Twitter: GeoffShac
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

The more you learn about games, the more you are apt to realize the number of things golf doesn't have. It doesn't have the effervescent excitement with which football is blessed. It hasn't the grand strategy from which baseball largely derives its popular appeal. It does not require the stamina of tennis, the self-confidence of bowling, the finesse of billiards, the concentration of bridge, the intuition of chess. Yet, at its best, golf commands all these things--and much more something which probably cannot be said about any other game.  CHARLES PRICE

 

  

Monday
Oct192009

"Golfing with family"

This little infomercial-article on PGATour.com is a nice reminder how golf coverage will look when PGATour.com is the only source for editorial content. In this case, as supplied by an official partner.

Note the seamless transition from the last instruction tip about taking the kids to see a pro event, followed by the partner message. You just don't get segues like this anymore.

Take them to an event -- Nothing is more inspiring to a golfer than seeing the very best players play at an elite level. The next time a pro tour comes to your town, take them to see a round so that you can experience it together. This will give you an opportunity to help explain the rules to them as well as how to develop strategies to play a hole. Even watching a round on television will allow you the opportunity to coach them in addition to developing a wonderful hobby together.

Golfing with your family can greatly enhance your love for the game. Do not let knee pain sour you on a great sport. If knee pain is preventing you from performing at your best, you might be suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Various treatments for OA do exist, such as ORTHOVISC®, which provides up to six months of knee pain relief. Made from ultra-pure natural hyaluronan, which is found in healthy joints, ORTHOVISC® is injected into the knee joint where it acts to replace your natural joint fluid, to help cushion, protect, and lubricate your knee.

While finding "Golfing with family" to be an informative piece of instruction literature, I managed to obtain an early draft that was a little more to the point:

You use golf as a way to spend time with friends, whittle away your income on new equipment and in general avoid spending time with your children. You might even have used it as a way to spend time with important clients if you hadn't gotten fired for downloading pirated music files that introduced a virus to the company server. It stands to reason that you can also play golf as a way to spend quality time with the most important people in your life, your drinking buddies. Or maybe your family. Here are a few suggestions to ensure that the familial golfing experience allows everyone to come out a whiner.

Start on the range -- While the temptation is to take the family right out on the course, the driving range offers a low-pressure environment for the kids to be left behind while you get in a quick nine. Your wife won't be nagging to press-the-press and the kids won't be playing with loose pocket change during your five-point pre-shot routine. For a change, try not to focus on your own swing at the range like the narcissist you are. Devote your attention to family the same way you would if it were a Little League game or if the kids were standing around near your helium-filled weather balloon. You would not grab a phone to call a 911 operator and insist your child had flown off setting off national media coverage, so don't do that here on the range.

Enlist an instructor -- It might be easier for your family (and for you) if they initially take instruction from a professional, and not a fool like you. If you are constantly telling your family what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, they can grow weary of the sport, of you, and of life in general. Hiring an instructor also provides you the opportunity to work with an expert when you may not have hired one because your ego wouldn't allow it.

Pick the right course -- Once everyone feels they are ready to take the game to a real course, it is crucial to pick a place that will you the best chance to beat the little kids. The ideal place for novices to start is a pitch and putt course, if they haven't all gone out of business by the time you read this. These courses usually consist of nine holes, many of which, unfortunately for the equipment industry, only require a 9-iron, a wedge, a putter to play and a surly guy behind the counter. By shortening the time and distance of this first round, it will lessen the frustration for your children of having to spend time with you as they are beginning to learn the game.

Take them to an event -- Nothing is more inspiring to a golfer than seeing the very best players play at an elite level. The next time a pro tour comes to your town, talk to your bank officer about a low fixed rate mortgage and take them to see a round so that you can experience it together. A loan will give you an opportunity to visit a large, alcohol-fueled tent called the Trophy or Champions Club, where television screens will show the family situations that let you explain the rules to them as well as how to develop strategies to play a hole, all while you are able to enjoy $10 mango martinis.

