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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

St. Andrews? I feel like I’m back visiting an old grandmother. She’s crotchety and eccentric but also elegant. Anyone who doesn’t fall in love with her has no imagination.
TONY LEMA


    

Wednesday
Nov282007

It's Not A Mitzvah!

Jeff Shain reports on a lawsuit filed against the Fairmont hotel chain over the LPGA's new event at Turnberry Isle.
Organizers of an annual 10-day Passover vacation retreat at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle have sued the resort for breach of contract, alleging they are being kicked out to make room for the LPGA.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, asks the court to uphold the contract. Some 500 Orthodox Jews from around the world are expected in Aventura for the retreat.

''This event has been promoted for a year and a half,'' said attorney David Freedman, who filed the suit on behalf of Presidential Holidays Southeast Inc.

``Most people have nonrefundable [airline] tickets for the event. . . . Everyone needs to know what happened here.''

According to court papers, the Fairmont Turnberry Isle is in the final year of a three-year agreement to hold the Presidential Holidays package. Next year's retreat is set for April 17-27.

The 2008 LPGA schedule features an April 24-27 stop in South Florida. Although details have been kept under wraps, Turnberry Isle's role is central to the lawsuit.

''They wanted the LPGA,'' said Lynda Clare, who owns Presidential Holidays with her husband, Stuart Vidockler.

``We were stunned when they first called and said they were canceling the contract.''

The Fairmont Turnberry Isle recently completed a $100 million transformation, including a $30 million redesign of its two championship courses. The resort held the ADT Skills Challenge earlier this month.
And it looks like LPGA legal will be busy on this one:
Donald Soffer, founder of Turnberry Isle and managing partner of Turnberry Associates, also is named as a defendant, along with the LPGA.

An LPGA representative also declined comment, saying officials were unfamiliar with the lawsuit.

The resort notified Presidential Holidays in an Oct. 16 letter that it was ''exercising our right to cancel'' the 2008 Passover retreat, without giving explanation.

However, the contract specifies the resort cannot cancel unless the retreat fails to meet its housing or financial obligations.

According to the lawsuit, the Passover holiday brought more than 850 participants over the past two years -- utilizing more than 3,000 room nights.

Clare estimated some 250 people already have signed up for next April's retreat.

''We've met our obligations,'' she said. ``They're not allowed to cancel for a better piece of business.''

Although the resort has worked with Presidential Holidays to find an alternative site, the requirements of Jewish rabbinical law make it difficult to relocate.

Among other things, the event requires two kitchens to prepare food according to kosher laws. Two Seders are part of the program.

''We've worked really hard to build this program,'' Clare said. ``For us, it's very sad.''
Tuesday
Nov272007

Q-Schools Underway

Helen Ross previews PGA Tour Q-School and some of the big names who are teeing it up this week at Orange County National. And PGATour.com has a stellar looking page devoted to Q-School.

Doug Ferguson reflects on results for some past graduates.

Steve Elling and Ross Devonport debate whether or not it should be televised and both are in favor. Elling:

However, frankly put, if ESPN can show 11-year-old kids making errors that cost teams the championship at the Little League World Series, then watching a grown man gag on a nervous 3-footer with his tour card at stake pales in comparison. The tour guys are professionals, after all.

Eh...I always feel like I'm spectating a car accident while watching the final day of Q-School. Some things are better left to our imaginations, and Q-School is one of them. Let the boys suffer in private, I say.

Rex Hoggard considers the plight of the flatbellies + Colt Knost.

Also at Golfweek Beth Ann Baldry previews LPGA Q-School

For leaderboards, you should be able to get the LPGA page here and the PGA Tour results here.

Tuesday
Nov272007

Restoring Cricket Grounds

322147.jpgThanks to reader Josh for this story on calls to restore multi-dimensional character to cricket. I guess golf and tennis are not the only sports that have shifted to a power game in recent years.

Tuesday
Nov272007

Escena On Hold?

