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  • 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
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • 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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • 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

Bad putting is due more to the effect the green has upon the player than it has upon the action of the ball.  BOBBY JONES




"So we feel that there is good opportunity for us, not only with our wine, but also obviously the golf"

I really want to root for Ernie Els, but it's hard to feel like he's committed to winning majors at this point when you read this...

New Delhi: The past couple of years haven't been great for World No. 5 Ernie Els, but he has, for sure, kept himself in contention in most of the tournaments. CNN-IBN caught up with him recently while he was on a short visit to India.

When he's playing well, Ernie Els is a joy to watch. What's more, he's one of the nicest people you will ever find. But these days, playing golf is not the only thing that keeps him busy. He has his own wine label and is ensuring it is noticed everywhere.

"We are looking around a little bit to look at golf course design opportunities, some developments around the region, I think the interest in golf is really growing in the region. So we feel that there is good opportunity for us, not only with our wine, but also obviously the golf," Ernie Els says.



"Uniquely suited for the advanced player"

bildeDebra Gruszecki in the Desert Sun reports on the latest links course to open in the Palm Springs area. Thanks to reader Todd for torturing me--and therefore you all--with this story.

But first, the caption for the story's accompanying photo on the left: "Golf course architect Clive Clark designed the course, which resembles links in the rolling hills of Scotland."

That backdrop looks so linksy doesn't it? And when did links start appear in the rolling hills of Scotland.

I know, so picky.

Anyway, the piece:

The Eagle has landed for the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians.

The Cabazon celebrated their "soft opening" Friday for Eagle Falls Golf Course, a new amenity linked to its $200 million Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and Special Events Center.

The 18-hole, par-72 championship course designed by noted golf course architect Clive Clark is "uniquely suited for the advanced player,'' said Willie Maples, Eagle Falls' director of golf operations.

"It offers a challenging and friendly golfing experience for the average player,'' Maples said.

Ah yes, bet that was heavy on the accent! 
John James, tribal chairman, said the golf course is a great addition to Fantasy Springs.

"It's one thing they don't have in the east end of the valley, a golf course - and it's a classic course," he added.

And a links to boot!

"It's very impressive that the Cabazons have taken a good portion of their land, and connected the golf course to it to make it more of a resort destination,'' Maples said.

Such philanthropists.

Robb Mihelic, head golf professional, said Eagle Falls is creating a buzz in the Coachella Valley.

"We've probably had close to 1,000 rounds already,'' he said of the course that replicates the links, stone walls and bunkers one sees on the rolling hills of Scotland.

"We've had a lot of locals," so far, he said, but that is expected to change soon.

Play-and-stay packages are being formulated by Fantasy Springs. Golf pros also envision a "comp" program for high-rollers down the road, along with golf incentives for local residents.'

What about panelists?


Skipping The Nelson

Ron Sirak vents a bit about the number of no-shows at the Byron Nelson in the year they will be honoring the great man.

I'm finally glad someone made this point, though I think Sirak could have been even more blunt:

Why the are players staying away?

The easy answer is the scheduling-conflict excuse. But the irony there is that in an era when all of the top players travel by private jet they are finding it more difficult to get to tournaments than the guys back in the days when Byron and the boys drove four to a car from tournament to tournament.

Irony, hypocrisy, it's a fine line! 

The more complicated answer -- and probably the correct one -- is that very few of today's millionaires appreciate the fact that it was guys like Nelson who struggled to make ends meet that made today's PGA Tour possible.

There is a sense of entitlement among contemporary players that is totally out of proportion with both their achievement and their sacrifice. That sense of entitlement tends to view the world through me-colored lenses. Just as last year the one PGA Tour event all players should have been tripping over each to enter was in New Orleans, the one must-make tournament this year should have been the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. And it had nothing to do with prize money or scheduling. It had everything to do with what was right.

There will be a golf tournament this week at Las Colinas and Cottonwood Valley. There will be a party at the TPC Four Seasons Resort. And there will be tributes to the life and career of Byron Nelson at the tournament that bears his name. And knowing the first-class way the Salesmanship Club does things, it will be a celebration that will not only be worth remembering, it will be so compelling there will be no choice but to remember it.

One of the things that keeps the LPGA an organization that respects its past is that it has help remembering that past because a half-dozen of its founders are still alive to remind the young players that it was not always as nice and easy as it now is. The PGA Tour, being about 20 years older than the LPGA, has lost most of its direct connection to its roots. In Byron Nelson, it lost one of the most important.

Nelson was not the kind of guy who would grab a player and say, "Hey, don't ever lose appreciation for what you have." Or, "Don't ever forget that the game made you, you didn't make the game." Byron didn't have to use words like that. His actions said it much more eloquently. It seems, however, that not all the players were listening.


