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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

The audience in the theatre, looking over the footlights, view the play as do most of the gallery following the experts of golf. However, back-stage, there are a few eyes critically regarding the play from an entirely different angle. For many years I have preferred to observe golf shots from backstage, as it were. Seeing a man whack a golf ball is of little interest to me, and frequently it is a performance that had better be missed. That which concerns me most is where the ball lands and what it does after.  A.W. TILLINGHAST

 

    

Saturday
Jun232007

"It is making us look like fools."

I didn't catch these comments from Michael Campbell during the U.S. Open coverage:

"It is on the edge of embarrassing some of the guys," Campbell said.

"It wasn't much fun out there, put it that way. I used to enjoy coming to major tournaments and playing them.

"But when you are out there grinding your butt off for bogeys and pars it is not very nice.

"We felt that at Augusta this year. Normally you get a guy charging on the back nine and shooting 30 like Jack Nicklaus did in 1986. To me that is exciting TV and for the players and the spectators, too.

"But now there are just guys making bogeys and it is making us look like fools."

But don't you see Michael, that's the very point. You and your cohorts had to go and make all that money, get the babes and worst of all drive the ball 350 yards, making these governing body dudes look bad. You must pay! 

Saturday
Jun232007

"Standing around in a towel is a great way to enjoy the view."

OB-AM042_golfcl_20070622160444.jpgJohn Paul Newport visits The Bridge and chats with founder Robert Rubin about his club and what he sees as the future of clubhouse design.

Easily the most dramatic expression of the club's idiosyncratic nature is the clubhouse, which opened just this month and occupies the highest point of land on the eastern end of Long Island. It has four angular glass-and-steel "blades" that swirl outward from a central hub and feels more like a postmodern museum perched in the hills above Los Angeles than it does anything traditionally associated with golf.

According to the architect, Roger Ferris, the blade-like design picks up on both the "dynamic tempo" of a golf swing and on the impeller assembly of a turbo-charged racing engine.
OB-AM043_golfcl_20070622160623.jpgGosh I love the Hamptons.
In any case, the 280-degree views of the Rees Jones-designed golf course, which has been open for several years, and Peconic Bay beyond are spectacular.
"The world has enough shingle-style, McMansion clubhouses," says Mr. Rubin, who effectively controls all but 25% of the shares in the club. (The rest are held by his acquiescent business partner, Gary Davis.) "What we're creating here, we think, is a model for the 21st-century golf club."

The basis for that model is Mr. Rubin's interpretation of how people actually use golf clubs these days.

"The clubhouse at Shinnecock Hills perfectly reflected its time and place," Mr. Rubin observes, referring to the famed 116-year-old golf club only seven miles away and its classic Stanford White structure. Messrs. Rubin and Ferris consciously imitated the way the Shinnecock clubhouse dominates its landscape and is grandly visible from many locations on the course. But functionally, Mr. Rubin contends, the old clubhouses are no longer relevant, even though a lot of new clubhouses still reflexively ape them.

And...
Another thing that Mr. Rubin noticed is that modern golf-club members like to sit around in their locker rooms after a round and schmooze, so he decreed that the locker rooms should have the nicest views. As a result, the entire front walls of both the men's and women's versions are floor-to-ceiling glass, 24 feet tall in places, and they open out directly onto the club's wraparound stone terrace. Standing around in a towel is a great way to enjoy the view.
And just think of the clubhouse view for golfers.

 

But none of this has kept him from finding members, even at $750,000 a pop (the earliest memberships went for a mere $500,000). Mostly they are self-made men (and a handful of women) in finance, hedge funds and real estate, with a couple of doctors and lawyers thrown in (he calls them his "scholarship guys," although they get no discount) and a few in entertainment (including hip-hop mogul Lyor Cohen and artist Richard Prince).

"It can sound like a ridiculous amount of money, but a lot of members justify the cost by thinking of the club as the extra room they don't have to add onto their house," Mr. Rubin says.