7197671_BG3.jpgThanks to reader Scott for noticing this Palm Springs TV station story and Escena web site notice that would seem to indicate a very strange turn of events for a much anticipated desert course with some huge names in the golf course and home development business apparently backing out just weeks before a scheduled opening.
David Young, a subcontractor with MK Development, said he worked on the Escena clubhouse. "Three weeks away from finishing the job and the general contractor told me that Lennar had told them to shutdown," he said. Young said he was never paid for the work. "They owe me $72,000 dollars and they're not talking to me. I'm following up with an actual lien."

Meanwhile, golf course operations are closed. Troon Management oversees the golf course. They would not confirm if the closure is for temporary reseeding or if it's indefinite.

Frank Winsor, a potential homebuyer, is currently in escrow. Winsor said he had remained optimistic until he heard the news about the golf course. "[I heard] the management company running the golf course turned off the water. They're turning off the power tomorrow," he said. "[I'm] still confident someone is going to pull it together," he added.

One Escena prospect said it's not Lennar that is planning on pulling out of the project. He was told that it was the community's master planner who was pulling out.

Tuesday
Nov272007

"On behalf of the USGA Nominating Committee, I would like to offer the following facts"

Former USGA President and 2007 Nominating Committee Chairman Dr. Trey Holland wrote to take issue with my post of last week on current president Walter Driver purportedly seeking a third term. I reprint his comments here with his permission:

Geoff:

Like numerous other USGA volunteers and staff, I have now read the November 19 posting on your Web site entitled, "Driver Sought Unprecedented Third Term As USGA President."  On behalf of the USGA Nominating Committee, I would like to offer the following facts:
    •    At no time during the committee's deliberations in 2007 did either Walter Driver seek or the Nominating Committee consider his serving a third term.
    •    At no time did Walter Driver turn "his attention to nominating Jim Hyler over Vernon."  The obvious reason why none of the sources could explain this is because it simply did not occur.
    •    As you know, the USGA's nominating process was amended in 2004 and utilized for the first time in 2005.  You are correct that Walter Driver and the remainder of the Executive Committee were notified of their status for 2006 in late June and early July, 2005.  This procedure was consistent with the notification timeline set forth in the new process.  Upon reflection, the Nominating Committee, after face-to-face interviews with every member of the Executive Committee, later concluded that it would be in everyone's best interest if the decisions of the Nominating Committee remained confidential until sometime after the conclusion of the U. S. Amateur Championship.  That procedure has been followed in each of the last two years.  That is the sole explanation of why it "took so long to learn that Jim Vernon was the nominee."

While the deliberations of the USGA's Nominating Committee are largely confidential, you can rest assured that, within the framework of that confidentiality, the president, the senior staff and the Communications Committee will make a concerted effort to work with the Nominating Committee and provide you with factual information regarding this process if you should have questions in the future.

With best personal regards,

Trey

I followed up with Dr. Holland, asking him if he was in fact aware of the widespread rumor that Mr. Driver was interested in serving a third term, or, if the Nominating Committee did anything to dispel the rumor within USGA circles. From Dr. Holland: 
My initial exposure to this baseless rumor came at the U. S. Amateur championship.  No action was necessary because anyone who understands our nominating process would immediately recognize that this proposition is so irrational that it couldn't be true.  (And anyone who knows Walter knows he would never consider it.)  As you said in your blog, no one since Theodore A. Havemeyer -- 111 years ago -- has served a third term as USGA president.

Now, there are a few things I'd like to point out.

First of all, with all due respect to Dr. Holland, no one outside of a tiny group of insiders understands the nomination process.

Second, anyone who has seen Walter Driver at a championship over the last two years, knows that he is not discreet in breaking a sacred rule banning the use of cell phones and Blackberry's. He has even broken this rule when working as an official observer.

So again, with all due respect to Dr. Holland, I can't agree that this is someone who has shown himself to be a rule or tradition abiding USGA volunteer who would never think to flaunt the rules and seek a third term. In fact, he's been quite sure of his mission as a change agent, with little apparent dissension among Executive Committee members and volunteers who are intimidated by the man, so it's perfectly reasonable to believe he was capable of seeking an unprecedented third term.

