Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • 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
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    Sports Media Group
  • 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
  • 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
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball. To be worthwhile, this purpose must excite and hold interest. If it fails in this, the character of the architecture is at fault.
MAX BEHR

 

  

Thursday
Nov052009

Taylor Made Appealing USGA Wedge Ruling

Jim Achenbach reports on Taylor Made's struggle to get its "exchangeable face technology" wedges approved by the USGA.

Frankly, I'm just shocked that a wedge where you the owner can easily exchange face plates from conforming to non-conforming grooves would cause a problem. Shocked!

TaylorMade immediately appealed the USGA decision, and chief technical officer Benoit Vincent traveled to USGA headquarters in Far Hills, N.J., in October to present his case. Vincent said he would discuss the wedges after Nov. 9, when a ruling on the appeal is expected.

The wedges, from 50 to 64 degrees, are scheduled for release early next year. A face plate can be removed and replaced in a few minutes, using the same torque wrench designed for TaylorMade drivers.

Equipment appeals are heard three times per year by the USGA, during regularly scheduled meetings of the Executive Committee and the Equipment Standards Committee.

TaylorMade’s argument is simple: Golf club manufacturers are allowed to produce wedges with larger, aggressive grooves during 2010, so TaylorMade should be allowed to sell face plates with the same grooves during the same period.

Thursday
Nov052009

"Sharp Park as golf course is best for everyone"

C.W. Nevius provides another high-profile endorsement for saving MacKenzie's Sharp Park as a golf course as a significant Park and Recreation recommendation for going forward is about to be released.

Thursday
Nov052009

L.A. Loses LPGA Event It Never Hosted To San Diego

Oh I know, it's all Southern California in some eyes, but the J Golf event was clearly announced by the Brand Lady as an LA tournament until event operators IMG apparently wised up and realized that their only option at Industry Hills would be a disaster. Obviously, they didn't take my advice about some other nice venue options.

Jon Show reports that the first J Golf Classic will be played at La Costa, and if you can't see behind the pay window like most of us, Tod Leonard shares some of the details.

Wednesday
Nov042009

Tiger Already Looking Forward To Kingston Heath

I know, I know, the HSBC event comes first and we should be celebrating a World Golf Championship event played outside the U.S. (Joel Shuchman shares some sights and sounds in this PGATour.com story). 

But we're also talking about a country that bans my blog and well, doesn't have a course like Kingston Heath. Which, incidentally, Tiger Woods is pining to play.

"As far as next week, I don't know a lot about the golf course other than the guys have generally said it's either one or two on their list of venues in Melbourne," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting down there for the first time and taking a look at it and seeing how it figures -- how to figure out how best to play the golf course."

He said what he liked best about Melbourne's golf courses was the bunkers, having previously played at the Royal Melbourne and the Huntingdale.

"Of all the courses that I've seen down there in Melbourne, I've always loved bunkering, some of the best bunkering in the world," he said. "From what the guys have said to me, Kingston Heath is no different."

Anticipation of Tiger's appearance may actually help pay off the big appearance fee since the Daily Telegraph reports that crowds up to 100,000 are expected to watch Tiger on big screens set up to help fill demand for the legions that can't get a ticket to Kingston Heath.

And for us here in the States, even better news: Golf Channel will be broadcasting the Australian Masters, starting Wednesday at 10 PM EST.

In other Australian golf news, Greg Norman pulled out of the Australian Open due to issues with his surgically-repaired shoulder.

Wednesday
Nov042009

And Then There Were 13 LPGA Events

Beth Ann Baldry reports that in spite of optimistic statements by LPGA brass in recent weeks, a preliminary 2010 schedule featured only 13 events "named specifically," with holes everywhere else you look.

LPGA officials keep assuring everyone that the 2010 schedule will be better than expected. Of course, they know expectations are extremely low, so it won’t take much to satisfy.

Players received a preliminary schedule awhile back that left more questions than answers. Only 13 tournaments are named specifically. The rest are noted as “On” or “Off” weeks, with three “Asia” tournaments sprinkled in next fall.

The schedule starts in Thailand on Feb. 15 and then goes to Singapore for the HSBC. There’s a three-week break, followed by the J Golf event (San Diego or L.A.?) in the last week of March and the Kraft Nabisco in Palm Desert, Calif.

Sounds like the event targeted for LA may be in San Diego now?

Rumored site Industry Hills does have a way of making people rethink their priorities.

