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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
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • 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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • 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
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

I attribute the insane arrogance of the later Roman emperors almost entirely to the fact that, never having played golf, they never knew that strange chastening humility which is engendered by a topped chip-shot. If Cleopatra had been outed in the First Round of the Ladies’ Singles, we should have heard a lot less of her proud imperiousness.
P.G. WODEHOUSE


    

Thursday
Mar132008

The Latest Labbance Books

wayne_stiles_book_cover.jpgI just caught a glimpse of Bob Labbance's new books and both look excellent. The impressive biography and history of architect Wayne Stiles' career is now available through the Stiles Society, while his look at Harry Vardon's historic 1900 tour of America has been published by Ann Arbor Media Group and is available through Amazon.com.




Thursday
Mar132008

Now We Know Why The USGA Is Accumulating A War Chest...

Golf World's dynamic duo of Mike Stachura and E. Michael Johnson reveal that the USGA has notified manufacturers of a new random driver testing program.

This isn't going to be cheap:

The protocol has the USGA obtaining eight samples from golf retail shops of its choosing. Those drivers will be measured on the pendulum tester located at the USGA Test Center.

The USGA said all drivers appearing on the USGA's List of Conforming Driver Heads are subject to the check testing program with the frequency of sampling to be determined by the USGA, depending on the results obtained. This could potentially be an arduous, time-consuming and expensive task as that list is currently 380 pages long with an average of about nine driver heads per page -- that's well over 3,000 driver heads.

Yeah and at $3-600 a head...ouch!

And if they find the drivers are exceeding the limit...
it will set off a series of events that includes a notice to the manufacturer. At that point, the manufacturer will have a "reasonable amount of time" to review the findings and discuss them with the USGA. At that point the club will be removed from the conforming list unless the manufacturer "provides information to the USGA which warrants additional consideration by the USGA."

Once a club is placed on the non-conforming list, the manufacturer may submit a conforming version of the club, with some form of permanent identifying markings distinguishing this version from the non-conforming version.

 

Thursday
Mar132008

Daly Reacts To DQ, Butch, Gruden

GolfChannel.com has the exclusive and he actually comes off sounding pretty good with his answers.


Thursday
Mar132008

"As for whether I'll play, it's going to depend on my schedule."

36695033-12193536.jpgIn Thomas Bonk's note on George Lopez getting bumped from the Hope Classic marquee in favor of Arnold Palmer, you have to love the humor-free and decidedly Tiger-like semantics from Lopez:
"My intentions have always been about what's best for the tournament. Arnold Palmer, he's an icon of golf; who doesn't respect him? I wish the tournament all the luck in the world.

"As for whether I'll play, it's going to depend on my schedule."

Ironic that the tournament is bringing in Palmer to liven things up, when it's all of the Palmer-designed courses that have killed the event.

Wednesday
Mar122008

"Should the USGA ever consider a limit on lofts..."

gwar01_080314sindelar.jpgIn the current Golf World, E. Michael Johnson writes that nearly 80 percent of the field at the Pods Championship carried a 60-degree wedge and that only Mathew Goggin and Rocco Mediate had a 56-degree as their highest-lofted wedge.

And he writes:

Still, though some players on the PGA Tour are using wedges as lofty as 64 degrees (including Peter Lonard and D.J. Trahan at the PODS), not everyone is drawn to higher lofts. On the LPGA Tour, for example, only 36 percent of players at the HSBC Champions had a 60-degree wedge, while 18 percent percent had a 56-degree as their highest-lofted wedge, including Lorena Ochoa and Se Ri Pak.

Should the USGA ever consider a limit on lofts, players such as Ochoa and Pak will have a head start -- and those with 60-degree wedges will have to learn a bunch of new shots.

During my work on a couple of recent stories, several players mentioned the outlawing of the 60 degree wedge. Now, it's one thing to at least argue about grooves and their impact, but how can loft ever be something that is banned?  If someone wants to use a 70 degree wedge or a 5 degree driver, why wouldn't they be allowed to do that?

I don't sense the USGA and R&A are considering it, but just the idea of it always amazes me. Thoughts? 

Wednesday
Mar122008

"East Lake was just slow. These are not just slow."

Considering Tiger's sensitivity to what he deems to be iffy greens (Pebble Beach, Riviera) and their effect on his putting stroke, you can sense his enthusiasm for Bay Hill's diseased putting surfaces:

Q. How was the course out there today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the fairways and the tee boxes are in great shape.

Q. So talk about the greens.
TIGER WOODS: Well, they are not very good. It's going to be an interesting week on them. You're going to see a lot of guys hit good putts and they are going to go weird ways, unfortunately.