That said, after initially hearing of Driver's purported interest in continuing on from volunteers and later from staffers, I did not immediately follow up since I'm far more interested in focusing on the rosier future the USGA has under newly nominated president Jim Vernon. However, the sheer number of sources that continued to mention this, particularly among the volunteer base, along with the quality of their information and level of detail, drove my decision to make the post. I have trouble imagining that there was any kind of volunteer or staff conspiracy to embarrass Driver, but instead, widespread disdain with the direction of the USGA under his tenure and a fear of another year under his guidance.

It should also be noted that another writer mentioned this "baseless" rumor and he has confirmed that his story was not the result of my blog post.

This would normally be the point when I share some more details from my sources to justify why I wasted precious bandwidth on this matter, however, the level of Executive Committee vindictiveness displayed this summer in the highly suspect removal of Communications Director Marty Parkes, combined with the disturbing amount of energy spent by some behind-the-scenes folks on this post, makes me very uncomfortable sharing any details at this point for fear of costing someone their position on a committee. There are too many great volunteers and staffers who need to stay with the USGA, so that when the organization does move in a more positive direction, I want to be able to say I did not eliminate their chance to serve the game they love by sharing details that would aid those who will pursue a witch hunt at the behest of the Executive Committee.

However, let's assume that Dr. Holland's statements are true (and he's definitely a devoted servant of the game and widely respected past president), this affair says a couple of very telling things about the USGA.

Walter Driver's presidency has so poisoned the waters in Far Hills and across the country, that a significant number of volunteers and staff were actually convinced this rumor was true. And we're not exactly talking about folks still trying to get their high school equivalency degree, but honest, hard working, conservative and very bright people who are not prone to rumor mongering or otherworldly conspiracy theories.

Furthermore, it's fascinating to me that a rumor like this was allowed to fester for so many months, and no one addressed it internally to staff or devoted volunteers.

It makes one wonder where the leadership has gone.

Tuesday
Nov272007

Flash: Tiger To Play Dubai!

I was really hoping for a quote stating that since Sam is now old enough, he's going to play abroad more often so that he can make these trips to Dubai educational.

For those keeping score at home, the Dubai event is the same week as the PGA Tour's Scottsdale stop.

So there is still hope that he will consider playing at Pebble Beach and the opportunity to play six hour rounds on Softspike-dented greens. 

Monday
Nov262007

"And if it's not top of the list for the players, it is for their managers"

Nick Mulvenney talks to Mission Hills' David Chu about the World Cup and the resort. Chu is one of the founders of the massive resort, which aspires to be the Augusta of China. Really...

The Mission Hills Golf Club is hoping to become synonymous with the World Cup by building up a tradition like that surrounding the U.S. Masters and its Augusta National venue.

The World Cup has already had a varied history since Canadian industrialist John Hopkins founded it as "an Olympiad of golf" in 1953 but its home for the next dozen years will be the $650-million complex hewn out of the hills of southern China.

Since the first 18 holes were completed in 1994, 11 more international standard courses have been built in the resort with a list of designers that reads like a "Who's Who" of international golf -- Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, David Duval.

And some of them have even been there!

 

However, it was the heavily bunkered Olazabal course that hosted the 53rd World Cup at the weekend and that is where it is likely to stay for the forseeable future, according to Tenniel Chu, son of the founding father of Mission Hills, Dr David Chu.

"We have the luxury to play on a different course each year but at the same time, what we want to try and create is somewhat similar to what Augusta has done," the resort's executive director told Reuters in an interview.

"Every year, same course, same venue, same time. For the audience watching around the world, they will grow familiar with it and become emotionally attached to it."

Uh huh...

"But I think as the game is growing here, there is more interest in coming to China. The next frontier for players is to come and showcase themselves is Asia.

"They've more or less hit the ceiling in Europe and North America. And in areas like sponsorship or course design, China is definitely top of the list.

"And if it's not top of the list for the players, it is for their managers," he laughed.
Monday
Nov262007

"The news of an alliance between the Japanese, Asian and Australasian Tours should be another warning to O’Grady."

Alistair Tait points out why the possible union of the Japanese, Asian and Australasian Tours could create a strong rival to the European Tour, when they really all could have been working together. But Lewine Mair reports that everyone may be getting along better soon.

Monday
Nov262007

"Each home will be between 367 and 700 square metres, with turf and pebble roofs."