OB-AM044_golfcl_20070622160719.jpgYou know it's funny, but I just budgeted an add-on to my second home in Malibu. Low and behold, $750,000 for that extra room. Which is why I could see where Newport was going with this:

In an area where houses routinely cost $5 million, and the really good ones near the ocean go for $10 million or more, this argument holds some logic, especially since membership will cap, at least for the time being, at 150. Currently the count is 129. He describes the club, with its cool, minimalist architecture, and its astounding views, as a place to appreciate the more meditative aspects of golf, which too much traffic would spoil.

Traffic? In the Hamptons? No! 

Saturday
Jun232007

"America's ruling body closed their minds to what would have produced a fascinating test of golf, and buried the aforementioned angles beneath the same old sea of rough."

John Huggan with this On Sunday Scotland Scotland On Sunday observation about Tiger and the USGA setup at Oakmont:

This time he hit more fairways and more greens than the eventual champion - supposedly the secret to winning US Opens - and lost again.

Such statistics are just another indication that the USGA are failing in their supposed and much-repeated mission to identify the "best" player. Their mantra used to be "fairways and greens" in the style of Ben Hogan, but now fifth-placed Bubba Watson-like "rough and scramble" would seem to be more appropriate.
And on Oakmont... 
Oakmont prides itself on being the toughest course in America, with a good part of that difficulty stemming from what must be the most fiendish and interesting set of greens anywhere. Sadly, that aspect of the Oakmont test was largely lost because of the mindless one-dimensionality of the USGA's set-up.

Rather than let the players decide for themselves the angles at which they would most like to approach the putting surfaces, and so hopefully take strategic advantage of their slopes, America's ruling body closed their minds to what would have produced a fascinating test of golf, and buried the aforementioned angles beneath the same old sea of rough. So we are left to imagine just what sort of score (given the same level of ball-striking) that Woods could have managed in that already-superb third round. Or by how much he could have separated himself from the field. What a waste.
Saturday
Jun232007

"The issue: Who will pay for the tax liability on the couple's ownership of private jets?"

You know, I've stayed away from the Greg Norman divorce because this is, after all, a golf blog and not a Perez Hilton wannabe site. However, this is just too good to pass up. From Jose Lambiet in the Palm Beach Post.

 

After months of bitter legal wrangling, golf legend Greg Norman and his soon-to-be ex-wife announced Friday they have worked out a divorce settlement.

Their actual divorce, however, wasn't finalized at a court hearing in Martin County just yet because the two may be headed back before a judge for a two-day trial in September.

The issue: Who will pay for the tax liability on the couple's ownership of private jets?

Key word there, jets. Not jet. Jets. Oh the problems these two have!

 

This is fun:

"It's over. We signed a settlement agreement, but we also signed a confidentiality agreement and I can't talk about it," a beaming Laura Norman said outside the Stuart courthouse. "The trial is not a big issue, but they wanted a trial."

 

She can't talk about it, but she can tell us they signed a settlement agreement!

Meanwhile this Daily Mail story features pictures of Norman and "mistress" Chris Evert along with various dollar figures that don't really add up. Because if they did, we'd be seeing Greg out playing the Champions Tour...for the first time.

Saturday
Jun232007

Vick's Passion For Dogfighting Claims Charity Golf Tournament

Ah how fun would it be to blog about the NFL!

Why can't PGA Tour players be this sleezy every once in a while?

Friday
Jun222007

Hawkins On State Of The Game

Finally got around to John Hawkins' essay on the state of the game, which artfully sidestepped a few sticky issues while also offering some good, solid honest assessments about the golf industry. (And nice to see Golf World not simply devote its 60th anniversary issue to patting itself on the back).

He's especially good in this piece when taking on the question of whether the game needs to grow and produce new players.