Golfing with your family can greatly enhance your love for the game and cause assorted injuries to flair up, both imagined-to-get-you-out-of-an-encore, and painfully real. Do not let knee injuries sour you on a great sport. If knee pain is preventing you from performing at your best, you might be suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Various treatments for OA do exist, such as ORTHOVISC®, which provides up to six months of knee pain relief. Made from ultra-pure natural hyaluronan, which is found in healthy joints and particularly large and endangered hammerhead sharks. ORTHOVISC® is injected into the knee joint where it acts to replace your natural joint fluid and helps cushion, protect, and lubricate your knee after you tweak it looking for little Joey's ball in the environmentally sensitive hazard.

Monday
Oct192009

"It wouldn't be widely known but I've carried two sets of irons to every tournament for five years. I choose depending on the rough that week what grooves I'm going to use."

Mark Reason talks to Padraig Harrington about the impact of the groove rule change:

Harrington says: "I've talked to pros and they don't think it will make a big difference. I see it as a massive issue.

"It wouldn't be widely known but I've carried two sets of irons to every tournament for five years. I choose depending on the rough that week what grooves I'm going to use."

In the heavy rough of the majors Harrington uses the v-grooves that will still be legal next season. They hit the ball 30 yards further out of the thick stuff than the box grooves. But at the regular events Harrington has tended to use his box grooves, because they don't produce those 'fliers' that send a ball 10 yards over the green.

Monday
Oct192009

"Did you ask him why Condé Nast was shuttering Gourmet while keeping afloat some 18 other magazines, including Bon Appétit and such giants of intellectual life as Golf World and Golf Digest?"

That's a New York Times Magazine interview question from documented windbag and documented finagler Deborah Solomon, who was asking Ruth Reichl about the closing of her cooking magazine. 

Did you ask him why Condé Nast was shuttering Gourmet while keeping afloat some 18 other magazines, including Bon Appétit and such giants of intellectual life as Golf World and Golf Digest?

I was so stunned, I basically just listened.

Barack Obama walks into the doctor's office and Gourmet, Golf Digest and The New York Times Magazine are sitting on the table. I think I know which one he's picking up.

Monday
Oct192009

A Club For People Who Really Like Arthur Hills Courses

From a Naples News real estate brief:

The Arthur Hills Ambassador Partner Club Program is established by eight clubs who are linked through their golf course architect, Arthur Hills. “The idea was to bring together a select group of private clubs that represented the same values and quality in design and service,” said Ed Lockard, director of golf at Sanctuary Golf Club on Sanibel Island. The Arthur Hills Ambassador Partner Club Program is the first of its kind where separately managed private clubs around the country agreed to join together based on a common interest to form an intra-club connection. All eight clubs have agreed to a shared usage model which will be managed by the respective club management teams where members from the selected eight clubs when traveling around the country will have the ability to play golf and use the facilities as if they were a member at all eight clubs. The clubs have agreed to a nominal usage fee that will be billed back to the member’s primary club.

A nominal usage fee. I think we have new jargon for green fee.

The eight clubs are: Belle Haven Country Club, Alexandria, Va.; The Hawthorns Golf and Country Club, Indianapolis; The Ivanhoe Club, Mundelein, Ill.; Kinsale Golf Club, Nashport, Ohio; Oakhurst Golf and Country Club, Clarkston, Mich.; Oitavos Dunes, Cascais, Portugal; Palencia Golf Club, St. Augustine and The Sanctuary Golf Club, Sanibel Island. The program will be connected through a password controlled Web site allowing members of all eight clubs to correspond and post comments on their experiences.

Monday
Oct192009

Cristie Kerr: "The guys are just used to shooting nothing at a golf course and that’s not how the Firemans and Liberty wanted it to play."

Stephanie Wei caught up with Kerr, who is a Liberty National member and not a fan of the criticism issued by players. I can't wait until she plays an LPGA event at Industry Hills here in So Cal (rumored to be hosting the new tournament in 2010).  It makes Liberty National look like the Old Course.

Q: You are a member at Liberty National. What did you think of the bashing it took from the PGA Tour players during The Barclays? It sounded like a lot of them hated it.

A: Liberty is a first-rate facility. You can’t beat the views. The layout of the course is fantastic…The Firemans are very good friends of mine.