TPC Las Colinas Greens

Jimmy Burch explains why they might not look so hot this week. Assuming you watch.


Golfchick Interview Part 2

gse_multipart58081.jpgKristen Williams (aka The Golfchick) posts part two of our Q&A on her blog.

"I can't recall many golf courses where you don't see the fairway and green on the same hole."

Wow, imagine the coincidence of Tiger Woods practicing at Oakmont and just spontaneously deciding to give a clinic to American Express suckers guests on U.S. Open Preview Day. And lo and behold the AP writer is there to cover it.

Praise the Lord!

Woods spent the last two days at Oakmont, the premiere championship golf course in America that had been somewhat of a mystery to him. He didn't qualify for his first U.S. Open until the year after Ernie Els won at Oakmont in 1994, so this had been a course Woods only knew from newspaper clippings and television highlights.

"I like it," he said. "I can't recall many golf courses where you don't see the fairway and green on the same hole. Maybe at St. Andrews, but that's about it."
I guess that's a nice way of saying "it's all NOT right in front of you."
Monday also turned into quite a mystery for the 82 people who didn't know they would get to tag along.

They were American Express card members who paid $900 for an event called "2007 U.S. Open Preview Day," not realizing that it would include more than a round of golf and free lunch until Woods entered the room from a back door to stunned silence, followed by high-fives and then a standing ovation.

They were told they would get a seminar on how to prepare for a U.S. Open.

They had no idea their instructor would be the world's No. 1 player, with ABC Sports anchor Mike Tirico as the emcee.

"I hope you guys didn't get slaughtered out there," Woods told them before inviting them along for his third and final practice round.



Par-3 Shootout Takes A One-Year Break To Give Rick Smith More Time In The Grieving Process

Well, and to find a new sponsor.

Oh and here's the Mickelson-Harmon-Smith break up/marriage press release where everyone makes it official that they love and admire each other as the great humanitarians that they are. 


A Potpourri of Putting Greens

My March Golfdom column has been posted.


"We don’t reach everyone. Just the people with all the money"

23golf-600.jpgThe New York Times's Michel Marriott files a piece on the PGA Tour's cool-looking new scoreboards which unfortunately provides a chance for one of the Vice Presidents to say something obnoxious. This time it's Tom Wade:

Although much of the PGA Tour’s fan base remains mature and affluent, Wade said, significant numbers in that group are “heavy technology adaptors.”

“As we say: We don’t reach everyone. Just the people with all the money,” Wade said.




"He hit a lot of 'stingers'"

Michael Dudurich talks to Oakmont's Bob Ford about Tiger's practice round.

This item would seem to be bad news for anyone hoping to watch him spray that lovely Nike driver all over the lot:

For the most part, Woods hit 5- and 3-woods off the tees.

"There aren't too many driver holes for him out there," Ford said. "He hit a lot of 'stingers' with both of those clubs. He's a very strategic person, no doubt about it."

If It All Ended Today...

...I don't believe anyone else has noticed this, but if the FedEx Cup playoffs started this week, Parker McLachlin would be on the outside looking in.

Just thought you'd want to know. That 144 number is going to be one cruel cut-off point.


"I refuse to hit driver. It's against my religion."

About the only highlight of Tiger's first tour around Oakmont was his refusal to use driver on the 8th hole's absurd 288-yard tee. Someone from AP spills the beans on his practice round...

Woods played the back nine early Sunday morning with members and swing coach Hank Haney, then stopped for lunch and played the front nine in the afternoon.

The U.S. Open, to be played June 13-16, returns to Oakmont for the first time since 1994. It is one of the few classic championship courses in the United States that Woods had not played. He first qualified for the U.S. Open in 1995 as an amateur.

Woods said he thought Oakmont as a members' course was far tougher than Winged Foot, where last year he missed the cut for the first time in a major as a pro.

On the par-3 eighth, he played the back tee at 288 yards, and hit 3-wood to the middle of the green.

"I refuse to hit driver," Woods said, smiling. "It's against my religion."


Vijay Withdraws From Design Project So He Can Spend Less Time Mailing It In

Thanks to reader John for the sad, sad news that Vijay Singh will not be lending his name to a pair of former IMG Design Services masterpieces in his native land.

IMG Worldwide Inc, the manager of Fiji's star golfer, last week cancelled its design contract for the championship golf course at Natadola Resort.

In a statement today, Renee Lal, legal representative for IMG, says the Natadola Bay Resort Ltd (NBRL), a subsidiary of the Fiji National Provident Fund will no longer have the right to use Vijay Singh's name to promote the course.