Of course, one man's game is another man's business. Without growth, you're standing still, and if you're standing still in a public sector, some guy in a striped tie won't be getting his obese year-end bonus. You can't rightfully begrudge a man for driving profit margins--the dude wants to retire early so he can, ahem, go play golf--but the organizations that want most to grow golf have an obvious financial stake in their message. The PGA of America on a recreational level, the PGA Tour in terms of spectators and TV viewers--both operations regularly compromise the game's essence and integrity to generate additional revenue for themselves.
But do they really have to compromise the game's essence in this pursuit?

On a smaller point, I thought this was a great observation. 
Woods' greatness brought golf a fleeting burst of mainstream presence for a couple of years, but the novelty has long since worn off, and now we've returned to the second row of the sports hierarchy.

We saw the same thing happen in the early '90s with the Senior PGA Tour. A sexy mix of clock-punching club pros (Tom Wargo, Larry Laoretti) and silver superstars (Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino) created a ton of buzz, prompting former commissioner Deane Beman to make a 40-week schedule out of the concept. By the time Woods began reconfiguring the game's competitive landscape at the far end of the decade, Geritol Ball was just a cute little fad whose meter had expired.

Which is why it's crucial to close off the Champions Tour Q-school to more of those clock punching club pros and other non-PGA Tour lifers so that we can see Mike Reid gets in 25 starts! 

Friday
Jun222007

"But just as her father is chasing Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 majors, he'll also be measured against Nicklaus as a family man."

I think we have our GWAA winner in the Daily-Columns-Oy-Vey Division thanks to Dave Anderson's take on the birth of Tiger's daughter, including excessive piling on from Jack Nicklaus.

Whatever she does, Sam Alexis Woods will always be Tiger Woods's daughter, which won't be easy. But just as her father is chasing Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 majors, he'll also be measured against Nicklaus as a family man. Not that he and Elin need to have five children and 20 grandchildren, as Jack and Barbara have.
But just think about the possibilities on the design business side? Just a thought.

On this measured against Nicklaus thing, how would one measure this exactly anyway? 
"Tiger's career, as bright as it has been, can only be enhanced by marriage and now by parenthood," Jack Nicklaus said in a statement of congratulations. "I have always felt that family adds a significant level of balance to your life and it gives you greater incentive in your professional life."

Yeah, Tiger really needs incentive! He's such a slacker!

Changing Sam Alexis' diapers may just turn around this shoddy 1-1-2-2 record in the last four majors! 

Friday
Jun222007

ESPN Hires Seven VP's; Still Has Long Way To Go Before Catching PGA Tour

John Dempsey in Variety notes the VP hiring binge, which I think (seriously) speaks to where media is headed in the coming years with the iphone and other devices rendering print just that much more...ah you know.

ESPN, striving to stay ahead of the flooding of sports programming to Web sites, cell phones and iPods, has created a new brain trust of seven top content execs who'll report to the top dog John Skipper, ESPN's exec veep of content.

The seven, all of whom will be much more cognizant of burgeoning new-media platforms, are Norby Williamson, exec VP of production; John Wildhack , exec VP of program acquisitions & strategy; David Berson, exec VP of program planning & strategy; and John Walsh, exec VP and executive editor.

Also, Keith Clinkscales, senior VP of content development & enterprises; Marie Donoghue, senior VP of business affairs and business development; and John Kosner, senior VP and GM of digital media.

ESPN singled out Clinkscales because he'll take charge of the expansion of ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) into what the network calls "a multi-platform -- TV, Internet, print, wireless, broadband and radio -- creative-content-development unit."

Wow, that's a lot of hyphens and commas! 

Friday
Jun222007

“There was just no believability that Tiger was dying to drive a Buick"

The New York Times's Nick Bunkley explores the all vital brand dynamics of Tiger and his relationship with Buick, which appears to be changing.

“There was just no believability that Tiger was dying to drive a Buick,” said Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries, a marketing strategy firm in Atlanta.

“The brand personalities just didn’t go together, like oil and water,” she said.

Who knew brand's had personalities?  

“Buick is an older person’s car. Tiger is very young, very cool and at the top of his game. You imagine him driving a Bentley or a Mercedes or a Lexus.”

