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  • 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
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    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
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    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
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    by Geoff Shackelford
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    by Gil Capps
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    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
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    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
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    Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy
    by Mark Broadie
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    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
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    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
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    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
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    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
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While in the past 10 years or more the yardage held up as being suitable for a "championship" course ranged between 6,000 to 6,500 yards, this year's open championship was decided on a course approximately 7,000 yards long. But all courses can not be "championship" courses, that is, links where championships are decided, for they would be too expensive for the average club.
WILLIAM FLYNN (1927)


    

Tuesday
Jan162007

"I used Callaway's technicians to help with the design of a driver that will eliminate that left shot"

Phil Mickelson at the Hope, talking about what he's done to address the finish at Winged Foot:
I addressed it with Rick Smith and Dave Pelz who devised some devices to help me with the driving. Rick is helping me with why that happened; why after The Masters I was not able to pick up where I left off and get my swing back.

And then I used Callaway's technicians to help with the design of a driver that will eliminate that left shot because not only was it on 18, it was on 17 and it was all throughout the final round. And so we're working on designing a club that eliminates that, and I think we've got it right. So I'm excited about that.
Monday
Jan152007

A Solution To The Groove Problem

After watching tee shots to Waialae's ridiculously narrow par-5 18th fairway (and not seeing too many drives finishing in it) I was thinking that maybe it was time for the club to simply abandon the 22 yards of width it already has, and just go with an all rough landing area.

After all, look at the scoring through three rounds (PGATour.com did not add the fourth for some reason):

Stroke Avg:      4.353
Hole Rank:     18th
Avg. Drive:     309.5
Longest Drive:     381 yards (Holmes)

So the 22 yards did not discourage birdies and eagles, nor did it prevent players from hitting long tee shots. And last I heard, preventing long drives and correspondoning low scores was the goal of such a narrow fairway.

But then I got to thinking about Peter Dawson's comments on grooves, rough and scoring, and by golly, I think we have a solution to all of this madness.

Dawson said, "We now see balls spinning more from 2in or 3in rough than they do when hit from the fairway. That cannot go on."

He's right, we can't allow this to keep happening.

So stop narrowing fairways if the grooves are allowing players to spin the ball more than they would from the fairway.

WIDENING fairways will solve this U-grooves from the rough problem!

A return to sane widths will set a wonderful example for the game and allow players to strategically pick the sides of fairways again. True precision via intelligent placement of shots will again be rewarded when all of those balls previous controlled from 2-3 inch rough will be coming from fairway lies!

Monday
Jan152007

Newsflash From The City!

Golf Channel sent out a "newsflash" on this important note:

GOLF CHANNEL to Highlight Fujikawa’s Return to High School on Tuesday’s Golf Central

The GOLF CHANNEL will follow Tadd Fujikawa as he returns to classes on Tuesday at Moanalua High School in Honolulu, two days removed from finishing in a tie for 20th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and becoming the youngest golfer in 50 years to make a cut on the PGA TOUR.  The segment will air on Golf Central on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.

The GOLF CHANNEL’s Mark Rolfing will be on-hand to document the 16-year-old sophomore’s return to high school and the reception from his fellow classmates. On Wednesday's Golf Central, Fujikawa's first bowel movement will be discussed in an up close and personal sit-down interview with Rolfing.

Just wanted to see if you were still reading with that last sentence. 

Monday
Jan152007

Goggin DQ'd

Andrew Both on Matthew Goggin admirably turning himself in on a rules infraction, though if he had done it before teeing off, he would not be disqualified. Therefore, no loss of those precious FedEx Cup points.

Monday
Jan152007

Points Bickering

Reader Jay noticed this David Poole (Charlotte Observer) rant about the messy Nextel Cup points situation, and it's hard not to imagine reading similar diatribes about the FedEx Cup by...October?

Actually, will anyone care? 

Monday
Jan152007

Uh Phil, What Do You Think About An Instruction Spread On...

...recovery shots?

You have to give someone at Golf Digest credit for having the juevos to ask Phil Mickelson to do a significant spread on recovery shots before we even get to relive the 2006 U.S. Open theatrics.

Thanks to reader Steve for noticing this.  

Monday
Jan152007

Reinventing The Country Club

Thanks to reader Jonathan for this excellent unbylined piece on the future of the modern country club in the Mid-Atlantic region and in America.

Sunday
Jan142007

The Standing O...

Now, I love Tadd Fujikawa and it was great to see the fans so energized by his Sony Open performance.

However, did you catch the moment when he arrives at 18 and The Golf Channel's GOLF CHANNEL's Kelly Tilghman and Nick Faldo join the standing ovation and GC (just a bit too quickly) cuts to the shot of them standing and clapping for Fujikawa?

Did anyone else get a Broadcast News flashback?  

It's hard to imagine Faldo doing that without some instruction.

And needless to say, no major network would allow its announcers to be such homers.

So, was the GC "standing o" staged?  

Sunday
Jan142007

No. 7 Named

Thanks to reader Tom for spotting this story on the naming contest winner of the newest course at St. Andrews, which received 4000 entries. I'll let you hit the link to find out the news.