Wednesday
Nov042009

Kim Diagnoses Himself With IMG Scheduling Fatigue

From Shanghai, via Doug Ferguson's story, Anthony Kim earns bonus points for only taking a year to recognize what some players took several to figure out--don't turn scheduling over to your agents:

"Next year, I just want to be prepared for our season," he said of the PGA Tour, where he failed to win this year. "The PGA Tour is my home tour, and it's where I need to play well. I've made it my priority to play well in the States. I was all over the place this year. I didn't do a good job of scheduling. Scheduling is half your job as a pro. I learned a lot this year."

And..

"Even if they don't have a Race to Dubai next year, I'm still going to sign up for European Tour membership," Kim said. "There's a different vibe out here, and it's good to experience it. I just need to do a better job with my schedule."

Kim would not be replaced in the Dubai World Championship.

Tuesday
Nov032009

"The country club has to evolve and become like piazzas in Italy, the town square where families—and not just the men who are golfing—meet on weekends"

Dean Foust looks at the demise of the second-tier country club in a Businessweek/Golf Digest collaborative piece.

The number of golfers belonging to clubs now is down to 2.1 million—900,000 below the peak in the early 1990s. Experts such as consultant Jim Koppenhaver, whose Buffalo Grove (Ill.) firm, Pellucid, monitors the industry, believes at least 400—and worst case, 1,000—private clubs will have to close, convert to public play, or be absorbed into healthier clubs before the carnage is over. "The whole country club model is at risk," says Koppenhaver. But "for a lot of golfers, the value proposition of belonging to a club is hard to pencil out."

Now this I'm not so sure about:

In the end, some industry insiders believe the long-term solution is to reinvent the country club, moving beyond golf to a broader array of services that meet the changing needs of younger members. In San Clemente, Calif., the once-bankrupt Bella Collina Towne & Golf Club has sold 120 new memberships in the past six months by adding pilates, karate lessons, and even a vegetable garden (for the restaurant) that members' kids help plant.

On the golf course, Bella Collina now offers a free junior golf program and permits members to take lessons from the club's instructors at no charge. That last move created turnover among the teaching pros, who viewed the cash from paid lessons as a perk of the job. But club officials say the gesture has helped get more mothers and children out on the course with their fathers.

I'm sure the PGA of America will be thrilled with that model.

"The country club has to evolve and become like piazzas in Italy, the town square where families—and not just the men who are golfing—meet on weekends," says John G. Fornaro, one of the investors who bought Bella Collina last year. That's good advice, but it may be coming late to clubs where the wolf is already at the door.

Is this the way to the future? Piazza golf? Don't men still need a place to go to get some alone time?

Tuesday
Nov032009

BCS Breathes Sigh: FedEx Cup To Retain Goofy Point System

Love this quote from Doug Ferguson's story on the PGA Tour retaining the FedEx Cup points system:

"We think the FedEx Cup did a lot of positive things and met the objectives we set for it," George said Tuesday. "We don't anticipate it changing."

Translation: we got Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson playing on Sunday of the Tour Championship. Objectives met!

Tuesday
Nov032009

"It's all for show."

GolfDigest.com's Matthew Rudy notes that Doug Barron's previous use of beta blockers may have behind his suspension. An as someone who has done quite a bit of reporting on the subjects, Rudy reminds us of several loopholes in drug testing

Say Barron really is the only one to fail a test in the 15 months the tour has been running its program. All that proves is that he didn't find one of the loopholes in the banned drug list. And if he's not the first person to fail, the Tour's drug testing program serves the exact, cynical purpose Yesalis said many sports leagues' programs do.

It's all for show.

Tuesday
Nov032009

"The extravaganza could be much grander."

Seems to me that Jeff Rude is onto something in suggesting the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony move to Players Championship Monday.

Move the Champions Tour’s Legends of Golf tournament back to the King & Bear course at World Golf Village the week before the nearby Players Championship. Then hold the Hall party on the Monday that follows the Legends and kicks off Players week.

The shift would ensure the attendance of many more people from various factions: Hall of Fame members, visiting dignitaries, national media, etc.

Their inclusion would create more buzz for the Hall and for golf. It would move golf closer to baseball’s Cooperstown model. After all, the energy of a bash is measured by who attends.

Tuesday
Nov032009

T&L Golf Back In Digital Form

Thanks to several readers who forwarded this...

Tuesday
Nov032009

PGA Tour's 2010 Schedule

Leaner and including the "Century Club" as a sponsor in San Diego for now, but all in all pretty amazing considering the economic climate. 