Hey, he had his chance at the Lexus last week and passed.

Thursday
Jun212007

Stu Schneider Family Fund

stu_thumb.jpgThe good folks at Golf Digest have passed along information for those of you who asked about contributing something in Stu Schneider's memory. You may recall that our good pal Stu passed away unexpectedly May 29, leaving behind wife Linda and two young sons.

Stu was a great friend of the game and valuable contributor to Golf World who made many of us laugh every week. (Incidentally there are some great letters in this week's issue from readers touched by his work).  

For those of you who have kindly asked about contributing to the maintenance and operations of this web site, now's the time. Anything will help. Here's where you can contribute: 

Checks payable to Linda Schneider
Reference “Stu Schneider Family Fund” in the notes/memo line

Mail to:
Stu Schneider Family Fund
P.O. Box 670152
Coral Springs, FL 33067
Thursday
Jun212007

"[His comments] got me, they got our membership and they got the USGA"

Golfdom's Larry Aylward caught up with Oakmont superintendent John Zimmers and the USGA's Mike Davis after the U.S. Open and he asked about Phil Mickelson's remarks.

"[His comments] got me, they got our membership and they got the USGA," Zimmers told Golfdom. "Simply put, 99 percent of the players said it was the hardest U.S. Open they have ever played in. But it was absolutely the fairest one, too. It was a true test of golf."

To that, Zimmers said Tiger Woods came up to him after the tournament, hugged him and said, "That was tough." But Woods made the comment as a compliment, not a complaint.

Davis told Golfdom that the USGA thought Mickelson's comments were "perplexing."

"Maybe in this litigious society, where you're not responsible to anything that happens to you, maybe this was just something where he didn't want to be responsible and he wanted to put the blame on someone else," Davis said. "I don't think the USGA is ready to all of the sudden have no rough at the U.S. Open because somebody hurt his wrist in it three weeks before. But having said that, I will say Phil is a good player, and he was playing such great golf coming into the U.S. Open that it's too bad he hurt his wrist. ... Sometimes we all say things in the heat of the moment that, in hindsight, maybe we take back."

Thursday
Jun212007

Brand Lady Goes Entire Interview Without Saying Brand!

Dan Wiederer sits down with LPGA Commish Carolyn Bivens to talk about the state of the brand, renumeration for women in corporate America and other upwardly integrated platform value dynamics. Actually for all of the buzzwords, you have to give her credit for instituting drug testing, not screwing up the ADT Championship idea left over from the Votaw regime and for trying to get her players health care.

Still, a Michelle Wie question might have been nice...but no brand references? Impressive!

Thursday
Jun212007

"It's one of the most irrelevant rules ever proposed in golf."

Thanks to reader Sean for catching John Davis's excellent story on the U-groove rule change proposed by the USGA.

In a joint proposal with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, U-grooves wouldn't be banned, but clubs would have specifications so they performed like V-shaped grooves, which were the standard before U-grooves were approved.

"Does that mean I would have to buy new clubs?" Kevin Largent of Scottsdale said before a golf round last week. "I just got these."

The answer is yes, although not right away. If adopted, the rules would take effect for high-level competition in 2009 and for all new equipment in 2010. Recreational golfers would have a 10-year grace period in which they can use clubs that currently conform.
I wonder how many golfers actually know this?
Tour pros have had mixed reaction to the proposal, but most club manufacturers are strongly opposed, saying it not only would cost them millions of dollars to meet the specifications but also would be costly for golfers.
Oh come on.
"More than 100 million clubs that are being played around the world would be non-conforming. That's a lot of clubs," said John A. Solheim, president and CEO of Ping. "I'm totally opposed to this thing."

An open comment period runs through Aug. 1, during which anyone can send comments to the USGA about the proposal. In recent years, equipment proposals have been "tweaked," but the end result has been a new rule in each case.

If approved, it would mark the first rollback in equipment since the move to a lighter ball in 1931.

