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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

The greater the experience I have of designing golf courses, the more certain I am that blindness of all kinds should be avoided. ALISTER MACKENZIE




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.''

Daly To Unveil First Non-Signature Signature Design

Thanks to reader Scott for this historic moment in player-architect lore, courtesy of the (where else) Branson Daily News: 

John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf & Country Club, which will host opening ceremonies this fall, will have the distinction of being a Daly signature course.

“John is very close friends with (Branson entertainer) Johnny Lee, who was instrumental is getting John and (Murder Rock owner) Glenn Patch together,” said Chris Meade, director of golf and general manager of the club.

Meade thinks Daly’s association with the club is a natural, considering the PGA and British Open winner’s Missouri and Arkansas roots. ‘The Lion’ was born in California, but went to high school at Jefferson City Helias and attended college at Arkansas.

“We feel in this part of the country he’s a big draw,” Meade said.

Murder Rock is the third Daly signature course, the others being Thundering Waters Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and Wicked Stick Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C..

He also designed Wicked Stick.

Daly has no ownership in Murder Rock and wasn’t part of the course’s design group.

Yes, it's a signature design and he was not part of the design group! Take that Jack and Arnold! 


Did Nike Golf Borrow Someone Else's Idea?

David Dawsey on his Golf Patent blog looks at a possible case of theft by Nike Golf.


Say It Ain't So, Vol. 2,599

No. 9 at Maidstone (click to enlarge)
The East Hampton Star reports on Maidstone's plan to irrigate fairways, but even more depressing is Golfweek's Forecaddie reporting that USGA officials and Tom Fazio are going to soften three greens at Merion, including the 12th. (If the magnificent 5th is included in that group, it's a sad, sad day for golf but certainly not the first or last time the USGA will have had a hand in selfish and short-sighted architectural changes.)  

Nice to see the Forecaddie (oh come on, this has Dr. Klein written all over it!) blasting away:

The forecaddie remembers that the course performed famously well during the 2005 US Amateur and figures that USGA officials just can't help tinkering with old courses, even when it means permanently compromising their character for the sake of one four-day event.

Doctored Image?

100greatest_pinevalley.jpgSomeone at the GolfDigest editors blog answers a reader question about the possibility of a doctored photo.

Well, the question is never actually answered except that yes, it seems they ran a doctored image of Pine Valley that came from the club. It's not exactly going to rank up there with questions about say, the Lee Harvey Oswald rifle photo (oh boy, probably a bad example), but it's nonetheless an interesting issue in media circles and admirable that Golf Digest confronted it head on.


"This saga vividly illustrates why few big-time golf events are held on municipal courses."

Ron Kroichick does no hide his disgust for the Board of Supervisors in reporting that a lousy $140,000 hang up could cost the city several PGA Tour events, including the President's

Say what you want about Harding Park and San Francisco's latest deal with the PGA Tour. Maybe you consider the Board of Supervisors short-sighted for fretting about $140,000. Or maybe you lament the legacy of Harding's budget-busting renovation, which will keep greens fees high whether or not Tiger Woods returns to the shores of Lake Merced.

Either way, know this: If the supervisors reject the revised agreement, the PGA Tour will stage a tournament on Mars before it comes back to Harding.

This saga vividly illustrates why few big-time golf events are held on municipal courses. In order to do so, tour officials are forced to wade through the thicket of local politics, seldom a pleasant exercise and an especially daunting journey in such a fractious city as San Francisco.

And that is perhaps the saddest bit in all of this, assuming the city blows this.


“Odessa could be the new Bulgaria"

18golf_span.jpgKevin Brass files one of those strange New York Times pieces that tries so hard to be "balanced" that you come away wondering what the point of the whole affair was.

Apparently in this case, it's an elaborate attempt to say that most new courses are being built outside the U.S. and that some people think a name architect helps, others do not.

Glad the paper of record is so ahead of the curve.

"Odessa could be the new Bulgaria,” Mr. Hemstock said, referring to southwest Ukraine’s potential as a sunny second-home market.