I think [the course] was [criticized] because it was set apart and [the PGA players] are used to being able to shoot 8-under every day. I happen to love the layout of the course. I think there are some changes that Dan and Paul Fireman know they have to make, like the 7th green not running away so much and some bunkers here and there. I think the spirit of the course and the way it plays are tough. And I think the guys weren’t used to having to pitch out of the rough; they weren’t used to a 7-iron releasing 8 to 10 yards. In that sense, it’s easy for a lot of players to bash the course.

The guys are just used to shooting nothing at a golf course and that’s not how the Firemans and Liberty wanted it to play. They wanted it to play like a major championship course, so that’s how they set it up — the rough was up, the greens were fast.

Sunday
Oct182009

Someone Really, Really Wants The LPGA Commissionership

Don't you have to wonder about someone begging to get an interview for the job? Naturally, he has almost no experience in the golf world so he'll probably get the gig (because that worked so well last time).

Randell Mell reports on surprise candidate Jonathan Ward and his pleas for an interview that apparently went well.

Sunday
Oct182009

Get JT In The FedEx Cup Now!

It was disappointing that the usually uber-hip SI/Golf.com Confidential failed to note that Justin Timberlake put on another stellar event, albeit one that will go largely unnoticed on the moribund fall schedule. This is not exactly a newsflash, but considering how the PGA Tour schedule is taking hits and the game's demographics are skewing gray, it's becoming obvious the tour needs to get the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open onto the West Coast Swing ASAP.

Timberlake hasn't been shy about his hopes for the event, and it seems the tour is noticing.

According to the PGA Tour's Rick George, as quoted in a story by Steve Carp, there is hope for moving out of the fall:

"I think the Shriners have done a great job of building and growing the tournament, and I know their desire to be part of the FedEx Cup," George said. "It can't happen in 2010, but there will be opportunities in 2011, and should a date become available and the time works, we would consider a change for Las Vegas."

The tour does seem to be bracing everyone for major changes in 2011 when several expired deals impact the schedule, but believe it or not, I continue to hear that there are folks in the world of golf who are uncomfortable with Timberlake, all because they can't get that earthshattering flash of nipple that they never actually saw during the 2004 Super Bowl.

Example 237,891 of golf taking itself way too seriously.

Timberlake is in the second year of a five-year deal he inked to host the golf tournament in Vegas, but the tour needs to figure out a way to keep him as enthusiastic as he once again was in presenting the event. What better way to do that than to make a 2011 spring date a top priority?

This year's event again included his charity concert with some of the hippest acts in music and coverage at places like MTV.com and People.com (which also featured a story on JT's mom doing hospitality duties for tour wives this week, obviously a campaign for sainthood). 

No, I know that it's not Huey Lewis and Clay Walker breaking out in a duet to serenade Kevin James, but when a concert tied to a PGA Tour event is drawing Taylor Swift, Timbaland and Alicia Keyes, it can only do wonders for golf's cool factor. So would fully embracing Timberlake's energetic attempts to make the Las Vegas event a marquee event on the PGA Tour.

Saturday
Oct172009

"Nothing is going to change overnight."

Nice to see Ty Votaw defusing some of the Olympics-will-grow-game-overnight hysteria in talking to John Huggan:

"Golf started as a game for the wealthy in the United States at the end of the 19th century and has evolved into a game for every level of society," claims the former LPGA commissioner, albeit more than slightly unconvincingly. "Today, 72 per cent of courses in the US are public access. We would see something similar being replicated worldwide. But this is a very long-term undertaking. Nothing is going to change overnight. We are probably talking about 60 years or so before significant change can be effected in most countries."

Friday
Oct162009

"Nobody is quite sure, however, how any of the holes were really intended to be played."

Most of the reports detailing the R&A's Road hole announcement worked right off of the press release, except two skeptical accounts from Lawrence Donegan and Bob Harig.

Donegan noted the Friday afternoon timing of the release:

Not that we are cynical here, but Josh and Toby and CJ Cregg, stalwarts of Aaron Sorkin's fictional White House, would immediately identify this as a "Friday dump" - whereby the Bartlet administration "dumped" any news it found awkward or embarrassing at the time when the media was either on its way out the door for the weekend or thinking of heading out the door for the weekend. The hope is that no-one will notice and those who do won't linger too long on the subject.

