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  • 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
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • 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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • 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 audience in the theatre, looking over the footlights, view the play as do most of the gallery following the experts of golf. However, back-stage, there are a few eyes critically regarding the play from an entirely different angle. For many years I have preferred to observe golf shots from backstage, as it were. Seeing a man whack a golf ball is of little interest to me, and frequently it is a performance that had better be missed. That which concerns me most is where the ball lands and what it does after.  A.W. TILLINGHAST




“The PGA’s Ryder Cup problem is not one of communications or optics or who makes the most putts. The problem is cultural and systemic."

Global Golf Post's Steve Eubanks says the PGA of America did “what bureaucrats do” in announcing a task force to study the Ryder Cup issues facing Team USA and takes them to, uh, task.

He points out that Paul Azinger has already provided the model, but he doesn't appear to be a priority for the PGA.

They’re calling it a “task force” because that sounds muscular and decisive but have no illusions, this is deflection, a committee created to beat back criticism and kick the proverbial cup down the road.

Asinger didn’t hear a word from the PGA until Tuesday afternoon last week when news broke of the possible task force.

Eubanks, a former PGA of America member, says the organization is “incapable of making the kinds of changes Azinger proposes" and ends with this, uh, zinger...

“The PGA’s Ryder Cup problem is not one of communications or optics or who makes the most putts. The problem is cultural and systemic. And, unfortunately, that is not something a blue-ribbon panel is ever going to change.”

I wasn't nearly as tough as Eubanks but it sounds like we've been comparing notes on the strange treatment of Azinger post-2008 along with our takes on the unnecessary "task force."

My discussion with Damon Hack today on Morning Drive:


Sandy On World Hickory Win: It Got "My Ticker Going"

Richard Watt of the Courier catches up with World Hickory winner Sandy Lyle and even a former Masters and Open Champion who is still very competitive as a senior admits to still getting nervous down the stretch.

From Watt's report:

“It’s been a very good experience which certainly got my ticker going, especially over the last two or three holes of the last round, which were very nerve wracking.”

Presenting the award, Lionel Freedman joked that Lyle had won another Major.

Professional Andrew Marshall from Norfolk tied for second with defending champion Paolo Quirici, a Swiss specialist in hickory golf.

Tad Moore sent some nice close-ups of the woods used by Lyle, including the Cleek. More works of art:


Fazio To Be Consultant On 2020 Olympic Course?

C.H. Alison's Kasumigaseki, host to the 2020 Olympic golf competition, appears to be headed for a carving under Tom Fazio's reliably-lamentable classic era renovation knife, reports Joe Passov.

Architect Tom Doak, far more likely to be sympathetic to master designer Alison's work, had helped the club determine a composite course for the 2020 games. But it was Fazio's work at Augusta which got him the job.

“We haven’t signed the deal yet,” Fazio told, “but we’re expecting to get this done within a few days.”

Fazio wouldn’t comment on specific changes, stating only that he would undertake an evaluation of the entire 36-hole property before proceeding on both short-term and long-term alterations. Club officials, however, are confident that Fazio, who serves as Augusta National's consulting architect, will take the project in the right direction.

“We will be making improvements, not big, big changes,” said Kiichi Kimura, president of Kasumigaseki. “[Fazio] has a great reputation, as we know from his role at Augusta National. He emphasized that he would respect what we have here. He will balance the natural feeling here with the improvements needed to challenge the best players.”



Stanford Golfer Shoots Course Record 59 After Meeting Tiger

Brentley Romine and Andy Zunz report that Stanford sophomore Viraat Badhwar met a visiting Tiger Woods Saturday and posted the first ever sub-60 round on the Stanford Golf Course Sunday.

From their story:

"My first 59, it was a pretty cool experience," Badhwar said. "I just kind of got on a roll. ... It was fun."

The score breaks the previous course record of 61, set by Badhwar and Stanford women's golfer Mariah Stackhouse.

After inducting former teammate Notah Begay to the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame Sunday (G.C. Digital with the details and video), Woods attended the Raiders game, reports Nick Schwartz. Sadly, the dad jeans appear to have made the trip.


Shark On America's Failure To Lead, Obama, High Taxes, Over-Regulation And The Possibility He Won't Golf Again

Having regained his color after nearly cutting off his hand in a chainsaw accident, golfer-turned-vintner-turned-Fox-Sports lead USGA analyst Greg Norman appeared on the Fox Business Network to talk about everything America is doing wrong. Including, unbeknownst to him, harboring wealthy, bombastic Australians.

The Living Brand, as he will be forever known now that he's refined the absurd self-designation in this interview ("I love being a living brand"), said he just picked up a club for the first time this week. Future Shark Shootout appearances, however, appear in doubt.

