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

A golf course that invades a hundred or more acres, and is actually visible in its garish intrusion from several points of observation, is an abhorrent spectacle. The less of man’s handiwork the better a course. PERRY MAXWELL

  

Friday
Feb022018

Golf Channel Says 2018 Starts With Most Watched January Yet

As the Wall Street Journal sorts through the reasons for another NFL ratings drop (thanks reader John), golf continues a positive start to 2018 with this news from

For Immediate Release:

GOLF CHANNEL POSTS MOST-WATCHED JANUARY, CAPPED BY MOST-WATCHED SUNDAY IN NETWORK HISTORY
 
Golf Digital Wraps Best January Ever for Minutes Streamed and Page Views
 
ORLANDO, Fla. (February 2, 2018) – Golf Channel posted its most-watched January ever with an average of 116,000 viewers per minute in Total Day, up 23% vs. last year and up 10% vs. the previous high in January 2013, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. This builds off December 2017 being the most-watched December ever for Golf Channel. Additionally, January’s success was mirrored across Golf Digital, which posted its best January for minutes streamed (22.6M) and page views (78.5M), up 34% and 19% respectively.
 
Sunday, January 28 was Golf Channel’s most-watched Sunday on record. During the PGA TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open playoff between Jason Day and Alex Noren from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday – airing opposite The Grammy Awards – Golf Channel was the No. 1 Nielsen-measured cable network for Total Viewers, up 24% vs. second place (ESPN). The playoff was also Golf Channel’s most-watched PGA TOUR telecast ever.
 
“Golf is carrying a lot of momentum into 2018 with a deep roster of developing stars across the professional tours, a superstar making his return to competitive golf and a rapid evolution in the many ways golfers are participating in and consuming the game,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports. “It’s especially promising to see record viewership — and it’s only January.”
 
Golf Channel’s comprehensive slate of tournament coverage rounds out record-setting January:
·       LPGA Tour’s Pure Silk Bahamas Classic Round One became the tour’s most-watched Opening Day in 9 years.
·       PGA TOUR Champions saw 2nd best Opening Day in 5 years at Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
·       Web.com Tour’s Round One from the Bahamas Abaco Classic was the tour’s most-watched telecast since July 2016.

Thursday
Feb012018

PGA Tour Going Against The (Sports) Grain On Pace Of Play

The European Tour introduced a shot clock tournament this year in response to a growing sense the pro game takes too long. And while we have not seen the slow play "personal war" predicted by Chief Executive Keith Pelley when he took the job in 2015, the European Tour continues to suggest that it sees where the world is headed: toward shorter, tighter windows for sporting events.

Major League Baseball is working desperately to shorten games. Bold proposals will be floated at the upcoming owners meetings, even to the point of experimenting with radical plans for extra innings. This comes after the first wave of pace initiatives did not go far enough.

The NBA has already limited timeouts at the end of games and cut TV timeouts. The end of a game moves better.

The NFL attempted to address fan concerns about their long games but only made a half-hearted attempt at picking up the pace. At least they tried.

Even professional tennis is experimenting with a much faster product for the "NextGen".

The PGA Tour avoids enforcing its pace of play rules and, as we saw at Sunday's 6-hour Farmers Insurance Open that was tainted by J.B. Holmes, this is a tour rallying around a player who openly defied (paying) fans, his playing partners and common sense. He knew he could not be penalized so why rush?

We could blame the PGA Tour's slow-play apathy to now-retired Commissioner Tim Finchem's disdain for penalty strokes and his obsession with vanity optics (such as players taking off their caps to shake hands). Those concerns of the Commissioner's office about a player's brand taking hit made enforcement impossible for the tour's referees, who also face pressures in moving fields around from faster greens and distance-driven log-jams on half-par holes.

There was hope new Commissioner Jay Monahan would follow the progressive lead of colleagues like Adam Silver (NBA) or Rob Manfred (MLB) and realize that younger fans are far more interested in action sports that take less of their time. But forget the kids. Who can watch a sport that takes over five hours and featuring players who have no regard for anyone else but themselves? Imagine paying $55 to watch a guy not play ready golf and playing only when he absolutely feels ready.