But, hey, we've all got to deal with it, we've all got to putt on them and you just have to accept hitting good putts and they may not go in but hopefully we hit enough good ones where they do go in.

And...
Q. Does this venue present as big a challenge for you as any one you're playing in the next couple of months?
TIGER WOODS: Definitely. Definitely. Especially with what we have to putt on this week. It will be quite a test.

Q. Worse than East Lake?
TIGER WOODS: East Lake was just slow. These are not just slow.

 

Wednesday
Mar122008

PGA Tour Joins Facebook!

It's great to see the PGA Tour trying to tap a younger audience since they typically resist such pandering (see Ty, I listen!).

Yet the gang in Ponte Vedra couldn't resist opening themselves up to the privacy-violating social network du jour, Facebook. And you can just see the kids swooning with an opening page self-explanation like this:

The mission of the PGA TOUR is to expand domestically and internationally to substantially increase player financial benefits while maintaining its commitment to the integrity of the game. In addition to providing competitive opportunities for its membership, PGA TOUR events also generate revenue for charitable causes in their communities.

That ought to have the friend requests coming in drives.

But you have to love the discreet use of Tiger's image on their homepage:

PGATourFacebook.jpg 

 

Wednesday
Mar122008

"Not to bring politics into this in an election year, but we like to think the U.S. Open is the most democratic golf championship"

From Doug Ferguson's notes column:

The PGA Tour scored a small victory last month when the USGA recognized the FedEx Cup while handing out exemptions to the U.S. Open. Along with giving a free pass to the top 30 on the PGA Tour money list, those in the top 30 in the final FedEx Cup standings don't have to qualify, either.

It was thought the USGA would pick one or the other, but officials recognized it would only affect a couple of players. By also taking the field from the Tour Championship, Jonathan Byrd and Camilo Villegas are exempt for Torrey Pines.

"Doing the numbers, I am very confident that the majority of the U.S. Open field will still come via qualifying," USGA executive director David Fay said Tuesday. "Adding the Tour Championship field will not tilt that."

And that was important to the USGA, since 54 percent of the field last year came from qualifying.

"Not to bring politics into this in an election year, but we like to think the U.S. Open is the most democratic golf championship," Fay said.

First, isn't it great to see David quoted again? I thought Walter Driver and Pete Bevacqua had shipped him to some secure, undisclosed location.

Second, it's a sad day when the Executive Director can't weave one of his wily baseball metaphors into this, especially since he probably was closely monitoring the Yankees spring training game webcast as he was talking to Ferguson.

But finally, I hate to break the news to such a well-educated man, but unless the U.S. Open is a superdelegate that'll be in Denver this August to cast the deciding vote for Obama, there is nothing our election year has to do with calling the U.S. Open democratic.

Then again, considering the way the USGA has set up courses to make it all about their egos and the fact they have these special new corporate relationships, I'd have to lean more towards fascist. But that's just me.

David, this is what happens when you stray from your baseball metaphors. Stick to what brought you to the big dance!

Wednesday
Mar122008

Daly Misses Pro-Am Tee Time, So Do Alternates

Bob Harig reports. Apparently Sean O'Hair Nick O'Hern and another player pegged as pro-am field alternates were not there either, so they may face disqualification from the Arnold Palmer Invitational as well. Ian Poulter stepped in for Daly.

Tuesday
Mar112008

"If ever there was irrefutable proof that we long ago reached the saturation point on golf instruction, it is the knowledge that even Tripp Isenhour is involved."

GolfBrief.com's Jim McCabe offers this entertaining take on the Tripp Isenhour hawk killing fiasco:

top07.jpgWith this story still having shelf life, part of me just can’t get away from one angle that continues to amaze. That is, the endless stream of infomercials, books, videos, and gadgets which promise to make you a better golfer. I’m not sure any of them have made improvements upon “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” that came out more than 50 years ago, but needless to say, the flow of money being poured into whatever quick fix is thrust into public view hasn’t evaporated.
   
“Practice Like a Pro” is a DVD collection offered for “3 easy payments of $29.98” — plus the infamous shipping and handling, of course — and if you Google it, whose face pops up but that of Tripp Isenhour. He’s there with a big grin on his face, so we assume the photo was taken before the red-shouldered hawk fell into his world with a resounding thud. Standing next to Isenhour is Dr. Bob Rotella, who knows a thing or two or three or 20 about books and videos that promise better golf. Isenhour is billed as a “PGA Tour pro,” which begs the question: Does anyone know of any “PGA Tour amateur?”
   
Reportedly, the Dec. 12 session was to film a video in the “Practice Like a Pro” series and you’d be wise to wager that there won’t be anything about a drill on taking aim at feathered creatures in trees. As to whether or not these videos are “revolutionary” or truly reveal “secrets of the short game,” as the advertisement states, that’s for you to decide.