“Well we don’t know yet, we don’t know. I had my first swing in the gym the other day, not hitting a golf ball but just swinging a light weighted golf club and it definitely feels different. I mean I have to build up a lot of the muscle that was torn away here. Chainsaw does a good job, when you chainsaw a log you see all those chips come out, a little bit of flesh in there too.”

The Living Brand lamented America's current foreign policy, corporate tax rate and said the "leadership’s not too hot," explaining that the "leader of the free world should be laying out long term plans" like Greg Norman does for his family of brands when they convene for an annual shareholders shin-dig in Colorado.

Wondering about why things were so "over-regulated," The Living Brand criticized President Barack Obama's leadership on all issues but thankfully, brought the conversation back to what really matters. His ownself.

“I love being a living brand,” he said, “I love growing it, I love seeing opportunities out there and the global market place is just extraordinary right now.”

If only America weren't dragging it all down!

The Guantanamo-ready clip:


Video: Golfer's Drone Taken Out By Canada Goose

The Canada goose is the bane of many superintendent's existence, but maybe they do serve a purpose after all: take out the drones of golfers slowing down play!

Thanks to reader Owen for spotting this clip of a DJI Phantom Vision drone, dragged along for a buddies golf outing, only to to objected to by an annoyed goose.


Volvo Dropping Out Of Euro Tour Events A "Huge Blow"

Sponsor's come and go but after reading James Corrigan's take on Volvo pulling out of its sponsorships at two of three European Tour sanctioned events, it sounds like this one will be particularly tough for the tour as it's finalizing the 2015 schedule and facing more trouble landing "domestic" sponsors for events in Europe.

From his Telegraph report:

The news comes as a huge blow to the Tour, particularly as Volvo is also pulling out of the Champions tournament, which since 2011 has kick-started the year. The tournament was due to take place in the second week of January, probably in Durban, but is now in doubt.

While the loss of that $4 million (£2.5million) event would be keenly felt – and would lead to some last-minute scrambling before the calendar is announced – the demise of the matchplay would be of wider concern and that is why the Tour and the promoters IMG have vowed to bankroll the event for at least one year.


Video: Billy Hurley's Silverado Hole In One

All holes-in-one are special but Billy Hurley's at Silverado's 15th Friday is surreal. The straight jar-job left him and his playing partners unsure what happened. And only because they figure out the reaction of a lone spectator at the green screaming like a wild man. Eventually applause from a few comes from somewhere. And the ace was #1 play of the day, so there's hope for golf yet.

The video:


Last Two Weeks In Golf Channel Ratings, September 22-October 4

Douglas Pucci at Awful Announcing posts the last two weeks in Golf Channel ratings (here and here), with the Ryder Cup week meaning huge gains the week of September 22-28 and a big drop the week of September 29-October 4th when compared to the year prior's Presidents Cup coverage, with 2014 only offering the Big Break Invitational to boost numbers. (Friday's news of a ratings reading glitch will not impact cable numbers.)

Highlights from the September 22-28 week, include the top ranked show of Ryder Cup coverage from 6 am to 1:30 pm ET averaging 828,000 viewers and the replay adding another 360,000 on average. Those numbers were previously reported with various takes here.

Thursday night's start (PT) drew a 210,000 average for the 2:30-6 am window and was the network's third most watched bit of programming. In 10th place was Saturday's Alternate Shot coverage, which drew a respectable 146,000 average viewers over a 7 am to 11:30 am window.

Not so hot were the numbers for the First Tee Open from Pebble Beach, where the weekend morning telecasts placed 45th and 61st.

From September 29-October 4th, Friday's 3-6:30 pm telecast of the Big Break Invitational drew a .1 and 149,000 average viewers to lead the week. However, the NFL was too much for the Big Break as Sunday's final round re-broadcast placed 17th for the week, with a .1 and 72,000 viewer average.

The European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship from the Old Course enjoyed a 123,000 viewer average for five hours of Saturday's third round and a .1, 89,000 viewer average for the five-hour Sunday morning telecast.


High Schooler Lips Out Last Putt For 8-Under-Par 28

Andy Zunz with the details of Luis Gagne's insane score from the final regular season match representing Orlando Christian Prep before the senior goes on to play for LSU.

From Zunz's item:

Luis Gagne rolled a 25-footer toward the hole, and watched on as it lipped out.

Just like that, he capped what opposing coach Justin Johnson of Lake Nona High School called "the greatest nine-hole round I have ever seen."


Brandel Digs In: Phil Did Not Tell Truth About Captain Watson

Many wondered if Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee would back off his withering takedown of Phil Mickelson immediately following the Ryder Cup press conference after Bob Harig and others revealed a less than classy effort from Captain Tom Watson, but also a less than organized effort when it came to picks and to pairings.

The answer is no. An emphatic one, reports Emily Kay, who heard Chamblee on the John Feinstein radio show (you can listen here).

