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.




WHEW! New LPGA Commish Unleashes All Of The Essential Business Jargon In First Press Release!

I was worried we might get some straight shooter but judging by his first press release quote, new LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan is going to pick up right where the Brand Lady left off, at least in the B-speak department. More on that momentarily.

Ron Sirak's story about the Oct. 28 announcement calls the naming a "bit of a surprise." Golfweek was first to post to break the news by a few minutes, linking Beth Ann Baldry's story noting Whan's bio.

Whan, believed to be 44, most recently has been president and CEO of Mission-ITECH Hockey. The 1987 graduate of Miami (Ohio) University served as executive vice president/general manager of North America TaylorMade Adidas Golf from 1995 to 2000, and he also worked at Wilson.

I received the press release dated October 28 and it notes a few key details, such as this pertaining to the Rear Admiral and interim Commish, Marty Evans:

Evans will work with Whan during a transition period before he officially assumes the Commissioner helm in January 2010. Both Whan and Evans will attend the LPGA Tour Championship Presented by Rolex the week of November 16 in Houston, where a player meeting will be held and the 2010 LPGA season schedule will be released.

“The LPGA is a resurging, resilient association, and Mike will be a leader around which the wonderful LPGA staff and all of our stakeholders—players, fans, sponsors, TV partners, tournament owners and others—will rally,” Evans said. “Mike will enjoy working within the reenergized climate of collaboration that we’ve all worked so hard to create this season. I’m looking forward to working closely with him during the transition period as we celebrate the close of a tremendous season and look forward to the LPGA’s 60th year in 2010.”

Re-energized climate of collaboration? Militaryspeak translation: mopping up post-Brand Lady will make Mike look like a genius, all thanks to me.

As for the new Commish and his first words...

“It is rare to work for an organization that combines all the passions in your life, but with the LPGA, I feel I’ve been presented with the unique opportunity to do just that,” Whan said. “First, this is an association surrounded by passionate, value-driven people. Second, I’m energized by brand building and the work involved in marketing and growing a sport. Third, I simply love the game of golf—both the life lessons it teaches and the friendships it helps create.”

He's energized by brand building...he's talking life-lessons and dropping the essential G-word...but an organization surrounded by passionate, "value-driven" people? Now that's special. To slip the V-word in so artfully speaks to the great potential this man has.

Nice work committee. The blogosphere thanks you.

And by the way, don't write to tell me that he meant value in the sense of morals, character, etc... That would have been values-driven people.

By the way, anyone care to share their definition of value-driven people? I looked it up in Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary. No luck.


Rory Reconsidering The Decision He Never Made

An unbylined Telegraph report says that Chubby Chandler's e-mail to SportsBusiness Journal last week was incorrect.

“I am still thinking about it. I love playing in America. I play well over there and I am still thinking about taking out my PGA Tour card next year.

“There are a few things to weigh up. For instance, I don't want to try and play an event in America and come straight back to play one in Europe. That's tough.

“I am not saying that money is a factor in this, but the European Tour has been hit a lot harder by the economic crisis than the American tour.

“Look at the Open last week. There was no one in the top 20 in the world in the field and yet they were still playing for $5m.”

Nope it's not about the money!


Rickie "Golf 2.0" Fowler

The Golfweek staffers writing this week's Monday scramble took issue with Rickie Fowler's SFX agents' hilariously dated, so-2004 branding of their new star client.

After all, he is “Golf 2.0,” (as he’s been dubbed by his management company, SFX), has a face built for Hollywood and so far makes a hole-in-one in every other Tour event he plays.
He is the next big thing, covered in flourescent Pumas, whether he likes it or not, and that’s just something that comes with about as much hype as you can fit into a 30-minute pregame show or the entire golf blogosphere.

We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but Rickie Fowler will:

    •    Win next week at the Viking Classic
    •    Win the British Open next year at St. Andrews
    •    Make Rory McIlory cry
    •    Pull the U.S. economy out of the recession, and
    •    Help Lindsay Lohan turn her life around and win a Nobel Peace Prize.

I must say I'm intensely jealous of the lucky interns who got to sit in on the Fowler branding meetings. One can only imagine what inconic imagery these 2.0 hipsters left on the editing room floor. I wonder if a "Next-Nicklaus" was bandied about?

Thankfully, it looks like Rickie's game is so good that he'll soon make us forget about the antics of his handlers.



"Well whoop-de-do for you!" 

Scott Michaux shares one of those epic telemarketer horror stories that would be more entertaining if the print industry weren't having such a tough time. He also features a follow up from Golf Digest Editor Jerry Tarde, who looked into the situation of a rogue, yes, rogue agent. There are rogue subscription-selling agents out there. It's getting to where you just can't answer the phone anymore.