This is America and thanks to our precious capitalism, Isenhour, for sure, is free to cash in on his status as a professional golfer and pitch products like the “Practice Like a Pro,” just as you are within your rights to purchase the Medicus dual-hinged Driver, the Brush-T, the Heavy Putter, the Swing Glove, or any magazine that announces on its cover that you can cure your slice or hit your drives 20 yards further.
   
Getting better at golf is a huge industry, but I guess it took the unfortunate death of a migratory bird to make me realize once again just how huge it is. I mean, Tripp Isenhour offering help with golf instruction? I hadn’t heard much of him since he won the Trinidad Open.

Tuesday
Mar112008

"You're looking at the shortest golf window along the entire North Sea."

gwar03_080314trump.jpgGolf World's John Huggan weighs in on the viability of The Donald's Scotland project moving forward. This lept off the page...

All of which presupposes that the course actually will be built. While the odds are currently heavily in favor of the project gaining official approval, nothing yet is certain. Indeed, the story of Trump and the Menie Estate already has taken many twists and turns. As a "Site of Special Scientific Interest" that is home to many varieties of plant and wildlife, the area always was going to be difficult from a planning standpoint. American Mark Parsinen, who developed the highly acclaimed Kingsbarns course near St. Andrews, was one who previously rejected the site because of possible environmental restrictions. "I looked at this location, but it is on a Site of Special Scientific Interest," says Parsinen, who is now building another project at Castle Stuart, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. "These things take a lot of time. I settled here with my family to slowly build up relationships with the local community. I want them with me, not angry with me."

Meanwhile in last week's Golfweek, Bradley Klein writes of the project:

Didn't any of The Donald's consultants tell him that the site for this proposed 36-hole golf resort and real estate spread north of Aberdeen is on the East Coast's coldest stretch of land? Between the frequent morning "haar" or fog and the early afternoon shadows cast by the Grampian Mountains to the west, you're looking at the shortest golf window along the entire North Sea.

 

Tuesday
Mar112008

"We’re the electives. And there are lot more requirements now.”

Doug Ferguson looks at Tiger Woods' increasingly picky schedule and features this epic quote from Wachovia Championship tournament director Kym Hougham on the impact of Woods essentially locked in to the majors, three WGCs, three or four (!?) playoff events and The Players Championship The PLAYERS:

“It’s a dwindling opportunity because of the majors, the WGCs, and now the playoffs,” Hougham said. “It’s like in college, when you have requirements and electives. We’re the electives. And there are lot more requirements now.”

Tuesday
Mar112008

Harmon Revokes Daly's Hall Pass

Tim Rosaforte's original February note on John Daly and Butch Harmon resurfaces in the April Golf Digest, and includes this from Harmon:

"I told [John] to look in the mirror to see the guy who's causing all the problems. On tour, he needs to stay on his bus, stay out of the Hooters and the bars. I told him, 'If you can't do that, we don't have a deal."

Harmon added, "I gave him one hall pass. One is all I'm going to give him."
ALeqM5i2UuMmncnsQYJESYshumcAw7XCWgNot surprisingly, Daly's well documented weekend foray into the Hooter's pavillion did it for Harmon. From a Doug Ferguson wire report:
"My whole goal for him was he's got to show me golf is the most important thing in his life," Harmon said from his golf school in Las Vegas. "And the most important thing in his life is getting drunk."
No one can accuse Butch of holding back. 
"I've let him know that after his actions of last weekend, we are no longer together," Harmon said. "In all honesty, I'm a very busy person. I'm willing to help the kid, but until he helps himself and makes golf his No. 1 priority, I'm not his guy.

"Jon Gruden caddying, I thought was ridiculous. I thought he made a circus out of the whole event."

Daly, who is playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational on a sponsor's exemption, could not be located for comment.

Tuesday
Mar112008

One Golfer Left...

ObamaBarack.jpgI'm not sure where, but I do recall someone writing or saying that with Mitt Romney's departure from the presidential race, the next occupant of the White House would not be a golfer. Where, I can't recall. Hey, it happens.

Anyway, I was pleased to see this in Lisa Furlong's introductory story to the Golf Digest ranking of Washington golfers:

We haven't seen President Bush playing golf in a while, but he's still considered a 15. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who's about a 16, weighed his decision to run while playing golf in Hawaii in 2006.
Tuesday
Mar112008

"Holmes resembles a preying mantis painstakingly stalking its lunch as he goes through his staccato pre-shout routine."

