Latest From GolfDigest.com
Latest From The Loop
Twitter
Feedblitz
To Get GeoffShackelford.com Posts Delivered To Your Inbox Enter Email Address Below:


Powered by FeedBlitz
Books
  • 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
Classics
  • 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

No matter with what heights he is faced or with what winds assailed, the sportsman in battling with nature makes no complaint. But immediately he is faced with problems of human origin, he feels justified, if he finds them too difficult, in turning upon their creator with murder in his heart.
ROBERT HUNTER

 

    

Monday
Jul022007

"I'm killing it, and it doesn't go anywhere"

PH2007070100981.jpgThe Washington Post's Eli Saslow asks PGA Tour pro Steve Marino, used to manicured greens and exquisite fairways, battles public course hazards at East Potomac.

Thanks to readers John and Phil for this fun story.

The more I watched Marino play, the more convinced I became that golf, for us, involved little common ground. When I asked Marino about the obstacles I considered daunting on PGA Tour courses -- long holes, imposing water hazards, gigantic bunkers -- Marino said they never bothered him. Similarly, at East Potomac, Marino obsessed over details I had never noticed. Overgrown fairways made it impossible, he said, to generate substantial spin on iron shots. Stiff sand traps caused the ball to release on a flat trajectory, negating the importance of touch.

I guess Marino hasn't gotten the USGA memo that U-grooves function better out of light rough than they do from tight fairways! 

The greens bothered Marino most. After six months spent on greens that ran as fast as tiled kitchen floors, Marino now felt like he was putting along the bottom of a filled swimming pool. No matter how hard he hit it, the ball almost always slid through sand or water and grinded to a halt short of the hole. After Marino left two consecutive putts short on No. 11, he dropped his putter on the green.

"I'm killing it, and it doesn't go anywhere," he said. "I might just start putting with my driver."
 

Monday
Jul022007

"‘What we’re trying to do, like all other championship courses, is modernize it and fit it to today’s golfers"

Chay Rao looks at TPC Avenel's pending renovation and featured this from course superintendent Chad Adcock.

‘‘It will be a much better layout,” Adcock said. ‘‘I know that Tiger said that he would like to stay at Congressional, but if they can’t host the [AT&T National] in ’09 and ’11, and they look for another venue, we would like to be that venue.

‘‘I know that the membership here was proud of their Tour stop, and was disappointed to lose it,” he said. ‘‘They want it back.”

One of the major changes to the course will be to its ability to handle extreme weather.

‘‘We are going to restore Rock Run Stream [which runs through the course] to the size and status that it had a few hundred years ago,” Adcock said. ‘‘We are also going to add about 12 to 14 acres of wetlands, so that the course can handle the once-in-a-generation storm, like the one we had last year.”

The PGA Tour has set aside $20 million to make extensive changes to a course that has received poor reviews from several PGA Tour players since it opened in 1987. The Booz Allen Classic — once known as the Kemper Open and FBR Capital Classic for a year — was held at Avenel annually from 1987 to 2006 with the exception of 2005.

Due to the lack of enthusiasm, Avenel’s signature event, the Booz Allen Classic, failed each year to draw many of the top players in golf. That lack of star power was one of the contributing factors to the tournament’s demise.

‘‘The game changed considerably over the last 20 years,” Dennis Ingram, the former superintendent at Avenel told The Gazette last year. ‘‘The landing areas, as they were designed to be, are basically obsolete. ... It becomes an unfair advantage for longer players versus the normal players.

‘‘What we’re trying to do, like all other championship courses, is modernize it and fit it to today’s golfers,” he said.

$20 million in part because these guys had to go and be better athletes! Glad that steroid testing will be starting soon.

Monday
Jul022007

Southern Hills Weathering The Floods

Despite almost daily rains, it sounds like the combination of the "PrecisionAire" system under the greens and Perry Maxwell's good old fashioned surface drainage are allowing Southern Hills to remain ready for the PGA.