No comments could be obtained immediately from NBRL's chairman Felix Anthony.

Last month, the FNPF, the financiers of the multi million dollar project, had said it had cancelled the Natadola project manager's, Asia Pacific Resort International (APRIL's) contract after Anthony claimed that Interpol reports showed that APRIL chief executive Gerard Saliot had a criminal record, which he did not disclose when obtaining a work permit.
A show of integrity from IMG? Eh...
APRIL, which is the founder of the Natadola scheme, says its contract is still in force and has not been legally terminated.

Golfer Singh had said he would withdraw from the Natadola Golf Course project in Fiji if APRIL and Saliot are removed.

"I thought that (the statement) was a bit irresponsible," Anthony had later said in a press conference.

Lal says Singh has indicated publicly his trust and confidence in APRIL and Saliot, its chief executive.

Singh in association with IMG, has been personally involved in the design and development of the course.

Well...let's not get carried away here. 
Lal says she received a message from Singh through IMG expressing his concern at the circumstances that led to the contract cancellation.

"His actual words were that what had happened 'has caused great disappointment to me as my dream is now altogether gone to provide this masterpiece for the people of Fiji'.

"I have been instructed to say that criticisms of Singh by FNPF and NBRL board member, Felix Anthony, are completely false," Lal says.

She claimed that they were made without as much as a "phone call to Mr Singh or an offer of discussion".

Lal says that any suggestion that Singh does not fully understand the situation between the FNPF and APRIL is untrue.

"He is well informed and is in regular contact," she said.

Lal claims FNPF's contractual default has led to a new crisis.

She said IMG had exercised its right to terminate the course design agreement with immediate effect and that the NBRL was informed about this late last week.

Lal claims that despite repeated requests, the NBRL had failed to pay outstanding sums of about $103,000 to IMG.

She claims that there was a clear and unequivocal breach of the design agreement.

Lal says that IMG may proceed without further notice to take legal action against NBRL to recover the full amount due, together with costs and interest.

According to her, the IMG is also making a demand for payment of sums due under a separate management agreement which she said at March end totaled about $275,000.

In IMG's view, the NBRL's failure to pay these amounts was also a clear breach of agreement, Lal says.

She said that although the design agreement had been terminated, it was still possible to negotiate a new agreement.

"The option is still there if matters can be resolved."

Lal who also represents APRIL says it was estimated that the interruption of the golf course contract alone could involve additional expenditure of some $5 million.

She claims the FNPF is now exposed to a number of legal problems with potentially far-reaching consequences.

Well if you can make sense of that, please feel free to explain in the comments section. 


Van Sickle On Schulz

Gary Van Sickle catches up with Ted Schulz, the 1991 L.A. Open champion at Riviera who has taken a "real job" and loves it.

Shoot this piece was so enjoyable I'd tell Gary to nominate it for a GWAA award even though it does not involve a death or disease.

"Or that Tiger Woods will ever play tournament golf again in Texas?"

The Star-Telegram's Gil Lebreton realizes that if Tiger isn't coming to the Nelson this year, he probably won't be coming back ever again.

The message this time, though, seems unmistakable. If the tributes planned for Byron weren’t enough to lure Woods back this year, what makes anyone think that he’ll come back next April? Or the year after?

Or that Tiger Woods will ever play tournament golf again in Texas?

His first and last appearance at Colonial came in 1997. A disappointing final round left Woods steamed and tied for fourth place, and he has never returned.

He played in the Texas Open, a fall tour event in San Antonio, in 1996 and came in third. He has never returned.

Woods has never played in the Shell Houston Open.

The Nelson, however, was supposed to be Woods’ tournament. The tournament where Fergie, the Duchess of York, once came to see Tiger play. From 1997 to 2004, Woods played in the Nelson Championship seven times, shooting a combined 77 under par.


"DVD of the 2007 Masters could, and should, be marketed as a 100% guaranteed cure for insomnia."

Sunday on The Scotsman's Scotland on Sunday's John Huggan notices a trend since 1997: majors gone awry. Seven "dodgy" majors to be exact. Which he revisits in detail.
Ever since the greatest golfer the world has seen annexed his first major title at Augusta in 1997 - blitzing the field by 12 strokes and wedging seemingly every approach on to what used to be distant greens - those in charge of the four most important events seem to have engaged in an unofficial contest to host the daftest Grand Slam event in history.

Unofficially at least, they call it "Tiger-proofing". I call it golf's so-called administrators attempting to disguise their incompetence over the shameful non-regulation of the modern ball.
You know I've suggested it many times, but Huggan gets the credit for actually coming out and saying it.