He also explored the Henry Cotton remarks that I noted were made in reference to a par-5.

It may have needed "lengthening" 45 years ago, but only if it remained as a par five. As it turned out, Cotton's suggestion was ignored. Instead, the hole was played as a par four at the 1964 Open, as it has been the case ever since. To dredge up Cotton's words now and use them in such a disingenuous way is not half as clever as it might have seemed when the press release was being worded.

And Harig questioned Peter Dawson's suggestion that the lengthening the Road hole returned to the course to the architect's original intentions:

Nobody is quite sure, however, how any of the holes were really intended to be played. The Old Course dates to the 1500s and for a time it had 12 holes, 10 of which were played both out and in, making for a total of 22 holes.

Friday
Oct162009

R&A Confirms Road Hole Extension, Planning Has Been On The Table For 45 Years

For immediate release...

OLD COURSE ROAD HOLE TO BE LENGTHENED AHEAD OF 2010 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP AT ST ANDREWS
 
16 October 2009, St Andrews, Scotland: The 17th hole of the Old Course will be lengthened ahead of the 150th Anniversary of The Open Championship at St Andrews.  The ‘Road Hole’, which has remained the same length for more than 100 years, will increase in length by some 35 yards to 490 yards. A new Championship tee will be constructed on the practice range of St Andrews Links Trust.
 
It has long been suggested that the 17th hole would benefit from additional length to restore the original challenge of the hole. In advance of the 1964 St Andrews Open, three-time Open Champion, Henry Cotton, recommended the alteration stating: “I would make a tee just beyond the railway line on the other course [he was referring to the Eden Course which is now the practice range]. It would restore this drive to its former value.”

Good to see they act swiftly on important matters. Of course, the Road was still a par-5 when Cotton made that suggestion. So his quote is not even remotely relevant to today's discussion, but, as they say, carry on...

 An increased premium will be placed on an accurate drive of sufficient length over the sheds, encouraging players to take driver from the tee.  The fairway will be widened slightly on the left hand side to ensure that the tee shot remains fair. 

So that does mean we narrowed it, no? And why did we do that?

Crucially, the difficulty of the second shot will be re-established, making it more difficult to hold the approach on the putting surface and increasing the threat posed by both the road behind the green and the Road Bunker.

Wouldn't it have been easier to just roll back the ball? Guess this means the R&A isn't buying the USGA's backdoor ball rollback theory with next year's groove rule change?

“The 17th was played at the same yardage in 1900 as it was in 2005 and this fuelled our belief that the formidable challenge of this iconic hole should be returned for The Open Championship,” said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A.
 
“Over the years, we have seen the threat from the road behind the green, and to a lesser extent the Road Bunker, diminished as players have been hitting shorter irons for their approach shots allowing them to avoid these hazards more easily. This change will ensure that the hole plays as it was originally intended.”

Originally intended? The course with no known architect, just many improvers, now had an original design vision?

So was this original intention of a par-5 never really meant to be? And when the course played the other direction before the modern version, was that not the original intent?

I know! It was God's intention to have players use a long iron?  Sheesh...anyone can get into this design business.

“We have spent some time discussing this with The R&A and I know they have carefully considered making this change for The Open Championship,” said Alan McGregor, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust. 
 
“The Road Hole is the most famous hole in world golf and we believe the changes will increase the challenge of the hole whilst remaining true to its spirit.”
 
Work on the new Championship tee will commence in the coming weeks.  The lengthening of the ‘Road Hole’ is the only significant change planned for the Old Course ahead of the 2010 Open Championship. 

Are there insignificant changes you'd like to tell us about?

Thursday
Oct152009

Thoughts On An Olympic Golf Course...

Since the International Golf Federation navigated the murky waters of IOC politicking, they must now aid the Rio planning committee in finding a venue suitable for golf. That likely means retrofitting an existing course, or, most likely, build one from scratch.