Today, three-quarters of all golf courses planned or under construction are outside the United States, Britain and other traditional golf centers, according to industry estimates. With 17,000 courses already functioning in the United States, for example, the number of new 18-hole courses opening in the States fell to 119 in 2006 from a peak of 398 in 2000, according to the National Golf Foundation. Britain and Ireland are “among the most mature golf markets in Europe,” with more than 3,100 courses, according to a recent report by the Budapest office of KPMG Advisory, a consulting company.
This would actually be funny if it were true...
This continuing growth of luxury residential and resort development around the world is feeding a high-stakes competition in the traditionally staid community of golf course designers, people in the industry say. Architects are increasingly trying to top one another with elaborate layouts and spectacular water elements, to woo homebuyers to international projects.

Somehow I don't think that's all the architect's doing.

And industry executives say that a well-known course architect can add more than 20 percent to the value of a development’s houses and jump-start a project.
“The name gives credibility to a development,” said Alan Mishkin, president of Abigail Properties, which is based in Phoenix and is building Las Palomas, a residential and golf project in Puerto Peñasco, Mex.. “Golf courses are not moneymakers,” he said. “They’re the sizzle on the steak” of residential developments.



Momma's Boys

mom_2.jpgDigest's Jaime Diaz proudly declares himself a momma's boy and talks to various players about the influence of mom's.

Charisma and Charm Lift Green, Strange To Hall of Fame

Hey, if Vijay can get in, the voters figured these two charmers were overdue. Ryan Herrington reports...


Name That Course

0415golf500x350.jpgThanks to reader Scott for this story about an interesting conversion of a lousy piece of ground into an affordable muni.

And also the weird online naming contest that was held, resulting in, well, a weird name.


It's All Rick's Fault!

apr17_philsmith_299x440.jpgInstructor Tom Patri in this week's SI Golf Plus can't understand what's taking Phil so long to blame his post U.S. Open inconsistency on his buddy/teacher and actually makes some great points.
First, I can't fathom why Smith, who's worked with Mickelson for a decade, has never shortened Mickelson's swing, which is sometimes as long and loose as John Daly's and routinely causes Mickelson to hit wildly off-line drives and long-iron shots. Second, Smith and Mickelson just seem too close. They are not only good friends but also partners in business ventures, and their families are close as well. Such a deep friendship is almost always the kiss of death to a teacher-player relationship because it prevents the instructor from being sufficiently blunt and critical.

The third-and biggest-problem is Smith's personality. He's simply too nice, which I think has caused him to be more or less a yes-man to Mickelson. Phil seems to be surrounded by people who too often have told him whatever he wants to hear rather than what he should hear. For that reason alone Mickelson dearly needs Harmon, who is an authority figure in the mold of Bob Knight.


"How do you charge $155 for a weekend round...without saying this is where Tiger has played and where Tiger is going to play?"

Buried in Ron Kroichick's story about the San Francisco City Council's supposed concern over having lost $140,000 during the WGC-Amex is this:

This issue arises at a time when city officials are grappling with how to reverse steady losses at their six municipal courses. They had hoped Harding's increased visibility would help pay for the course's extensive renovation in 2002 and 2003, which was projected to cost $16 million but ran more than $7 million over budget.

"A lot of people feel burned from 2002 and the way (the) whole Harding rebuild went down," Elsbernd said. "All sorts of promises were made, many of which didn't come true. I think there's a feeling of 'We don't want to touch anything to do with golf.'

"But no matter where we go with golf as a whole, we don't survive without the PGA Tour's presence. Honestly, how do you charge $155 for a weekend round (for out-of-towners) without saying this is where Tiger has played and where Tiger is going to play?"



Separation of Church and Links?

Several writers have written about or noted Zach Johnson's faith in trying to find something interesting to say about the Masters Champion. Craig Dolch did it here and of course Dan Jenkins of all people celebrated it in his Golf Digest letter from Augusta.

Well Tom Witosky in the Des Moines Register files a thoughtful piece that starts out sounding like an extended version of the Zach-loves-Jesus theme, but then takes an intriguing turn by pointing out that there is only so much preaching some can take before it could backfire.

Johnson's mention of his Christian faith after winning the Masters on Easter Sunday has stirred discomfort among some believing the separation between church and sport should be as strong as between church and state.

"Religion and sport today has become a mutual exploitation society," said Ray Higgs, professor emeritus of English at East Tennessee State University.

At the same time, Johnson's profession sparked the imagination of those who believe sport and religion can be a positive, powerful combination.

And those who know Johnson, 31, say his faith is as much a part of him as is the ability to hit a five-iron within 10 feet of the cup.

