Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins

Perhaps there should be less emphasis on lists of "great courses" and on "toughness." Challenge is one thing. Extreme difficulty is quite another. Unfortunately, nobody likes to think his course can be taken apart by anybody, and that too often becomes the measuring stick by which courses are designed. JACK NICKLAUS

 

   

Friday
Feb032017

Japan Golf Association: Women Have Not Complained About Treatment At 2020 Olympic Course

An unbylined Japan Times story implies that the Japan Golf Association believes 2020 Olympic golf host Kasumigaseki can remain male only. Women are currently forbidden from playing Sundays or joining the club as full members, setting the stage for yet another embarrassing row involving Olympic golf.

The Japan Times quotes a statement from the association that would appear problematic given the IOC's desire to have the situation reviewed, or the club's planned review to ensure they would remain the Olympic host.

“There’re 212 female members and there’ve been no complaints about the way they are treated or the rights they have. The door is wide open for female players,” the JGC said in a statement.

The story also notes that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who raised the issue publicly, is not backing down.

“It’s natural that there are opinions questioning the place hosting the Olympics,” Abe told the Diet during the House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting.

“(Olympics golf has) men’s and women’s events in the first place. And what if (the women’s competition) gets scheduled on a Sunday?”

Thursday
Feb022017

Sigh: Tiger WD's From Dubai Desert Classic

The comeback that seemed promising after his Hero World Challenge appearance has taken a huge hit with his Dubai Desert Classic WD Friday morning due to back spasms.

The European Tour tweeted the news:


Woods insisted he was pain free in round one, but not until late in the round did he start to appear somewhat loose. Media on site were skeptical and reiterated their views on news of the early exit.

Golf Channel's Todd Lewis reported the issue was, indeed, back-related.


Thursday
Feb022017

Brandel: Tiger "Looks like an old man"

Not that Tiger needed bulletin board material, but he has received (yet another) gift from Brandel Chamblee...

From Golf Central at the Waste Management yesterday following Tiger's opening 77 in Dubai...

"I look at Tiger, and I can't help but think he looks like an old man," Chamblee said. "He looks like the oldest ... 41-year-old man in the history of the game. I saw him getting out of the bunker on the first hole and he was standing very stiff and upright as he was getting out of the bunker, and he looked like he was walking around protecting an issue that he wasn't speaking to. That's very much what it looked like to me.

Thursday
Feb022017

Rave Review: Shipnuck On New Trump Dubai Course

Calling it "one helluva course" The Knockdown's Alan Shipnuck gives the course and clubhouse at Trump Dubai a rave review.

Shipnuck writes:

The grand opening of the club is still two weeks away, but a nonpartisan visit on Wednesday revealed a course that traverses highly imaginative (man-made) terrain, boasting a thrilling variety of risk-reward holes, interesting greens and gloriously firm turf that promotes the ground game and accentuates the many challenging runoffs around the putting surfaces. There is nary a waterfall, Roman statuary or other hokum that blights lesser properties in the Trump golf empire. No, the President has created something that is – dare we say it? —understated.

The story also includes a short slideshow of some course photos, and a very positive review from Graeme McDowell.

Thursday
Feb022017

Roundup: Tiger Insists He's Pain Free In Painful 77

If you stayed up to watch you know it was an uncomfortable few hours of Tiger Woods in the Dubai Desert Classic. Without a helpful putter and any fluidity to his body movement, Tiger posted 77 as the field torched an Emirates Golf Club that will have strong day two winds.

A similar body language issue was apparent last week at Torrey Pines, where Woods looked less-fluid on day one after coasting early in the pro-am and swinging freely during the back nine (as temperatures rose).

He noted the early morning issue after missing the cut at Torrey:

Q.  Tiger, just following on that, how are you physically?  How have you handled the cold weather and what do you have to do to prepare for days like this?  I'm sure it's a process that's more involved than it's ever been.

TIGER WOODS:  It is, it's a long process in the mornings trying to get ready and trying to get warmed up.  You know, the task and the tall order is to stay warm and stay loose.  That's one of the things that I hadn't dealt with.  I haven't dealt with at home and we're basically in a dome down there in south Florida.  We haven't had to deal with cold, damp conditions like this.  It was different.

But, you know, it's something we had already ‑‑ we had been planning about and thinking about what we needed to do; how to layer up properly, how to stay warm, move around, exercises I may have to do on course while playing, different things how to stay loose and I did.