They have a wonderful opportunity to make a statement for golf course development and re-development of existing courses throughout the world. With that kind of precedent setting power in mind, I'd first suggest they read Tom Friedman's Golf Digest interview to get in the right frame of mind before considering a few dream parameters. There is the obvious caveat that many of these factors are site driven if you hope to fully embrace the local environment and contain costs.

Here goes:

- Build 18 holes with a nice range. 36-holes is not needed, especially since land is at such a premium anywhere near Rio. Because the format is a stale 72-hole stroke play event for both men and women, there is no need for the two courses that a round robin match play or larger field event would have required.

- Include a par-3 course. Keep the holes 60-140 yards and use the par-3 course to host a pre-Olympic first round exhibition to help legitimize the pitch and putt course around the globe as an ideal starting place for new golfers. It would also leave behind a nice spot for locals to have some fun after the games have left town (assuming this is a public facility, maybe a First Tee or some other kind of learning center?).

- A less than 7,000 yard course. Even if it's 6,995 yards. Yes, a proper challenge can still be created. We've been told the groove rule change will act as a backdoor ball rollback, so let's work under the assumption this is true. Put the focus on strategic golf via an abundance of short par-4s, a couple of wild under-160-yard par-3s and in general, a course filled with plenty of risk-reward holes. Pace of play issues caused by an abundance of par 3 1/2 style holes should not be an issue with only a 60 player field (finally, a perk with the mundane format). A shorter course will also make it a easier to accommodate both men and women as long as rough harvesters aren't doing the setup. Even better, under 7000 helps reduce acreage and improve the chances of leaving a smaller footprint behind…

Natural material paths and golf in a native setting at its finest: Cypress Point (click to enlarge)-Under 200 acres! Depending on site elevation changes and environmental issues, any attempt to keep the course on no more than 175 acres would set a nice example, but ideally if we could get back to the days of 150 acres proving ample for golf it would be a huge win for the supposed worldwide development explosion some are predicting. Remember, many of the world's best designs are under 150 acres, but that was before liability lawyers started winning cases against golf architects.

-No cart paths. If you have carts, they should be solar-powered and riding along a natural surface that can handle Rio's more formidable weather.

"Crunchy" areas like this off of fairways mean less maintenance and a better penalty than manicured rough (click image to enlarge)- As little maintained turf as possible. It would be wonderful to see a well publicized, self-imposed Arizona-style cap on watered acreage, something like 90 acres of fairway maintained rough, and 50 or so acres for non-irrigated native areas. Even less maintained turf would be wonderful if the site allowed, but just re-establishing another late 20th century maximum would do wonders for future and existing developments that aim to limit resource waste.

- Organic maintenance practices if possible. It'll be a Bermuda grass setting which makes a full-fledged organic golf course impossible, but this will be a great opportunity to introduce Paspalum on a big stage and to tell its story. While it's not great for fast and firm golf, this more recent strain of Bermuda can tolerate reclaimed water and still requires the use of modern insecticides and herbicides. It's a less intensive grass to maintain and another great way to send a signal that Olympic golf is sympathetic to the environment.

- A small, solar powered clubhouse incorporating Olympic themes. Perhaps there's a permanent medal stand and international flag display in view of the entrance drive or 18th hole to reflect this once-in-a-lifetime event, but keep the building simple and send a message that clubhouses do not have to be titanic in scale.

- Absolutely no bunkers in the shape of the Olympic rings. And no bunkers shaped like the inevitable cutesy Rio mascot. Also, please, no Gold, Silver and Bronze pot bunker patches.

We'll tolerate Gold, Silver and Bronze tees. But that's it!

Otherwise, keep it quaint, keep it classy, keep it fun, keep it site-specific and avoid the pricey kitsch that all too often defines modern golf development.

Thursday
Oct152009

"When J.T. calls, A.K. listens"

Tim Rosaforte reports on Anthony Kim's appearance in Justin Timberlake's Las Vegas event and reviews Sunday's chatter along with Kim's caddy change. He also shares this:

Golf's underground rumor mill is buzzing, but A.K. is doing his best to tamp down the flames.

Like when George Lopez caught up with Kim on the putting green after the round. The comedian has never been one to worry about sensitivity training when opening his mouth. "Hey man," said Lopez, about to ask the question everybody wants to ask, "is that stuff Robert Allenby was saying about you true?" Never changing body language, Kim said, "No man, that's B.S.," and Lopez headed off, proving a point in the process.