"There is no pretense, no hidden agenda, no proselytizing" with Johnson, said Kay Bloom, his former theology teacher at Cedar Rapids Regis High School. "Ultimately, he is owning his faith and he simply shared it with everyone."


"It is really a fine line and you have to be careful from a marketing point of view," said Rick Horrow, a nationally known expert on sports marketing and professional athletics.

"Zach Johnson genuinely has to be himself, and that includes his strong faith," Horrow said. "But he has to watch out that people don't think he is preaching to them."

Chapman Clark, a professor at the Fuller Theological Seminary in California, said Johnson and those surrounding him will have to adjust to that reality quickly.

"My suggestion is that he get himself some sharp people to help him develop his message so that it doesn't come across as exploitative," Clark said.

Paging the LPGA's brand coach!

Higgs, the East Tennessee State professor emeritus, has written several books and articles on religion and sport, including "God in the Stadium: Sports and Religion in America."

He believes the potential tension involved in tying religion to sport has grown as American culture fixated on sports success - as opposed to sports excellence. The emphasis on winning, he said, has turned people away from the value of athletics to focus on victory and money.

"The truth of the matter is there is no correlation between victory and virtue," Higgs said.


"It's Not About the Ball"

thomas_friedman.jpgThanks to reader Chuck for noticing this note from Marty Parkes on the USGA blog plugging their new book of photographs from the archive:

And make sure you take the time to give a careful read to the book's final essay called "It's Not About the Ball" by our friend, Tom Friedman.

Yes, that Tom Friedman of “The New York Times,” who writes such great columns and books about humanity's most pressing problem.  Fortunately for us, Tom is a golf nut who willingly shared some personal thoughts about what makes the game so special and how it has had an enduring impact upon his life. Let this book become a part of your life as well.

"It's Not About the Ball"?

Let's hope it's not what it sounds like it could be.


Bivens' Salary

A wire story from reader Nick and LPGA Fan:

SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Daniel Kaplan cites an LPGA tax return as showing that Commissioner Carolyn Bivens earned $238,872 in the last six months of ’05, her first months on the job, which means her pay “would come to almost $478,000 annually.” Bivens’ predecessor, Ty Votaw, earned $459,677 in ’04 and $300,000 in ’03 (SBJ, 4/9 issue)....


Classic Club Blues

Larry Bohannan thinks the desert's much despised Classic Club was validated by the unplayability of Harbour Town.  Thanks to reader Scott for this.

The criticisms ranged from just complaining that the host course of the Hope tournament, Classic Club was built in a wind tunnel to more-whispered talk that Classic Club might have to be dropped from the tournament altogether, even though the Hope tournament owns the golf course on the north side of Interstate 10 near Cook Street.

Of course it would be silly to think that Harbour Town would be dropped as a tour course because a bad year of wind canceled play for a day and had flagsticks whipping at a 45-degree angle.

No one is going to say a bad word about Augusta National. It was just a bad year of wind, the pundits will say.

Yet at the Hope this year, with Classic Club in its second year in the tournament, people were questioning everything. They ignored the solid design of the Classic Course, ignored the fact that it was windy and rainy at the other three Hope courses and ignored the fact that the week before and the week after the Hope this year, conditions at Classic Club were calm and near-ideal.

Wind can impact play anywhere anytime, whether it's the desert of California, the pines of Georgia or the seacoast of South Carolina. But the Hope has taken more than its share of grief over the same weather conditions that hit the Masters and the Heritage.

Uh, but the course still stinks! 


"Maybe the Masters bets next year should be in Oreos, not cash."

The ultimate sign of a newspaper's pomposity comes in the form of these pious ombudsman columns where some very special and unbiased staff member opines on questionable moral or potential ethical issues related to a newspaper's favorite topic: itself!

Thanks to reader Noonan, we get to read the Washington Post's Deborah Howell analyzing whether Augusta housemates Len Shapiro, Thomas Boswell and John Feinstein should be in a Masters pool while writing about the event.

Yes, definitely a slow week for ethical lapses at the Post. Don't worry Deborah, Bob Woodward's writing another book!

Reader Bill Sullivan of the District raised the question after a blogger, Sean Jensen of AOL Sports, said he participated in a "high price" pool while covering the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., with renowned Post columnist Tom Boswell; Leonard Shapiro, a former Post staffer who covers golf on contract; and John Feinstein, a best-selling author and Post freelancer.

