Latest From
Latest From The Loop
  • 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 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
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy
    Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy
    by Mark Broadie
  • 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
Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz

Golf is the Great Mystery. Like some capricious goddess, it bestows its favours with what would appear an almost fat-headed lack of method and discrimination. On every side we see two-fisted he-men floundering round in three figures, stopping every few minutes to let through little shrimps with knock-knees and hollow cheeks, who are tearing off snappy seventy-fours. Giants of finance have to accept a stroke per from their junior clerks. Men capable of governing empires fail to control a small, white ball, which presents no difficulties whatever to others with one ounce more brain than a cuckoo-clock. Mysterious, but there it is.  P.G. WODEHOUSE



Huggan On Turner

John Huggan profiles Greg Turner's attempts to revitalize New Zealand golf and in particular, the development of young players.
Long frustrated by the virtual abandonment by New Zealand Golf - equivalent of the Scottish Golf Union - of his young compatriots the minute they turn professional - and, in turn, their consequent inability to make any sort of impact in any kind of numbers - the 43-year-old former European Tour player, who won 12 times around the world during an 18-year career highlighted by his role in the winning International side at the 1998 Presidents Cup, has devised an initiative named Wedge - Winning Edge - in an attempt to smooth what can be a traumatic transition from the amateur ranks.
"Any high-performance programme is about producing world-class players," says Turner, whose elder brothers Brian and Glenn represented their country at hockey and cricket respectively. "Which is different from producing only world-class amateurs. My original expectation was that, once that subtle difference was made clear to New Zealand Golf, the irrefutable logic of it all would get them on board."

Well, naive is the word that comes to mind. "Things just don't happen that way in golf. Or, as it turned out after I talked with my advisory board, in many sports. By their very nature, sporting organisations are built on ancient foundations, and have layer upon layer of bureaucracy. They change course like a super-tanker."

All of which left Turner to battle on alone, having also gained little encouragement from the New Zealand PGA. "The PGA was no help either," he shrugs. "It exists to service the needs of club professionals, not to help young players make it in the game. Which is why the tours broke away from the PGAs in the first place. There are irreconcilable issues there.

"Having said that, the PGA should have got involved. At the end of the day, their members are best served by New Zealanders winning things like US Opens. More people are going to be buying sweaters and paying for lessons when success breeds interest in the game. But all of that does seem a leap too far in philosophy!"

So far as Turner's philosophy goes, a closer look at Wedge reveals a four-pronged high-performance system designed to bring the best out of every young player placed in its path.

"First, we offer logistical help. There is so much that needs to be explained to new professionals. They need to know where they should be playing, how the circuits work and how things work within the circuits. How do you enter events? How do you get to tour school? What's the most logical path to take? It's basic but important.

"We offer financial help, which doesn't mean we hand over a pile of cash. There is any number of corporations or individuals who would buy a piece of a young player, if you gave them a credible model to do just that. So the young lads need to offer, say, three-year contracts with 15 $10,000 shares, and have a monitoring board that has mentors like Grant Fox and Brett Stephen on it. They will sign off on expenses."

Suddenly, that is an attractive proposition for a golf-minded investor. "Then there is the mentoring itself. Our players will have access to the likes of Coutts and Oliver, men who have achieved at the very highest level. The kids can pick their brains on what it takes to succeed. Basically, they will be rubbing shoulders with winners.

"And the fourth part of the equation is the GTNZ series of tournaments, which will hopefully be the strongest possible domestic competitive arena. When our guys do make it out on tour, they will be a couple of steps further along the way because of those events at home."


Shooting 70 With 19 Putts...

It seems impossible, but Jarrod Moseley did it.


And Yet More From The Communications Summit

After Finchem and Votaw put the assembled to sleep, their market research speaker took the podium. This is Barb Kaufman of Kaufman and Associates talking about her findings on the media-fan-player relationship.

