Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball. To be worthwhile, this purpose must excite and hold interest. If it fails in this, the character of the architecture is at fault.




Golfers & Twitter Files: Grayson Murray Is Schmuckier Than Ever, Gary Evans Concedes To Pepperell

The Grayson Murray World Twitter Tour started again November 2nd after a self-imposed hiatus and the legendary PGA Tour buffoon has already had to hit the delete button (and no doubt the Pay Fines Here button in the coming days).

Golf Wire reported for on Murray's reply to Tweets about the bizarre Schwab Cup ending that cost Bernhard Langer the season-long points race.

In response to a tweet detailing Bernhard Langer's accomplishments on the senior circuit this season, Murray replied: "Does anyone really care is the real question...These guys were relevant 10 plus years ago."

In another reply, he conceded that the pros on the Champions tour had "laid a good foundation" for the next generation, but then added: "You will never see Phil, Tiger, Furyk ever play on it! The tour subsidizes it every year. Loses a lot of money."

I thought this reply from Curtis Strange was especially good, not that an intellect the size of one-time U.S. Open appearee Murray could take in such sentiments from a two-time U.S. Open Champion:

Meanwhile over in Europe, former player and longtime commentator Gary Evans has retired from Twitter following a dust-up with the increasingly profane Eddie Pepperell.

Martin Inglis summarizes at Bunkered and I'll let you read the Tweets there as Pepperell likes to, uh, pepper his social media missives with colorful langauge!


PGA Tour LatinoAmerica Visits The (Legendary) Jockey Club...

While there is no television, keep an eye out for some of the social media posts of players and officials from Buenos Aires.

The VISA Open de Argentina tees off Thursday at The Jockey Club's Red Course, one of the last but reportedly best-preserved Alister MacKenzie designs. (The original 16th, pictured to the right has been softened since MacKenzie's day.)

According to architect Mike DeVries, who has consulted on limited restoration efforts for the huge club:

Dr. Alister MacKenzie's design for 36 holes at the Jockey Club was the impetus for him to leave the United States at the beginning of the Depression in 1930.  His two courses, the championship Colorado (red) and Azul (blue), were constructed efficiently by Luther Koontz, his associate that came from the USA to build the two courses and others in South America. The land is flat and the soil is heavy, making drainage a main factor in any construction project in Buenos Aires.  MacKenzie devised a swale system that would help the property drain faster and utilize the dirt cut from such swales to build up his green platforms, making for difficult approaches and recoveries on the sloped putting surfaces. 

DeVries explained more about the course in this thread.

And GCA proprietor Ran Morrissett reviewed the Red Course in 2007 here and here, with many photos of the bizarre but fun mounding employed by MacKenzie and Koontz and also used at Augusta National.

A few social posts have already appeared, started with this from

And this one from George Bryan is especially fun in showing off the crazy contours as only a Bryan Brother can:

If you're looking for something old school, this film from the 1970 World Cup there features some sweet (legendary) swings, including Roberto De Vicenzo, Vicente "Chino" Fernández, Tony Jacklin and Lee Trevino.


Report: Aronimink To Get 2027 PGA, 2020 KPMG Women's PGA

Joe Juliano reports for The Philadelphia Inquirer that recently-restored Donald Ross-designed Aronimink will host the 2027 PGA, 2020 KPMG Women's PGA in addition to its already planned hosting of the BMW Championship in 2018.

He writes:

Officials said about 85 percent of the project was completed before work stopped in early spring, and that the entire undertaking will be completed early in 2018.

Aronimink last hosted a PGA Championship in 1962 and waited a long time for a second one. The PGA of America named it as host of the 1993 PGA but the club pulled out of the agreement in November 1990 when it determined it could not have minorities as part of its membership by the time of the event.

In August, Juliano previewed the Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner-led restoration of Aronimink, which had been modified many times, most recently by the Fazio firm. The story includes a gallery of all 18 Hanse restoration drawings.

Some recent photos of the course post-restoration:

Fall colors on Aronimink #7 🍂🍁⛳️! #donaldross #propergolf

A post shared by Jaeger Kovich (@propergolf) on Nov 6, 2017 at 2:35pm PST


Why Nick Price Is Joining The USGA Executive Committee

Tim Rosaforte at Golf World talks to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and former World No. 1 Nick Price about the latter's decision to accept an invitation to the Executive Committee.

Davis discusses Price's ability to bridge a gap between the USGA and today's professionals, including on the distance issue.