2007-6-25-the-hills-house-credit-mark-hill2.jpgSarah Matheson in the Epoch Times looks at this week's New Zealand Open host site and developer Michael Hill's planned underground housing, along with its almost entire underground clubhouse. Almost.

Meanwhile, Craig Better at Golf Vacation Insider questions the wisdom of the concept and says it gives new meaning to "living in a bunker."

According to GolfChannel.com, coverage begins with the first round Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. Pacific.
Sunday
Nov252007

"Now that a sound and defensible system is in place, maybe Tim Finchem will show some courage and business sense."

Outside of some of Darwin's rants on the topic, Links Magazine's George Peper pens the best slow play column I've read in a long time, tackling all of the key points and asking all of the right questions. He explains the USGA's promising new pace of play, something I wrote about for the L.A. Times earlier this year (naturally, it's disappeared from their archives!).

Thankfully George presents it here much better than I did, then takes it a step further and questions why this has not been implemented already.

OK, the system isn’t perfect. So what? Golf isn’t an exact science. In fact, it’s not a science at all, despite the proclivity of some tour players to treat each shot as an exhaustive experiment in physics, geometry, agronomy, meteorology, kinesthetics and psychology. Say the USGA comes down hard on a few players. What’s the downside? A whine or two from the likes of Ben Crane? I suspect they’d be drowned out by the chorus of approval from their peers. Besides, the system has a built-in appeals process, so every accused offender has the opportunity for a postround hearing.

Moreover, when it comes to pace of play, there is no reason for the USGA or R&A to be as fearful as they are of regulating equipment—imposing a limit on time will not bring a billion-dollar lawsuit from Rolex. Nor can they hide behind the other rationale they’ve used on equipment—that most amateur golfers want to keep the status quo. Most amateurs may want to hit the ball longer, but they don’t want to stay on the course longer.

Still the sense is that the USGA is taking the same timid stance as they have on the question of throttling back the golf ball: Let the PGA Tour take the lead.

Fine. Now that a sound and defensible system is in place, maybe Tim Finchem will show some courage and business sense. Seven years ago, the commissioner challenged the game’s movers and shakers to transform golf into America’s No. 1 spectator sport. Instead, television ratings are down and golf participation over the past decade has been flat at best. One big reason: Golf is slow, both playing and watching.

I remain convinced that if the PGA Tour's VP's and players ever paid to go to one of their events and tried to spectate, they would quickly launch an emergency initiative to do something about pace of play.  

Sunday
Nov252007

NGF's Best Public Golf Cities

Reader/blogger Rob Matre points out that this Golf Magazine/National Golf Foundation ranking of the "10 Best Golf Cities" inexplicably left out one major city that many consider the best anywhere for public golf.

I'm sure it won't take long (after going through the clunky page view format the list is posted in) for some of you to nominate the glaring omission.


Sunday
Nov252007

"I have always liked Jack Nicklaus, mainly because his designs work well for me as a player. We both hit a high fade, and you can see that this shot is rewarded on courses he designs."

Mandarin Media sent out this not-totally-horrible press release/Q&A with Colin Montgomerie, though I did have to share this with you:

MM: What designers do you most admire, and what about their designs do you value so much?
 
CM: I have always liked Jack Nicklaus, mainly because his designs work well for me as a player. We both hit a high fade, and you can see that this shot is rewarded on courses he designs. What Tom Weiskopf has done at Loch Lomond (in Scotland) is also very impressive to me. Understanding that guys like this are both major champions and accomplished architects allows you to see what they have incorporated into their designs. And of course, I always find TPC at Sawgrass (in Florida) a fantastic challenge. What Pete Dye has done there makes every shot a demanding one, and in reality danger lurks around every corner. There is no letting up.
 
MM: You’ve got a handful of designs under your belt now, and a good dozen more in the works. What kind of comment do you strive to bring forth from those who play your courses? Why?
 
CM: There has always been some debate regarding the value that professional golfers offer when it comes to course design. I think that because we have had the opportunity to play the best courses in the world, with some of the best players in the world, who is better positioned to help design golf holes with great shot values and memorable features? I like to integrate the natural terrain wherever possible, and consider the course not only from the pro’s perspective but also from the perspective of those who are just playing for enjoyment and the love of the game. You will see I select grasses that allow for the best conditioning, because this is important to me. You will see that I like green complexes with options, and often incorporate little chipping and pitching areas around them. And, of course, you can always count on having several fairways receptive to nice high, faded drivers!