Second point, on the fan component, fans need more technicolor, and a lot of the media I spoke with were not only representing golf but also cover other sports, and felt fairly strongly that fans really love the technicolor presentation of athletes. 

And you think they only talk like this in Hollywood?  What does that mean, need more technicolor?

Speaking of that, isn't Technicolor a registered trademark?  

They want to know more than their performance.  They want a little more depth, a little more context.  If they get that, it'll expand and create greater loyalty and longevity and loyalty to your sport.  NASCAR and the NFL were cited as benchmarks in that regard.

We're benchmarking!

A top line of the agent feedback, and I'm sure this is really going to shock you because it was the flipside of the coin, the agent and manager perceptions are that overall traditional golf media has become lazy and stale.  The sameole, sameole content has bred some degree of ambivalence by the players, and they just don't want to engage any longer because they don't feel the content is very innovative and creative.

Well, we could do more New York Post type stuff. That would be innovative and creative for golf! Bet the agents would love that.

The golf print media is becoming a dinosaur according to agents, and I want to specify that this means not the written word, but to Tim's point, print media in the traditional sense.  A lot of the younger players are very in tune to new media and would much rather give their time to those media outlets.  One particular agent said players would rather have 30 seconds on SportsCenter than a 900 word article written about them.

Wouldn't we all.

Players are becoming significantly more guarded with the media in the past by virtue of being burned.  Now, having said that, the majority of agents said it's a small percentage of the media who, quote, burn, shall we say, and that violators should bear the brunt of the burning and not all media because not all media are guilty of this travesty.


Many of the print media believe overall Tour coverage will decline and is declining if the playing field is not level between the electronic, print and quite frankly other emerging media.  They felt fairly strongly that preference and rights deals provide access to some media outlets and not others, which makes it more difficult to do my job.

From the agents' perspective, younger players are viewed as presenting great opportunities for unique and colorful content because they get it.  They've grown up in this entertainment world of sport and they know exactly what it takes to compete and keep their star rising.

They know branding!

It was at this point I had to take another break. Small doses, baby!


The Ball Problem

Not the golf one, but the NBA one, which's Marc Stein analyzes quite nicely here.

Reading this, it's easy to imagine a similar debacle in golf if and when it becomes clear the USGA will never roll back the ball and someone tries to manufacture a true tournament ball that is foisted upon players.


More From The Communications Summit

I used to think that if I was told I had six months to live that I would spend it watching The Big Break or Dr. Phil or listening to Celine Dion albums, but now I'm inclined to think that the PGA Tour Communications Summit will do the trick.

I could only get through 5 more pages. But Tim Finchem and Ty Votaw's statements were eye opening, if you can navigate the hurdles. I was tempted to plug this into the Ali G tranzlata, but why ruin such authentic frontier gibberish?


And then the second thing was, and this was we thought the most crucial thing, and it kind of overlaps the focus on tournaments, was to improve our ability working with our partners to utilize the media overall to communicate everything about the sport, the competition, who the players are, what the sport does and the rest, to engage the fans more effectively through the media. 

Ali Geoff tranzlata: Why spend all of that money on ad campaigns when you can get writers to spread the propaganda? Oh sorry...

If we're successful in moving the needle in this area, there are benefits for everybody in this room.  There are clearly benefits for our membership and for our tournaments and for our ability to grow the strength of this platform and continue to move the needle in terms of the benefits for players, the benefits for charities and our tournaments and the impact on the game of golf.

Is this really a good time to be using the needle metaphor? Just a thought.

The bottom line is, at the end of the day, we're moving needles here.

Here's Votaw talking about similar summits in other sports:

One interesting finding that we discovered in looking at those other summits was the extent to which they did not include the members of the media in the actual implementation and conduct of their communications summits.  They tended to include everybody but the media in gathering their communications stakeholders in order to improve their media outreach activities.

Yes, that's because those others sports didn't view the media as a group of stenographers who might just be dumb enough to write what you tell them.