Any back injury sufferer, let alone one who has been operated on multiple times, knows mornings are the toughtest. Yet even with the best physio's to help loosen up pre-round, the lack of physical freedom must be a concern.

In reading those who made the trek to Dubai, everyone in attendance sensed exactly what we watched on Golf Channel's coverage: little comfort level from Woods.

Bob Harig for ESPN noted the cautious body language from range to first tee and early on in the round.

But this is the new normal for Woods, who moves around carefully, takes his time crouching down to read putts and seemingly has difficulty getting loose for early-morning rounds.

That was the case last week at Torrey Pines and again on Thursday, where Woods has dug himself a hole and is looking at another weekend off in his second official tournament back following a 17-month layoff due to multiple back surgeries in 2015.

John Huggan for GolfDigest.com:

It wasn’t all about misdirection with the irons though. Again displaying a disquietingly cautious gait and a stiff and ungainly finish to his supposedly “pain-free” swing, Woods struggled to make any real headway on a day when he only rarely strung more than one or two good shots together. Almost every hole was marked by mistakes that turned birdie chances into pars and pars into bogeys.

Alistair Tait for Golfweek.com on the performance as it relates to Tiger's past play at Emirates.

In seven previous appearances around the Emirates course, Woods’s worst score was a 75 in the final round in 2011. He held a 68.17 stroke average through 28 rounds, and was 92 under. So 77 is actually nine shots above his personal par.

“I wasn’t in pain at all,” said Woods, dismissing suggestions he looked to be walking gingerly. “I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn’t doing a very good job.”

Tiger was in decent spirits in his post-round interview and talking about adding lead tape to his balky putter, posted here by GolfChannel.com.

And the round highlights.

Wednesday
Feb012017

Golf's Blimp Issue Becomes Evident Thursday In Scottsdale

We're about to find out just how important the blimp shot is to golf.

Barring a last minute alternative, Thursday's Waste Management Open is not expected to include aerial shots of the massive crowds convening at TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole ampitheater. This is due to Goodyear's lessened interest in golf and the high cost of running an airship.

As Golfweek's Forecaddie noted this week and I explained on ShackHouse, the two primary providers of blimp coverage are not interested in golf for different reasons.

MetLife, suppliers of stunning aerial images over the years to NBC, Golf Channel and others, changed marketing heads and signaled last fall that they were getting out of the business.

Goodyear, eager to sell tires and without a direct tie to golf like their competitors at Bridgestone, will only be at the Genesis Open near the blimp's LA base in the coming weeks. Beyond that, their status at golf tournaments remains unclear.

While we all want as many golf shots as possible on a telecast, blimp shots put the spectacle of professional golf into context. They allow us to see where the course sits in relation to a major city and, when equipped with a camera operator, to see replays of epic shots. Or, they simply show us beautiful landscapes.

While fixed wing planes can give us the context--as will happen during the weekend coverage at Pebble Beach--they cannot sit still to give us the true birdseye view of a golfer playing a shot the way a blimp can.

The issue remains fluid and I suspect that there will be resolution of some kind, but in the meantime prepare to see what golf looks like without one of its key storytelling tools.

Wednesday
Feb012017

Trump Golf Loses Jupiter Suit, Judge Apologizes For Not Calling The President The President

An unbylined AP story confirms that Trump Golf must repay $5.7 million to 65 former Trump National Jupiter members denied refunds after Donald Trump bought the club in 2012.

Trump Golf will appeal according to the story, but I think more entertaining is the Judge Kenneth Marra's clarification for not referring to the president by his title.

"At all times relevant to this lawsuit, Donald J. Trump was a private citizen. As a result, the Court will refer to him as such in this decision. In doing so, the Court means no disrespect to him or to the esteemed position he now holds," Marra wrote.

Wednesday
Feb012017

Mixed Bag With 2017 Farmers Open TV Ratings 

Tiger is back and so are the stout first and second round numbers on Golf Channel.

With Tiger gone for the weekend CBS still was up big over 2016's rain delayed final round, but down slightly from two years ago.

Sports Media Watch with the weekend numbers roundup, where CBS drew a 2.0 rating (3.1 million viewers) for the Farmers Insurance Open final round. 

