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  • 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
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    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
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    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
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    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
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    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
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    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
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  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
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    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
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    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
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Unless we provide golf courses full of intricate problems, players will get sick of the game without knowing why they have got sick of it, and golf will die from lack of abiding and increasing knowledge. ALISTER MACKENZIE


    

Thursday
Jan182007

International Passed; Still Sponsorless

Anthony Cotton in the Denver Post offers confirmation that the International passed on a FedEx Cup playoff date (fools!) and that event organizers now they are going to have a weak field. All of this was reported after a Tim Finchem-Jack Vickers conference call was cancelled "indefinitely" according to the Tour's Ty Votaw. The story also notes that the event is without a sponsor again this year.

Other than that, everything is going great in Denver.  

Wednesday
Jan172007

Taylor Hicks, Celebrity?

Fun entries from Brett Avery's Hope Classic blog...

3:29 p.m.
Idol Security
Celebrities have been all over Bermuda Dunes, wading into the galleries to give autographs and pose for photos. Can someone please explain why the only burly security guard on the property -- identifiable by the eight-inch-high letters on the back of his windbreaker -- is shadowing American Idol winner Taylor Hicks? Please.

3:18 p.m.
Rockin' Out
Note to self: Spend time tomorrow with amateur team 31 (Taylor Hicks, Scott Hamilton, Alice Cooper). May be the only time in golf-writing career to put groupies and stilettos in a sentence.

I don't know what's more frightening, Taylor Hicks qualifying as a celebrity, or that all-star pairing with Scott Hamilton and Alice Cooper.

Wow...kind of makes you long for the star power of Vic Damone

Wednesday
Jan172007

Few More Thoughts On Phil Entering Design

In re-reading the story on Mickelson entering design (this Golfweek version pretty much regurgitates the press release), a few things came to mind.

First, it was refreshing that there wasn't the obligatory paragraph about how he wants to design courses that are challenging for the professional and yet playable for the average golfer. (It was probably T.R. Reinman who spared us that nonsense.)

But at the same time, it would be nice to know why Phil is entering the business now just a year or so after indicating that he was slowing down to focus on playing. (He was featured in a Links cover story I wrote on emerging player-architects, but his design career was downplayed because of this apparent dedication to his game while he was still at his peak).

I'm fascinated by the move of Tiger, Phil and Ernie into design when the money is really not that great compared to what they make on the course. That was one of Mickelson's reason for not being more interested, unless of course, like Tiger, his fee has skyrocketed into a stratosphere that us mere mortals.

Actually, I think I've answered my own questions here. Thanks for bearing with me. 

Wednesday
Jan172007

More Knockdown Shots

Steve Elling talked to Scott Hoch about the historic Ford-Bush-Clinton pairing from 12 (!) years ago, and also followed that up with his typically entertaining knockdown shots. My favorites, which bookended some un-Elling like gushing over The Golf Channel GOLF CHANNEL's coverage:
News item: The Golf Channel's new crystal-ball statistical device, the Win Zone computer, predicts with eight holes remaining that Howell is 72 percent certain to win. Tilghman quickly adds that once you reach that threshold, "You have a 97 percent chance" of winning.

Knockdown shot: Huh, what, eh? We are quantitative illiterates here at Knockdown Shots, but when Goydos is listed as having a 1 percent chance with eight holes left and ultimately wins the trophy, somebody's computer needs to be rebooted. Or booted, period.
And...
News item: Again stumbling under a national spotlight, Michelle Wie beats two players in the field and misses the cut for the fourth year in a row at her hometown Sony Open.

Knockdown shot: Badly as she played, did you see that awful "pageboy" lid she was wearing? Did she sign an endorsement deal with the Union Pacific Railroad?


Wednesday
Jan172007

"I'm just trying to hit high bombs."

One other item of interest from Mickelson's press conference was this comment about the new square headed driver...

Q: Could you talk to us about what you think the reception of that will be on the PGA TOUR and what you think about it?

Phil Mickelson: Well, I think that the FTI, the square-headed driver, is not just an evolutionary driver. I think it's more of a revolutionary driver. Because it's such a drastic change, because the moment of inertia is so high, because the ball goes so straight it doesn't want to curve, I think it's actually going to take a little bit more time on the PGA TOUR.

There will be guys that love it. Guys that don't like to work shots and want to aim it down the middle of the fairway and rip it, this will be perfect for them because it goes so straight but some guys like to hit little draws, hit a fade, hit high shots, low shots; and the design from my manufacturer, the FT5 is a much better fit to hit those variety of shots.

But if I just wanted to hit it straight, I'll go to the FTI which is why I'm leaning towards that driver for Augusta when I tried to hit it a lot longer. I'm not really trying to manoeuvre it or curve it; I'm just trying to hit high bombs.