By signaling this week he sympathized with the supposed plight of Holmes, Monahan confirmed he will not use the power of the Commissionership to speed up play. All Monahan had to do was suggest that with high winds and pressure, it was a tough spot but the fans were right to believe this was a less-than-ideal look for the sport, particularly at a time millions of non-golf fans had tuned in for the Grammy's.

Instead, Monahan made it hard to believe his tour is interested in gaining new fans or in addressing the concerns of longtime fans that some of today's players are just too slow to watch. The Holmes incident captured on camera what paying fans all-too-often see during a PGA Tour event: a player taking much longer than their allotted 40 seconds.

Meanwhile, the European Tour is forging ahead with pace-related initiatives on multiple fronts designed to draw in new fans and intrigue those bored with the sport. While some of the measures are extreme and a middle ground with the PGA Tour position is the ideal, at least the European Tour is building off of the prevailing view after golf's 2016 return to the Olympic Games: the professional sport is woefully ill-equipped to compete in the global sports marketplace at its current pace, scale and preferred format. The pro game will fade into irrelevance if it does not adapt in a world that loves sport more than ever, just in smaller doses.

Thursday
Feb012018

Uh-Oh: Rickie "Disappointed" By 16th Hole Heckling

Even though it's widely declared a great thing once a year, not everyone loves the gladiator pit of noise that is TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole.

Michael Bamberger called it awful this week at Golf.com.

And while players who don't care for the event generally just stay away, Rickie Fowler has been a supporter of the Waste Management Open. So to see him mention his disappointment at hecklers there during his morning round 66, suggests the language and commentary may be edging into dangerous territory.

From Will Gray's GolfChannel.com report, that also features a bit of a rebuttal from Jon Rahm.

But there were still a few comments from the gallery that caught the ear of Fowler, who shares the early lead after a 5-under 66. He was “disappointed” with some of what he heard from the tee box.

“I may be somewhat of a fan favorite, but they weren’t holding back,” Fowler said. “I was a little disappointed with some of the stuff that was said, and I don’t want much negativity. The normal boos for missing a green, that’s fine, but leave the heckling to a minimum and make it fun, support the guys out playing.”

If you lose Rickie, Scottsdale, maybe you've lost the plot...

Thursday
Feb012018

Justin Thomas, Commissioner Jay Monahan Have J.B. Holmes' Slow-Playing Back

It's hardly a shocker that someone who speeds up a shot in hopes of taking advantage of a backstopping ball on the green has no problem with J.B. Holmes pitching a tent, even when at the expense of his playing partner and the PGA Tour product.

But that's Justin Thomas' view of last Sunday's debacle.

Brentley Romine, writing for Golfweek from the Waste Management Open, includes this from the current PGA Champion and Player Of The Year:

“I have J.B.’s back all day on that situation,” Thomas said Wednesday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. “It bothered me and I hate it for him. I went up to him (Tuesday) and told him … it was a great tournament for him, but I have a hard time saying I wouldn’t do anything differently than he did.

Again, nothing a penalty stroke now and then wouldn't fix. Or a "spirit of the rules" class.

Sadly, Commissioner Jay Monahan missed an opportunity to address speed of play, essentially confirming he will continue the do-nothing approach of his predecessor Tim Finchem.

From The Forecaddie's report from TPC Scottsdale where Monahan played the Wednesday pro-am and made excuses for Holmes taking over 4 minutes to play a shot:

“As it relates to J.B. … He was in the heat of the moment. It’s really hard to win out here. You’re trying to think through how you can get on the green in two with that amount of wind. I think he thought it would subside quickly, and it subsided and picked back up, and I think he said what he needed to say.”

There you go boys, take all the time you need until you get the wind you like. The Commissioner will have your back.

Thursday
Feb012018

Updated Plans For Woods-Designed Chicago Park District Course

The Chicago Park District presented an refined vision that merges Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses, reports Lolly Bowean for the Tribune. The project, with players from Mark Rolfing to Tiger Woods to Mike Keiser to Barack Obama, could be a future host of PGA Tour events if it happens.

