things Scottish golf, here are past episodes to whet your appetite.

They kindly had me back to discuss my recent trip to Scotland, that included seeing and playing more Highlands courses including the great Cruden Bay and Royal Dornoch, as well as Trump Turnberry, Prestwick and Troon.

If you missed it, links to Turnberry review/content here.

Prestwick ode and content here.

Sunday
Aug072016

Russell Knox Makes Strong Case For '16 Euro Ryder Cup Team

Anyone who saw the stirring, slightly crazy finish to the 2016 Travelers knows Russell Knox capped off a wacky day in style.

And then he reinforced his self-confidence by declaring himself hard to pass up for a Ryder Cup spot should he not make the team on points.

Brian Wacker at GolfDigest.com with the post-round comments and assessment from Cromwell:

“If I don't make the team, I can't think I'm worthy of a pick,” Knox said. “It's his decision. He can pick whoever he wants, and that's the luxury of it. If I make the top nine, then I deserve to be on the team. If I'm No. 10, he can quite happily pass on me, and that's just the way it is.”

The final round highlights include the big last green putt by Knox:

Sunday
Aug072016

Wes Bryan: Trick Shot Artist A Year Ago, Battlefield Promotion Today

Adam Stanley at PGATour.com has all the details on Wesley Bryan's incredible 2016 Web.com Tour season concluding with a Digital Ally Open win that is his third of 2016.

That sets him up for a battlefield promotion which gets him in next week's John Deere Classic and the Wyndham, if he chooses. Then it's off to the Web.com Tour playoffs if he chooses, or he can just prepare for putting the tour card he'd already secured to use in September.

His third win of the season came after he hit, what he called, the shot of his life, on the par-3 17th. After he, J.T. Poston and Grayson Murray all made birdies on the par-4 18th, they retreated to the 17th for what turned out to be the final time. Murray missed his chip long, and Poston left his putt short. That set the stage for Bryan, who had left himself about 2 feet for the win.
There was never a doubt.

 The promotion no longer carries the weight it once did due to the wraparound schedule change that has the Web.com Tour season starting too late for a three-time winner to get elevated to the big tour for enough starts. However Bryan's accomplishment is inching him up the world ranking and will remind folks of his rise from viral video trick shot artist (with brother and sometimes caddy George), to second stage Web.com Tour school graduate last year, to holding a PGA Tour card in such a short time. Well done Wesley!

Wesley's full bag from his third win, and his Twitter account.

The winning putt at the Digital Ally:

Sunday
Aug072016

58 Roundup! Jim Furyk Posts Record 58 At The Travelers!

A year shy of the 40th anniversary of Al Geiberger's 59 (and five subsequent amazing rounds), Jim Furyk broke the barrier at the 2016 Travelers. Golf Channel scrapped their pregame and CBS moved Jim Nantz and Peter Kostis into the booth early for what a historic day on what was looking like it would be an otherwise ho-hum morning in Connecticut.

Brian Wacker takes us through the round at GolfDigest.com and included this from Furyk:

“Had I never shot 59 before, I probably would have been thinking 59, the barrier. . . . Having that experience in the past, and this one mimicked it a lot, it was comforting for me. You don't wake up on Sunday morning with an 8:41 tee time thinking that anything exciting is going to happen. I mean, really on those days the most exciting thing that can happen is the group in front of you plays quick and your flight takes off a little early and you get home is usually what you're looking to do. To get out there and make a bunch of birdies and get the juices flowing and feel like I was in the hunt in a golf tournament was kind of cool.”

Ryan Lavner on Furyk's swing tip from dad that helped get things squared away for him to deliver the lowest score in PGA Tour history.

Furyk birdied three of the last four holes Friday just to make the cut. After a third-round 72, he retreated to the range to hit a big bag of balls. He became so frustrated with his ball-striking that he instructed caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan to take pictures of his swing to send back home to his father/swing coach, Mike. The fix was a tighter, shorter backswing.

Stephen Hennessey with 7 amazing facts from the day, including this which is kind of fun in a big picture sense.

Experience on his side: The 46-year-old shot the last 59 on the PGA Tour -- in the third round of the BMW Championship in 2013.