“Best guys in college golf that are coming out, shows you college golf gets them ready."

Asher Wildman reports that Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark's great play at the Open had the elite college field at Isleworth thinking they are all a lot better than they are and coaches thinking they were making a difference.

After talking with players, I was curious to know what a coach thought. Who better to ask then East Tennessee State coach Fred Warren, who might be the living encyclopedia of college golf?

“Doesn’t surprise me at all,” Warren said. “Best guys in college golf that are coming out, shows you college golf gets them ready. Just look at the elite players having success: Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, J.B. Holmes, Anthony Kim – these guys are playing great.”

That's who he thinks of when he thinks of college golf's ability to produce?

Jason Sobel is excited about Fowler and Lovemark, however, likely influenced by television's fawning over the two, he reminds us that next-great-thing hype usually is a waste of time.


"It's akin to earning a Purple Heart for falling down in the latrine."

I have to say that it's quite sad to see one of the coolest perks in sports appearing to be a casualty of the FedEx Cup/limited field lovefest. Hope they figure out a way to remedy what Steve Elling laments in this week's Up and Down column:

It's akin to earning a Purple Heart for falling down in the latrine. Michael Sim won his third Nationwide Tour event the week before the FedEx Cup series began, which meant that instead of securing the automatic "battlefield promotion" to the big leagues, he was out of luck. The FedEx fields are limited to the points leaders, and he has had no success landing positions in the Fall Series tournaments, either, as established players jockey to keep their cards. Last week, still locked out of a spot in the PGA Tour event, the 25-year-old Aussie went back to the Nationwide and finished second in that circuit's season finale. Since winning his third Nationwide event in August, he has played in one PGA Tour event, and it was on a sponsor exemption. While the landscape of the tour has certainly changed since the FedEx and Fall Series was concocted, there needs to be some accommodation for the players who earned their spots on the major-league roster. The conditional access needs to be greatly updated or eliminated. As it stands, it's about as meaningful as Elvis Presley's black belt in karate.


C-C's Ready To Go

He doesn't have to pitch a Game 7 and now he has a wedge line named after him. So good to see the nice folks in Fairhaven, Massachusetts paying homage to...oh, not that CC? David Allen at writes:

In response to the new restrictions being placed on the volume and edge sharpness of grooves, Titleist has come out with a conforming line of its popular Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges. The new wedges are named, appropriately enough, Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C wedges. The C-C stands for the “Condition of Competition” adopted by both the USGA and R&A, which prohibits PGA Tour and most Tour-level participants from playing the non-conforming irons and wedges after January 1, 2010.

Titleist will continue to manufacture and sell the previous generation non-conforming Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges through 2010. The C-C wedges, which will be available through authorized Titleist retailers beginning November 1, 2009, generate a higher launch, less spin and more run-out than the previous “bigger groove” wedges.

Wouldn't COC have been more accurate?


See, Bivens Was A Visionary!

Granted, wrong tour, but look at the insights we could glean if players were allowed to Tweet mid round.

As Stephanie Wei notes, the USGA says there's nothing in the rules that forbids the use of an electronic device during a round. However, I thought we decided this was a no-no since with Twitter or any phone that a player could receive advice?


Check Jamie Lovemark's Wedge Grooves!

It's about 1:20 into this recap of the Open: I just want to know what grooves were in the wedge that refused to let Jamie Lovemark's Nike sink into the water during a sudden death playoff. New grooves? Old soon-to-be-non-conforming?

Wait, sorry, you said what?

It was probably the concrete lining? Really? But it's such a natural looking hazard. Anyway...

By the way, Lovemark may have finished tied for second, but as he explains during his post round chat, he starts the first stage of Q-school Tuesday. He also talks about the shot into 18.


"If we are able to accelerate that process of creating heroes then I would predict that the overwhelming new demand for the game will result in some mechanism that creates far more accessibility to the game itself."

Scott Michaux writes about Billy Payne's China trip this week to help crown the first winner of the Asian Amateur Championship (which will be on ESPN2). And while I appreciate the sentiment, I'm not sure I'm buying his thinking:

"We know how human nature is," Payne said in an interview with The Augusta Chronicle last week. "People become role models and are worshiped by younger generations who aspire to achieve the same goals and emulate the same success. If we are able to accelerate that process of creating heroes then I would predict that the overwhelming new demand for the game will result in some mechanism that creates far more accessibility to the game itself. Demand will create the access." in the States, demand usually creates price increases.