Click to enlarge:

Monday
Nov022009

If You Missed The 2009 Hall Of Fame Ceremony...

You missed a dandy. The entire production seemed to be the finest I've seen in terms of Golf Channel production values (great video of Mark Cubbedge and team looting Lanny's office), great speeches, classy hosting by Rich Lerner and mercifully, only bursts of the mildy maudlin music that has plagued previous ceremonies.

You can read the entire transcript here. Jose Maria Olazabal's speech was particularly touching, as was the scene of the tough guy Wadkins brothers crying. I doubt the transcript will do it justice.

Gary Van Sickle sums up the highlights from his perspective.

If anyone sees clips of the speeches online, let me know and we'll post them. Golf Channel did post this nice Golf Central telecast preview.

Monday
Nov022009

"I just wish they had gone to a straight, old, traditional V groove..."

Great stuff from Lanny Wadkins on many topics prior to his Hall of Fame induction, but the final comments about grooves are the most interesting:

I like the idea of trying to get back to V grooves. I just wish they had gone to a straight, old, traditional V groove because what they're doing with going to an area, the amount of area that's in the groove, which is basically going to shallower U grooves if you will, the manufacturers are going to figure out a way around it. They're going to figure out a way to keep as much spin as possible in the ball. I would love to see it back in the V grooves we played in the early '70s. No reason they couldn't do that in my mind and just be very straight forward about it, and I think it would require more imagination in today's game. I think it would involve ball changes for a lot of the guys on TOUR. With the changes they're making today that probably won't happen as readily as we thought it was going to. It would involve driver changes.

I mean, my generation has changed all the way along the line. We've changed from shafts that weren't frequency matched, then we went to frequently matched shafts. Then we went to wooden clubs that were heavy, 14 and a half ounces for a driver, a shaft that weighed 135 grams, which is probably what mine weighed early '70s, mid '80s at that point in time. We've changed to small-headed metal clubs to big-headed metal grooves to U grooves to balls that don't spin. My generation has changed all the way up. This generation like where my boys are, my boys have always played the same stuff. They've never hit a wooden club. They're 21 and 17, all they've known is big-headed metal stuff.

I think it's about time. This generation has to change something. Let's see if they've got some imagination.

And the thing about it is, guess who's been playing V grooves all along? Tiger Woods. All he's got to change is two clubs in his bag. He's got to change his 56 and his 60. He doesn't have to change balls, driver, nothing. Let's just give Tiger a bigger advantage. Just what he needs, right?

Monday
Nov022009

"What has really irked me about the Trump project, however, is the perception that the development has been the only one on the table in Scotland over the past few years. That's not the case."

Martin Dempster is bothered by the hype surrounding The Donald's Aberdeen course.

What has really irked me about the Trump project, however, is the perception that the development has been the only one on the table in Scotland over the past few years. That's not the case. Courses continue to spring up around the country, with each deserving to be judged on its own merits.

Marc Parsinen and Gil Hanse, for example, have created Castle Stuart, a gem of a course on the Moray coast just along from Inverness. That has been earning deserved rave reviews since it opened earlier this year. In my opinion, it is as good, if not better, than Kingsbarns, where Parsinen was also involved with Kyle Phillips.

And what about Machrihanish Dunes? David McLay Kidd, who, incidentally is also working on the gWest project next to Gleneagles, designed this one and, by all accounts, it is going to be popular with those who head down the Mull of Kintyre every year to savour its established neighbour.

Recently, there have been a couple of very enjoyable GolfClubAtlas.com threads on Castle Stuart (here and here).

Monday
Nov022009

"It is what it is; all you need is right there in the statement."

After Doug Barron's positive test and one-year suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, Jason Sobel concludes:

In a twisted way, it's actually a good thing that Barron got caught, as it proves the PGA Tour's ongoing efforts toward wiping out any potential PED use weren't fruitless nor a waste of time and money. It also discredits the theory that Tim Finchem and the folks at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., headquarters would cover up any positive tests to keep suspicions to a minimum.

You know what they say: Once is a coincidence, twice is a pattern. Until there is further proof that other PGA Tour members have been guilty of attempting to subvert the system, consider this a singular issue for one individual rather than a trend throughout the sport.

Steve Elling tracked down the Commissioner at the Hall of Fame ceremony and notes the oddity of releasing the news on induction day, among other elements to the story he covers in a thorough analysis.  Elling also doesn't get much out of the Commissioner, who was never a believer in testing until Tiger Woods said he thought it was needed.