Furyk is the first-ever player to shoot two sub-60 rounds -- and he's now the oldest to do it. The five other rounds of 59: Al Geiberger (1977, Memphis Classic), Chip Beck (1991, Las Vegas Classic), David Duval (1999, Bob Hope Classic), Paul Goydos (2010, John Deere Classic), Stuart Appleby (2010, Greenbrier Classic).

G.C. Digital with more fun stats from the round:

Putts: 24
Distance of putts made: 117 feet, 11 inches
Average proximity to hole: 20 feet, 4 inches

Mike Johnson with the clubs that posted the lowest round in tour history.

The highlights from PGA Tour Entertainment.

Sunday
Aug072016

Video: Rio Olympic Golf Course 13th, 14th & 15th Holes

The Olympic course gets closed the water at the 13th and therefore sees a change in the landscape. A ficus tree was used at the dogleg and the change of pace is welcome as the course starts to head home. At 479/408 the wind will be a key factor in how tough this plays, but the fairway is ample. From my visit to the course a few years ago, this was the hole that was toughest to visualize, so watching the finished flyover it's fun to see that what looked compelling on paper turned out that way.

The final Gil Hanse rendering.

The Golf Digest flyover narrated by Hanse and courtesy of Adobe.

The par-3 14th can be played from many distances, the official is listed at 229/190, but it can stretch longer and is also likely to play shorter if the back left wing is used for a hole location. Hopefully the approach is firm enough to support a run-up on the windier days.

The final Hanse rendering.

The Golf Digest flyover.

With today's driving distances--you know the ones that have changed in a long time according to the USGA and R&A--I'll be curious if the centerline fairway bunker is much of an annoyance at the 15th, which measures 412/374 yards for the men and women competing at the Rio 2016 Games.

The final Hanse rendering.

The Golf Digest flyover.

Saturday
Aug062016

Video: Els Ace At The Travelers

As Daniel Berger opened up a three-stroke lead at the Travelers Championship, Ernie Els stole the spotlight for a bit by recording an ace at No. 16 Saturday. And The Big Easy still looks like he enjoys the thrill as much as ever.

Saturday
Aug062016

Sunday Morning: Morning Drive Airs David Feherty Interview With President Barack Obama

If you watched the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Games you know there was a short conversation with President Barack Obama about the Olympics.

David Feherty's full chat is set to air on Golf Channel's Morning Drive from 7:30 to 9 am ET.

No preview clip is available. Among the purported topics: golf entering the Olympics and Obama's game.

This latest "get" means Feherty has interviewed all of the living golfing presidents.

In other Obama news, Kathy Bergen and Katherine Skiba report that the decision to bring his Presidential Library to the South Shore could help expedite the hoped-for renovation of Jackson Park.

The long-shot vision to build an expansive 18-hole course worthy of a spot on the PGA Tour, which has been hovering on the radar, gained momentum last week with the announcement that Obama's library and museum would be built in historic Jackson Park, said Mark Rolfing, an NBC/Golf Channel analyst who is advising the Chicago Park District on the idea.

Saturday
Aug062016

Video: Rio Olympic Course 10th, 11th And 12th

The par-5 10th hole at the Rio Olympic Course provides another nice birdie chance before the course turns difficult. Playing 590/526 with water on the tee shot, the double dogleg looks fun. Here is Golf Digest's flyover with narration from Gil Hanse. And Hanse's final rendering with comments. 

The par-4 11th hole on the Rio Olympic Course is 488/420 and appears the most penal off the tee in terms of dunes/waste/native. The second shot is uphill with a green going away from the players, so that should be fun!

Here is Digest flyover tour and the final Hanse rendering.

 
The 514/430-yard par-4 12th players toward the water and features high-scoring possibilities. The Digest flyover tour with commentary from course architect the final Hanse rendering.

Saturday
Aug062016

Golfers In Olympic Opening Ceremonies; Rory Heckled By Boxers

Rickie Fowler appears to be having no shortage of fun in Rio so far, based on this slideshow at GolfChannel.com of his best Snapchat shots.