Well, unless George rolled his eyes as he walked off.

Thursday
Oct152009

"Conde Nast Layoffs Hit Golf Mags"

This depresses me to no end...please, keep your comments on this constructive. 

Thursday
Oct152009

"A great way to enhance the game, make it cool again and bring back some of the interest among younger people is to make golf the greenest sport in an environmental sense."

Reading Roger Schiffman's November Golf Digest interview with Tom Friedman, I couldn't help but think that (A) Friedman absolutely hits a home run, and (B) how too many folks in golf will pinch their necks as his insights fly right over their heads, all because they can't understand why the model for golf they crafted is unsustainable and, as Friedman notes, will not sit with the coveted 18-34 year olds.

Golf could do a lot more. We're finally getting our arms around hybrid cars -- well, what would a hybrid golf course look like? Every course in America should strive to be Prius Country Club. There is no reason, for instance, that a new clubhouse should not aim to be a LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] building. If you have solar-powered carts, then why not a solar-powered clubhouse? A golf course should aspire to generate as much energy as it consumes -- golf should be leading the way toward energy net zero. The future is net zero. Take wind turbines. Now that states and the stimulus bill are giving tax credits for wind-driven and solar energy, wind energy makes sense for certain golf courses. Some courses would be great potential wind farms.

Finally, a use for The Classic Club. Now seriously, his point on energy is key and it should constantly be mentioned just how energy intensive irrigation systems are. And the less water used, the less energy used.

Love this too...

Courses should also strive to be carbon positive -- by measuring everything, a course could come up with its carbon footprint. Every golf course should have its carbon rating on the scorecard, alongside its Course Rating, Slope, par and yardage.

Q: How could a course manager go about doing that?

A: You can get an assessment from any number of environmental consulting firms. But here's where the USGA could help: Just as it sets the rules and equipment standards,

Well...sometimes and selectively...continue...

it should be setting environmental standards. It could create a new division, hire its own scientists, create its own metrics, and for a fee -- it could be a money-making operation -- it would conduct an environmental audit for a course on an annual basis and give it a rating. Golf courses and resorts would welcome that seal of approval, and it could start a trend. The USGA has a huge role and responsibility. It would set the standard, for the sake of preserving the game.

This is a great idea with an effective, engaged, organized, energized and healthy USGA. I'm not sure those are words that come to mind with today's version of the organization.

Q: But how would these things help the golf industry, which is at best stagnant right now?

A: Suppose you can say: "Hey, our club is energy net zero, carbon positive, and it's environmentally sustainable. The club next door is an environmental wasteland." Well, you're going to get a lot more people, especially young people, who want to join your club. Just as LEED buildings get higher rents today and attract more people, so environmentally responsible courses will have a competitive advantage.

I think he's spot on here...but just a few years ahead of his time. Golf's approach and understanding of where the world is headed typically is way behind other sectors in every way. Just look at the Internet.

Q: Golf is such a small part of the overall challenge facing Planet Earth. How much impact can golf courses really have environmentally? Are we just kidding ourselves?

A: Every little bit helps. Golf courses have great potential to be what I call "ecosystems for innovation." For example, does your golf club really need to have gas-powered carts when there are solar-powered ones available? Have you done the math? Sebonack Golf Club on Long Island did and found solar would be cheaper. Now, Sebonack by itself isn't going to affect the amount of CO² in the atmosphere, but when someone sees Sebonack's solar carts, and they order a fleet of solar carts, what happens? The price of solar carts comes down. Then maybe the public course that couldn't afford them before can afford them now. The whole game changes. The thing you have to remember is, oil and gas are commodities, and the more we use them the more the price goes up, like any commodity. Solar, wind -- they are technologies, so the more you use them, the more the price goes down.

It's time for the question I've most wanted to hear Friedman talk about, since he plays a lot of golf at a manicured Fazio course.

Q: One obstacle to golf becoming more environmentally responsible is the perception of golfers that their course needs to look like Augusta National, with wall-to-wall, uniform-green fairways and rough. Should we be trying to change that image?