Even with the big jump, this year’s 2.0 rating is tied as the third-lowest over that span — matching 2009 and ahead of only last year and 2012 (1.8).

Third round action on Saturday had a 1.2 and 1.9 million, up 20% in ratings and 35% in viewership from last year (1.0, 1.4M) and up 9% and 20% respectively from 2015 (1.1, 1.6M).

Weekend lead-in coverage on Golf Channel saw averages of 566,000 (Saturday) and 809,000 viewers (Sunday).

According to SportsTVRatings.com, Friday's Farmers 4-hour telecast on Golf Channel, where Tiger was part of the coverage, averaged 643,000 viewers, including 106,000 from the only demographic that matters.

Thursday's coverage window was also four hours and featured plenty of Tiger, who delivered 784,000/121,000 to the telecast.

Tuesday
Jan312017

TPC Scottsdale 16th Buildout Video: Why Not Make It Permanent?

The fascination never ceases with the 16 at TPC Scottsdale, especially from casual sports fans who take notice of the antics and energy.

Even golfers who play TPC Scottsdale love sharing photos on social media of themselves playing before an empty "Coliseum", imagining what it must be like.

So while watching the timelapse video from the PGA Tour, I was left to wonder again: why not make this a permanent structure?  I'm guessing this is a permitting or zoning issue. But the surrounding grandstands have become so massive both in size and popularity that a permanent conversion would make sense. No?

Tuesday
Jan312017

PGA Show Review: "An absolute sloth"

Tony Covey at MyGolfSpy.com breaks down the PGA Show highlights, trends and observations.

However, it was his overall take on the model of a convention that will not go down well in West Palm Beach.

While the daily propaganda blasts from show organizers might have you believe otherwise, I’m here to tell you that the 2017 PGA Show was an absolute sloth. With noticeably light traffic in the aisles and plenty of open space (both on the show floor and the range at demo day), 2017’s easily qualifies as the most depressing PGA Show during my time in the industry.

Take it for whatever it’s worth, but several of my media colleagues (and others I’ve spoken with from inside the industry) are in complete agreement. Call it a worse show on the heels of a bad show on the heels of a not so good show.

Covey says the show in its current form, due to cost for all, "makes less and less sense."

Thoughts from those who attended?

Tuesday
Jan312017

Hogan Equipment Co. Files For Bankruptcy, Website Down

Even though CEO Scott White said a few weeks ago that "reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated," the Ben Hogan Equipment Company, which unveiled a revamped brand and irons in 2015, has filed for bankruptcy, reports the Dallas News.

From the report (thanks reader Steve):

The Chapter 11 petition, filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Worth on Saturday, lists both assets and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. Among its top creditors are Perry Ellis International, which licensed the Hogan name to the company, owed $267,500, and Conti Edgecliff-Sias LLC, its landlord in south Fort Worth, owed $77,256.74.

The company website is no longer functional.

Tuesday
Jan312017

Two(!) Books Win The USGA Book Award

Congratulations to Kevin Robbins and Peter Lewis for having their excellent work recognized by the USGA's Herbert Warren Wind Book Award.

The USGA's museum director, Adam Barr, explains why the committee decided to award two books.

"Frankly, it's not likely to happen again – but this year, after much discussion, we decided that we had two books worthy of the 2016 award," said Adam Barr, director of the USGA Golf Museum. "Each contributes something distinct and valuable in terms of research and narrative style, two attributes that always rank high in our deliberations."

I have not seen the Lewis book but would love to find it. Anyone know a good spot to purchase?

In Why Are There Eighteen Holes?: St. Andrews and the Evolution of Golf Courses, 1764-1890, Peter Lewis takes readers on a journey through the 18th and 19th centuries to discover why there are 18 holes on a course. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary sources, he reveals that early courses had varying numbers of holes and were judged by the quality of their turf, putting greens and hazards. He shows why, during the 1880s, as golf became more popular, the ideal number of holes was increasingly seen as being 18.

You can read the Q&A I did with Robbins last year regarding his biography of Harvey Penick. And purchase the book through Amazon.

Monday
Jan302017

Great Read: Pete Cowen's "My Shot"

Another stellar Guy Yocom My Shot arrives with Pete Cowen, labeled in the headline as "the best teacher no one knows."

That's a pretty fair label given that he had two major winners last year from his stable of players.