But I guess it's just a little weird for me to read about the boys at Augusta National hoping to create "heroes" via initiatives like this. Wouldn't it be easier to create heroes by returning the Augusta National's design as a more compelling stage?

"When it deals with growth and potential, how to get the most impact and how do you get the most bang for your efforts, I think it was pretty logical that we would begin in the Far East ," he said. "I think it helps that through the decades we have already aggressively looked for and recruited participation in our tournament from that part of the world. It was just kind of obvious."

Since we now have had a look at the field, if nothing else, it'll be worth tuning in to hear how he spins a non-Asian winner.


"So do your fellow golfers a favor, put on a happy face and DO YOUR JOB."

Paige Mackenzie pens a guest essay at to call out the SI "anonymous pro" and his complaints about new PGA Tour policies designed to create more player-sponsor interaction. I'd sense we'd have a full-fledged spat if the PGA Tour pro weren't so darn anonymous.


23 And Counting...

The New York Times' Mark Leibovich looks at the male-centric culture of the Obama White House and notes this for those counting at home:

Ben Finkenbinder, a junior press aide and scratch golfer, was recently invited into a foursome with Mr. Obama. (In records kept by Mark Knoller of CBS, the president has played 23 rounds of golf since taking office, none of which have included women, though Mr. Knoller allows that the press office does not always release the names of every player. A White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said Friday that Mr. Obama planned to play this weekend with Ms. Barnes.)


Inaugural Asian Amateur Field Loaded With Southern Hemisphere's Finest

Sean Martin reports that the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship--created by the R&A and Augusta National to give a birth to the winner into the Masters (but not the Open)--has lined up some of Australia and New Zealand's finest golfers when it starts October 29.

Martin notes there was early criticism of the field quality after it was hailed by Peter Dawson (who else?) as a great way to grow the game in Asia. He confirms those suspicions have come true:

The Asian Amateur field is weak when considering the big prize awaiting the winner, but the event, which is run by the Asia Pacific Golf Federation with support from Augusta National and the R&A, wasn't necessarily created to strengthen the Masters field. It was created to "grow the game" in Asia and capitalize on golf's growth in the region.

The highest-ranked player in the Asian Amateur field, according to the R&A's World Amateur Golf Rankings, is No. 44 Daniel Nisbet of Australia. There are just 11 players in the field ranked in the top 200, and only four in the top 100 (see below). Many of the top players in the field aren’t Asian, either, but from Australia and New Zealand. The top three players in the field are Australian, and eight of the 11 top-200 players are either Australian or from New Zealand.


"We think (the change in ownership) is a very positive thing in the sense that it will now be properly capitalized."

Gary D'Amato settles the questions about the Erin Hills ownership change: the USGA approves and it approves big time.

Though Lang is selling Erin Hills to Milwaukee businessman Andy Ziegler, the USGA considers it a seamless transition and remains high on the potential of the 3-year-old course in the Town of Erin.

In fact, the USGA championship committee on Friday presented eight potential Midwest sites for the 2017 U.S. Open to the executive committee, and Erin Hills was on the list.

"It's such a special site," said Mike Davis, the senior director of rules and competitions for the USGA. "We love Bob Lang and think the world of him, but we think (the change in ownership) is a very positive thing in the sense that it will now be properly capitalized."

The USGA is expected to vote on the 2017 U.S. Open venue at its annual meeting in February and announce the choice in June. Erin Hills is considered a front-runner.

Brad Klein notes the new ownership's walking only policy and yet another design change.

In the past year, the course underwent modification that reworked three greens, tweaked numerous fairway contours and added more than a dozen bunkers. According to Hurdzan, more renovations are planned for this fall, with a handful of bunkers slated for removal. Moreover, the par-5 10th hole will be shortened to a long par 4; that will entail removal of a blind, fallaway Biarritz green and its replacement by a new putting surface closer to the tee on a knoll.


"For golf people, Oct. 25, 1999 is a day the game stood still, a day they will never forget."

I read it a few weeks ago when it appeared in print and now online and just as compelling is Jim Moriarty's Golf World oral history of the day Payne Stewart and five others died in a tragic plane accident. Hard to believe it was 10 years ago, and still hard to believe such a thing happened.


Erin Hills Gets New Owner!?

This strikes me as odd on many levels, then again, I've never understood Erin Hills as a possible major venue with Whistling Straits having a grip on the region and so many variables in play. Gary D'Amato reports:

Andy Ziegler of Mequon, the co-founder and CEO of Artisan Partners Limited Partnership, has reached an agreement to purchase the course from Bob Lang.

"I'm buying it individually," Ziegler said in a telephone call from London. "There are no Artisan partners involved. We may close as early as Friday of this week. I will be the 100% owner of the golf course."