And bad news for the "so-called administrators." More and more people are making the connection between extreme setups and faulty equipment regulation. And that's before I they even hear me ramble on!
Most were consciously ruined in order to deflect attention away from the men who were 'asleep at the wheel', when they should have been paying closer attention to the dangerous and unlit technological road that golf was travelling. The rest were merely the playthings of those who take a one-dimensional delight in watching the best players suffer.

And so, golf at the very highest level is today too often a pedestrian and penal game designed to punish even the slightest indiscretion. Forget the spectacular and interesting prospect of watching a skilled practitioner attempt a risky recovery shot. They are long gone. Veer from the increasingly straight and narrow fairways, and the only option available is more than likely the chip back into play: penalty one stroke.

How tedious. Tennis anyone?

Phil Proposes, Butch Accepts!

mickelson_harmon2.jpgGolf World's Tim Rosaforte has the details, Dom Furore's photo still says it all (left):

But sources have told Golf World the Mickelson-Harmon alliance will be made official before the EDS Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Tex. By then, Mickelson and Harmon will have worked at an undisclosed location in preparation for The Players Championship and ultimately the U.S. Open.

Yes, we want to make sure they nail the details of the prenup!

Sources have also told Golf World that Harmon and Smith have spoken and will remain amicable.

 Ah and I was hoping for a pay-per-view cat fight!

Harmon had no comment. Smith did not return calls. Friends of Mickelson have said this is the toughest professional decision he's had to make. He and Smith have evolved as close friends and partners in golf course design. 



"Players... [choose events] for golf courses that they like and golf courses that are in good shape"

The Byron Nelson has lured a field nearly as weak as New Orleans, and Jimmy Burch of the Star-Telegram looks at the reasons why:

Another wrinkle this year is the April date, which broke up a Dallas-Fort Worth tradition of playing in back-to-back weeks with the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (May 24-27). Some players cited the move as a logistical problem.

Todd Hamilton, a Westlake resident who will compete at the Nelson, said the biggest challenge Nelson officials face in attracting players is the TPC Las Colinas course, which will get an off-season face-lift.

"Players... [choose events] for golf courses that they like and golf courses that are in good shape," Hamilton said. "And I don't think that particular course is as good as it could be for an event like that."



Tiger's House Plans

Thanks to Steven T. for spotting this Jose Lambiet story in the Palm Beach Post about Tiger's house plans.

Golfing god Tiger Woods unveiled the look of his yet-to-be-built Jupiter Island home this week with the filing at town hall of a first batch of documents to support his upcoming building-permit applications.

First observation: The home will be seen by only a selected few, unless there's trespassing involved. The 9,729-square-foot, two-story main house is smack-dab in the middle of a 12-acre tropical forest that stretches from the beach to the Intracoastal.

"Obviously, this is someone who likes his privacy," said town building boss Jeff Newell. "Whether from South Beach Road or the Intracoastal, no one will know whether he's there or not. No one will even know that there's a house."

Second: The home is modest, almost nondescript, at least on paper. No Palm Beach-style castle. No McMansion. No flourishing Mizner job. The artist's rendition shows a simple, yet modern-looking building with giant windows on one side and barely any on the other.

The main home will be connected to a 6,400-square-foot gym-media room-bar with a glass-covered walkway. There's an elevator. A reflecting pond. A library and a children's playroom. A weirdly skinny lap pool. And a steel roof.

But from the outside, the place looks like a northern European part-brick, part-concrete motel or government building.

Clearly, his Swedish wife, Erin Nordegren, had a say in this.

"Can't comment," said the architect, Jupiter-based Roger Janssen. He declined to allow Page Two to publish the sketch.

Woods last year bought four adjacent properties in the tony Martin County enclave for a total of $44.5 million, and named his new place "Sand Turtle." His plans call for the late-summer leveling of the four homes currently on the land. There's no price tag on the upcoming construction as of now.

And from what Newell says, it sounds as if Woods won't have problems getting his way.

"By our standards here, this is a modest project," Newell said. "He's not pushing the envelope like some residents do when they build here."

Woods' lawyers have a mid-June date with the town's Impact Review Board.


"I think this rough might even be a little too juicy for some of the older guys like myself''

Normally I would find the idea of harvesting thick rough for a Champions Tour event to be ridiculous, but somehow hearing Johnny Miller complain about it makes it a bit more tolerable. After all, he celebrates the USGA's mindless approach, so it's nice that Johnny gets to experience it.

Tim Guidera quotes him:

"I think this rough might even be a little too juicy for some of the older guys like myself,'' added Johnny Miller, who is playing his first event on any tour in nearly 10 years this week. The NBC commentator is teaming with longtime friend Mike Reid in the Raphael Division. "It's major championship rough.''