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

A golf course that invades a hundred or more acres, and is actually visible in its garish intrusion from several points of observation, is an abhorrent spectacle. The less of man’s handiwork the better a course. PERRY MAXWELL



"This is not, and never should be, the Hall of Very Good."

Here's the transcript for Fred Couples' World Golf Hall of Fame press conference and Doug Ferguson's story suggests it was the slimmest of margins that got Couples in.

Couples was elected on the PGA Tour ballot with a record-low 51 percent. The minimum for election is 65 percent, although there is a clause that when no one gets the minimum, the leading vote-getter is elected provided he has at least 50 percent of the vote.

The reaction from two prominent writers was not in the least bit positive when it came to the Hall's voters. (For the record I voted and did not vote for Couples.)

Golfweek's Jeff Rude poses a Q&A and asks if this dumbs down the hall:

No offense to Fred, whom I like, but someone getting in with 15 victories and one major does lower the previous unwritten benchmark, yes.

Couples, though, does get extra points for having been a television and gate attraction for years.

Expect more lowering of standards, particularly after Tiger Woods gets in after turning 40 in four years. At the moment, there aren’t many players with a pile of victories who will turn 40 any time soon.

Sadly, if we keep this up, pretty soon Craig Stadler with 13 wins and a major will represent the new bar.

This is not, and never should be, the Hall of Very Good.

Bob Harig made a great case for Macdonald Smith, noting his Western Open wins when it was a major (and don't forget his LA Open wins when it was the premier professional event when Smith won it).But mostly Harig took the World Golf Hall voters to task:

This is in no way meant to knock Couples, who might have won far more than 15 times were it not for back problems that began at the height of his career. The way he still performs today when healthy is testament to his immense talents. Being a fan favorite and a well-liked player certainly doesn't hurt his inclusion, which was announced by commissioner Tim Finchem at the Tour Championship.

And that's the problem. You wonder about the makeup of the voting body that tends to skew its selections toward popularity and modern players and doesn't take the time to consider history.

Though Couples is over the 50-years-old threshold, many of the Hall's problems continue to stem from the eligibility of players at too young of an age. If you had to be at least 50 to get in, the question of Davis Love wouldn't have been brought up today. That still doesn't answer for O'Meara or Mac Smith or Venturi whose amateur or broadcasting accomplishments are probably overlooked by some voters.

Rex Hoggard makes the case for Couples getting in on his "icon" status and I would agree there is an intangible element that should be considered by voters, especially when you consider his appeal to golfers or the way he plays or his late in life competitive abilities. Though all the same were said for Macdonald Smith in his day, but again, how many voters could even pick him out of a lineup? And I'll confess, I only know a lot about him because of his great play in the L.A. Open.

Anyway, Couples was interviewed on ESPN about his induction:


Finchem Sounds Lukewarm On Possible Anchoring Ban

I just couldn't bring myself to read all of the Commissioner Permutations' press conference transcript after listening to parts on Golf Channel, but I did find his choice of words on the anchoring putters question intriguing.

Rex Hoggard reports.

“What I've articulated from the position I hold is simply that this is important to a lot of people, not just on the PGA Tour, but to golfers,” Finchem said. “It should be done carefully, reviewed fully, and discussed thoroughly and at least at this point I'm confident that will happen.”

Notice how he mentions everday golfers in there, something Finchem rarely mentions as a consideration in anything the tour deliberates. And "at least at this point" he's confident the conversations have been deliberate. Hardly the ringing endorsement he usually gives his fellow Five Families members the Tataglia's (USGA) and the Barzini's (R&A). (Reader Mike gets credit for the Five Families reference, btw...wish I'd thought of it.)

Anyway, I have to wonder if the Commish is hearing the same kind of feedback many of us hear: getting rid of anchoring putters is really more pressing for the health of the sport than say, huge distance advancements?


Scottish Open Returning To Castle Stuart, Then Off To Royal Aberdeen

Thanks to reader Brian for sending along the great news that Castle Stuart will host the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open again in 2013 and Royal Aberdeen will land the event in 2014.

The 18th at Royal Aberdeen (click on image to enlarge)I highly recommend both courses if you visit the region and if you want to take in a European Tour event, you'll be hard pressed to find a more wonderful tournament and town experience outside of St. Andrews than Inverness in July.

From an unbylined Scotsman story:

Castle Stuart, near Inverness, will stage the event from 11-14 July next year and, in 2014, Royal Aberdeen will host the first-ever European Tour event over the Balgownie links from 10-13 July.