Asked point blank if part of his mission was going after the ball, Price said that was a “TBD.”

“I have my thoughts, and I know what I think, but I don’t know what they think,” Price said. “I’m looking forward to working with the tech guys, and I have spent a little time with them. All I’m saying, this is an opportunity for us as professional golfers to do something with the USGA that’s unique.”

Does unique mean bifurcation of the rules between the pros and the everyday game or, simply as Woods said, rolling the ball back? Either way, having a well-respected Hall of Famer helping deliver the message will make it an easier sell.


Add John Paramor To The Anti-Green Reading Books List

Legendary European Tour rules official John Paramor, who restored order during the chaos of Jordan Spieth's errant Birkdale tee shot and who has no patience for slow play, talks to Golf World's John Huggan about his four decade career. Among the topics are rulings he's given, rules he'd like tweaked and his input on the upcoming rules revision.

He offered this on green reading books, which have generally been a pace of play nuisance.

Then there are the so-called “green books” you see people using when putting. Paramor has opinions there, too. “I recently asked Phil Mickelson what he thought about them. He feels they are a good thing. They are good for pace of play. They clear up a lot of the questions a player might have. Which is a valid point.

Actually, I don't think it is but go on...

"But I have to say I think they are a de-skilling of the game. Part of this game is making your own judgement about how your ball is going to roll across a green. It’s not for you to find that out on a piece of paper.”

I've seen two instances now of players blaming the books for a putt not breaking as it was supposed to on paper and it's more satisfying to witness than I ever imagined!

So as long they take 45 seconds or less, let them keep staring at the paper I say.


ShanShan: China Gets Its First No. 1 Player

With her third win at the LPGA's Blue Bay event on Hainan Island, Shanshan Feng becomes China's first player to top a world ranking. The bronze medalist in Rio understood the gravity of her win and also made light (at least in my reading) of the chaotic, course-closing, anti-golf madness that is hurting golf in China.

From Beth Ann Nichols' report:

“I finished first in China, so I actually claimed the world No. 1 in front of all the people at home,” said Feng. “So I’m really happy about that, and I hope all the Chinese are going to be watching me, and the Chinese can play golf. Hopefully there will be more Chinese getting on the tours and more world No. 1’s coming up from China.”

Feng, a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics, closed with a 70 at the Blue Bay LPGA event on Hainan Island to win by one stroke over Moriya Jutanugarn. The elder Jutanugarn sister lipped out a short birdie putt on the final hole that would’ve forced a playoff. Earlier this season, Ariya Jutanugarn became the first player from Thailand to reach No. 1.


Of Course Bernhard Langer Didn't Win The Season Long Charles Schwab Cup 

The dreaded "reset" reared its ugliest and most comedic head yet by depriving Bernhard Langer of the 2017 Schwab Cup.

On the list of hideous crimes this one will not  register and Langer's amazing season will not in any way be minimized by a ridiculous algorithm or playoff points reset. However, for a sponsor like Charles Schwab, an association with a goofily rigged competition should not be allowed to continue. Unless Schwab wants to stand for rewarding distant-second excellence.

A season-long points race loses credibility when a player has 16 top-10s, 21 top-20s and 7 wins in 22 starts (including the first two playoff events and 3 of 5 majors!), but fails to beat someone whose playoffs went like this: T47, T27, 1.

Will Gray at pointed this fun fact out:

This is Sutherland's first tournament victory since his lone PGA Tour title at the 2002 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. It marks the first time since 2013 that someone other than Langer won the season-long trophy on the over-50 circuit.

My favorite stat of all from Kevin Casey at Golfweek:

Overall, Langer fails to capture the Schwab Cup despite a season that included more wins than his last two Schwab-Cup-winning campaigns combined.

That's not fair to Kevin Sutherland. After all he won...once. The last event.

There is one positive for the PGA Tour: with the FedExCup avoiding any major points reset drama this year, the Schwab takes over the Reset Cup mantle.


2024 PGA Championship: Valhalla Is Back! 

The Louisville Courier-Journal's Tim Sullivan reports that the PGA of America has completed negotiations with the PGA of America and will return their championship to their Valhalla Golf Club.

An announcement is expected next Thursday.

The event will likely be scheduled Preakness Stakes weekend, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby is run in Louisville.