A: We have to change that image. I don't fault Augusta. Every sport needs its temple, its cathedral. But if everyone copies Augusta and makes their course longer, tighter, softer and more carpeted, it will increase golf's environmental footprint. It takes more water and fertilizer and mowers.

Another unfortunate reminder that the Golf Digest panel rates it the #1 course in America.

Here's where I fear he's a bit ahead of his time, though it's never too early to start planting this thought with those who want to see golf have a future.

Many of us who grew up playing golf know that our kids aren't doing it. A great way to enhance the game, make it cool again and bring back some of the interest among younger people is to make golf the greenest sport in an environmental sense. Every course's greenkeeper should think of himself or herself as the greenkeeper: responsible for preserving the green, not just the greens.

And this is really the key takeaway that just contines to perplex me about climate change resisters...

And by the way, what if we're wrong and there is no climate change? Well, by doing everything possible to address it, we will still use less water, stimulate new energy savings and, in time, money-saving technologies, enjoy cleaner air, and preserve more forests and trees and animals.

Your golf course and its wider environment will be more sustainable and attractive. Your members will be healthier and feel better about their game's impact on the environment. Tell me what the downside is.

It's not just win, win. It's win, win, win, win, win, OK?

Thursday
Oct152009

"When Alliss Met Seve"

Check out the BBC video feature on Seve at this link. An inspirational four minutes. Also accompanying is a story accompanying with Peter Alliss's recollections of the interview and Seve.

Thursday
Oct152009

Milwaukee PGA Tour Stop, 1968-2009

Gary D'Amato reports, and as learned earlier this year, it wasn't due to a lack of effort to make the event work.

Wednesday
Oct142009

“While I feel like the comments published were taken out of context..." **

This PGA Tour-issued Robert Allenby statement hasn't been sitting too well since he's essentially claiming he was misquoted. Since this release is coming from PGA Tour headquarters, they are indirectly endorsing the implication that the golf media in some way stretched the truth. However, after a little research I've learned from those present that the comments were documented by four reporters, one who confirmed that he has the conversation on tape.

To review, here's what Allenby's statement said:

“While I feel like the comments published were taken out of context, I did call Anthony to apologize for anything that I said or inferred that could possibly portray Anthony as anything less than a professional of the highest caliber.”

In the original Golfweek report and in another story by Andrew Both, it is reported that Allenby was "asked if his comments were on the record," to which Allenby said, “I don’t care. Ask his playing partners. Ask his team. He is the loosest cannon in that team.”

I know that doesn't clear up the context issue entirely, but it does establish that he was not quoted in an off-the-record moment. And it's highly unusual, downright kind even for a reporter to offer a subject a chance to retract his remarks.

Now, here's the quote that got Allenby in trouble, again from Golfweek:

“Maybe we should all take the theory of Anthony Kim,” Allenby said. “Get home at 4 o’clock (in the morning) and then go shoot 6 under.”

Both wrote up the incident this way:

“I’m just pissed off that I lost,” Allenby said in a joking manner.

“Maybe I should have the attitude of Anthony Kim, get home at 4am and go play. Maybe I should have gone out with him.”

Allenby was asked how he knew that Kim had been out until 4am, less than six hours before their tee time.

He said some friends who had seen the American come in late.

Granted, these are not perfectly matching quotes, but it's hard to see how the context was skewed unless Allenby's friends got the day wrong (Kim did sit out Saturday morning's matches). In Both's case, he made it  clear there was a jokey tone to Allenby's comments, but ultimately Allenby was sharing the anecdote because he believed it was true.

Now, in the big scheme of life this is an entirely meaningless episode unless Kim goes on to have an alcohol-related incident which ends up hurting someone else.

The real lesson here is the decision by Allenby to blame the media and the PGA Tour to go to the trouble to issue a release.  Thomas Bonk notes the oddball reaction by the tour and the reasons why they went into damage control. 

Instead of just letting this die, as I suspect it would have without today's statements, the Tour saw fit to step in and no so subtly allow the suggestion that the messenger was in some way to blame here. There should have been a private apology and nothing more. Issuing a press release and relying on the lame "out of context" excuse reminds us how reckless Allenby's remarks were, how desperate the tour is to stay clear of controversy and how far it will go to protect it's young, up-and-coming "product," even if it's at the expense of the media.