Sunday
Jul012007

"I don't know if slighted was the right word; maybe overlooked a little bit"

192098.jpgDoug Ferguson writes about Christie Kerr's clutch performance en route to winning the U.S. Women's Open and notes:
Kerr had been left out of most conversations about top young American players, with most of the attention going to Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome and Pressel. No one can ignore her now, not with her name ready to be engraved right below Annika Sorenstam on the biggest trophy in women's golf.

"I don't know if slighted was the right word; maybe overlooked a little bit," Kerr said. "But the media is the media, and they'll write that they want to write. I know in my heart of hearts who I am and how many wins I have and what I've done. And that's good enough for me."
Sunday
Jul012007

"Talking about myself as a brand comes naturally now"

Nick Greenslade in The Observer files a lengthy profile of Nick Faldo (complete with sidebar listing his ex-wives), and focuses on his, gulp, rebranding.

'Talking about myself as a brand comes naturally now,' he says after he has driven me round the circuit at the Brooklands car museum in Surrey, where he is promoting his relationship with Maybach, the luxury-car manufacturer. 'But I had to create the right team first, and that's where Ian came in.' He is talking about Ian Forsyth, his manager. In 2002, Faldo broke with his long-time agent John Simpson. This was used by Faldo's many disparagers as further proof of his inability to maintain relationships.

 

Sunday
Jul012007

Warning To Network Executives: Brand Lady To Come Knocking While You're On Vacation

...but at least she's presenting at the time of year when so many executives are vacationing in the Hamptons excited to hear pitches: August. Alan Blondin of The Sun News reports:

Bivens inherited cable contracts with ESPN and Golf Channel, and larger events are on ABC, NBC and CBS. Broadcast times vary greatly.

The tour will begin making presentations to network and cable stations in August. "The most important thing for the LPGA is to have a consistent television schedule," Bivens said. "It's very difficult for our fans to find where we are from week to week."

Since events in international locations aren't generally televised in the U.S., Bivens will try to group those to include dates when the LPGA would normally be dark, such as the weeks of the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

That should ensure they'll never make it on American airwaves too. 
The events are important for exposure and lucrative deals with international television stations in which the LPGA is paid for broadcast rights - similar to the PGA Tour TV agreements. Right now the LPGA buys time on ESPN and the three major networks and has to sell commercial spots itself. It has other agreements with the Golf Channel.

Bivens said for 2010 and beyond she'll either seek rights fees or develop an LPGA production company that would buy time and produce the programming itself. "If you have a brand that is still forming like the LPGA, being able to control your production is worth a lot of money," Bivens said.
Wait, the brand is still forming? Well, how is it a brand if it hasn't formed yet?
"Especially in terms of educating the audience as to the personalities behind the athletes. We're a society where fans develop behind personalities."

Ahh...translation: lots of fluff!

But I'm back on this brand formtion stuff. Branding experts, could you tell us how you know a forming brand officially becomes a brand? 

Sunday
Jul012007

"The USGA should be ashamed of itself for allowing this nonsense to happen despite the evidence of the Andrea Jaegers and Jennifer Capriatis of this world."

The trials and tribulations of Michelle Wie along with the appearance of Alexis Thompson prompted some interesting essays over the weekend.

01lpga.1.600.jpgSteve Elling put together the most powerful and entertaining summary of Michelle Wie's troubles while John Paul Newport weighed the pros and cons of the youth movement in women's golf.

Meanwhile Mark Reason in the Sunday Telegraph came out firing at the USGA, though I'm not entirely sure what he wanted them to do, other than not invited the 12-year-old Thompson into the press center.

The girl is portrayed as a smiling, pigtailed Disney character without a care in the world. Maybe she is or maybe she is a disaster waiting to happen, like so many other American sports-girls who were hot-housed at a ridiculously young age. I am just a year younger than Alexis's father Scott and I too have a daughter - but the thought of her playing in the US Women's Open before she is even a teenager makes me feel physically ill.