And why is it again the ball can't be rolled back? That's easier to replace than a set of irons.
Benoit Vincent, chief technical officer for TaylorMade, thinks the proposal is "disconnected."

"Their point is that golfers aren't concerned about driving accuracy," Vincent said. "How do they control that? By regulating the spin of the ball on shots out of the rough?

"The probability that this rule is going to solve the problem is very low."

Vincent thinks it unfair that clubmakers and regular golfers would pay a steep price simply because of shots being executed by highly skilled tour pros. He estimates that golfers would pay 10 percent more for the new clubs.

"In order to meet those specifications would cost millions of dollars," he said. "This rule is insignificant to the vast majority of golfers in the world except that they would have to change their equipment. It's one of the most irrelevant rules ever proposed in golf."

This argument looks particularly silly after Oakmont:

 

Rugge doubts that the proposed changes would have much change on the tour's money list. "Tiger Woods is still going to be the best," he said. "We would expect to see some changes, but these guys are so good, they would adapt their games perhaps to focus more on staying in the fairway."

Right, because they are aiming at the rough. Kind of hard not to when the fairways are 22 yards wide. 

Thursday
Jun212007

"The FedExCup thingy"

Thanks to reader James for this Norman Dabell Reuters story where you can just feel the excitement oozing from Ernie's lips...

Even though Els found Oakmont exasperating he still maintained the British Open at Carnoustie in 1999 was "the toughest major I've ever played".

After playing Carnoustie for next month's British Open, Els's schedule then really takes off in America -- whether he likes it or not.
   
"It's the start of the FedExCup thingy," he said. "I think I'm going to play six out of seven weeks and try and make some silly points."

Thursday
Jun212007

"It was frustration talking."

Thomas Bonk notes in his LA Times golf column that Phil Mickelson is apologizing for something he shouldn't have to apologize for.

Mickelson, who after missing the cut at the U.S. Open blamed the USGA for his wrist injury because of the length of the rough at Oakmont during his practice rounds, backed off his comments on his website Wednesday. He said he was simply upset about being hurt: "It's probably why I said some of the things I did on Friday and some of them may have been a little out of line. It was frustration talking."

Uh, frustration was also talking Wednesday night on The Golf Channel.

More importantly, as one golf scribe said to me today, these calls for Phil to apologize for saying what was on his mind (and what was clearly the case since two players WD'd because of rough-induced wrist injuries), is precisely the reason  players offer so few original, profound or bold statements anymore.

Thursday
Jun212007

Questions Raised About FedEx Cup; Tour Elated Someone Cares Enough At This Point To Have Questions

Ken Gordon in the Columbus Dispatch wonders about how this FedEx Cup thing will work (Golf World's John Hawkins declared it dead on arrival last week). If nothing else, perhaps the story raises money for John Rollins' charity of choice:

"Your career is based on majors," John Rollins said. "Quite honestly, if I won two majors this year, I could care less if I won the FedEx."
You can't tear down a brand like FedEx and not be fined. Come on John!

This is fun from Ty Votaw
"Whenever you create something new and different, there is no small amount of skepticism," he said.

Uh, we've moved beyond skepticism to apathy.

Thursday
Jun212007

Cherry Hills Invites U.S. Amateur

Anthony Cotton reports that the club would like to host one, while Coore and Crenshaw's new Colorado Golf Club is doing all it can to attract USGA events.

Thursday
Jun212007

USOpen.com Sees Record Hits

Thursday
Jun212007

The Dangers Of On-Site Blogging

Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette questions the NCAA's concern$ over writers doing live game updates and mentions the USGA's policy on live blogging on site at Oakmont (don't even think of whipping out a PDA on the course...unless you are Walter Driver!).

Wednesday
Jun202007

"What's the difference between God and Walter Driver?"

From Bob Verdi's Golf World column on the U.S. Open:

...you know what they say around USGA headquarters. What's the difference between God and Walter Driver? God doesn't go around acting like Walter Driver.

I think Bob has just moved ahead of me on the hit list!