Founded in 1780, Royal Aberdeen is the world’s sixth oldest golf club and the course was originally designed by Carnoustie’s Simpson brothers, Archie and Robert. It was re-bunkered and lengthened by James Braid and Hawtree and Company have now been engaged as course architects to ensure it keeps pace with the modern game.

I'm not sure if the course can get lengthened or narrowed much, but I know players will still enjoy it. As for Donald Trump's course up the road? I'm a little surprised it didn't get the 2014 slot but perhaps The Donald is aiming for something else.


Fred Couples Headed To World Golf Hall Of Fame

For Immediate Release...

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum to induct Fred Couples in Class of 2013
15-time PGA TOUR winner announced at TOUR Championship
Atlanta (Sept. 19, 2012) – The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will enshrine 15-time PGA TOUR winner Fred Couples as the first member of the Class of 2013. PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem made the announcement that Couples was elected through the PGA TOUR Ballot at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Couples will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at its Induction Ceremony on Monday, May 6, 2013, at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. The Ceremony will once again kick off THE PLAYERS Championship week.
It will be fitting for Couples, who won the 1984 and 1996 PLAYERS Championships.
"Fred Couples is one of those unique players whose talent and accomplishments are Hall-of-Fame caliber, as are his personality and popularity," said Finchem. "He has been a fan favorite for decades, thanks to not only his significant achievements on the golf course, but also because of his relatable, friendly demeanor that has connected him to fans around the world. Congratulations to Fred on this incredible honor."
Couples is one of the game’s most popular players and is revered for his picturesque golf swing. It carried him to the top of the game, when he won the 1992 Masters Tournament. That major championship victory also made him the first American player to reach No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He dominated in the early 1990s, winning PGA TOUR Player of the Year and the Vardon Trophy in 1991 and 1992.
He is also a fixture for the United States in team competitions. He played on five Ryder Cup teams, helping the Am
ericans to victories in 1991 and 1993. Couples will also take part in next week’s Ryder Cup competition at Medinah Country Club, where he will be an assistant captain for the U.S. Team.
Couples has also been a large part of the American success at The Presidents Cup. He played on four U.S. Teams, with three emerging victorious. He also captained the winning U.S. Presidents Cup teams in 2009 and 2011 and will once again lead the Americans at the 2013 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village, where he will attempt to become the first captain to post a 3-0 record (Jack Nicklaus was 2-1-1).
Couples has won five times internationally, and since turning 50 in 2009, he has won eight times on the Champions Tour, including major championships at the 2011 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and the 2012 Senior Open Championship.
“I am honored by my selection to the World Golf Hall of Fame,” Couples said. “It is humbling to have received the votes and to be included in a group of such legendary players. I am looking forward to the Induction Ceremony next May during THE PLAYERS Championship week. I am excited to have a place in the Hall of Fame with so many great players with whom I have competed and that I admire.”
The Hall of Fame will round out the Class of 2013 by announcing inductees from the International Ballot and Veterans and Lifetime Achievement categories in the coming months.
“We are thrilled to welcome Fred into the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum,” said Hall of Fame Chief Operating Officer Jack Peter. “He has a unique connection to fans and is one of the game’s most beloved figures. We are excited to showcase his wonderful career at the 2013 Induction Ceremony and within the Hall of Fame.”


Rory Laughs Off Intimidation Factor; Devises A Much Better Answer To The Olympic Question

Jeff Babineau reports on Rory McIlroy's Tour Championship press conference Wednesday where the culturally unidentifiable lad laughed off Greg Norman's suggestion that Tiger is somehow intimidated by his presence.

To which McIlroy replied, “How can I intimidate Tiger Woods? I mean, the guy’s got 75 or 70-whatever (actually 74) PGA Tour wins, 14 majors … I mean, he’s been the biggest thing ever in our sport. How could some little 23-year-old from Northern Ireland with a few wins come up and intimidate him? It’s just not possible.”

And an unbylined Sky Sports story has this on the dreaded cultural identity question. Much better.

"It just hit home with me at how my success is welcomed by everyone. It would be terrible for me to nearly segregate myself from one of those group that supports me so much.

"It's four years away - I still have a bit of time to decide. But, I'm very, very appreciative and very grateful of the support that I get from everyone.

"It's great that I get so much support. There are not many people in my position that have to go through what I might have to go through in four years' time, but it is what it is.

"I'm a golfer first and foremost and I just want to play well on the golf course. Hopefully people enjoy that and the entertainment that that brings."


Jacksonville Open Jeopardized By New Playoff Series?!

Garry Smits with the hard to fathom possibility that the Tour's Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open, played in October currently, either becomes the final event in the new Tour playoffs or meets its demise because of those playoffs.