Does it sound normal to you when Scott Thompson says things like: "I gotta go tune up my daughter." Or when Alexis says: "I like seeing kids my age coming up to me asking for my autograph. It's really cool."

No it's not. It's absurd. Imagine other girls coming up to your 12-year-old daughter in the playground and asking for her autograph. Only Alexis isn't in a playground, because she's schooled at home. The USGA should be ashamed of itself for allowing this nonsense to happen despite the evidence of the Andrea Jaegers and Jennifer Capriatis of this world.
191269.jpgBut it's worse than that - some USGA officials are even trying to prompt answers out of the girl in order to promote their sport. For pity's sake, isn't there anyone out there who is going to impose a sensible minimum age, like 16, and put an end to these potentially damaging freak shows?
You might have thought that the sad sight of Michelle Wie would alert American officials to their insensitivity. Here is a girl who has been shamelessly marketed and now she is floundering.

Do you all think there should be an age limit for Open qualifyings?

Sunday
Jul012007

"The national media is a bit jaded because the PGA Tour is doing a big marketing push."

Ed Sherman looks at the FedEx Cup's effect on the Western Open BMW Championship and talks to tournament director John Kaczkowski about criticism of the format.
 "A lot of the criticism is all based on speculation," Kaczkowski said. "The national media is a bit jaded because the PGA Tour is doing a big marketing push. But it has to do a big PR effort to educate the fans. Otherwise, it won't work."

My guess is the fans won't get caught up in the actual points race. The formulas seem confusing, and it is going to be hard to get excited about Woods or Phil Mickelson adding to their retirement accounts.

See how jaded? Sherman couldn't even wait a paragraph or two to drop that uh, speculation.
Sunday
Jul012007

Van de Velde Pulls Out of Open Championship Qualifying...

...with a serious-sounding stomach ailment.

Perhaps he was dreading fielding hundreds of inane questions about 1999?

Hope he gets well soon.

Saturday
Jun302007

God Issues Early Demolish Permit For Tiger's Jupiter House

Saturday
Jun302007

Wie Withdraws Again

Six over through nine holes.

Let's hope she takes the rest of the summer off. Somehow I'm afraid that won't happen.

Saturday
Jun302007

Monty Fumes For French; Lays Groundwork For 2026 Captaincy

Perhaps sensing that he may be passed up as Ryder Cup captain by more popular anyone with a pulse, Colin Montgomerie lashed out at his fellow Euro Tour mates members for skipping the French Open this week.

Gordon Richardson reports in The Guardian that the merry Scot slyly laid the groundwork for an inevitable showdown with Thomas Levet and Jean Van de Velde over who will be selected to guide the Euros should some wealthy developer come along and blatantly bribe offer to host for a Ryder Cup at France's National Club.

"It's very, very disappointing because this event starts the run up to the Open Championship and it deserves a stronger feel - the National Club is one of the best if not the best we play in Europe and it's certain to stage the Ryder Cup one day.

"There are stadium holes everywhere and a wonderful finish - imagine the carry-ons there would be in match play situations here. Sadly it will probably be 2026 before it can happen, with Sweden and Germany probably coming in first."

 

Friday
Jun292007

"It seems likely an 18-or even 36-hole playoff would have been arranged."

Leonard Shapiro considers whether they would have played a U.S. Open playoff had Tiger tied Cabrera and Elin went into labor the Monday after.

If there had been a playoff, he would have been in Pittsburgh, likely asleep, when the call came. It has always been assumed that if one of the players doesn't show up at the first tee for an Open playoff, no matter the reason, the player who does is declared the champion.

Apparently, that's not necessarily so.

On Wednesday, U.S. Golf Association Executive Director David Fay said it was not that simple, and that the USGA would have faced a dilemma had Woods been unable to play on Monday.