Karl MacGinty offers the latest slow play rant and it's a beauty. A few highlights:

Okay, O'Hair's not as mind-numbingly slow as JB Holmes, the mega-hitter from Kentucky who pounded Phil Mickelson into submission on the first tie hole at last month's FBR Open.

This guy is utterly infuriating. Holmes resembles a preying mantis painstakingly stalking its lunch as he goes through his staccato pre-shout routine. I lost count of the number of times I ended up screaming "hit it, for God's sake" at the TV screen.

Yet Holmes and O'Hair are good enough golfers to make it onto the US Ryder Cup team at Valhalla. Maybe they're America's secret weapon...
And I didn't see this second line from J.B. Holmes...
There seems little chance of Holmes following suit. "A lot of old habits kick in when you're under pressure," said the Kentucky native recently.

"You're playing for $1m. If someone thinks I'm slow or taking too long, I don't care."

Holmes would care if the same fate befell him as Angela Park when she was docked two shots at last month's SPG in Hawaii. No warning. No appeal.

When it comes to slow play, America's LPGA Tour has balls, while their male counterparts clearly do not!

We have the makings of a trend here: the LPGA is trying to get a grip on slow play and the PGA Tour is not. Note in the recent slow play pieces here, here and here how the focus is on the PGA Tour's refusal to penalize players. 

Tuesday
Mar112008

Golf Digest Provides Best Reason Yet To Get Rid Of All The Lobbyists...

raar01_politicalranking.jpg...yhey and the people who employ them are taking up valuable space on the latest edition of my favorite ranking, the Washington Top 200.
Monday
Mar102008

"The fact, is golf isn't hungry. It talks hungry."

It's been too long since I've read an honest to goodness rant, but Bob Carney delivers on the GolfDigest.com editor's blog.

I'd just hate to have been Carney's keyboard after he and a buddy got turned away from Montauk Downs on a perfectly playable day (well, to Easterners anyway):

The fact, is golf isn't hungry. It talks hungry. It issues press releases as if it's hungry. But if it were really hungry, there would have been no question about golf on Sunday at Montauk Downs. If it were really hungry, there would be free clinics for kids every month at every public course. If it were really hungry, there would be after-school junior hours where kids could get access to local courses. If it were really hungry there would be nine-hole leagues for every conceivable human subdivision, from singles to sorority sisters, heck, maybe even six-hole leagues. If it were really hungry, I'd be writing about a crazy, gale-swept, laugh-out-loud, triple-digit round at Montauk on Sunday.

Golf ought to take a lesson from the Mom and Pop owners of the courses we grew up on who created couples outings, hit-and-giggle clinics, breakfast leagues, free hot dogs with rounds, you name it, to fill their "inventory". Or from Frank Thomas, the former USGA official whose new book, "Just Hit It", echoes this back-to-basics theme. "Golf really should be a simple and pleasant experience," says Frank. "The game began in nature," says Frank. "That's where we found satisfaction." Not in perfect conditions. Not even in big-name designs. That's all we wanted on Sunday, a little tussle with nature. Folks who understand why people play don't find reasons to shut their gates. They might warn us about the wet spots. But they enjoy crazies like Rich and me who would want to play in a 40-mile-an-hour wind. We're they're customers.
On the subject of participation levels, thanks to reader John for spotting Michelle Coursey's piece about dwindling numbers in New Zealand.


Monday
Mar102008

"But things are OK with you and him now?”

I know I should never delete the digital recording of a tour telecast until the dust has settled, but I just didn't want that Pods disaster clogging up space. Now I see on the HookedOnGolf blog that I missed one of the epic boondoggles in post-round interview history and a chance to share it with you via YouTube.

Note to Tommy Roy: rush Jimmy Roberts to an Orlando ear doctor and have those canals steam cleaned.


Monday
Mar102008

Shocker: Pods Ratings Down

This isn't really of much significance except for the face we see ratings published so rarely. Thomas Bonk reports:

The combined overnight ratings for the PODS Championship on NBC were down slightly from last year. Saturday's rating was a 1.7 and four share, up 21% from a 1.4 and four share last year; but Sunday's were down 10% to a 1.9 and four share, compared to a 2.1 and four share last year.

 

Monday
Mar102008

"Nice job, dumbass."

On the post about Tripp Isenhour's unfortunate decision to hunt down a harmless hawk and make a fool of himself (not to mention, break the law), I noted that this will not help golf's cause with environmentalists. Reader Adam Clayman wondered what I meant.

Well, Pat Jones answers the question in a short rant that probably violates the number of times you can call someone a dumbass in such a short span.

All I can add is this: for at least the next five years (and probably longer), everytime a golf architect or superintendent is dealing with an environmental group over an issue related to wildlife, this incident will come up.