Bloomberg: Golf Course Deduction Currently Safe But Facing Increased Scrutiny In Trump Era

As Republican tax reformers are eliminating many write-offs, the current House version of a new tax bill currently includes the long-controversial deductions for golf course owners promising never to develop their land. While the "loophole" has come close to being closed, it's getting new attention with President Donald Trump's ownership of golf courses using the deduction in ways that contradict the spirit of the law.

Dan Wilchins and Prashant Gopal, reporting for Bloomberg, present a balanced picture, including the important counterpoint to arguments for eliminating the deduction and the relatively small amount of revenue that would be generated by closing the loophole.

In some cases, the tax benefit can make sense. There are communities where golf courses are some of the only open space available. Without the easements, an owner might be tempted to sell out to the highest bidder, which might develop housing on the space, said Sylvia Bates, director of standards and educational services at the Land Trust Alliance, a conservation group.

But in practice, the deductions that land owners take for golf courses are enormous compared with the conservation value, said Ruth Madrigal, a tax lawyer who worked on conservation easements for the U.S. Treasury department during the Obama administration. A developer can build homes and a nearby golf course, get a conservation easement on the links and claim a deduction that can pay for the entire development, she said.


One Week After Greg Norman's Cast-Iron Shattering Announcement, The List Of Accolades Has Arrived!













 **Okay, so there hasn't been a story since, but hey, it was one amazing rollout.


Callaway, Acushnet Give Upbeat Q3 2017 Earnings Reports

It was encouraging to read upbeat remarks from the leaders of golf's two biggest publicly traded companies, Callaway (here) and Acushnet (here) each summarizing their third quarter 2017 earnings report calls with analysts.

Callaway announced big gains in all areas:

In the third quarter of 2017, as compared to the same period in 2016, the Company's net sales increased $56 million (30%) to $244 million. This increase was led by increases in all operating segments, namely Golf Clubs (+ 21%), Golf Balls (+20%), and Gear, Accessories and Other (+72%) as well as increases in each reporting region, namely the United States (+33%), Europe (+23%), Japan (+28%), Rest of Asia (+28%), and other countries (+23%). The increase in the Golf Clubs and Golf Balls segments reflects the continued success of the Company's EPIC line of products as well as the Chrome Soft golf ball franchise. The increase in Gear, Accessories and Other primarily reflects the successful acquisitions of the OGIO and TravisMathew brands which were completed in 2017. 

As a result of this significant increase in sales, as well as a 110 basis point improvement in gross margins, the Company recognized a significant improvement in profitability during the third quarter of 2017. Due to the seasonality of the Company's business, the Company often reports a loss for the third quarter. However, in the third quarter of 2017, the Company reported an $11 million increase in operating income to $6 million as compared to an operating loss of ($5) million in the third quarter of 2016.

CEO Chip Brewer's outlook:

"Looking forward, we are pleased that our year-to-date performance has allowed us to increase our full year sales and earnings guidance," continued Mr. Brewer. "We also continue to be cautiously optimistic about the golf industry overall, thanks to what we believe are improving fundamentals. Lastly, our brand momentum remains strong and we believe we are the #1 club and # 1 hard goods market share brand in every major region around the world." 

Other than not knowing what Acushnet (Titleist/Footjoy) COO David Maher meant with a mention of "a strong pyramid of influence validation," I could understand the earnings report and the numbers sounded positive, despite a small decline in golf ball sale profits chalked up to promotional pricing as they shift to a new product line.

CEO Wally Uihlein, on the state of business:

"We are encouraged to see that the global golf industry continues to structurally improve through the first nine months of 2017. While near term, US demand trends have been impacted as the focus shifted to important life priorities in areas hit by the recent hurricanes, it is good to see many areas are recovering well as a sense of normalcy returns.

"We are confident that our proven strategy, dedicated associates and valued trade partners will enable us to leverage a stronger industry and extend our success over the long term."

The numbers:

In the third quarter Acushnet posted sales of $347 million, up over 2% on a reported basis and up near 3% on constant currency. For the first nine months of 2017, sales of $1.209 billion were off 2.7% from last year or 2% on constant currency. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $32.2 million, up 15% from last year and $182.5 million for the nine month period, a 4% decline.

At the segment level, golf ball sales were off 3% for the quarter and 2% year-to-date, both on constant currency. New Pro V1 golf balls have posted sales and share gains through the first three quarters of the year as golfers have embraced the new and improved Pro V1 and x models.