The organization faced the same potential scenario at the U.S. Open in 1999, when Phil Mickelson's wife, Amy, was in the final stages of her pregnancy. She also delivered their child on the Monday after that Open. Mickelson missed a playoff by a shot in a tournament won by Payne Stewart, and like Woods, also had said he would leave the Open at the first indication his wife was ready to deliver.

"I really don't know what we'd do," Fay said. "I'll hide behind the fact that it's a hypothetical. But I suspect that [if their opponent didn't show up] Angel [Cabrera] and Payne [Stewart] probably would have said, 'I'm not going to show up for the playoff either.'
Ouch! I have to stop rolling my eyes when I have my contacts in.

Yes, a man who is trying to win his first major, who has worked most of his life to reach that point, is going to pass up the chance to have the trophy handed to him and accept a postponement so some billionaire with 12 majors can be at the hospital when his wife is screaming untoward things as she delivers their child. Right!

When they ask, that's when Angel says, "no habla English!"

"That would have forced our hand. And I can tell you we would not have said, 'We're not going to have an Open champion this year.' The good news is that it didn't happen. And the most important thing is that Sam Alexis is doing fine."

Oh, nice we're already a first name business with Tiger's daughter!

While neither Fay nor anyone else in the USGA was publicly prepared to say what might have happened, it seems likely an 18- or even 36-hole playoff would have been arranged.

36? Is that a new by-law?  When Tiger or Phil are having a baby, we'll play a special 36-hole made-for-TV playoff at a future date?

I'm sure NBC would love to come back in two weeks and setup their gear again.

Thursday
Jun282007

Staff Shakeup Fails To Boost USGA Shares

June 28 – United States Golf Association (U$GA) shares fell on news of an organizational shakeup and a less than appealing U.S. Women’s Open leaderboard.

Shares declined $1.82, or 7.5 percent, to $22.37 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest drop since February when USGA CEO Walter Driver announced a delay in planned staff benefit cuts, breaking an earlier shareholder pledge to trim unnecessary expenses.

Wall Street found little to be enthusiastic about when the Far Hills, New Jersey-based governing body of North American golf said in a statement today that the position of Championship Agronomist would be "eliminated" to help cut 3% of the organization’s 2007 projected $5 million deficit.

Shareholders expected deeper cuts from the 63-year-old Goldman Sachs executive and soon-to-be-retiring USGA President Driver, who was brought in to create a leaner USGA while promising to boost shareholder value.

One analyst, citing a leaderboard topped by Angela Park, In-Bee Park, Jee Young Lee, Karine Icher, Amy Hung, Jiyai Shin, Joo Mi Kim and Shi Hyun Ahn but minus draws like Michelle Wie or Annika Sorrenstam virtually guaranteed weak television ratings for this weekend’s U.S. Open on NBC.

“Who are these people, I mean?” said Chad Upside, a New York-based analyst at Slash & Gouge, who is revising his “dump” rating on USGA stock to “unload as fast as you can.”

“And it doesn’t get much better next week with the Senior Open, hardly a positive cash flow opportunity.

“Simply put, they have taken a bigger hit than we thought they would.”

Upside says resistance from the USGA Board to trim fat off the company bone or to simply eliminate its staff must change “immediately because these rising staff and championship operation costs may not reverse when interest rates come down.''

Despite nearly $300 million in cash reserves, Standard & Poor's Rating Services in London revised its USGA outlook to “yikes” from “eh” and said the governing body has failed to deal with its “restricted capacity to manage through a more testing market environment.” S&P retained the organization’s C+/C-1 counterparty credit ratings.

Thursday
Jun282007

U.S. Women's Open Photo Caption Fun, Vol. 1

From golf.com...

june28_sorenstam2_600x403.jpg 

Thursday
Jun282007

Thompson's Opening Round; Wie's School Dilemma

An AP story details 12-year-old Alexis Thompson's impressive opening 39, shortened to nine holes due to a weather delay.