Sunday
Jan142007

Stats Page Change

Anyone notice what has been shifted from the main portion of the stats page to the lefthand column on the PGATour.com stats page? Reader Josh did!

Sunday
Jan142007

Spin From Dawson

On the post of John Huggan's annual chat with R&A secretary Peter Dawson, reader John G posted something that I think needs further consideration since I glossed over it in the inital posting:

"We now see balls spinning more from 2in or 3in rough than they do when hit from the fairway."

I'm sorry, this quote just doesn't pass the smell test. I can't believe Huggan didn't pounce on this. Has anyone seen any research to confirm this kind of statement?

I would believe that spin rates from 2-3" rough could be similar, but not quite as good as from a normal fairway lie.

But BETTER spin rates from rough than from a nice tightly mown fairway?? C'mon. I'm not THAT gullible.

These guys are desperate to say anything to distract from the real issues.

So do you think the USGA/R&A will actually be able to prove that this has been the case (better spin rates from rough than fairway), and if so, does anyone buy it? 

Sunday
Jan142007

"Marketing solutions to elevate their brand presence on our air beyond commercial units."

Shocking I know, but The Golf Channel GOLF CHANNEL has entered into a partnership that could call into question whether they might give favorable coverage to players with a certain affiliation. I know, I know...you're stunned.

Anyway, get out your MBAspeak bingo boards...

GOLF CHANNEL PGA TOUR Platform Secures Major Partnerships with TaylorMade-adidas Golf and UBS

ORLANDO, Fla., (Jan. 13, 2007) -The GOLF CHANNEL recently has secured multi-year partnerships with TaylorMade-adidas Golf and UBS, which provides the opportunity for both companies to maximize early the GOLF CHANNEL'S 15-year programming platform with the PGA TOUR, as well as the growth of the network.  

Maximize early the 15-year programming platform? Anyone care to translate?

TaylorMade-adidas Golf will hold a significant position within PGA TOUR-related programming on the GOLF CHANNEL throughout the golf season, while also becoming the network's official golf apparel and footwear company.  The company's golf apparel will be worn on all GOLF CHANNEL live tournament telecasts and in-studio programming.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf also will become the exclusive equipment and apparel sponsor of Live From the U.S. Open, a part of the network's signature wrap-around news and analysis franchise.  And the company will hold a major media position throughout the golf season in PGA TOUR tournament programming - as well as in franchise programming such as Golf Central and Sprint Post Game - to provide complete access to their core customer base.

Franchise programming, as opposed to just programming. Does this mean we'll have the set littered with R7's?

"We're extremely gratified that we've been able to work with TaylorMade-adidas Golf to establish and entirely new partnership" said Gene Pizzolato, GOLF CHANNEL executive vice president of advertising sales and new media.  "The demand for PGA TOUR product on our air has been strong, and we are thrilled that we were able to provide our partner at TaylorMade-adidas marketing solutions to elevate their brand presence on our air beyond commercial units."

Wow, reading Pizzolato is like watching Picasso paint or Michelangelo sculpt. A true master of his medium.

Though I have to say, maybe I watched Scarface too much as a child, but something about the use of product just makes me think of that white powdery stuff Tony Montana was peddling.        

Saturday
Jan132007

Dawson Speaks

John Huggan sits down for his annual gabfest with the R&A's Peter Dawson, who makes this stunning revelation:

"We always have a wonderful championship when the players like the golf course! And that is important. The reputation of the championship is everything, and something we must never let slip. Having good championships and fast running links is what we are about really."
Breathtaking I tell you. Uh, translation: Carnoustie was a disaster and we won't let it happen again.

Huggan asked if lawsuits were on the R&A's mind when it comes to running scared from the distance issue.
"We don't know how much a threat there is. None of the manufacturers have ever actually threatened to sue us if we change the rules on distance. So if it came to a crunch, I don't know whether they would sue or not. All I can say is that we have done all we can to create a non-litigious environment. And I can also say that even the possibility that they might sue has no effect on anything the R&A or the USGA do.

"I've never been in a meeting where that has been put on the table as a serious consideration."

See, they aren't afraid of manufacturers. They're afraid of acting, period. Big difference. One assumes an understandable fear of going to court, the other assumes a general indifference to the best interests of the sport.

Huggan asked how the pro game could be made more interesting via equipment regulation and Dawson broke into the groove nonsense.
"The biggest issue in front of us at the moment is the way the ball spins when hit from the rough. We now see balls spinning more from 2in or 3in rough than they do when hit from the fairway. That cannot go on.
God no, because rough is an integral part of setting up courses to keep scores "respectable" so that we are not embarrassed. 
"We are concerned at the lack of correlation between driving accuracy and success. One of the reasons players hit the ball so hard is that they can spin their approach shots from the rough. It doesn't matter to them where the drive finishes, within reason. So we need to restore the premium on driving accuracy and the differential in spin between fairway and rough.

Hey, how about regulating driver head size if you don't like them hitting it so hard? Oh no, that would make too much sense.