Sullivan called the pool "disturbing" and said it "would appear to be a deeply serious breach of journalism ethics," especially because "Boswell and Shapiro had criticized athletes for gambling because it has a corrupting influence on the sport.

"Do Post editors condone this sort of conduct -- particularly since the bets were placed on an event the reporters were covering for the paper? How much was wagered and how long has it been going on? How do the reporters justify their moral criticisms of others when they themselves engage in the same illegal behavior?"

The pool is a tradition going back about 25 years in a house rented by Boswell, Shapiro and other sportswriters who cover the Masters, Boswell said. Feinstein joined about 15 years ago. Jensen was the new guy in the house.

How'd he get roped into that house rental? Poor bastard...

The stakes were $50 apiece for five people. Boswell said there are "a bunch of silly categories and no one wins much." Shapiro was the big winner, with a total of $103 in three categories. Boswell won $16.67. Feinstein won nothing. "Except for a few horse races or a [personal] golf game, I've never bet on anything else in my life," Boswell said. Shapiro said the same.

Hey don't forget last year's over/under on how long it would take Christine Brennan to ask Hootie a Martha question?

Shapiro's and Boswell's articles have criticized high-stakes gambling as it affected players and managers who presumably could affect the outcome of games.

Boswell said the house is not a high-stakes party pad but the "milk and Oreos" house, where a six-pack of beer bought at the tournament's start still had three left at the end. "We come back after the day and watch highlights and tease each other about" their pool picks.

And then they argue about the drapes, who gets the shower first, all before a big pillow fight breaks out.

Feinstein, in an e-mail, wrote, "NO, I've never bet on anything during my years at The Post.

Key phrase: during my years at The Post.

In fact, this year I didn't even participate in the pool because I was too tired to stay up. I put up the 50 bucks as a courtesy to the other guys and they picked my team for me. I was the only one in the house to not win a dollar for the week. . . . This is done in houses all around Augusta for fun and laughs -- and is a way of giving everyone something to talk about during the week. As in, 'who had the low round today?' That's about as serious as it gets."

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, assistant managing editor for sports, said, "I'm confident that the small-scale pool in no way affected the coverage of the event and was a 25-year tradition that was started only to bolster camaraderie for those living together while covering the event.

Bolster camaraderie? Translation: it's the only way they can tolerate living with each other.

That said, we've stressed to our folks that prizes for these sorts of pools, including the NCAA tournament, should not involve cash, no matter how small the amount." The Post has no written rule on betting.

George Solomon, a former Post sports editor and ESPN ombudsman who is now a University of Maryland journalism professor, sees no problem with "a recreational pool"; he was in the Masters pool when entering cost $10, and he went for Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. Betting "a lot of money on a team or individual is always wrong," he said.

Glad we cleared this weighty matter up. Oh wait, there's more...

Malcolm Moran, who holds the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Pennsylvania State University, said, "I wouldn't call [the Masters pool] serious. For myself, I don't get involved in pools."

Well maybe you should talk to someone about this Malcolm. Chlorine is very effective. Oh sorry...

Moran, a former sports journalist at the New York Times, Newsday and USA Today, believes there ought to be rules as there are at the Times, which states in its ethics policy: "To avoid an appearance of bias, no member of the sports department may gamble on any sports event, except for occasional recreational wagering on horse racing (or dog racing or jai alai).

Would you include cockfighting in that too?

This exception does not apply to staff members who cover such racing or regularly edit that coverage." The Times' prohibition does not apply to pools, said Craig Whitney, standards editor.

Longtime Post horseracing writer Andrew Beyer, now a freelancer, does gamble and writes about it, as do many racing writers. Moran said, "Just because it's in the culture doesn't mean it's the right thing to do." Beyer once won $200,000 and wrote about it. Now that gives me serious pause. Beyer did not respond to a phone message.

Can't imagine why.

Many newsrooms -- like many offices -- have sports pools; I never stopped them when I was an editor. The Post's internal NCAA pool was changed this year to make the top prize an iPod instead of cash. Just as well; a company lawyer won it.


The Masters pool is not a grave ethical matter, but The Post should have written rules to guide sports journalists on betting. This answer didn't please Sullivan, who wrote, "Reporters go after others with zeal while believing that the rules don't apply to them and that they are above reproach. Accountability for thee but not for me."

Maybe the Masters bets next year should be in Oreos, not cash.

Oh the standards of these journalists! Heart-warming I tell you that we live in a country where such important matters are deliberated.