This, despite having his stylist misunderstanding a haircut directive for which Twitter was most unkind, reports Alex Myers.

Golf favorites Henrik Stenson of Sweden and England's Justin Rose also were having a good time with Rose bagman Mark Fulchers.

 Julieta Granata carried the flag for Paraguay even though she doesn't begin competing for 11 days.

Golfer Siddikur Rahman carried Bangladesh's flag into the stadium: 

Rory McIlroy's Olympic WD was noted by Irish boxer’s Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon, who employed Caroline Wozniacki (here) and Rickie Fowler for heckling Tweets. The Fowler one uses a fun description!

Thursday
Aug042016

Golf Is Dead (Again) Files: Nike, Golfsmith Edition

Two years ago, golf was declared a dead or dying sport because one company bet on three drivers in a year. One big retailer fired its workforce of professional golf instructors/fitters because it bought into a stupid bet. Yet somehow the kneejerk takeaway was not one of befuddlement at the ignorance of it all, but that golf was a dying sport and industry. Some of us didn't agree.

Since then, one of the subsequent Taylor Made CEO's admitted they'd made changes to avoid a repeat, and the retailer's CEO, declared that he never lost an affinity for the golf market.

With news that Nike was ending its manufacture of golf balls and equipment, the golf-is-dead narrative made its way to the lede of Bloomberg's Nick Turner, Matt Townsend story.

Nike Inc., the world’s largest maker of sporting goods, will stop selling golf equipment, striking another blow to a pastime hurt by slowing participation rates in recent years.

The only blow, and it is a significant one, is to the employee base of Nike Golf and to the golf pros who may have their endorsement deals reduced, including the lavishly compensated Rory McIlroy, reports James Corrigan. (Players expressed their sympathy for staffers here, reports G.C. Digital, while Tiger set off a firestorm by saying Nike helped him win a Grand Slam, reports Alex Myers.)

Outside of that?

Golf will still be played next week in the Olympics in spite of the animals, viruses and other issues. It might even come off as a welcomed addition to the games.

Not a single golf round or vacation was cancelled on the Nike news, at least that we know of.

Callaway's stock rose.

Taylor Made reported a profit and maybe got a tad more attractive to a buyer with a little more market share out there.

Analysts predicted good deals for those willing to take some Nike off of retailer shelves.

Bob Parsons says his phone was ringing off the hook Thursday, Michael Chwasky reports for golf.com. As Charl Schwartzel found out, there is life after Nike.

Furthermore, it turns out we should have seen this coming, writes Jason Lusk at Golfweek.com

“I’ve been talking about it all year,” said Casey Alexander, an analyst with Gilford Securities in New York who tracks the golf industry. “Not one time did you see an ad for Nike clubs or Nike golf balls. Not one time…

“Ten years ago I said this business was going to collapse down to a core four at best – Callaway, Titleist, TaylorMade and Nike. I just got one of the names wrong. It turns out Nike is out and Ping is in. … The effects of this have been happening already in the marketplace. If you’ve been to an Edwin Watts or Golf Galaxy and you look for Nike Golf, you will find the most miserly display of mish-mash equipment imaginable. There’s just nothing there.”

Rob Sauerhaft at Golf.com also talked to Alexander at length about what this means and he offered this:

The equipment business has held pretty steady over the years in the $4 to $4.5 billion range. Having a 5% market share company get carved up by others doesn’t signal the end. It used to be that there were secondary competitors and tertiary competitors. Now, the secondary competitors are being flushed out. But it’s not a sign of the end of the business.

The key: prospects for massive growth are not great, but the business is steady enough. Which, we know, Wall Street finds utterly useless if not cause for hysteria.

But should that irrational mindset be a barometer for the health of the sport?

I'd prefer to know how golf ball sales are going if we are going to use the "business" to determine the health of golf, because that would at least point to something all golfers can't survive without.

From Daniel Roberts' Yahoo Finance story on the Nike news:

Acushnet, which owns ball-maker Titleist and shoe brand Footjoy, filed for IPO this summer and is looking for $100 million or more to finance the offering. But its sales fell in 2015 to $1.5 billion and it posted a loss. It’s unlikely it can afford a big acquisition any time soon.