Anyhow, it's an informative look into his thinking and why a Cowen book would be a fun read. Here he explains his fee structure, that gives him 4% of a players' tournament winnings, but only for top tens:

I cover all my expenses and am available on short notice. I'm very proud of this. What other coach in the world of sports has the confidence to structure their fee schedule this way? There have been times when the results of my coaching have produced revenue for me that the players' agents felt was excessive. This led me to add a corollary to my offer: If the player leaves my camp, for any reason whatsoever, and doesn't leave a token bit of compensation in place, said player cannot come back. This happened several years ago with a very good player I was helping. A Ryder Cupper who became top 50 in the world. The player's agent rang me one day to say his player was going to "do his own thing," was leaving and choosing not to keep a bit for me intact. I warned that said player couldn't come back. Some time later, the player's performance declined. The agent phoned me, asking if I would begin working with his player again. To that I said, "You obviously weren't listening." I couldn't take the player back. But good luck to him. He's a nice lad, and still a good player.

Monday
Jan302017

Roundup: Rahm's (Seemingly Special) Farmers Win

Maybe it's that we've been hearing what a supreme talent he is, or perhaps it's just how impressive Jon Rahm was in his post-round press conference. Either way, his back nine 30 over a host of players who vied for the 2017 Farmers title moves him to the seemingly endless list of emerging talents.

Now at world No. 46 after joining 91 spots (according to GolfChannel.com's Will Gray) and, reports CBSSports.com's Kyle Porter, Rahm is the fastest to make $2 million in PGA Tour history (passing Spieth who passed Woods)

He also charmed everyone with his infectious blend of class and enthusiam over winning at Torrey Pines, as noted in Teryn Schaefer's PGATour.com roundup that includes some fun behind-the-scenes footage of his trophy ceremony and celebration.

Doug Ferguson does a nice job telling Rahm's story in this AP look at Sunday's winner.

Golfweek's Jeff Babineau wrote this of Rahm:

Sunday evening, Rahm made for a pretty proud picture sitting next to that beautiful copper trophy of a Torrey Pine that he’d just earned. He loved the golf course before he ever saw it in person, reciting various Torrey Pines’ South highlights (such as John Daly’s bunker shot) he has viewed through the years. It’s an iconic place, and to him, winning here was extra special.

Mark Whicker had some fun anecdotes in this OC Register column, including this from caddy Adam Hayes:

“The college game is so good now,” Hayes said. “If you win there, you can win here, as long as you don’t change anything.’

The most fascinating anecdote may have been Rahm's belief that his excellent English was best shaped by listening to hip-hop. Steve DiMeglio reports this aspect of the Rahm story for USAToday:

The cadence of rap appealed to the latest winner on the PGA Tour as he memorized tracks, especially two of his favorite songs — Eminem’s Love the Way You Lie, and Lamar’s Swimming Pools.

“Memorizing rap songs in English … helped me out a lot to pronounce and actually understand what was going on and keeping up with people in conversation,” Rahm said following his breakthrough win Sunday in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. “You can look (those songs) up. They're good.”

For a deeper dive on Rahm, GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner chronicled Rahm's ASU career in 2015.

Monday
Jan302017

ShackHouse 25: Jon Rahm and the Rise of the Young Guns

On this week's show we kick around Jon Rahm’s impressive Farmers Insurance Open victory, one that may end up being a bigger deal than many casual observers might have guessed. We also evaluate Tiger’s performance, golf-related Super Bowl prop bets and the value of rivalries in golf. We wrap up by making some picks for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device subscription page.

Here is The Ringer's show page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 25 is here to listen to right now!

Here is the Rahm press conference I mentioned in the show.

As always, ShackHouse is brought to you by The Ringer and kindly sponsored by Callaway, who have unveiled the new Great Big Bertha Epic driver, Microhinge Technology-fueled Odyssey putters and the lively Callaway Community.

Bring your love for golf talk online to the Callaway Community where likeminded golf nuts are:

--testing and review products before they are in stores
--getting custom fitting advice
--and…mixing it up with the ShackHouse hosts. This year we’ll be doing giveaways, answering questions and more at CallawayGolf.com/Community. It's free!

Monday
Jan302017

Video: Two (New And Old School) Killer Trick Shots 

How does Steel Lafferty stay on the board while hitting a shot? And if he doesn't...ouch!