"In that press conference, Phil said they didn’t have any say in this Ryder Cup," Chamblee said on The John Feinstein Show on Wednesday. "And I know for a fact that all the players were brought together with their caddies and Tom walked amongst them and said, ‘Tell me who you want to play with. Write it down on a sheet of paper, and all of you tell me who you want to play with. Let me know.’  And everybody but one person contributed there.

"So, what Phil said was not, in fact, true," Chamblee told Feinstein. "They were allowed to contribute – and who they played with was pretty much the way Paul Azinger went about his captaincy."

Chamblee says Watson "was unfairly denigrated" but the more I learn about the goings on, the more I think Captain Watson may have to call Chamblee and tell him to quiet down. Because the steady stream of anecdotes, including specifics about Watson's comments on the Europeans and some of his other communication methods, will not reflect well on the man.

Even Hunter Mahan, speaking in general-but-not-so-general terms to Golf Channel's Will Gray, backed up all of Mickelson's assertions regarding organization and approach.

“How Europe does their business and how we do our business is very different, and we need to get more along their path because their success and their leadership is just fantastic,” Mahan said.

“You can tell those guys really play hard for their captain and their captain is very, very well-prepared.”

Speaking of communications, European Captain Paul McGinley spoke at length to the Irish Golf Desk's Brian Keogh, and while he danced around discussing candidates for 2016, he did address an (apparent) issue facing Miguel Angel Jimenez's chances. My take at The Loop on this development.


Flashback: The Legendary Driving Range Fight At Silverado

Everyone who witnessed the fight would recount it for years. And with the PGA Tour returning to Silverado resort in Napa this week, what better time than to remember the late Dave Hill and J.C. Snead getting into a fight over driving range antics. The setting? The 1991 TransAmerica Championship on the Champions Tour (then Senior Tour) event at Silverado.

From Robert Sommers' book, Golf Anecdotes: From the Links of Scotland to Tiger Woods.

I'm not sure about the "around the range" part as the telling I've heard was far more cinematic, with Hill marching right down the range as legends of the game stopped hitting balls and watched the duel unfold.

Either way, kind of makes you wish they had cell phone video and YouTube back then!


Sandy Lyle Wins The World Hickory Open!

Only a photo is posted at the 2014 World Hickory Open while the game story awaits, perhaps because the text will be filed by telegram to maintain consistency with the hickory era!

But it's pretty neat to see former Masters and Open Champion Sandy Lyle not only play in but win the World Hickory Open at Panmure.

Lyle won using Tad Moore's beautiful sticks, and while the exact details of what was in the bag will have to wait, here are the irons.


Callaway VP Makes Case For Second Product Launch Of '14

As a casual observer of the Carlsbad wars, I'm fascinated to see Callaway preparing for a big fall product launch while close competitor Taylor Made picks up the pieces from an excess of 2013 product launches which earned a special call-out from parent company Adidas, had a domino effect at Dick's Sporting Goods and left some customers insulted.

Callaway SVP of Marketing Harry Arnett is trying to prepare us for the potential consumer backlash (thanks to reader Mike Z. for this) of new stuff coming from the company. While some of the rationale for the urgency of new product is expected (helps you hit it longer!), more interesting is the thinking suggesting Fall as a permanent launching point for big stuff. Temperate climate bias?

a.     In may [Sp.] places in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Sun Belt states of the U.S., golf is just starting to hit the new season again. This is an ideal time to launch a product in those markets. A few of our competitors use this period as their main launch window.

b.     The new PGA Tour season schedule now starts in October versus January. A change in our launch strategy now allows us to have brand new product to launch on Tour in October rather than waiting until January. As our Tour staff grows, it’s an easier and more natural transition for our new players to play new products in October rather than us wanting them to switch again in January as done in the past.

Stay tuned for customer reaction...


Slugger: Time To Bump Up The Slow Play Fine Amount

Brian Wacker files a two-part look at the work done by rules officials, focusing on the effort of supervisors Mark Russell and Slugger White.

In part one the officials talk about slow play and in part two, the tricky issue of callers phoning in violations.

I found this interesting on slow play penalty fines. Slugger's coming after your pocketbook, Ben Crane!

By rule, the first player in a group is allowed 60 seconds to hit his shot; each player afterward 40 seconds. Should someone fall behind and be put on the clock, the player is allowed one bad time. If the player is given another bad time in the same round he is hit with a one-stroke penalty -- a rare occurrence.

Also, if a player is hit with a second bad time in the course of a season, he is fined $5,000 and a third bad time and each subsequent one after that an additional $10,000. If a player receives 10 bad times in a year, he is docked $20,000.

“We’ve had several of those,” White said. “We’re actually trying to bump that up a little, too. These guys are making so much money now. It’s antiquated.”