Sales of our performance models have declined as these have been most impacted by competitive promotional activity in what is the back half of their two year product lifecycles. We see this promotional activity largely as a byproduct of the retail correction as golf ball companies come to terms with the new inventory and retail square footage realities of the market.


Report: Golf Business Influencer Giles Morgan Leaves HSBC

John Hopkins at Global Golf Post says HSBC head of global sponsorship strategy Giles Morgan has left the financial services giant after 12 years.

Morgan has been a passionate supporter of professional golf and in efforts to grow the game, including this ambitious campaign. He also led the company to start an annual Golf Business Forum attended by many industry heavyweights, though a 2017 edition is not currently listed on the official website.

Hopkins noted the many events Morgan has steered sponsorship dollars toward:

As such he was the man behind his company’s commitment to events such as the WGC-HSBC Champions, recently held in Shanghai, China; the HSBC Women’s Champions event held in Singapore last March; and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, staged in the Middle East last January. HSBC was also one of the patrons of the Open Championship.

HSBC was also known for elaborate pre-tournament publicity stunts in the Morgan era, including this one apparently gone slightly awry for Henrik Stenson's ribs.


Yes, It's Early To Be Talking About Olympic's 2032 Ryder Cup

The half-zips were put in storage and in an apparent not to San Francisco circa 1988, the sweatervests were out in full force as the PGA of America announced its new partnership with Olympic Club.

Ron Kroichick with all of the gory details from Wednesday's rollout, attended by O-Club member Barry Bonds, who dressed like he was attending a press conference to announce the awarding of a PGA and a Ryder Cup.

Of course, there was the question of why anyone needs to know this given that the 2032 Ryder Cup is fifteen years away, addressed by Kroichick:

San Francisco also makes perfect sense as a Ryder Cup host, given the city’s international flavor. It will be an event featuring players from throughout the U.S. and Europe, unfolding in an area known for its diversity of cultures.

The only catch: We must wait 15 years.

This uncommon lag time prompted more than a few snickers since the news filtered out last week. Several readers wondered whether they still would be alive in ’32. One colleague suggested Stephen Curry as U.S. captain. Someone wondered if Charlie Woods (Tiger’s son) would anchor the American team, smacking 500-yard drives with next-generation equipment.

All reasonable scenarios.

The Bonds photo opp:


R.I.P. Mr. Pebble Beach R.J. Harper

Terrible news out of Pebble Beach where R.J. Harper, executive vice president of golf and retail operations and the face of operations there since rising from the ranks of golf course marshal, died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer.

Tom Wright's Monterey County Herald obituary included this:

He rose through the ranks during his 32-year career at Pebble Beach Co., becoming the head professional, serving as championship director at the 2000 U.S. Open and general chairman of the 2010 and 2019 U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach before earning his executive position.

“All of us at Pebble Beach Co. and throughout the golf world are heartbroken by the news of RJ’s passing,” said Pebble Beach Co. CEO Bill Perocchi, who worked with RJ for 18 years, in a prepared statement. “RJ had a lasting impact on Pebble Beach, and his smile, vibrant personality and positive attitude and outlook on life will be missed by all and never forgotten. He was a kind, caring person; a consensus builder and true team player; and a dear friend to me personally and to countless employees, guests and people in the golf industry.”

Alan Shipnuck at posted this profile of Harper in February this year that is worth a few minutes of your time if you did not read it then.

He is a classic American success story, having begun his career at Pebble as a $5-an-hour marshal before working his way up to head pro and now a senior executive position at the Pebble Beach Co. Oozing the Southern charm of a down-home Tennessee boy and possessing the swagger of the football star he once was, Harper has the rare ability to befriend everyone from resort guests to PGA Tour stars, greenskeepers to captains of industry. In his three decades at Pebble he has become one of the most-connected men on the planet.

Steve Hennessey at Golf World with a roundup of Tweets from across the golf world expressing sadness at his passing.

I'll add more remembrances as they are posted.


Video: Japan's Prime Minister (Fortunately) Avoids Injury Trying To Escape A Kasumigaseki Bunker

A Japanese television outlet posted this aerial a few days removed from Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosting President Donald Trump at Kasumigaseki.

The group played nine holes at the 2020 Olympic golf venue with Hideki Matsuyama

The bunkers look pretty tough to escape, at least on the path chosen by the Prime Minister:


Colonial Facing December 1 Deadline Over Its Future?

Updating the situation in Forth Worth, the Star-Telegram's Mac Engel suggests the PGA Tour is not doing enough to help the historic Colonial National Invitational find a new sponsor as Dean & DeLuca looks to get out.