Now, in the planning for this day, the phrase "sunlight is the best disinfectant" has come up many times in making sure if we do this and we do this right, we have to include all the stakeholders, including the media, get all the issues out on the table and get them out in the open and talk about them, and that's what we're going to do today.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant? That's one of those great metaphors that makes you stop and think, what the hell is he talking about? He is good!

To our partners in the golf equipment industry, we hope you take away the message that we want to work with you and identify and take advantage of quality media opportunities for players endorsing your products both within the golf industry as well as mass media markets.

Because moving your product is paramount to us.

Just look at how well that league driven product focus has worked for the NBA recently.


Golf World's 2006 Newsmakers

I know, I vowed never to complain about another list ever again. But Golf World's top 25 newsmakers of 2006 isn't as much a list as it is well, okay it's a list. And I think the warm fall went to the heads of the folks in Wilton.

Here are my gripes, because, you know, it really matters in the big scheme of life.

No. 24 Torrey Pines - actually, this was a great and surprising addition, setting up nicely what may become a huge story in 2007. (That is, the lousy state of affairs at the 2008 U.S. Open site, starting with questions about course conditions.)

No. 23 Drug testing - Fine, leave it out of the top 20 even though you, Golf World did a stellar job last fall looking into this and Tiger made a bold statement that humiliated the Commissioner and further undermined his credibility. Okay, this is probably where it belongs until you see...

No. 22 Super seniors - Jay Haas and Loren Roberts dominating the Champions Tour?  Top 100 maybe. But top 25? This is the Rich Harvest Links of Golf World's list. They're allowed one I guess.

No. 21 Hoylake's surprise - This was a surprise only because of Ron Whitten's misfire review.

No. 20 Hootie's departure - Come on, the man deserves top 10 status. His turbulent tenure certainly warrants a higher spot than...

No. 18 John Daly -  A divorce, a reality show and losing his card does not make this newsworthy. This is simply another year in the life our favorite country crooner!

newsmakers_fedex.jpgNo. 14 The New TV Deal - Again, this one probably should rank a little higher considering what a huge story it was and will continue to be thanks to the FedEx Cup. This little bit from Stu Schneider's write up caught my eye:

TGC's hiring of Nick Faldo made positive headlines, but the "Why The Golf Channel?" questions still surround the contract, as do other rumors, including the existence of an "out clause" that the tour could exercise at some point.

Well, that would certainly make the 15-year commitment look less ridiculous.

And finally, the ultimate you have to be kidding me...

No. 11 Camillo Villegas

No. 10 Bomb and Gouge crowd

Guys and gals, did we make this list up in February? Villegas didn't win a tournament, Holmes disappeared after CBS crowned him the second coming of Christ and Bubba had a nice year. But Top 10?

Hey, at least the final 9 were spot on.  


Chicago GC/Macdonald Exhibit

Bob Goldsborough files a Chicago Tribune piece on the new museum exhibit devoted to Chicago GC and C.B. Macdonald:
 A new exhibit filled with rare golf artifacts to pay tribute to the landmark course at the 114-year-old Chicago Golf Club, just outside Wheaton, opened recently in the Center for History in a former firehouse at 315 W. Front St.

Titled "Fairways, Greens & Clubs," the $500,000 exhibit also highlights the Chicago area's influence on the evolution of golf in the Midwest, particularly from the 1890s through the 1940s. With red leather chairs, a faux fireplace and 30 custom-made wood display cabinets, the exhibit has the luxurious feel of a golf clubhouse.

There are trophies and memorabilia on loan from the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, the North Shore Country Club in Glenview, the Flossmoor Country Club in Flossmoor and the Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields.

The exhibit also celebrates the father of American golf architecture, Charles Blair Macdonald, who founded Chicago Golf and laid out its course.

Macdonald, whose expertise as a player is demonstrated through two of the trophies he won, lived in unincorporated Wheaton from the club's founding until 1905. His mansion, which overlooks the club, is known as Ballyshear and still stands.