However, if one of the other markets wins out, the Jacksonville Open will either move to earlier in the summer (if you think The Players in May is hot, think about 72 holes around here in July or August) or may fold up shop, since it's in the final year of a three-year contract.

That would be a huge shame. The tournament leads Tour events in charity money raised, the pro-am is a double-shotgun start using both the Valley and the Stadium Course and golf fans have enjoyed a more casual atmosphere than The Players.


Viewing Alert: Nicklaus Talks With Diaz Tonight...Live

As part of the Ruth Pauley Lecture Series we can watch Golf World Editor-in-Chief Jaime Diaz and Jack Nicklaus in discussion live from Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, N.C., Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

Live stream by Ustream


"The truth is there are no reasonable arguments for golfers being able to hit tee shots 400 yards, nor that our royal and ancient game should be played with such enormous driving instruments."

Here is Darius Oliver's excellent look back at the evolution of the driver head, referenced Sunday by John Huggan.

Oliver does a nice job summing up the history, regulatory bungling, manufacturer short-sightedness and the consequences which, as he notes, have had a far more significant impact on the safety, cost and way golf is played than anchoring a putter.

Given the inaction of the governing bodies previously, it could be argued that manufacturers shot themselves in the foot back in 2003 by jumping too quickly toward the 460cc driver. Had they progressed more steadily they may have been able to sneak past that number to 500 or beyond. While hardly cause for celebration, it does raise the very relevant question of golfing lawmakers - why is 460 the magic number here and is a driver head this size really appropriate for a game played mostly in suburban fields surrounded by residential homes?

If golf was still confined to ocean links land and we had hundreds of unoccupied acres within which to hit our shots you could possibly argue that length was irrelevant. Every time a mid-handicap amateur launches a golf ball into a neighboring house, however, that argument loses weight. As it does every time a round takes five hours to play, or a well credentialed golf club is ‘forced’ to spend millions changing holes that until 2003 had provided an adequate challenge.

The truth is there are no reasonable arguments for golfers being able to hit tee shots 400 yards, nor that our royal and ancient game should be played with such enormous driving instruments.


Correct Bunker Maintenance, The Australian Way

I was poking around YouTube for a video and stumbled on this "Correct Bunker Maintenance" instructional from Kingston Heath Director of Golf Justin Burrage and Course Superintendent Hayden Mead.

Besides showing us how the Australian-style of raking looks and should be maintained by the golfer, I just never get tired of looking at those bunkers! Plus, with a number of American courses adopting the method, this video might be useful.

And don't forget that Kingston hosts the Australian Masters this November 15-18, though I'm not sure if Golf Channel will be showing the best piece of golf architecture to host a professional tournament in 2012.


25 For Nine Holes!

Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that 20-year-old Todd Baek posted an 11-under 25 on the par-36 front nine at Salt Creek in Chula Vista. Baek went on to fire a new course record 60.

“I was amazed myself,” Baek said on Monday. “It was like, ‘What’s going on?’ We were playing for money, so my friends were giving me (crud) about it. They said you need to stop making birdies or you’re going to walk home.”

He did hit some long irons...for his second shots to par-5s.

He hit a 40-yard pitch at the par-4 first that dropped in for eagle. At the par-5 second, he lashed a 5-iron to 9 feet and made that putt for another eagle.


Furyk: "Nope, I have no idea" Of FedExCup Standing As It Unfolds

When former FedExCup Jim Furyk made his comments today at East Lake about having no idea about where he stands in the ResetCup as the Tour Championship unfolds, he was repeating what's been said many times over the last five years. So it's hardly news.

But it got me to thinking, is there any other "championship" in the world of sport where the combatants aren't sure where they stand as they compete in the final moments?

Certainly makes it unique.

"Nope, I have no idea," the American told reporters on Tuesday when asked if he was fully versed in what he needed to do to emulate his 2010 FedExCup success. "I know I would have to win (the Tour Championship), and a lot of (other) things would have to happen. But I'm never really worried about that.

"I had two or three friends try to text me, 'do you know what you have to do?' No. It's hard enough winning a golf tournament. I can't control the rest."


OtherResetCup Expanded By One, Driving Not Recommended

Presumably this schedule announced today is a product of working around Ohio State's home schedule in Columbus, because Fort Wayne, Indiana to Wellington, North Carolina to Columbus, Ohio is not particuarly easy for the many parties who commute by car. 

It is interesting that the PGA Tour is adding an event to the previously announced three event OtherResetCup for grads, which means aother $1 million is going to be distributed.