Thank God Hootie has retired. Otherwise they'd probably be out planting more tacky pines today at Augusta. 

Wednesday
Jan172007

Hopez Blog

That's what George Lopez is affectionately calling the Hope. Brett Avery is doing a live blog and actually seems to be filing posts from the course.

Wednesday
Jan172007

Paige On International Rumblings

The Denver Post's Woody Paige says that Jack Vickers isn't happy with his new date and other demands of the PGA Tour, but offers no actual specifics, nor any quotes from those associated with the event.

In fact, as he works his way through this apparent tragedy, Paige buries this note late in the column.

The PGA Tour did propose that one of the late-season "playoff" tournaments this year be held at Castle Pines, but the timing (the first weekend of football season in Colorado and potentially cooler weather), the cost ($7 million) and the prospect of miserable ratings and few corporate partners turned him off.

Whoa Nellie. He got offered one of the playoff events, with likely a great field, and passed?

Sorry, if that's true, and it's definitely an if when read some of the other stuff in Paige's column, there won't be much sympathy here for The International's plight.

Tuesday
Jan162007

"Phil is only going to design about 10 golf courses"

In the release covering Phil Mickelson's surprising move into course design (surprising because just a year or so ago he was downplaying his interest in this area for the time being), there is the usual stuff about projects and who he'll be working with (different people on different projects).

But reader Jordan caught this quote from his agent, which I thought was odd.

"Phil is only going to design about 10 golf courses, and RiverRock will be his mountain course," said Tim Ummel, Mickelson's agent.

Only 10? This year or ever?

Tuesday
Jan162007

"I used Callaway's technicians to help with the design of a driver that will eliminate that left shot"

Phil Mickelson at the Hope, talking about what he's done to address the finish at Winged Foot:
I addressed it with Rick Smith and Dave Pelz who devised some devices to help me with the driving. Rick is helping me with why that happened; why after The Masters I was not able to pick up where I left off and get my swing back.

And then I used Callaway's technicians to help with the design of a driver that will eliminate that left shot because not only was it on 18, it was on 17 and it was all throughout the final round. And so we're working on designing a club that eliminates that, and I think we've got it right. So I'm excited about that.
Monday
Jan152007

A Solution To The Groove Problem

After watching tee shots to Waialae's ridiculously narrow par-5 18th fairway (and not seeing too many drives finishing in it) I was thinking that maybe it was time for the club to simply abandon the 22 yards of width it already has, and just go with an all rough landing area.

After all, look at the scoring through three rounds (PGATour.com did not add the fourth for some reason):

Stroke Avg:      4.353
Hole Rank:     18th
Avg. Drive:     309.5
Longest Drive:     381 yards (Holmes)

So the 22 yards did not discourage birdies and eagles, nor did it prevent players from hitting long tee shots. And last I heard, preventing long drives and correspondoning low scores was the goal of such a narrow fairway.

But then I got to thinking about Peter Dawson's comments on grooves, rough and scoring, and by golly, I think we have a solution to all of this madness.

Dawson said, "We now see balls spinning more from 2in or 3in rough than they do when hit from the fairway. That cannot go on."

He's right, we can't allow this to keep happening.

So stop narrowing fairways if the grooves are allowing players to spin the ball more than they would from the fairway.

WIDENING fairways will solve this U-grooves from the rough problem!

A return to sane widths will set a wonderful example for the game and allow players to strategically pick the sides of fairways again. True precision via intelligent placement of shots will again be rewarded when all of those balls previous controlled from 2-3 inch rough will be coming from fairway lies!

Monday
Jan152007

Newsflash From The City!

Golf Channel sent out a "newsflash" on this important note:

GOLF CHANNEL to Highlight Fujikawa’s Return to High School on Tuesday’s Golf Central

The GOLF CHANNEL will follow Tadd Fujikawa as he returns to classes on Tuesday at Moanalua High School in Honolulu, two days removed from finishing in a tie for 20th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and becoming the youngest golfer in 50 years to make a cut on the PGA TOUR.  The segment will air on Golf Central on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.

The GOLF CHANNEL’s Mark Rolfing will be on-hand to document the 16-year-old sophomore’s return to high school and the reception from his fellow classmates. On Wednesday's Golf Central, Fujikawa's first bowel movement will be discussed in an up close and personal sit-down interview with Rolfing.

Just wanted to see if you were still reading with that last sentence. 

Monday
Jan152007

Goggin DQ'd

Andrew Both on Matthew Goggin admirably turning himself in on a rules infraction, though if he had done it before teeing off, he would not be disqualified. Therefore, no loss of those precious FedEx Cup points.