Lorne Visits With Ben and Bill... the opening of We-Ko-Pa in Arizona.


Redoing TPC Las Colinas...Again

Todd Wills has the details in the Dallas Morning News.
The EDS Byron Nelson Championship, after its namesake's death, will be getting a redesigned TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas to attract the PGA Tour's top players.

The renovations, which will cost $4 million to $6 million, will begin immediately after the April 26-29 tournament.

Tournament officials had been seeking major changes, highlighted by a redesign of the TPC, to maintain the Nelson's status as a top tour stop.

"We want an update that will generate a 'wow' on several holes," director of golf Paul Earnest said.

D.A. Weibring Golf Resources Group, John Fought Design and Gil Hanse Golf Course Design are the three finalists for the renovations, said Angela Enright, director of public relations for the Four Seasons Resort and Club.

Whichever one is chosen, the architect will oversee a project that includes new greens and several redesigned holes.

Earnest said they will look for two or three spots where 30 to 40 yards can be added to keep up with the players and new technology.


"Creating a marketing platform from which these independent contractors..."

Tim Finchem, from the first page of the transcript of the "PGA TOUR INAUGURAL COMMUNICATIONS SUMMIT..."

If we could just think for a second about what we're all about, we're all about creating benefits to players directly and indirectly.  Directly is cash and prize money and retirement plans, and indirectly is creating a marketing platform from which these independent contractors who are our members can take advantage of, can utilize that platform in conjunction with the agents and business consultants that are represented here today and others in their lives to build their future.  That's part one of what we do.   

Part two of what we do is we try to create a platform that will throw off the opportunity for charitable organizations around the country to utilize our collective efforts to impact individuals' lives through charitable work nationally and in the markets where we play. 

And then thirdly, we are dedicated to growing the game and protecting the game.  So those are the three things we try to do with our effort. Now, over the last six years, going back to 2000, we have been focusing on the long term of the sport and looking at ways that we could elevate this platform, elevate the business model, and create more impact. 

I stopped reading after that. But I think it's safe to say that platform is making a comback!


"Two inches by the time we get to The Players."

In his story on the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course redo, Stan Awtrey shares this quote from the PGA Tour's David Pillsbury, which I must say doesn't sound like the course is returning to its original style of de-emphasizing rough:

"The feedback has been extremely positive," Pillsbury said. "The rough is very punitive. It will grow another inch and a half or two inches by the time we get to The Players."


'I'm still three-putting but now I don't give a..."

Thanks to reader Greg for this very serious John Coomber piece on the role antidepressants have played in the lives of Brett Ogle, Stuart Appleby and Steven Bowditch. It ends on this light note.

Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson, who is at Royal Sydney this week, said he never knew depression or stress related illness to be a factor during his playing days, though he suspected some who sought refuge in alcohol may have been suffering.

Thomson recalled that American golfer Tommy Bolt, famous for his temper tantrums on the course, once tried taking sedatives to control his rage.

"In 1956 (the year Thomson won his third successive British Open) Tommy started taking a drug like a kind of valium to calm him down," he said.

"When I came back to America for the 1957 season I asked him if he was still taking the tablets and whether they were doing him any good.

"'Yeah,' he said. 'I'm still three-putting but now I don't give a shit.'"  


"We are talking about a 37-week accomplishment."

I'm sure the PGA Tour's Ric Clarson means well, but everytime he talks about the FedEx Cup, he gives you new reasons to not like it.

From Steve Elling in the Orlando Sentinel, writing about the 5-year exemption that goes with winning the FedEx Cup: 

Forget the $10 million bonus.

That's not chicken feed, but it's not all the winner of the forthcoming FedEx Cup will earn. The PGA Tour has added a potentially more valuable carrot -- a five-year playing exemption to the FedEx winner, matching the reward accorded winners of golf's vaunted major championships.