Miki, "professional golfer from Finland" pulls off an old school routine, but nails the finish after what had to be an epic cardio workout...

This one was more of a fail, but since he's a Dodger we'll give Adrian Gonzalez a tip of the cap for a nice try.

Monday
Jan302017

Bob Parsons Says Next PXG's Will "Cost A Lot More"

Thanks to reader Steve for Scott Bordow's AZCentral.com profile of Bob Parsons and PXG. If you've been following the story of this premium--$5000 for a set--clubmaker, the story and quotes will sound familiar. Except the last one.

Discussing the future, Parsons says the next generation PXG's will actually cost more.

"We’re working on a process that has never been done before and is incredibly expensive," Parsons said. "Our next set of clubs are going to cost a lot more."

I'm not sure if this is a statement about the actual cost of the clubs, or a cost passed along by signing tour players, or simply Parsons' sense that there is an audience wealthy enough to pay even more. But it's fascinating!

Sunday
Jan292017

NPR: Trump, Supreme Court And Waters Of The USA Rule

NPR's Greg Allen looks at the dynamics surrounding the Supreme Court's decision to hear a case involving the EPA's Waters of the United States rule. The rule has enormous ramifications for golf as more golf course water features could come under federal regulation.

Allen points out that the rule could directly impact President Donald Trump's golf courses, and therefore, impact his selection of a Supreme Court justice.

The rule is opposed by a long list of industries, including manufacturers, farmers and golf course owners like Trump.

They have been filing lawsuits that have put the rule on hold. Bob Helland, with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, says the average golf course has over 11 acres of streams, ponds and wetlands that could be affected. Under the rule, courses may now need federal permission before applying fertilizer or pesticides.

"Many of our routine activities would be deemed as a discharge into waters of the United States and could not move forward without getting a required permit," Helland said.

Allen notes that the rule could be eliminated sooner should Congress kill the rule and President Trump not veto it. Republican Sens. Joni Ernst and Deb Fischer have introduced a resolution to commence such a process.

ABC News is reporting that President Trump will be nominating a justice to fill the vacant seat on Tuesday.

Sunday
Jan292017

Farmers: A Golf Tournament With Not A Single Grandstand!

As was noted earlier in the week, the Farmers Insurance Open has made strides since nearly becoming extinct. But the operation, at least for the average paying customer, leaves much to be desired.

With a daily ticket price of $50 ($35 for senior), the event does not offer a single grandstand for general admission fans to sit on a green and watching play. Even worse, there is only a small 50-yard long area right of the 18th green for standing to watch action, leaving play to conclude, at a public golf facility, to finish in front of only corporate customers.

Compounding the problem: many of the corporate guests came dressed as empty seats, even on a gloroius Sunday with a stacked leaderboard. It was that way all week, but here's how it looked when the third to last group was approaching, not long after Jon Rahm's stunning eagle:

This might be moot if Torrey Pines had stadium mounding or even a green complex or two that were not raised surfaces. They do not and with all of the closing holes off limits to fans, this leaves surprisingly few places to comfortably watch action.

At the $50 general admission ticket price, the Farmers could be the worst tournament experience in golf. Growing the game, it will not.

The event obviously needs to generate revenue to pay off debts and surrounding holes 14 through 18 with corporate tents helps sell premium tickets and expensive packages. But at a public facility that the people of San Diego sacrifice for a few weeks, the anti-grandstand gesture seems in poor taste. And given the game's need to add new fans and keep old ones coming around, is it too much to give people a place to sit down once in a while?

The 16th green is off general admission limits to fans as well.

Sunday
Jan292017

Rahm Emerges From Pack With Dramatic First PGA Tour Win

He's been billed as the next great thing by even people who hate to proclaim next big things. And with a phenomenal back nine 30 capped off by an 18th hole eagle, Jon Rahm affirmed his status.

Here is Doug Ferguson's game story from Torrey Pines.

John Strege's account had this from Phil Mickelson, whose brother Tim represents Rahm and who Mickelson has played practice rounds with:

“Jon doesn't have weaknesses. Every part of his game is a strength. I think he's more than just a good young player. I think he's one of the top players in the world. There's an intangible that some guys have where they want to have the pressure, they want to be in that tough position, they want to have everything fall on their shoulders and he has that.”

Rahm's post round press conference was most impressive. When more highlights from that are posted I'll add here.

The eagle we'll see for years:

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