Wednesday
Oct142009

This Must Be An Oversight...

...because in orchestrating a Robert Allenby apology for Anthony Kim, the PGA Tour did not see fit to have Allenby also apologize to John Daly after Allenby reportedly labeled Kim "the new Daly."

Maybe they're just working on that release and it's forthcoming?

Either way, Daly is taking it okay. Must be the white blood cells working their magic:

But confirming his return to Australia this summer after using stem cell procedures to hasten his recovery from a rib injury, Daly yesterday declined to criticise Allenby.

''I heard a little bit about that,'' Daly said. ''If he's calling Anthony Kim a Daly, at least - who won that match? I think that's all that matters. And who won it all? The US? I'm not gonna bust Robert that bad. A lot of players have said things in the heat of the moment.''

Or had them taken out of context!

Wednesday
Oct142009

“While I feel like the comments published were taken out of context, I did call Anthony to apologize for anything that I said or inferred that could possibly portray Anthony as anything less than a professional of the highest caliber."

The PGA Tour issued this release from Rick George, Anthony Kim and Robert Allenby that risks further fanning the flames after Sunday's comments and inevitably will lead to more scrutiny of Kim's behavior. (However, this unbylined ESPN.com account quotes Fred Couples as saying Kim was "crushed" by the remarks and from Couples' perspective, Kim was on good behavior all week.) Anyway, the statement:

Statement from the PGA TOUR regarding Anthony Kim and Robert Allenby, post-Presidents Cup, including quotes from Kim and Allenby

October 14, 2009

“Robert Allenby and Anthony Kim were both part of a fantastic week at The Presidents Cup in San Francisco, representing the U.S. and International Teams, respectively, with utmost professionalism, competitive spirit and good sportsmanship.  Concerning the reports published after the fact with unfortunate comments attributed to Robert regarding Anthony, we understand that both players have since spoken and have put the incident behind them.  We wish them both the best as they play out the remainder of their 2009 schedules.” – PGA TOUR Executive Vice President & Chief of Operations Rick George

Was that as good for you all as it was for me?

“Robert and I have spoken about the comments he made after the final day of competition, and I’ve accepted his apology.  We are both moving on, and I don’t have anything more to say about the issue.  I had a great experience at my first Presidents Cup and look forward to competing in many more international team competitions for my country.” – Anthony Kim

“While I feel like the comments published were taken out of context, I did call Anthony to apologize for anything that I said or inferred that could possibly portray Anthony as anything less than a professional of the highest caliber.  He was a key member of the U.S. Team last week and a formidable opponent on Sunday when we faced each other in singles competition.  I am glad we had the chance to speak and clear the air.” – Robert Allenby

Oh I'm sure it was the highlight of your year.

Can you imagine how many of these clarification statements the PGA Tour would have to issue of they ran the Ryder Cup?

Tuesday
Oct132009

"Montgomerie puts his foot down to stop slow players"

And there's a lot of weight behind...wait, no fat jokes when slow play is on the table.

Martin Dempster says that Monty hopes to work with Corey Pavin to continue the Faldo-Azinger Ryder Cup ban on practice putting, which mysteriously was not implemented at Harding Park for last week's Presidents Cup.

Of course, Monty's reasoning does make you wonder if even the ban will prevent the unthinkable: not finishing matches due to a lack of daylight.

Due to the fact the biennial match is being held at the start of October – a fortnight later than normal – there are concerns about being able to complete the two sessions that are played on the first two days to the light.

Montgomerie, for one, is well aware of that fact and the European captain will be urging his players to do everything in their power to ensure that matches don't have to be concluded the following day.

"We have to get round as quickly as we can next October. It is two weeks later than normal and a lost half an hour will be the difference between finishing a game or not. The latter is not the type of message we should be putting across to club golfers. We should be playing quicker than them because it's not as though we are having to look for golf balls."

I like this Monty:

"My players will not be practising their putting once the match is underway," insisted Montgomerie. "They'll have had three days to do that earlier in the week."