"We're not talking about people struggling to get the ball out of the rough; only that they should be struggling to control it from the longer grass. And to do that we have to come up with grooves that will create just that scenario. None of which will make any difference to the average player. Only for players of a certain standard does the combination of U-grooves and the modern, thin-covered ball allow the spin we want to remove.

"So, while any new rule would primarily affect the top end of the game, we could apply it universally, and not have it make any difference to the club golfer."

Except when their current clubs are ruled non-conforming Peter.

Huggan offers this:

Well, while this grooves thing does seem a little like giving a paper hankie to a pneumonia sufferer, it's at least a start. But I bet I'll be back in St Andrews for more of the same sort of chat next year.

Saturday
Jan132007

Tadd Amazing

Doug Ferguson on 16-year-old Tadd Fujikawa and his Saturday 66.

Friday
Jan122007

What Purple and Orange Can Do For You

Reader Marty noticed this interesting new color scheme on the PGATour.com leaderboard. All part of life in the FedEx Cup!

fedexcupoe8.jpg 

Friday
Jan122007

Hannigan On Willie Mays

Don't miss Frank Hannigan's latest Golfobserver.com column on Willie Mays and his amateur reinstatement.

Friday
Jan122007

"We work for the greater glory of IMG."

IMG head Teddy Forstmann sits down for a New York Times story by Richard Sandomir, and displays great humility...

“I know God gave me an unusual brain,” he said. “I can’t deny that. I know that he did. I don’t think you could work harder than I’ve worked.”

Later, he said: “I have a God-given talent for seeing potential.”
This one's good too...
“I have a pretty good record of not being wrong too often,” he said.
This caught my eye...

 

To date, his three acquisitions have been modest: two television production houses, and Tennis Week magazine and its Web site, which puts IMG in the position of covering players it represents. It does the same with fashion magazines that chronicle some of its modeling clients.

Just what golf needs, an IMG house organ! Playing tunes like this...

"This is not a golf or tennis or media business. We work for the greater glory of IMG.”
Thursday
Jan112007

Mercedes Ratings Put Medicus, LaLanne Infomercials To Shame

Unfortunately, according to a reader who gets Street and Smith's Sports Business Daily report, Golf Channel's four-round live coverage of the Mercedes Benz Championship averaged 370,728 households, down 44% from the event's four round average on ESPN last year.

The final round averaged a 505,129 households, down 49% from ESPN's 997,310 households in 2006.

Ty Votaw, The PGA Tour's Executive Vice President of Whatever Bob Combs Used To Be In Charge Of, issued this statement...

"Conclusions after only one event--and the first event--in this relationship are not terribly productive. We're pleased with what we achieved in that first event because they were consistent with our projections. 

So even if the numbers were lousy, our VP of Number Crunching got it right, so it's all good! 

We're on track with respect to where the Golf Channel is in distribution.

And that means? 

Production quality, energy levels of the commentators and the way they could personalize the players to a much greater degree were huge positives...

 Yeah those energy levels will pay the bills...

...if you compare what we've been able to achieve in this first week with the numbers in comparison to previous Golf Channel programming numbers, we're doing precisely what the Golf Channel has paid us to do: cause people to find the PGA Tour on the Golf Channel."

They are paying us to up their numbers.

Of course, the Tour's sponsors are also paying handsomely for certain numbers.

Thursday
Jan112007

Golf Publication Circulation Numbers

I recently posted note on ad sales declines at the golf magazines but had failed to post on this fall's circulation numbers, as published in the various issues. Thankfully, Lorin Anderson has done so and noted the stunning number of free copies being mailed out by Golf Magazine. He also takes a look at Golf 20/20, 7 years into that grow the game initiative.

While Lorin attributes some of Golf's decline to the state of the game, I do think it's worth noting that it has undergone a major editorial shift since Jim Frank's departure. And I'm wondering why I pay for it when nearly 500,000 aren't!

Thursday
Jan112007

Tampa Situation

Tim Finchem was asked last week about the sponsorship situation for Tampa's March event...

 Q. Speaking of sponsorship, why can't you find one for Tampa, and what's the status there?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I suspect we will, and we are in conversations with a sponsor right now, and we fully anticipate Tampa will be sponsored.

Q. By the time you get to the tournament?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: We will have more to say about that in a couple of weeks.

Q. You can't tell us who it is?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: That would be announcing it, and we're not prepared to announce it, no. (Laughter).

Bob Harig reports on that discussion today...
PGA Tour marketing executives lobbied Pinellas County tourism officials Wednesday for $4-million, funding they say is necessary to help secure the future of the local professional golf tournament beyond this year.

A presentation to the Tourist Development Council sought $2-million for this year's PGA event - formerly known as the Chrysler Championship - and another $2-million for 2008.

And the money quote...

Bill Foster, a St. Petersburg city councilman, brought up a point that is a factor at every PGA Tour event: Will all the best known players, the ones that draw the biggest crowds and TV audiences, show up.

"If you could assure us that Tiger (Woods), Phil (Mickelson), Vijay (Singh) and Ernie (Els) will be here..." he said.