"I don’t have anything to say," Finchem said. "Nothing I can say, no comment. It is what it is; all you need is right there in the statement."

Not exactly. Finchem resisted the implementation of testing for years, claiming he was personally certain that golf didn’t have the same cheating issues as other sports. It has a different culture, he insisted, where honesty rules the day.

And this...

Barron isn't exactly the rippling-muscle type. In fact, he looks like an average schlub.

"One of the funniest things I've heard today is when one of his friends called him to say, 'If you were trying to build more muscles, you did a pretty bad job,'" Horne said.

There was some collateral damage. The Barron news, to a large degree, cut the publicity legs out from under the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday in St. Augustine, which had some staffers at the museum rightly grousing about the timing, since this is the biggest day of the year for the game's shrine.

Monday
Nov022009

"Breaking News": Fewer Has-Beens And Corporate Goons To Clog Up AT&T Pro-Am

Thanks to John Strege at GolfDigest.com for spotting the Monterey County Herald's "Breaking News" story about the AT&T National Pro-Am field going from 180 to 156 in 2010.

Monday
Nov022009

PGA Tour Announces An Anti-Doping Suspension

The unthinkable has occurred: the PGA Tour went public with a performance-enhancing substance violation and suspension. No details beyond the length of suspension and the name of the player were released.

November 2, 2009

From the Office of the Commissioner:


The PGA TOUR announced today that Doug Barron has violated the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy's ban on the use of performance-enhancing substances and has been suspended for one year. The suspension will commence immediately.  This is the first suspension under the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program.

"I would like to apologize for any negative perception of the TOUR or its players resulting from my suspension. I want my fellow TOUR members and the fans to know that I did not intend to gain an unfair competitive advantage or enhance my performance while on TOUR," said Barron.

The TOUR will have no further comment on the suspension at this time.

So a year suspension for what he says was an unintentional attempt? Sounds like the tour did not agree.

I know the commissioner has been very transparent in saying that he resisted this program because--"We had to deal with that from a defensive standpoint from an image perspective"--but you'd to at least think they wouldn't make the first suspendee apologize for an image chink in the press release?

How about, I'm sorry I did this to my body, setting a terrible example for the youth of America.

Or maybe even no comment beyond a simple apology?

Either way, maybe Barron started using some physique building stuff after this odd photo of him ran on ESPN.com a few years ago.

Anyone know why he wasn't wearing his shirt? **Jason Sobel explained the incident here.

Monday
Nov022009

“Who is Mike Whan?”

Sports Business Journal's Jon Show tracks down Mike Whan at his home office to find out more about the new LPGA Commish.

Whan, 44, had been working as a consultant based out of a home office since January when he received a call from Spencer Stuart, the recruiting firm leading the search and a company that Whan had a relationship with through earlier job searches.

He went unnoticed by outside observers during the interview process and is not widely known in the sports industry, making “Who is Mike Whan?” the prevailing question as reports came out last week that he would replace Carolyn Bivens.

There were no pictures of him available until hours after the announcement, leading at least one LPGA executive and pockets of industry observers to wonder whether the LPGA was about to name its first Asian commissioner.

Accompanying the story was this sidebard asking "What’s ahead for the LPGA?"

Two bullet points caught my eye:

- Shore up the balance sheet and income statement. Liabilities from the former commissioner, a $5 million unresolved lawsuit, few long-term contracts and shallow reserves have left the LPGA in a sustainable, but precarious situation.

Anyone know what the $5 million unresolved lawsuit is about?

-Move the headquarters, or at least sales and marketing, from Daytona Beach, Fla., to New York City. It’s difficult to court Madison Avenue from 100 International Golf Drive, a lesson successfully learned by NASCAR for the last decade.

Oy...granted, I know Daytona Beach was a bad choice, but would a costly move to New York really help? Besides, since it rains every day in New York, maybe the Madison Avenue set would welcome trips to Daytona Beach?

The piece features little brandspeak from the new Commish, and frankly, he'll have a hard time topping this whopper from today's New York Times, quoting Turner Entertainment Networks head Steve Koonin when talking about his network versus the big boys:

“We’re not slaves to everything except our brand,” Mr. Koonin said. “It’s the only idol we worship.”

Monday
Nov022009

Is There A New American Course Under Construction?

I'm just perusing the archives and preparing my annual year-in-review story for Golfdom, and while I know The Cliffs folks claim that their Tiger Woods-designed course is under construction, I'm wondering if anyone can name a new American golf course that is under construction?