Sounds like heresy, huh? Then listen to this.

"Todd Hamilton, Ben Curtis and Shaun Micheel, they all had a significant one-week accomplishment," tour official Ric Clarson said of three recent, and mostly obscure, major winners. "That's on the resume for the rest of their life, but we are talking about a 37-week accomplishment. I'd say this trumps that.

"We are not saying the FedEx Cup is better than winning a major, but it's a totally different measurement."
Okay, you're saying, he's drinking the Kool-Aid, no news flash there. Then Elling drops this: 
As if the exemption isn't enough to stir conversation, Clarson said that based on computer models run by the tour, it is possible that a player could win the FedEx Cup race without winning any of the four so-called playoff events in August and September.

Which again is a reminder that these "playoffs" will be the most confusing in the history of sports, as viewers wait anxiously after the rounds for the points standings to be spit out of the computer. A true playoff would simply eliminate people each week in the build up to the Tour Championship.

Elling concludes:

Not to pick on the guy, but in theory, a player like David Duval could get hot for four weeks, win the FedEx bonus and then fall off the face of the earth, just like he did after winning the 2001 British Open. Yet his exemption would cement a spot for him on tour.

Oh, you can pick on him. 


Rackham Photos

Thanks to reader Smitty for these photos of the historic clubhouse at Rackham, the Donald Ross designed Detroit public golf course that may be developed.

I don't know what it looks like on the inside, but the exterior architecture is pretty extraordinary.

(click on image to enlarge)


2006 Golf Digest Best New

Golf Digest unveils its latest Best New Courses awards, and a couple of things stand out.

After a decade of using a $50 green fee to separate affordable from upscale public courses, we believe an increase to $75 reflects the economic landscape of the times.

Sheesh, couldn't even raise it to $60?

No major embarrassments like last year's award of a Best New Remodel to a former Best New Course Award winner, though the panel gives longtime Top 100 course Stanwich the Best New Remodel. And since Tom Fazio did the work, the course is setting itself up nicely for another Best New Remodel award in ten years.

Here's the best new private list, the best new upscale public list, the best new affordable list, and the best new Canadian courses.


More Q-School Coverage

Tod Leonard covers the highs and lows of day 6 along with the San Diego angle, while Larry Bohannan offers a short and sweet final day overview.


Seve To Play Masters; WD Announcement Pending

From the wires:

Seve Ballesteros is heading back to professional golf and will compete in the Masters and British Open next year.

The five-time major winner said yesterday that he also wants to join the Champions Tour in the United States when he turns 50 in April.

"My plan is to continue withdrawing for another four or five years," Ballesteros said.

Wait, I meant to copy and paste the version where he says he will continue playing for another four or five years. 


These Enormous Brands Coming Together...

The art department would like your thoughts...personally, I think it captures the essence of the brands quite nicely.

AEGA copy2.jpg


"This is new ground for us"

Doug Ferguson on the USGA selling its soul creating a brand alliance with American Express:

"This is new ground for us," USGA executive director David Fay said. "We hope this is the beginning of a long relationship with Amex. For some of those elements of the USGA that don't get much publicity, we hope this relationship helps us. And we'll do our part to provide Amex with some benefits for its members."
The question this begs is, why now, after 112 years? Any thoughts. Anyone, anyone? 
 American Express had been the title sponsor of a World Golf Championship the past eight years, a relationship that ended two months ago in London when Woods won the event for fifth time.

And while Woods has not signed an extension of his deal with American Express, the world's No. 1 player made a series of phone calls last week to talk about the USGA's first corporate partner in its 112-year history.

"It's a tremendous opportunity," Woods said. "This is two enormous brands coming together to help golf."

Yes, the USGA is one enormous brand. I'm sure that's what CB Macdonald and friends were hoping for back in the day!


Final Q-School Coverage

Tons of great Q-school coverage at the Golf Digest blog hosted by John Strege, and in this Golfweek story.