We've been told over and over again that Erin Hills was a lock for the 2017 US Open, but unless the USGA was somehow consulted on this sale and gave a thumbs up, it's hard to see how this reinforces the supposedly inevitable decision. (One that some have suggested might be announced as soon as next June.)

Ryan Herrington notes that the Erin Hills-gets-major talk has quieted down a bit but also points out that former USGA Executive Comittee member Jim Rinehart is now part of a board at Erin Hills, as reported by D'Amato:

Ziegler said he would be the chairman of a newly established board of directors but would not be involved in the day-to-day operation of the course. Jim Reinhart, a former vice president of the United States Golf Association and a former minority partner in Erin Hills, will serve on the board, Ziegler said.

This is also a reminder of the perils in courting major venues so far in advance, particularly those where the course is untested and may be relying on the awarding of a major to ensure survival.

And it's just a stunner because Lang has been so intimately involved in every facet of Erin Hills, including recent course changes that were intended to comfort the USGA.

Perhaps there's now a glimmer of hope for Cog Hill and Southern Hills, Midwest venues with more stable ownership situations? Or maybe Rinehart's involvement seals the deal for Erin Hills?


"There are going to be some shots hit that are quite ugly and not too attractive to fans."

David Dusek talks to Stewart Cink about changing his irons and ball to get ready for the new groove rule.

A softer ball could cut into driving distance for Cink and other Tour pros, but it should also produce more control around the greens, which will be critical when playing the lower-spin grooves. Within Nike's current ball line, the One Tour ball might be Cink's best choice in 2010.

"I'm okay with the changes," Cink said, "but I don’t know that going this aggressively was necessary because it’s a radical change with the wedges. If you are on the edge of the rough, or if conditions are damp like they are here in Bermuda right now, there are going to be some shots hit that are quite ugly and not too attractive to fans. And that scares me a little."

News to Stewart: probably half the fans in golf are just like the Nascar aficionados who can't wait to see a crash.

But his point is interesting in the context of course setup. Will the tour continue to take roughs down to avoid "ugly" shots. They're consumed with vanity down there in Ponte Vedra, and in this instance they have the blessing of many who don't want to see rough having so much emphasis in setup.

"Go thing I have already looked my card up for next year! Your Welcome."

"Your Welcome" would be the gramatically challenged catch-phrase Bubba Watson is sporting under his Twitter persona.

FYI, his self-proclaimed bio on Twitter:

"Christian, Husband, Pro Golfer who enjoys giving back to help others grow in life! You're welcome.

Thanks to reader Jim for the heads up on his latest Tweet, which will not do much to negate stereotypical characterizations of men named Bubba.


Pete, Sure You Want The Job? "I don't know of any other year when so many LPGA members were seeking dual membership on the JLPGA."

The Constructivist at the MostlyHarmless blog notes some oddball issues with the LPGA of Japan's qualifying procedures and concludes that a tour war is breaking out, and the LPGA of America might be on the losing end.

But a few patterns emerge: the JLPGA is heavily recruiting American and European players (or at least players from the LPGA and LET), while forcing Korean golfers to go through 3 or 4 stages of qualifying. It appears that winning on the JLPGA as a non-member doesn't give you immediate membership any more, as it did for Ji-Yai Shin last season. And the Full Metal Archivist confirmed that you need a certain level of fluency in either Japanese or English to become a JLPGA member in 2010. She also found a 9 October article from Golf Digest Online that publicized a JLPGA press release identifying LPGA players exempt into the 3rd stage (Meena Lee, Young Kim, Teresa Lu, and Shanshan Feng) and into the final qualifying tournament (Na Yeon Choi, Candie Kung, Eun-Hee Ji, Seon Hwa Lee, Inbee Park, and Amy Yang). Barring absolute meltdowns, then, these players, along with Na Ri Kim and Onnarin Sattayabanphot (who should sail through the next 3 stages of Q-School) and any other LPGAers who have signed up for the 2nd stage the 1st week of November, will be JLPGA members in 2010. I don't know of any other year when so many LPGA members were seeking dual membership on the JLPGA.

Maybe pay isn't the only reason the LPGA Commish search candidates keep dropping out?


Flash: Rory Finally Decides He Won't Play An Extra Three Events In America Next Year

Jon Show reports on the announcement that Rory McIlroy will in fact not add the three events to his 2010 schedule which would have allowed him to become a PGA Tour member. This contradicted a Daily Mail report from just a day before.

The most surprising thing about the announcement: agent Chubby Chandler breaking the news to Sports Business Journal and not one of the many Irish reporters tracing young Rory's every move.