At least he's honest about his narcissism. 

Sunday
Nov252007

"I've learned after 11 years to let Tiger speak for himself."

I filled my November press conference reading quota so thankfully reader Steve forwarded this rare beauty from Tim Finchem's session in China last week:

 Q. Could I ask a quick follow-up; could you ever envision today where because of this Tiger Woods would be a member of The European Tour and would you welcome that?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I've learned after 11 years to let Tiger speak for himself. (Laughter).


Sunday
Nov252007

Ames Win Ensures Another Year Of Calls To Put Skins Game Out Of Its Misery

I almost feel sorry for the folks running the Skins. Almost. But this is clearly punishment for exempting the Players Championship The PLAYERS winner two years ago.

Saturday
Nov242007

Couples Rakes In $75K On Skins Day One; Equals Interest Earned This Week On His PGA Tour Retirement Account

I believe the coverage was pre-empted by fire coverage here in Southern California, but I'm not entirely sure because I forgot to turn it on. However, Freddie picked up some nice tip money.

Friday
Nov232007

More Boo From China

After round 2 of the World Cup, more from Boo Weekley...

Q. You've been to a couple tournaments outside of the U.S. this year already, this is your third event outside the U.S., and now the season is over on the U.S. Tour. Would you like to come out more, especially after this experience in China, maybe this part of the world? Would you like to come out this way and play more events this year or maybe in the future?

BOO WEEKLEY: Yes, I like to travel. It's just a long ways from home. But you know, I'd like to come over and play different golf courses. I'd like to see a little more of what the actual culture of how they built the courses -- I know they all ain't like this out here. It would be interesting to go see something more of a links style or something that they had them over here.

Q. What about outside the golf course, would you like to see more?

BOO WEEKLEY: Oh, yeah. I'd like to go see where like The Great Wall, just look and see what all this place has to offer. You know, just kind of like you live in the south where we live at, you know, it's a bunch of rednecks. And then you go north, you got the Yankees. So it's different. I know it's different over here, too.

Friday
Nov232007

Johnson Arrives At Skins Game; No One Mistakes Him For Club Company Rep...Yet

The excitement appears fully contained for the 25th Skins. I'd list the TV times, but do you really care?

Friday
Nov232007

Norman Lists Jupiter Home; $65 Million Will Buy You War Of Roses Vibes

The Wall Street Journal (thanks reader John) says Greg Norman paid $4.9 and is now offering it at $65 million, while the New York Post (thanks Tuco) says the Normans are moving closer and closer to Oliver and Barbara Rose territory. Get this man a brand coach.

Thursday
Nov222007

"It's a problem we always have and that is we issue a supplementary local rules sheet to all players but they just don't read it"

Bernie McGuire with a fun story on Rory McIroy knowing the local rules better than his veteran Australian playing partners...

Thursday
Nov222007

"No, sir. Rice."

Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum fired 61 to open the World Cup in China which gave them the lead, but more importantly, meant a press room visit for Boo.

Anyone know what this means?

BOO WEEKLEY: We played pretty solid today. We just brother in lawed it very well, kept it in play and kept us it front of us.
Love this exchange:
Q. What did you know about China before you came here?

BOO WEEKLEY: Not much.

Q. Anything?

BOO WEEKLEY: No, sir. Rice.

Q. The Wall?

BOO WEEKLEY: Sir?

Q. The Wall.

BOO WEEKLEY: Oh, yeah, I know The Great Wall of China, but I thought it was closer to where we're at, and I found out it was a lot further away. But yeah, I knew the Wall was here.
Shockingly, Boo is not out and about much...
Q. And what have been your impressions of China so far?

BOO WEEKLEY: We ain't been ever doing nothing. We go straight to the motel and straight here, but I know the people here are friendly. It's very nice, they always say hey and they are polite and stuff, and that's always a plus when you show up somewhere, especially in a foreign country and they are polite and nice. That's a plus for me.

For more Boo, check out his My Shot in the latest Golf Digest