Community concerns were behind the revised routing and presentation. Cost is still very much an issue:

For more than a year, there has been a push to transform the two golf courses into a PGA Tour-worthy course. Constructing the new course would cost about $30 million and it would take another $30 million to make infrastructure improvements, said Michael Kelly, Park District general superintendent and CEO. At the public hearing, officials said much of the money would come from private donations, but a firm spending plan was not presented.

And there was this, where I'm pretty sure the writer innocently left out the key word "public":

Beau Welling, who is helping design the course for TGR, said the reason Tiger Woods wants to complete the project is because he sees it as an opportunity to improve a course that serves the public, not just elite athletes.

“I’ve never seen him so excited about a project,” Welling said at a news conference before the public meeting. “Tiger Woods is really about meaningful projects that have impact,” he said later. “It’s really about the community. Tiger Woods grew up on golf courses … this is a very special thing (for him).”

The updated routing (click on it to enlarge):

Wednesday
Jan312018

PGA Tour's New 9&9 Pro-Am Already A Hit

The Forecaddie reported last week that Tiger Woods practically moon-walked at Torrey Pines last week upon hearing that PGA Tour events could mimic the LPGA's longtime policy of nine hole pro-am rounds for players.

As Brentley Romine reports for Golfweek, everyone at the Waste Management Open was praising the first official day of 9&9, including Jordan Spieth:

“I’m a fan as long as the sponsors are enjoying it, too,” Spieth said. “They’re the reason we are here. A lot of times we get caught up in what the players want and we forget about why we actually have this. … I thought it was a good idea when it was proposed last year, just within the PAC because I thought the sponsors might actually enjoy it more. The opportunity to have somebody very engaged for nine holes and you get another guy fully engaged for nine holes versus sometimes it just gets long and for us players, it’s fantastic because I’ve got the rest of the day now that I can go out there and get work done."

Wednesday
Jan312018

A Better Than Average Day In Golf Instagram, 1-31-18

Clever sign from a cool kid on Waste Management Open Wednesday where most of the antics were not embed worthy.

A Starbucks barista did his or her best to keep Rory McIlroy humble.

Ru Macdonald with some recent drone shots of the new 7th at Royal Dornoch under construction, slated for play in 2021.

Peninsula’s South Course renovation by Ogilvy-Clayton-Cocking-Mead looks sensational in this Gary Lisbon image.

Eddie Gomez will make you feel better whatever excessive money and space you’ve devoted to collecting with his putter collection.

Sometimes golf-photographer Donald Miralle got up so we didn’t have to and captured a stunning “Superman Blue Collared Blood Red Strawberry Banana Moon.”

Kid gets it. ♻️

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So close....

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Wednesday
Jan312018

Brandel Says He Can Fix Tiger's Driver Woes In Two Minutes

I'm fairly certain this is a lesson that won't be happening, but in the Golf Channel Podcast with Will Gray this week, Tiger-love/hater Brandel Chamblee proclaims that he's got the fix for Tiger's wayward driving.

From the online transcript dutifully posted by G.C. Digital, in case you're wondering, Tiger:

“And so I know that he’s trying to move off the ball, and he’s trying to stay tall. And if he does that, well, it’s game over. It’s game over. … I mean, I’m convinced, honest to God, if Tiger walked out here tomorrow, I would have Tiger driving the ball straight in two minutes. Two minutes. Two minutes. Because there’s no way he can’t do – all he needs to do is move three inches to the right in his backswing. That’s it. It’s game over from there. He can’t mess it up. But he doesn’t. He stays centered, and he drops down, and he turns left, and it’s like one bleeds into the next which causes another problem, which causes another problem, which requires another compensation. And you’ll never drive it good there. Never ever, ever. No one ever has; no one ever will."

Cue up those Curtis Strange tapes circa 1985 showing a nice three inch backswing slide, drink plenty of water and call Brandel's office if you have any more issues.

Wednesday
Jan312018

Shock: Phoenix Open's Annual Record Attendance Marks Expected To Fall Again

The Arizona Republic's John Davis says records are not just expected to fall as they do almost every day every year, but may fall hard at this year's Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale.

The reasons?

Warm temperatures, young stars, a good pro-am field and a new heat-seeking dart organizes believe will find a record attendance number the very first time they fire away at the board giving them record attendance number options. Just kidding!