But that news could also factor in several things that have nothing to do with ball sales.

All of the Nike news was accentuated by this Bloomberg story from Lauren Coleman-Lochner
and Kiel Porter, who says Golfsmith "is considering filing for bankruptcy as it looks for a new owner, according to people with knowledge of the situation."

Golfsmith hired the investment bank Jefferies LLC to solicit buyers for the roughly 150-store chain, without success so far, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because the process isn’t public. The company also hired Alvarez & Marsal to help it restructure, according to the people, who said that a sale could come as part of a Chapter 11 filing.

The Austin, Texas-based chain is the latest casualty of a struggling golf industry, which hasn’t recovered from a downturn in U.S. participation over the past decade. Nike Inc. announced on Wednesday that it would no longer sell equipment for the sport, and Adidas AG is trying to offload most of its golf brands.

After a few calls today, I learned Golfsmith's primary issue is with terrible leases and real estate issues involving many of its locations. Bankruptcy would make it easier to get out of such deals or to restructure them.

Again, not a great statement about golf as a business because more robust sales would mask those contracts. But as seen through the constant-growth-or-else lens, it's just one more thing suggesting this is also very much a business issue more than a golf issue.

There is no question golf faces all sorts of issues in a world with rapidly changing business, recreational and media consumption trends. But as with prior examples in the golf business world, pinning the blame on a sport that has been around for 400 years, when we can point to obvious market overcrowding and bad deals, seems short-sighted.

Thursday
Aug042016

Rio Golf Course: Wildlife Gone Wild! Until It's Not!

The National Post's Bev Wake filed a report that went viral and exaggerated (Deadspin ran with thee "news" and even Perez Hilton picked it up) about the wild animal park to be faced by golfers at the Rio Olympic Golf Course.

Wake writes:

The new Olympic Golf course is home to some unusual wildlife, including capybaras — the largest species of rodent in the world, which are a slightly cuter version of those horrible creatures from The Princess Bride.

They can reach 60 centimetres in height and can weigh up to 150 lbs.

“They chew down on the grass at night,” says Mark Johnson, director of international agronomy for the PGA Tour, “There are about 30-40 of them inside the course perimeter, but they live here and we play golf here, we co-exist.”

Wake's National Post colleague Cam Cole toured the course two days later and is the first journalist to do so (I believe). He files a positive review and notes the absence of the vicious wildlife.

So, to sum up: Campo Olimpico de Golfe, located within the Reserva de Marapendi, isn’t exactly Augusta National, but it’s not Goat Hills, either.

It is a decent-ish sort of rolling golf course inside a construction site, which — like most other sporting venues of Rio 2016 — is shooting for a completion date of “What time do they get here again?”

For all the howling about what a disaster it could turn out to be, it will be nothing like it.

It's pretty remarkable that we have arrived at Rio and the golf course, once thought to be a toxic waste dump set to pilfer a nature reserve, is thriving and that thriving could now be held against the course.

Still, I'm confident that after two weeks, and no shortage of shots of burrowing owls allowed to live on the course and other wildlife, that teh world will get to see golf courses can be wildlife friendly.

Wednesday
Aug032016

Video: 5-Year-Old Tommy Morrissey's Swing Impersonations

Thanks to Alex Podloger for sending along this from the amazing Tommy Morrissey's visit to Pinehurst, where the five-year-old qualified for the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships. He stopped by the Pinehurst Golf Academy for some video analysis too, prompting this gem. Make sure to stay to the end for the best imitation of all...

Wednesday
Aug032016

Roundup: Nike Golf Ending Its Equipment Business

There were signs this was coming, namely a staff departure and a seemingly strange equipment change by Charl Schwartzel prior to The Open, but still

Mike Stachura's report at GolfDigest.com notes the sale figures which sound great, until they are placed into the context of market share.

Nike, which reported flat to down annual sales in its overall golf business the last two years at just north of $700 million in annual sales (which includes shoes and apparel), has been in the golf business since 1984, but only introduced its first clubs in 2002 with the Pro Combo set of irons. Its sales in 2013 and 2014 were nearly $800 million.