Originally facing a Nov. 1 deadline to resolve the sponsorship situation, Engel says the club has until December 1st.

According to multiple sources, the PGA is not doing much to help. That the PGA is sitting on its hands is only slightly ironic because it was the PGA that put Colonial in this situation.

It was the PGA that lined up Colonial with D&D. Now the PGA is looking at the Fort Worth country club to fix this problem.

Which is a plausible scenario after 2018.

The PGA is not talking about this, which leads fans, club members and media to draw their own conclusions.

It's not implausible to think the PGA Tour will let the event die given the need to consolidate in 2019 when the PGA Championship moves to May. However, this is one thing when the consolidation might impact relatively new tournaments. But saying goodbye to an event dating to 1946 will be a tougher sales job.


Olympic Club's Lucrative Flip To PGA/Ryder Cup Rota Member: $15 Million Projected Windfall

The San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick considers the Olympic Club's grabbing of a PGA and Ryder Cup, suggesting there were lingering tensions with the USGA over repair costs in 2012 and in revenue anticipated for a possible 2027 U.S. Open, which is now headed to Pebble Beach.

He writes:

One logical explanation for the Olympic Club’s change of heart: money. Olympic could earn a projected $15 million from hosting the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship, according to one source. Another U.S. Open probably would have generated between $2 million and $3 million.

The windfall is expected to help finance an extensive renovation of Olympic’s clubhouse, which hasn’t had major improvements in 23 years.

Kroichick also says Olympic Club officials didn't like the terms they were offered.

This reflected a larger issue: Olympic Club officials believed they weren’t offered financial terms comparable to other traditional U.S. Open venues.

None of the principals involved would address these differences on the record, but tension apparently spilled into negotiations over the past year for the 2027 U.S. Open.

As he notes, this likely opens up faster returns to other west coast venues like Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines or maybe even Chambers Bay, all of which garner higher ratings due to time zone differences allowing for more viewers to watch the U.S. Open in prime time.

Not noted by Kroichick but certainly something else to consider if you're wondering why the obsession over Olympic Club, which has slipped architecturally in recent years.

The USGA announced another return to Pebble Beach in 2027 once Olympic Club negotiations stalled: it's the first year of their next television contract.

For the PGA of America, landing Olympic Club adds a second west coast venue to its schedule, a vital chip when the organization starts talking--any day now--to networks about its expiring television contract (after 2019 PGA).

Either way, let's hope Olympic Club figures out how to get some of the character back in its decidedly-modern looking bunkers: 

#8 #olympicrd2

A post shared by Willy Wilcox (@wavegodwilcox1) on Aug 9, 2017 at 12:36pm PDT



Page Six: Some Winged Foot Members Want Trump Presidential Portrait Erected

Emily Smith of the New York Posts says some Republican members of Winged Foot are lobbying for a portrait of the President to be erected in the Clifford Wendehack-designed clubhouse.

Smith says there is opposition, including "senior club management".

The insider continued, “It seems the leaders of Winged Foot do not want to rock the boat and politicize the club, given that the US Open will be at Winged Foot in 2020.”

The President's locker at the club where he's been a member since 1969, no longer has his name on it.

“Each member has a locker with their name on it, but Mr. Trump’s name has been mysteriously taken down. Some members are outraged because there seems to be no justification, apart from, perhaps, too many people were trying to take selfies at Trump’s locker, or they simply don’t want to advertise his membership.”

Too late now!


Whan Admits Error In Moving Evian, Pledges Change

After one of the great disasters in modern major history, the beleaguered Evian Championship will be moving back to a summer date by 2019 according to the man who switched it, LPGA Commish Mike Whan.

Speaking to Damon Hack on Morning Drive, Whan admitted this year's rain-shortened event has him rethinking things. Randall Mell reports on this and other LPGA news from the interview.

“We will get Evian back to a summer date,” Whan pledged. “It may not be in ’18, but certainly by ’19.”

Whan said he believes in Evian as an LPGA major, but he regrets his decision to move the event to September, with its rainy season and its shorter days.

“The challenges we’ve faced are man-made,” Whan said. “And I’m the man who made them.”

Kudos to Whan for finally coming around and admitting to the mistake.


Video: President Trump Touts Success Of Korean Golfers At Trump Bedminster's U.S. Women's Open

Speaking to the South Korean National Assembly during his 11-day trip through Asia...