The Phoenix Open draws the largest crowds in golf, with an estimated 655,434 fans attending last year. With the forecast calling for sunny skies and temperatures around 80 degrees every day this week, one of the strongest fields in the history of the event and an impressive pro-am lineup, that mark could fall again.

“With the field, the crowd and the pro-am lineup, in my opinion we have the right ingredients for an amazing week,” chairman Carlos Sugich said.

Of course, it is the best attended event on the PGA Tour and that's enough for most of us to be impressed without the annual fictionilization of the numbers. Cut them in half and they're still stupendous for a golf tournament.

Tuesday
Jan302018

J.B. Holmes: "I don’t understand what the big hoopla is all about."

Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte caught up with J.B. Holmes following the Farmers Insurance Open fiasco that saw the Kentucky-native set up shot on the last hole of regulation.

Besides not realizing how long he was taking even as fans were lightly heckling, this assertion that Alex Noren could have just gone ahead and played suggests J.B. may be unfamiliar with how things work. This isn't the line at Starbucks when you can't decide between a latte and an Americano and just tell the person behind you to go ahead.

“If it bothered Alex, he could have said something and he could have hit,” Holmes said. “If I messed him up, I apologize. He still made a good swing. He smoked it. (Hitting 3-wood over the green and through the tunnel, next to the CBS booth.) I don’t understand what the big hoopla is all about. I was just trying to give myself the best chance to win the tournament. I didn’t want to mess anybody up.”

Another lay-up in the rough.

Video of Rosaforte's full Morning Drive report,

Holmes talked to Golf Channel's Chantel McCabe and reiterated most of the comments above, especially the surprise at the reaction. He reiterated that he would not do anything differently. Note that he was aware he had not been put on the clock during the round, freeing himself to pitch a tent in the fairway since he had no previous bad time (a second bad time would have resulted in a penalty stroke).

The two most disturbing quotes arrive at the end: "it's not like it took a half hour to hit the shot" and "this happens on tour, it's just not always on camera."

Matt Adams and I debated on Golf Central and you know how I feel, nothing here that can't be fixed by a few penalty strokes for a second bad time.

Tuesday
Jan302018

Architecture Summit Celebrates Sand Hills & Restorations

Bradley Klein reports on Golfweek's 2018 gathering of panelists and while no comparison to those kidnapping video webcasts fed over the Conde Nast servers, the gathering drew Tom Doak, Gil Hanse, Kyle Phillips, David McLay Kidd and others to talk design, restoration and other topics for the assembled voters.

Klein says the goal was "to assess an entire era, one characterized by a return to classic-era, ground-game basics."

At an opening session, architects Tom Doak, Gil Hanse, David McLay Kidd and Kyle Phillips drew inspiration from the landmark, low-impact, naturalized design of Sand Hills in Mullen, Neb., the 1995 design by Coore and Crenshaw that all but launched the back-to-basics design movement.

There was also this on the restoration side, making me even more eager to see Inverness again:

Designer Andrew Green talked about a very different restoration path taken at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Donald Ross’ 1919 design was highly studied after holding U.S. Opens in 1920 and 1931 – during which time its holes were extremely well documented and photographed. Green was brought in to fix some bunkers, but the project grew in scope thanks to the availability of adjoining land on which to build some retro-holes.

“For a club of that age to have extra property is unheard of,” Green said. The result, undertaken in 2017 without ever closing the existing 18-hole course, was to undo four ill-fitting modernist holes and eliminate them while restoring some of the old features and allowing the terrain to come through again. Green called it “what Mother Nature created and Donald Ross revealed.”

Tuesday
Jan302018

Tuesday 1-30-18 In Golf Instagram

One of the greats in the game is back to captain the Solheim Cup again.

Haotong Li, the first Chinese golfer in the world top 50 following his win last weekend in Dubai, has been added to the Genesis Open field at Riviera on a sponsor’s invitation.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hosted some pretty great baseball players and The Great One for his annual charity event at Sherwood.

Lexi showing off.

Joshua Kelly with a tougher-than-it-looks bunker hole out.

2019 @solheimcupusa Captain, @juliinkster!

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