The company has struggled to become a leading player in the equipment business, with market shares in woods and irons that were routinely one-tenth those of leaders Callaway and TaylorMade.

Stachura also recounts some of the products Nike made over the years and features quotes from Tony Finau, who recently moved to Nike and was surprised by the news. There is also a telling quote from a player who noted he never saw Nike's equipment in the bags of his pro-am partners.

Jason Lusk at Golfweek.com assesses the news and notes this on sales:

In its 10-K report for fiscal year 2015, Nike announced a 2-percent decrease in its golf business revenues from 2014. Revenues had dropped to $771 million in 2015, down from $789 million in 2014 and $792 million in 2013.

Will Gray at GolfChannel.com gets this quote from Mark Steinberg about Tiger's status. They have known about the end of Nike's equipment business for a few days.

"Clearly he and I need to be thinking about a change on the hard goods side," Steinberg told GolfChannel.com via phone. "He and I have discussed at length the plan for that, and feel comfortable with what we're going to do going forward. But clearly, there's likely to be a change."

Jeff Ritter at Golf.com also talked to Steinberg and got this regarding Tiger's clothing:

Steinberg declined to reveal which clubmaker he'd first approach, but added: "He's been a longtime icon of Nike Golf and that's not going to change one ounce. He'll remain a loyal and enthusiastic icon of Nike."

Steve Pike at the A Position says Nike never made equipment up to the levels and notes the timing.

Nike decision to cut bait on the equipment side comes at an interesting time in the golf industry. adidas Group has been trying for the better part of the past year to sell TaylorMade; and the Acushnet Company, parent of the Titleist and FootJoy brands, is in the midst of preparing for an Initial Public Offering. Nike’s exit from the equipment business likely won’t have any impact on either of those deals, but it likely will be seen as another black eye for a struggling industry.

Wednesday
Aug032016

Video: Rio Olympic Golf Course 7th, 8th and 9th Holes

The closing three holes of the front nine return to the upper shelf of the property where the sandy influence is stronger. The long par-4 7th plays493/407 yards into the wind with a strong false front green.

Gil Hanse narrates the flyover for Golf Digest. Here is his final rendering.

The par-3 eighth (172/154) certainly exudes ties to the Redan and given the terrain it was set on, the fit was not forced. The rendering and the flyover:


The par-4 ninth hole brings a little blindness and weirdness to close out the front nine, playing 369 yards for the men and 324 yards for the women. The rendering.

Wednesday
Aug032016

Not April Fools: Nike To End Its Golf Equipment Business

According to Darren Rovell on Twitter, "no more clubs, balls or bags."

Wednesday
Aug032016

Oops: Kuchar Is Now Aware Of The Actual Olympic Golf Format

In the better late than never files, Matt Kuchar found out during his Travelers Championship media session that there is no team format in the 2016 Olympic golf.

Joel Beall at GolfDigest.com details the awkward exchange just three days out from the opening ceremony.

"There is no combined? No team event whatsoever?" Kuchar continued. "Just an individual. We did the same thing at World Cup: 72 hole stroke play. I played with Kevin Streelman. We never played together but we did represent the United States in a team format.

"That was my initial impression of what was happening with the Olympics, but I'm incorrect on that."

ESPN's Jason Sobel helped clarify the situation for Kuchar, remarking, "If Bubba wins you don't get a medal."

And it's at that point we came to the collective realization: Kuchar legitimately didn't know the Olympic tournament's configuration.

Tuesday
Aug022016

How Jimmy Walker Got To The Next Level

Alan Shipnuck's SI/Golf.com story is a nice recap of Jimmy Walker's rise from solid journeyman to major winner.

This was also noteworthy. Someone has made a quick impact...

A month ago he began working with Julie Elion, Mickelson's former sports psychologist. (Jimmy and Phil are frequent practice-round foils.) At Baltusrol part of the plan was for Walker to carry himself with more cowboy swagger. When a reporter noted during the champion's press conference that he had seemed surprisingly calm during the tense finish, Walker said, "That's huge, because that's what I was going for."