The slow play gets under way officially Thursday at the Open, this year taking the tour back to Silverado with supervision from official/unofficial host Johnny Miller. Ron Kroichick on how the event landed in Napa where the tour used to go annually many moons ago.

Also, here are nine things from to know about the start of the 2014-15 season, if you care. Coverage, if you are somehow starved for tournament golf, runs from 5-8 p.m. ET Thursday-Sunday on Golf Channel.


Bill Murray On Caddying, Working On A Mystery Golf Project

Thanks to Cameron DaSilva at Back9 for posting this link to Bill Murray's revealing interview with Howard Stern.

Early on he talks about the importance of caddying and how it taught him about human interaction (seriously, not jokingly).

He also refers to a mystery golf project he's working on.


Hickory Golf: "It's almost anti-modern in some ways."

CNN's Tom Sweetman looks at hickory golf and the World Hickory Open and if you can look past all of the photos that hearken too much to a Civil War reenactment, you learn that it's pretty cool to be retro.

Thanks to readers Rick and Tad for Sweetman's story:

"Hickory golf has taken on a new lease of life in the past few years because, I'm not sure I really like the word, but it's a bit sort of retro," Lionel Freedman, co-founder and director of the World Hickory Open, tells CNN.

"It's almost anti-modern in some ways."

And so he did, with Freedman's brainchild having gone from strength to strength, annually touring some of Scotland's most prestigious courses and becoming one of the world's leading hickory tournaments in the process.

Next year, it will take place at Carnoustie Golf Links to become the first modern hickory tournament to be played on a current British Open Championship course.

Freedman estimates that 90% of the 100-plus competitors this week -- including ex-professional golfers -- will arrive fully-stocked with their own antique equipment.

And speaking of those elite players, former Masters and Open Champion Sandy Lyle is one of them. This BBC preview has some great images, including one showing Lyle teeing off as architect Scott Macpherson looks on, and another showing several millennials playing in 1930s attire and looking quite dapper!


Johnny: Captain Watson "Didn’t miss all those putts.”

Will Gray got Johnny Miller's assessment of the flap over Tom Watson's lousy captaincy, and includes Johnny's view that Phil Mickelson should have kept his criticisms relegated to the team room (zzzzz....) and that ultimately, it wasn't Watson who missed all those putts.

Even though Johnny wasn't wild about the Captain's strategy, either.

“That could have stayed within the walls of the PGA [of America], so to speak,” Miller said. “I guess he was a big fan of Azinger’s pod system, but that didn’t need to come out necessarily. Watson, he didn’t miss all those putts.”

That’s not to say that Miller was a fan of Tom Watson’s captaincy. While he stopped short of placing further blame at the feet of his contemporary – “I can’t say he did a bad job,” he added – Miller did strongly question Watson’s decision to sit Mickelson and Keegan Bradley for the entire day Saturday.

“That, I’d like to hear that from Watson, because that was pretty weird,” he said. “I could see them not playing in foursomes, alternate shot, because they weren’t driving it very good, but fourball you have to go with that team. So that was very strange.”

Mostly, Johnny just credited the Europeans with great play and who is going to disagree with that?


The Donald: Golf Should Be Aspirational, For The Successful

The November Golf Digest will feature an interview (highlights here) with the uber-exposed Donald Trump as part of its "disruptors" feature and at least The Donald finally comes clean on his vision for golf: a rich man's game.

So much for those Scottish roots where the game started as very much a working man's pursuit back when they were whapping pebbles around.

On where grow-the-game efforts are flawed: "I would make golf aspirational, instead of trying to bring everybody into golf, people that are never going to be able to be there anyway. You know, they're working so hard to make golf, as they say, a game of the people. And I think golf should be a game that people want to aspire to through success."

Of course this means we have to use The Donald's definition of success, which might include wearing gold chains that would be the envy of Sammy Davis Jr., owning some hot red $500 driving moccasins and owning at least one jacket with a bold gold crest. Take that millennials!


He’s Back! Parsons Pens Another Letter To The Few Members

Nothing against founder Bob Parsons as he’s merely reflecting the views of the super-rich these days. But I find it fascinating to see in the latest letter regarding his Scottsdale National that the emphasis continues to be on building a future revolving around having as few people as possible at his club. Course, service, ambiance all play second fiddle to the number one priority: have to see as few golfers as possible.

This is not unusual these days, but remains peculiar to even me as I do see the benefits of having to deal with fewer wretched people. Still, do you join a club because there is no one there?

Anyway, the latest letter mentions a $200 million investment in the place to make it the Augusta of the desert, the new holes that have been created (whoa Nellie, one might become the signature hole!) and maintains the consistency of past correspondences (here, here and here). Still, any course owner that promises no assessments while trying to make a place great (in his mind) is to be commended!

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