Meanwhile Steve Elling looks at Michelle Wie's opening round and wonders if Stanford isn't the only school Wie will be attending this fall.

Struggling teen prodigy Michelle Wie still needs to pick her course load for the fall semester at Stanford, where she'll enroll in September and live in the school's freshman dormitory. Her roommate hasn't been determined, either.

In her parallel universe, Wie's professional place of residence, not to mention her running mates, remain in flux, too. Her short-term path might even include a humbling destination alongside the great unwashed of golf: LPGA Qualifying School.

After Thursday's crash in the first round of the U.S. Women's Open, the qualifying route seems like the last path to membership, should Wie elect to pursue an LPGA card for next season. Because, at the rate she's going, she might not make another dime in earnings this year.

Wie shot an 11-over 82 and failed to break par for the 21st professional round in succession, then seemed to be somewhat in denial about what had just taken place. While her ailing left wrist felt better, she hit a meager four fairways and four greens at Pine Needles Lodge, spraying the ball all over the Tar Heel State, which is no way to make a cut at an Open.

"It's very frustrating because I know I played better than this," she said. "It's a very fine line between shooting 69 and shooting what I shot today." 

Thursday
Jun282007

More On Moraghan

Golfweek's Bradley Klein confirms Chris Lewis's original report on the (cash strapped?!) USGA "eliminating" Tim Moraghan's "championship agronomist" position and includes the USGA memo.

Golfweek reached Moraghan via cell phone Thursday morning, but Moraghan said he was not able to comment on the story. USGA executive director David Fay sent an internal memo to USGA employees Thursday afternoon confirming Moraghan's departure at the end of this month. (see below)

Moraghan last worked the U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club two weeks ago, and would normally have been working at Pine Needles Resort for this week’s U.S. Women’s Open. USGA Green section staff agronomists have been recruited to provide coverage both for this week’s U.S. Women’s Open and next week’s U.S. Senior Open at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.

Mike Davis, the USGA’s senior director, rules and competitions, declined to comment.

To: USGA Staff
From: David Fay
Date: June 28, 2007
Subject: Tim Moraghan’s Departure

Tim is departing the USGA at the end of the month. We thank Tim for his many years of service as the USGA’s Director, Championship Agronomy and wish him the best going forward.

For the last few years, our Regional Agronomists have served as the Championship Agronomists for our Amateur-only championships. We are extending this well-received practice to our three Open championships (Open, Women’s Open, and Senior Open) effective immediately.

cc: USGA Executive Committee
Steve Elling also reports on the move and suggests that USGA President Walter Driver was very much behind the firing.
 The friction between Moraghan and Driver apparently dates to the U.S. Open debacle at Shinnecock in 2004, when the seventh green became so dry and hard, players could not keep their golf balls on the putting surface. According to the USGA source, Driver, who was chairman of the championship committee that set up the course that year, placed much of the blame on Moraghan.

"He was looking for a scapegoat," the source said.

Various news outlets have been seeking comment from Moraghan this week, but he's so far remained mum. As for Driver, a high-powered attorney from Atlanta who is a member at three clubs that don't allow female members, the Moraghan scenario is the latest in a string of issues that have all but crushed morale among staffers at USGA headquarters in New Jersey.

Citing the organization's projected annual deficit, Driver earlier had pared back the USGA employee benefit plan and trimmed a college tuition program for the children of staffers.

David Fay, the executive director of the USGA, said Wednesday that Moraghan has not been fired, remains an employee of the USGA and is still the organization's championship agronomist. How long that seemingly semantic distinction holds true, however, is another issue.

That's our David! 

Thursday
Jun282007

Wie's 82

It pains me to read this and think of the damage she's doing mentally by playing right now. Assuming of course that her 82 was influenced by the wrist issues...