Monday
Jan152007

Points Bickering

Reader Jay noticed this David Poole (Charlotte Observer) rant about the messy Nextel Cup points situation, and it's hard not to imagine reading similar diatribes about the FedEx Cup by...October?

Actually, will anyone care? 

Monday
Jan152007

Uh Phil, What Do You Think About An Instruction Spread On...

...recovery shots?

You have to give someone at Golf Digest credit for having the juevos to ask Phil Mickelson to do a significant spread on recovery shots before we even get to relive the 2006 U.S. Open theatrics.

Thanks to reader Steve for noticing this.  

Monday
Jan152007

Reinventing The Country Club

Thanks to reader Jonathan for this excellent unbylined piece on the future of the modern country club in the Mid-Atlantic region and in America.

Sunday
Jan142007

The Standing O...

Now, I love Tadd Fujikawa and it was great to see the fans so energized by his Sony Open performance.

However, did you catch the moment when he arrives at 18 and The Golf Channel's GOLF CHANNEL's Kelly Tilghman and Nick Faldo join the standing ovation and GC (just a bit too quickly) cuts to the shot of them standing and clapping for Fujikawa?

Did anyone else get a Broadcast News flashback?  

It's hard to imagine Faldo doing that without some instruction.

And needless to say, no major network would allow its announcers to be such homers.

So, was the GC "standing o" staged?  

Sunday
Jan142007

No. 7 Named

Thanks to reader Tom for spotting this story on the naming contest winner of the newest course at St. Andrews, which received 4000 entries. I'll let you hit the link to find out the news.

Sunday
Jan142007

Stats Page Change

Anyone notice what has been shifted from the main portion of the stats page to the lefthand column on the PGATour.com stats page? Reader Josh did!

Sunday
Jan142007

Spin From Dawson

On the post of John Huggan's annual chat with R&A secretary Peter Dawson, reader John G posted something that I think needs further consideration since I glossed over it in the inital posting:

"We now see balls spinning more from 2in or 3in rough than they do when hit from the fairway."

I'm sorry, this quote just doesn't pass the smell test. I can't believe Huggan didn't pounce on this. Has anyone seen any research to confirm this kind of statement?

I would believe that spin rates from 2-3" rough could be similar, but not quite as good as from a normal fairway lie.

But BETTER spin rates from rough than from a nice tightly mown fairway?? C'mon. I'm not THAT gullible.

These guys are desperate to say anything to distract from the real issues.

So do you think the USGA/R&A will actually be able to prove that this has been the case (better spin rates from rough than fairway), and if so, does anyone buy it? 

Sunday
Jan142007

"Marketing solutions to elevate their brand presence on our air beyond commercial units."

Shocking I know, but The Golf Channel GOLF CHANNEL has entered into a partnership that could call into question whether they might give favorable coverage to players with a certain affiliation. I know, I know...you're stunned.

Anyway, get out your MBAspeak bingo boards...

GOLF CHANNEL PGA TOUR Platform Secures Major Partnerships with TaylorMade-adidas Golf and UBS

ORLANDO, Fla., (Jan. 13, 2007) -The GOLF CHANNEL recently has secured multi-year partnerships with TaylorMade-adidas Golf and UBS, which provides the opportunity for both companies to maximize early the GOLF CHANNEL'S 15-year programming platform with the PGA TOUR, as well as the growth of the network.  

Maximize early the 15-year programming platform? Anyone care to translate?

TaylorMade-adidas Golf will hold a significant position within PGA TOUR-related programming on the GOLF CHANNEL throughout the golf season, while also becoming the network's official golf apparel and footwear company.  The company's golf apparel will be worn on all GOLF CHANNEL live tournament telecasts and in-studio programming.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf also will become the exclusive equipment and apparel sponsor of Live From the U.S. Open, a part of the network's signature wrap-around news and analysis franchise.  And the company will hold a major media position throughout the golf season in PGA TOUR tournament programming - as well as in franchise programming such as Golf Central and Sprint Post Game - to provide complete access to their core customer base.

Franchise programming, as opposed to just programming. Does this mean we'll have the set littered with R7's?

"We're extremely gratified that we've been able to work with TaylorMade-adidas Golf to establish and entirely new partnership" said Gene Pizzolato, GOLF CHANNEL executive vice president of advertising sales and new media.  "The demand for PGA TOUR product on our air has been strong, and we are thrilled that we were able to provide our partner at TaylorMade-adidas marketing solutions to elevate their brand presence on our air beyond commercial units."

Wow, reading Pizzolato is like watching Picasso paint or Michelangelo sculpt. A true master of his medium.

Though I have to say, maybe I watched Scarface too much as a child, but something about the use of product just makes me think of that white powdery stuff Tony Montana was peddling.