On Thursday she never drove the ball beyond the 250 yard mark, hit only four fairways in 14 attempts and 4 greens in 18 in regulation and was clearly light years away from the teenage prodigy who finished third in the US Open not so long ago.

The question being asked now, though, is whether her problems are physical or mental and whether she is suffering some form of burnout after getting too much too soon, including millions of Dollars in endorsements.

Thursday
Jun282007

Tiger's Fitness Regimen

You know I was feeling good about that extra five minutes I put in on the stairmaster yesterday until I read this unbylined AP story previewing an upcoming Men's Fitness story revealing Tiger Woods' workout regimine with trainer Keith Kleven.

The routine is built around stretching up to 40 minutes before each session, core exercises, endurance runs of 7 miles and speed runs of 3 miles, along with weight training. But while Woods is competitive on the golf course, he said he doesn't have an ego in the weight room.

"I've never, ever hurt myself lifting," Woods said. "I hear people say, 'I hurt this' or "I hurt that.' I don't even know what that feels like. I've been sore, but I've always been able to function and do whatever I wanted to. ... Some people let their ego get in the way. You have to listen to your inner self. Your body knows when it can be pushed and when you just need to back off a little bit."

Woods opts for high repetitions and smaller weights, although Kleven said he is "off the charts" with how much he can lift.

"His endurance and strength allows us to do more reps at high levels than normally seen in a golfer," Kleven said, without disclosing specific weights. "His resistance for high reps is extremely high."

Wednesday
Jun272007

The Old Man And The Tee

Golf.jpgThanks to reader Kevin for this Josh Sens profile of Sandy Tatum in San Francisco Magazine, which gets into the politics behind the Harding Park redo as well as the chances of a Sharp Park restoration. A few highlights, though the entire piece is worth your time:

This vision has made Tatum a contentious figure. Some have hailed him as a selfless champion of public good. “The guy gets such a bad rap,” says Tom Hsieh, a San Francisco political consultant who leases Gleneagles from the city and operates the nine-hole course. “He could be out enjoying himself at Cypress Point. Instead, he’s totally committed to doing what he thinks is right for the city.” But Matt Smith, a columnist with the SF Weekly, has cast Tatum as a kind of robber baron, out to pluck from city coffers to provide for fat-cat friends. In this portrayal, golf takes shape as a hobby restricted to the upper crust, unworthy of extensive public investment, and Tatum as an enemy of the Everyman. Suspicion of Tatum is shared, though for different reasons, by some hard-core local golfers, who cherish outings on their low-priced munis, regardless of the shoddy conditions, and don’t see the need for manicured fairways if it means coughing up more green.
And... 
The political consensus is that the status quo isn’t working. But what, exactly, should be done? Whether or not Tatum has the right answers for San Francisco—the Board of Supervisors and the Recreation and Parks commissioners will decide that—he remains the only party to put forth a detailed plan.

“In the case of Harding,” Tatum says, “I didn’t see any way of salvaging the place other than the way that was ultimately taken. It’s a San Francisco asset, and something needed to be done. I can certainly understand the frustrations. But if it could have been done differently—and in a realistic fashion—boy, I wish someone had been there at the time to tell me.”

Now, with Sharp and Lincoln deteriorating, the city is again at a crossroads, and Tatum has again weighed in. His suggestion, which echoes the findings of a 179-page report by the National Golf Foundation (a study paid for with private donations raised by Tatum), is that the city lease its courses to a nonprofit organization. The nonprofit (and Tatum has established just such an organization for this purpose), in turn, would hire private companies to make improvements (new drainage systems, say) and run the courses day to day. It’s an arrangement not unlike the one the city has with the San Francisco Zoo. If such steps aren’t taken, the report concludes, the rising debt and declining conditions of the munis will at some point in the unspecified future cause both Lincoln and Sharp to simply fade away. The city’s own analysis, presented to supervisors in April, confirms that the courses will run deeper in the red if nothing is done.